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Developing Final Fantasy - Editorial

InstaTrentInstaTrent Opinion GuyRPGamer Staff
edited November 2014 in Latest Updates
The Final Fantasy series has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Could that be due to Square Enix's development philosophy? Is there a better way?

Editorial
"To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."
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Comments

  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited April 2018
    deleted.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    smacd wrote: »
    What if every Final Fantasy game after VI had essentially the same ATB combat system, add a few minor improvements? Similarly, what if each new entry also took place in a more traditional fantasy setting a la Final Fantasy IV? Is it fair to say that Square Enix has been throwing the baby with the bath water each time a new Final Fantasy enters development?.

    We have that. It's called "Dragon Quest" :) Teeheeheee. Personally, I like Dragon Quest series...and I'm happy with incremental changes over generations instead of "throw the baby out with the bath water every game".
    In a parallel universe, all Final Fantasy games feature the similar combat systems, progression structure and aesthetic settings. The protagonists seize the day as true heroes and are anything but moody and depressed. No science fiction elements are incorporated, and the exact same themes echo through each new entry. Is this a universe you would rather live in?
    Ok... I got this silly idea. Instead of going totally different every game ala FF 7-14... and instead of staying pretty much the same instead of Dragon Quest series...what if...what if.... we had some balance? *BOOOM* How about moderate changes that build on what works well in the previous games and keeps the series fresh, but aren't so huge that they feel like they reinvent the wheel (or even the genre) every time? Life is all about balance. Too little change and a series stagnates. Too much, and you never build on the foundations laid out before... and your audience starts to feel alienated. Moderation is the key to happiness in many areas of life...and I believe that this is one of them :) (Which is pretty much what Trent said at the end)
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  • ClephasClephas Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    I more or less agree with the author's final thoughts, that there needs to be a balance between rapid and incremental evolution of a series. I lost all my interest in FF after 12, for instance (still no overworld map, pathetic storytelling, a modified version of XI's battle system...). After hearing about some of XIII's incredibly stupid mistakes, I cancelled my preorder and Lightning never did manage to become the second Terra or Celes...

    Look what happened when Suikoden went way too far outside the box with Tierkreis: namely abandoning the biggest draws of the series... its narrative maturity and overall setting in favor of a game more oriented to a younger audience based in a 'classic' unrelated save the world scenario. Since the series had already been abandoned somewhat (due to IV) the two DS games were the finishing blow...

    At the same time, a complete lack of change or too incremental change (*coughs* Shadow Hearts *cough*) can lead to stagnation... Expanding the fanbase while maintaining the hardcore fans' interest is probably the biggest challenge game-makers face...

    Edit: On the other hand, DQ has been getting away with putting out what is essentially the same style of game over and over for the past three decades...
  • CidolfasCidolfas Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    The problem is that FF's revolutionary approach has guaranteed that there is no such thing as a "Final Fantasy fan" any more. Chances are astronomical that the same person would love the punishing, straight-fantasy approach of FF1, the steampunk, classic FF6 and FF9, the modern FF7 and FF8, the Eastern, menu-based vibe of FFX, MMO-based political tinkering of FFXII, the futuristic, action-packed FFXIII and even more action-packed FFXV all at once.

    FF has become nothing more than a name tacked onto new projects, and fans are starting to realize that. Even easy things that Squeenix could have done to trigger nostalgia in fans were toned down in FFXIII (like musical cues, enemies, job names, etc.). I agree that you can't respond to criticism and improvement if you never let yourself sit around and do anything that can be improved on. Most importantly, you can't become good at anything if you never refine yourself. Instead, you get a series of mediocre efforts which may be new but aren't particularly good, because you keep trying to use new skillsets you haven't had time to master.

    An interesting second discussion might be why Wild ARMs and Breath of Fire failed but Tales games are still going strong despite not changing the basic gameplay all that much.
  • scorpio_7scorpio_7 Tactics Ogre, I choose u! Full Members
    edited November 2014
    Having been a FF fanboy for the majority of my life...

    I believe it is time for this series/franchise to be abandoned. At this point the games are so drastically different from the source material; tacking on the number is now just an attempt to get people to buy the name.

    If they want to develop these fundamentally different games; just develop them as a separate franchise or independent titles.

    Considering that some of their independent titles are looking more like FF than the actual numbered games, it is clear this company needs an overhaul on their perspectives.
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  • ascii256ascii256 Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    Stick with what works and tweak the basic formula with each release. That's what they do with the Tales games and it works. Sure, not all Tales games are great, but the ones that aren't are like a mediocre episode of your favorite show - still worth watching at least once.

    Starting with Final Fantasy XI the games were like an entirely different show. Or like one of those "A very special episode of..." or "Disney World Vacation" episodes on 80s sitcoms. Online games and games abandoning the beloved battle system... really? Now their taking an action RPG and sticking a Chocobo in the trunk of the car and calling it FF XV.

    Harrumph!
  • ultranessultraness Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    Cidolfas wrote: »
    An interesting second discussion might be why Wild ARMs and Breath of Fire failed but Tales games are still going strong despite not changing the basic gameplay all that much.

    I don't think that Breath of Fire really belongs in the same category as series like Wild ARMs, Suikoden, or Shadow Hearts, seeing as how the last Breath of Fire game we got was absolutely nothing like the first four. If anything, that series seemed to fail commercially due to overly radical change, not stagnation (even though I personally love the fifth game a lot more than any other game in the series, there's no denying that it was a failure, in terms of business).

    In any case, I don't think it's necessary to change the basic gameplay in order for a series to succeed since Dragon Quest is much more popular in Japan than the Tales franchise, and Dragon Quest does even less to change its core gameplay than the latter series. If there's nothing perceived as wrong with the gameplay, there's not really any reason to change it from the ground up instead of refining it. You can look outside of the RPG genre at the most successful franchises elsewhere, like Call of Duty, Zelda, and the many different Mario games, and they don't bother altering things to the same extent that Square Enix does with Final Fantasy games, since the developers simply don't need to (and, honestly, I don't think Square needs to do the same with Final Fantasy, either, since I've found a lack of refinement to be my main issue with the gameplay in recent entries after FFX-2; they introduce some great ideas in FFVIII and FFXII but don't execute them as well as they could, and then they totally ignore those ideas in every game thereafter).
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    I just finished Dragon Quest V, and I can certainly appreciate how they stuck to the formula, but added/did something different with each game. DQ2 adds party members, 3 gives you a class system, 4 has chapters and a wagon that lets you switch characters out and 5 gives us monster capturing.

    Honestly, I would be happy with a FF series that did something similar, but used better graphics/sound/etc. The quality of production, and its ability to pull me further into the experience, was always a main selling point, to me. I was OK with VI's similarity, in many respects, to IV... in fact, it's my favorite JRPG of all time, due, in part, to the extremely high quality of its graphics, music and story. I would be super happy with a traditional Final Fantasy with some Dragon Quest sized changes (in other words, nothing big) that had great writing and production values. I would pay full price, on release, for such a game (and I did with releases like Ni No Kuni). I guess, however, I'm in the minority, as I'm sure S-E would go that direction if they felt that this is where the money is at.
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  • Super KingSuper King New Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    jcservant wrote: »
    I just finished Dragon Quest V, and I can certainly appreciate how they stuck to the formula, but added/did something different with each game. DQ2 adds party members, 3 gives you a class system, 4 has chapters and a wagon that lets you switch characters out and 5 gives us monster capturing.

    Honestly, I would be happy with a FF series that did something similar, but used better graphics/sound/etc. The quality of production, and its ability to pull me further into the experience, was always a main selling point, to me. I was OK with VI's similarity, in many respects, to IV... in fact, it's my favorite JRPG of all time, due, in part, to the extremely high quality of its graphics, music and story. I would be super happy with a traditional Final Fantasy with some Dragon Quest sized changes (in other words, nothing big) that had great writing and production values. I would pay full price, on release, for such a game (and I did with releases like Ni No Kuni). I guess, however, I'm in the minority, as I'm sure S-E would go that direction if they felt that this is where the money is at.

    For better or worse, the actual sales and fan response beyond Final Fantasy purists bear Square Enix's approach out.

    FF7 was the series' first huge departure from convention (albeit mostly in terms of the style and setting rather than the gameplay itself) because FF6 was a commercial bust (Sakaguchi on FFVI fans: "Hey, so why didn't you buy it back then?") and in Japan, it was also panned by the critics. Ironically, the Japanese felt that FF6 was too much of a departure from FFI-V. Furthermore, FF7 sold what the first six games combined did, so Square obliged with the direction the series took thereafter.

    The most commercially successful FF of all time is FFXI, which is why Square Enix not only made FFXIV, but they chose to overhaul it and relaunch it rather than close it down completely after its first launch misfired badly. And the game has now turned a failure into a success, and while I don't know if the overhaul has paid for itself yet, I'm sure that given the strong popularity of the game a year later, it will in due time.

    With Dragon Quest, kids in the 1980s bought it because it had Japan's most popular comic artist and Japan's most popular composer behind it, and kids in the 2010s buy it because their parents did, alongside the adults who like it because they grew up in the 1980s. Meanwhile, American gamers and critics harped constantly on its "archaic" design. The games have never been more than cult successes here, sadly. Nintendo, hoping for the same kind of sales blowout in the US, ended up overprinting the first game on NES to nearly the same level as E.T. on the 2600, and instead of burying Dragon Warrior carts in New Mexico, they gave them away as subscription prizes for Nintendo Power. Square Enix has more or less given up on the series in the US beyond some quick and dirty mobile ports. Nintendo picked up duties for awhile, but judging by their complete silence on DQVII 3DS, Nintendo has given up too.

    And look at DQ now. It went from the eighth game - the same basic formula and gameplay redone with some pretty nice 3-D graphics on PS2 - to the ninth game, which borrowed its game mechanics generously from Monster Hunter, although modifying them to fit the turn-based battle system, was designed around social Street Pass aspects, and was exclusive to a handheld system. And since DQIX is the best-selling DQ of all time, and was probably cheaper to develop than VIII, that makes me seriously doubtful that we'll ever see another traditional Dragon Quest game, let alone a Dragon Quest game with AAA graphics on the PS4. DQX, meanwhile, is a MMORPG.

    As for Mario and Zelda, Mario has a fanbase that's split between 2-D Mario and 3-D Mario.

    With Zelda, let's start with Zelda II, which had an Ultima-style overworld map and experience points with dungeons and battle scenes that were side-scrolling, and no boomerangs, bows, bombs, or even rupees. Ocarina of Time was a successful shake-up (2-D to 3-D), but Majora's Mask was a rather divisive title. In 2001, Nintendo showed the world a realistic-looking Zelda tech demo for the newly-launched Gamecube, basically a prettier Ocarina of time, and and everyone cheered. Does anyone remember the screams of rage, especially from North America, that ensued a few months later when Nintendo officially unveiled Wind Waker? Miyamoto and Aonuma sure do. They were downright shocked by the negative response, so we got Twilight Princess, which was more of a direct follow-up to Ocarina. But people still complained, although TP is currently second in Zelda sales behind Ocarina. The latest two games were Skyward Sword, which uses Wii Remote motion-control mechanics, and ALBTW, which is a straight-up sequel to ALTTP. But would remaking Ocarina of Time/Twilight Princess over and over again with prettier graphics and a few tweaks have really been better?
  • ascii256ascii256 Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    Super King wrote: »
    ...because FF6 was a commercial bust (Sakaguchi on FFVI fans: "Hey, so why didn't you buy it back then?") and in Japan, it was also panned by the critics. Ironically, the Japanese felt that FF6 was too much of a departure from FFI-V...

    Wait... what? I need a fact check here. According to the Wikipedia page, Famitsu gave the SNES version a 37/40. Here in The States the game got amazing reviews. The cult following that FF VI created was one of the reasons FF VII sold so well.

    Hell, I can't think I've ever read one negative review of FF VI ever.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    SNES - Sales
    1. Dragon Quest VI (3.2 million in Japan)
    2. Dragon Quest V (2.8 million in Japan)
    3. Final Fantasy VI (2.55 million in Japan)
    4. Final Fantasy V (2.45 million in Japan)

    Hmmmm...hard to see that as a disappointment. #3 behind two DQ games. At any rate ,most of what you said pretty much says what I say...just with a lot more words :) S-E thinks the money is in more actiony games, so that's where they are going. S-E is a business, after all.
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  • Super KingSuper King New Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    jcservant wrote: »
    SNES - Sales
    1. Dragon Quest VI (3.2 million in Japan)
    2. Dragon Quest V (2.8 million in Japan)
    3. Final Fantasy VI (2.55 million in Japan)
    4. Final Fantasy V (2.45 million in Japan)

    Hmmmm...hard to see that as a disappointment. #3 behind two DQ games. At any rate ,most of what you said pretty much says what I say...just with a lot more words :) S-E thinks the money is in more actiony games, so that's where they are going. S-E is a business, after all.

    According to Sakaguchi during an interview with Kotaku, the sales were considered a disappointment. The quote from him in my post is taken from that interview. http://kotaku.com/things-are-much-different-for-the-creator-of-final-fant-1629514442
  • scorpio_7scorpio_7 Tactics Ogre, I choose u! Full Members
    edited November 2014
    FF6 is also considered one of the most popular FF games to date (Over the years there have been numerous polls on many sites and reviews done by fans, and FF6 generally comes out on top or in the top 3).... not sure where your info is coming from Super King.
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  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    Super King wrote: »
    According to Sakaguchi during an interview with Kotaku, the sales were considered a disappointment. The quote from him in my post is taken from that interview. http://kotaku.com/things-are-much-different-for-the-creator-of-final-fant-1629514442
    I'm not questioning your quote. I'm questioning the point he's trying to make. Just because someone on the team expresses an opinion doesn't mean it's a super great one, especially when cold, hard facts paint a different picture. I'll take hard numbers over an opinion any day of the week. It reminds me of an earlier news story where someone at S-E mentioned that Tomb Raider sales were "disappointing" when it "only" sold 3.4 million units in a month rather than the hoped for 5-6 million.

    Sometimes, a company can set its own expectations unreasonably high.
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  • Michael BakerMichael Baker RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    ascii256 wrote: »
    Wait... what? I need a fact check here. According to the Wikipedia page, Famitsu gave the SNES version a 37/40. Here in The States the game got amazing reviews. The cult following that FF VI created was one of the reasons FF VII sold so well.

    Hell, I can't think I've ever read one negative review of FF VI ever.

    Back in the mid-90s, Famitsu wasn't quite so score-bloated on its reviews. As I recall, most of the S-E games of that period (not to mention several other popular RPG series) got similar point spreads, so 37 is definitely a decent score.
  • Super KingSuper King New Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    scorpio_7 wrote: »
    FF6 is also considered one of the most popular FF games to date (Over the years there have been numerous polls on many sites and reviews done by fans, and FF6 generally comes out on top or in the top 3).... not sure where your info is coming from Super King.

    The quote I put in my post is from an interview Sakaguchi did with Kotaku, and FF6 was indeed considered a commercial disappointment by him and by Square according to this interview.
  • Anna Marie PrivitereAnna Marie Privitere Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    Tomb Raider of the 90s I guess.
  • bigmark268bigmark268 New Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    "if every Final Fantasy game after VI had essentially the same ATB combat system, add a few minor improvements? Similarly, what if each new entry also took place in a more traditional fantasy setting a la Final Fantasy IV? Is it fair to say that Square Enix has been throwing the baby with the bath water each time a new Final Fantasy enters development"

    Personally this right here is 100% exactly what I want from FF. I loved being in control of my parties each and every move. I looked at each battle (before you break some mechanics) as a game of chess.
  • ScionScion RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    There are a few reasons I stick with FF despite it not being relevant in years, but the series' ability to reinvent itself at a moments notice is definitely a part of it. Final Fantasy has always been a series of ups and downs, it has never been consistently good. I have relatively unpopular opinions about the series, but most people seem to always get nostalgic and say things like "remember when this series used to be good?" and then list of exactly which ones were good and they are never the same as what someone else will say. I would probably not care for this series if it became as iterative as some of the others mentioned above as part of the series charm is each new game is a discovery. Final Fantasy isn't about in-depth combat, story, characters, or even graphics.

    FF is all about throwing paint on a blank canvas, messing it around into something unique, regardless of whether its good or bad, getting to the point where you think its finished, nodding at it in affirmation, and then starting again on a new canvas. Because unlike all its competitors, FF is all about bombast. FF is one of the few series I know where they sell there concept so well, even if that concept turns out to be terrible. There has never been a Final Fantasy game I have forgotten about, even the bad ones I can remember details of at the drop of the hat. Final Fantasy has dazzling highs and disastrous lows, nothing in between. And that's because each game goes all out and you can feel the touch of the creators in there. One could say I "hate" Final Fantasy VIII but there's more personality in that game's roman numerals than the entirety of any Tales game I've played. Lightning is far from the worst character, hell, even protagonist, to grace a JRPG but you ask a lot of gamers who their least favorite JRPG character is and she'll dominate the discussion because she is inexplicably memorable in spite of the boring personality most seem to attribute to her.

    Those who want consistent goodness (which is certainly a good thing to ask for) need look no further than Shin Megami Tensei, a series that as held a much higher level of quality even over all of its spinoffs and is genuinely well made. Final Fantasy is more about attitude than anything else, one of the few series of games I feel justified in calling an "epic" because it actually manages to sell itself as one.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    Scion wrote: »
    There are a few reasons I stick with FF despite it not being relevant in years, but the series' ability to reinvent itself at a moments notice is definitely a part of it. Final Fantasy has always been a series of ups and downs, it has never been consistently good.

    I gotta disagree with you here...thought its largely a matter of opinion. I felt the series was good through the early PS2 / FFX (excluding the ports we later got of 2 and 3 on GBA/PSP/PSX). I do agree that there were ups and downs, but the games, for me, were always good to great (and even exceptional) RPGs. From there the combat began to really push into less tactical territory and more importantly (for me) the story lines started to completely make less and less sense. By the time we head into XIII, it gets worse with an emotionless protagonist we don't care about, and less control over the party,

    Final Fantasy isn't about in-depth combat, story, characters, or even graphics.
    Ouch. See, I would say that FF is/was at its best when it focuses on all of these things. I would point to each of these elements when discussing why I enjoy FF games as a whole, or why FFVI, IMHO, is SNES era gaming perfection.
    FF is all about throwing paint on a blank canvas, messing it around into something unique, regardless of whether its good or bad, getting to the point where you think its finished, nodding at it in affirmation, and then starting again on a new canvas. Because unlike all its competitors, FF is all about bombast. FF is one of the few series I know where they sell there concept so well, even if that concept turns out to be terrible.
    That really sounds like a terrible way to make a game, much less a direction to chart a series. I do feel that up through the FFX, that each game concept started with some foundations... in FF1, it was basic turn based combat...in FF4-10ish, it was an ATB system. I felt like they started doing spitball story telling with some of the PSX and 2 games, and that's where the stories starting losing me. However, I would stick with those games because the combat (more or less) was solid, and the production values high.
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  • CoreSignalCoreSignal New Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    Great editorial by Trent, I really enjoy seeing these type of pieces. That said, I have to disagree a little with his conclusion. Final Fantasy is the rare example of a big-budget, AAA series
    that's willing to experiment with each new installment. Obviously, some fans will like some installments and hate others, but I like the fact that the developers are willing to try something new each
    time. I know many people would prefer that FF games go more the "evolution" route, rather than the "revolution" one but this is what makes FF unique. Dragon Quest, Tales, the Atelier series,
    and pretty much every other jrpg franchise already do the refinement/evolution thing, so I don't see why the FF needs to do the same thing everybody else is already doing. Besides, Square Enix
    puts out sequels and spinoff games for all the favorite FF titles, like FF7 and FFX, though whether those games are good or not is another story.
    Scion wrote:
    There has never been a Final Fantasy game I have forgotten about, even the bad ones I can remember details of at the drop of the hat. Final Fantasy has dazzling highs and disastrous lows, nothing in between. And that's because each game goes all out and you can feel the touch of the creators in there. One could say I "hate" Final Fantasy VIII but there's more personality in that game's roman numerals than the entirety of any Tales game I've played.
    I feel the same way. Not every FF game is great or good, but they're certainly memorable, which is something I can't say for a lot of other jrpg franchises (no offense to Tales fans :)).
    jcservant wrote:
    I gotta disagree with you here...thought its largely a matter of opinion. I felt the series was good through the early PS2 / FFX (excluding the ports we later got of 2 and 3 on GBA/PSP/PSX). I do agree that there were ups and downs, but the games, for me, were always good to great (and even exceptional) RPGs. From there the combat began to really push into less tactical territory and more importantly (for me) the story lines started to completely make less and less sense. By the time we head into XIII, it gets worse with an emotionless protagonist we don't care about, and less control over the party,
    I hope you're not including FFXII when you say the combat is less tactical. Also, while I don't think the FF XIII games had "complex" combat, I personally thought the combat was still pretty fun, with less emphasis on micromanagment
    than previous games. All a matter of opinion, of course.
  • ScionScion RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    jcservant wrote: »
    I gotta disagree with you here...thought its largely a matter of opinion. I felt the series was good through the early PS2 / FFX (excluding the ports we later got of 2 and 3 on GBA/PSP/PSX). I do agree that there were ups and downs, but the games, for me, were always good to great (and even exceptional) RPGs. From there the combat began to really push into less tactical territory and more importantly (for me) the story lines started to completely make less and less sense. By the time we head into XIII, it gets worse with an emotionless protagonist we don't care about, and less control over the party

    As I did say above, I have rather unpopular opinions for a fan of the series but I would argue the series only got more tactical from X to XII, XIII being the obvious step back. I admittedly never liked the ATB system, essentially just a means of making the battle feel more hectic than it actually was. Every ATB game I turned it to "wait" to actually make it feel turn based. X, by comparison, let you see the turns coming up and allowed you to plan around them and while not maintaining control of the characters in XII it offered deeper levels of strategy outside of the battles by building the right Gambits. Every 2D FF I have played I was able to brute force my way through by attacking, casting, and healing. I may have skipped out on some of the more difficult fights, but nothing I ever felt I was missing out on. And while we could argue for days about which characters are better than others, I'll never understand the Lightning hate. XIII had a myriad of problems but the cast wasn't one of them, at least not more so than the average FF.

    Ouch. See, I would say that FF is/was at its best when it focuses on all of these things. I would point to each of these elements when discussing why I enjoy FF games as a whole, or why FFVI, IMHO, is SNES era gaming perfection.

    Maybe not the best way to word my argument, but since IV FF has always focused on it. And obviously those are important parts of what I was trying, and failing, to present. FF is about it's image and presentation. That's why the spinoffs like X-2, XIII-2, and Lightning Returns all feel flat or like they come from a different series, they aren't given the same time or care. FF VI is as great as it is, and you are right, it is the best game in the series, because of its huge cast of characters that all feel unique and because for once the series' general theme of "friendship and love conquer all" is actually given a proper antithesis instead of the usual Good versus Evil that the most of the rest of the series is known for. But VI is all these elements working in perfect harmony, something that is definitely not a constant for even the 2D era games.

    I'll still stand by that the combat was never particularly interesting, competent but rarely more and sometimes much worse.

    That really sounds like a terrible way to make a game, much less a direction to chart a series. I do feel that up through the FFX, that each game concept started with some foundations... in FF1, it was basic turn based combat...in FF4-10ish, it was an ATB system. I felt like they started doing spitball story telling with some of the PSX and 2 games, and that's where the stories starting losing me. However, I would stick with those games because the combat (more or less) was solid, and the production values high.

    It kind of shows how terrible of a way it is to make a game when Final Fantasy spent more time in development hell last gen than legitimate development. But the results are much more interesting. And as to get lost in my stupid metaphor (which does sound awful rereading it), each canvas has that "Final Fantasy" foundation. Call it whatever you will, but I can immediately tell when I am playing a Final Fantasy game, good or bad. Even XIII feels grand in scale despite its claustrophobic areas and linear progression.

    The stories, again, are up and down. Outside of the XII the writing has never been "good" but it never really needed to be. Sometimes it hurt the game (Most of the games post VI), sometimes the technology wasn't sophisticated enough for us to care (Pretty much before IV) and even the ones in between are all over the place. But then again, I think most of the JRPGs I play feel like rough drafts, its part of the genre at this point.
  • RealityCheckedRealityChecked Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    "...the oscillating quality of Final Fantasy..."

    Oscillating is probably a little generous of late.

    The key to evolution is iterations. Just including core titles and not including sequels, online, or handheld games, I believe Tales has doubled up FF in number since 2000. Now if we assume FF works by revolution, its quality is not hindered by less frequent games. However, it does mean that there are fewer opportunities for success.

    To use a baseball analogy, Tales hits for average, FF hits for power. FF strikes out a lot, but when it connects it has the potential to be huge. Conversely, no matter how many hits Tales gets, it's never going to be a home run.
  • scorpio_7scorpio_7 Tactics Ogre, I choose u! Full Members
    edited November 2014
    "...the oscillating quality of Final Fantasy..."

    Oscillating is probably a little generous of late.

    The key to evolution is iterations. Just including core titles and not including sequels, online, or handheld games, I believe Tales has doubled up FF in number since 2000. Now if we assume FF works by revolution, its quality is not hindered by less frequent games. However, it does mean that there are fewer opportunities for success.

    To use a baseball analogy, Tales hits for average, FF hits for power. FF strikes out a lot, but when it connects it has the potential to be huge. Conversely, no matter how many hits Tales gets, it's never going to be a home run.

    Awesome analogy!

    Feels like FF is more like the Jays these days lol.
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  • InstaTrentInstaTrent Opinion Guy RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    Conversations like this are why I really appreciate RPGamer's forums. It's great to see such respectful arguments.
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."
  • ScionScion RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    "...the oscillating quality of Final Fantasy..."

    Oscillating is probably a little generous of late.

    The key to evolution is iterations. Just including core titles and not including sequels, online, or handheld games, I believe Tales has doubled up FF in number since 2000. Now if we assume FF works by revolution, its quality is not hindered by less frequent games. However, it does mean that there are fewer opportunities for success.

    To use a baseball analogy, Tales hits for average, FF hits for power. FF strikes out a lot, but when it connects it has the potential to be huge. Conversely, no matter how many hits Tales gets, it's never going to be a home run.

    A much better analogy than mine and the essence of what I was going for. Agreed entirely.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    To use a baseball analogy, Tales hits for average, FF hits for power. FF strikes out a lot, but when it connects it has the potential to be huge. Conversely, no matter how many hits Tales gets, it's never going to be a home run.

    But when *was* the last FF Home run?
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  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited November 2014
    jcservant wrote: »
    But when *was* the last FF Home run?
    That depends on whether you're looking at commercial success or just on terms of fan reception. If you're going by reception, the current home run is Final Fantasy XIV. If you're going by commercial success, the same game would qualify. Before that however, Final Fantasy X may have been the last fan received home run (or XI, not entirely sure), and Final Fantasy XIII was the last commercial success if we go by numbers alone (and if the supposed numbers are correct).
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2014
    That depends on whether you're looking at commercial success or just on terms of fan reception. If you're going by reception, the current home run is Final Fantasy XIV. If you're going by commercial success, the same game would qualify. Before that however, Final Fantasy X may have been the last fan received home run (or XI, not entirely sure), and Final Fantasy XIII was the last commercial success if we go by numbers alone (and if the supposed numbers are correct).
    True...though in my bunny brain, I really don't see the MMO iterations as part of the series. (I know, I know...they're numbered, so they're officially part of that series...but being an entirely different genre of games doesn't help me to group them together).

    And that's the thing. For a time, it seemed like home run after home run. Now, following the analogy, seems more like strike outs at bat. Hmmmm.

    Scion wrote:
    I'll still stand by that the combat was never particularly interesting, competent but rarely more and sometimes much worse.

    Ouch. I know you're not the only one with that opinion, but I'll agree to disagree. I find the combat somewhere between good and great. If I apply the rose colored glasses of time, I would definitely say it was between great and awesome.... as it was easily better than just about any other RPG combat system of the time IMHO. The only games which provided better combat, imho, were well made tactical affairs such as Shining Force and the Gold Box games. More generic turn based combat, ala Breath of Fire or Dragon Quest IV, was putting me to sleep by the SNES days.

    There were numerous battles in both IV and VI that I still remember vividly to this day, nearly two decades afterwards. That's saying something.
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  • RealityCheckedRealityChecked Member Full Members
    edited November 2014
    To Dark's point, certainly commercial success is the most important factor for SE, and rightfully so. I'm with JC, though, on not counting XIV, at least within this conversation.

    Here's another baseball analogy for commercial vs. critical success: The Chicago Cubs. They are perennially near the top in attendance, they are one of the most beloved, valuable, and profitable organizations in the league...and they haven't won a World Series in 100+ years. Fans buy tickets every season, but by the end not many of them are happy.
    jcservant wrote: »
    But when *was* the last FF Home run?

    For me, 14 years ago, but who's counting...
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