There’s been a lot of press from Square-Enix lately. Final Fantasy XV, which has been in development for about a decade, finally got an official release date. And we also found out that there would be a full-length CG tie-in movie, and a tie-in anime OAV series, and a custom made audi, etc. Indeed, it’s going to take the sale of 10 million copies in order to turn a profit on all the time and money that’s been sunk into it.
Meanwhile, the Final Fantasy VII remake has become a multi-part series, each of which is promised to be as big as Final Fantasy XIII (which was exorbitantly expensive).
I’ve seen some people speculate that this is SE’s hail mary pass, and indeed it looks like they’re betting everything on these two projects. But I doubt it’ll work. Selling ten million copies is a pretty pie-in-the-sky goal to set.
Part of what made FFVII the first non-Nintendo game to become a million seller was the uniqueness of seeing a video game made with a Hollywood blockbuster sized budget. Since then, FF has prided itself for pushing the envelope in terms of graphical/technical prowess.
But as a result FF has become a prime victim of the whole graphical arms race I’ve previously complained about: this stuff is less impressive in a world where everyone’s doing it, and its becoming increasingly hard to make it profitable as budgets and production times soar.
So at this point I’ll be surprised if FFXV isn’t the swan song of the mainline series. Part of me is kinda sad to acknowledge that. But at the same time, Final Fantasy has had a pretty good run. For a series which has gone into the double digits, it’s only managed to produce three games I want nothing to do with (II, XI and XIV, and the latter two more due to my dislike of MMOs than any critique of their quality). The rest I still find quite fun.
When it comes to FFXV itself, I’m of two minds: on the one hand, I love the modern fantasy setting and the whole road trip motif. On the other hand, it was made by the team responsible for Kingdom Hearts, and all the gameplay I’ve seen suggests that it will play like Kingdom Hearts as well. And I’m less enthused about that.
On the other other hand, I find it endearing that they decided to use a cover of Stand By Me as its theme song.