Finishing Final Fantasy VII

Square-Enix isn’t The Worst

Really, they aren’t. Last week I talked about how the failures of Final Fantasy XIII could actually be a good thing in the grand scheme of the Final Fantasy series, in that it gave Square-Enix a chance to see what we want and what simply won’t work for a Final Fantasy game. Now despite doing a few things I really don’t agree with, I still believe Square-Enix (henceforth referred to as “Square”) can and will learn from their mistakes. Why? Well, despite everything, they still appear to be the only publisher that’s interested in delivering new and interesting products to their fans. If they weren’t, I don’t think we would have gotten Final Fantasy XIII in the first place.

I don’t know if this has always been the case, but ever since  the original Kingdom Hearts released in 2002, I’ve kind of seen Square as a company that’s willing to take risks for the sake of delivering something new. Now there’s no way for any of us to really know if that’s really true, but I think there’s some evidence to be found in the games they released over the years. Again, I’d like to point to Final Fantasy XIII. The original game was a major change for the series. It threw out the traditional ATB system that had been a series tent-pole since the very first Final Fantasy on the NES. Changing it was a huge risk that could have ended disastrously, but they recognized that Final Fantasy needed to grow in order to survive and did it anyway. Now, recognizing the need for growth and doing it properly are two different things, and most would probably say that Final Fantasy XIII was not the proper way to do it. However, I do think that they do deserve some credit for being willing to try something new rather than sit back and play it safe.

Even more recently we have the examples of Rise of the Tomb Raider and the upcoming Final Fantasy XV. Even with Microsoft’s support, I doubt any other publisher would greenlight a sequel to a game the considered to be a commercial failure, much less one that was bigger and even more visually stunning. They’re still pushing ahead with the PS4 release too, even though Rise of the Tomb Raider hasn’t been selling all that well. Then there’s Final Fantasy XV, which will once again be a major risk for Square as a publisher. All eyes are on this entry in the series now, and all are wondering if it’s going to be the game that kills or saves Final Fantasy. If Square had wanted to play it safe, they could have gone right back to the old Final Fantasy formula. The game would have been hailed as a return to form and everything would have been fine. However, that’s not what Square’s doing with the game. Final Fantasy XV is sporting a brand new battle system, a big ol’ open world to explore, and they even doubled-down on the visual quality! If this game fails, it’ll be a disaster! They definitely knew this even before development started, but they went ahead and took the risk anyway! It’s something I can’t help but respect.

I’m not saying that Square doesn’t have issues, because they most certainly do. Their strange decision to cut up a standalone game like Hitman into episodic pieces is clear evidence of that. I just wanted to acknowledge that despite some of the outrageous decisions they’ve made in the last year or so, I still think it’s important to remember that they’re still willing to take big risks. They’re willing to try new things in order to deliver new experiences to their fans and customers, where others definitely are not. Square – Enix maybe stupid at times, but they’re definitely not the worst major publisher out there.

How do you see Square-Enix as a publisher? Do still feel like supporting them, or have they done one stupid thing too many?

Image by Flickr User: Borgs Dalisay (cc)

11 thoughts on “Square-Enix isn’t The Worst”

  1. I’m not sure if I’m willing to take a chance on Square anymore myself. I mean, I’ll certainly still buy KH3 (I’ll never buy a handheld KH game again, though), but as for Final Fantasy, I’m going to carefully consider reviews and gameplay videos for FFXV before I decide if I’ll buy it. I wasted too much time and money on the FFXIII trilogy, and I’ll forever be more cautious when buying their games.

    You are right, though, it is good Square is willing to take risks, but it depends on whether or not they take good risks. They remind me a bit of Nintendo. Nintendo, too, takes huge risks. With the Wii, it was successful, as the Wii was a popular console (even if most people quickly grew bored of the motion controls, but before then, you couldn’t find a single console in stores, they were so popular). They took risks again with the Wii U, and I have heard more negative things about that.

    I respect Nintendo’s willingness to take risks, but they don’t seem to know what people want. I think it’s more than clear people nowadays prefer the more powerful consoles offered by Sony and Microsoft, but what do we get? We get a Wii clone with a giant controller with a TV in the middle. Am I the only one who noticed no difference in graphics whatsoever between the Wii and the Wii U? Not that graphics are everything, but I do expect some kind of improvement when buying a new console.

    It’s the same with Square. Risk can be a very good thing. I know of video game series who made big changes, and it made the games so much better as a result. Unfortunately, companies like Square don’t seem to have the common sense to make good changes, as FFXIII illustrated. Hopefully they will make smart changes with FFXV. I have a feeling they won’t, but I’ll give it a chance if the reviews are positive.

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  2. Honestly, I’m not willing to take chances on Square anymore. I gave them a chance and they just keep screwing it up. My brother talked to me about FFVII and Hitman and I refuse to purchase the game with only half of the game available to me. Maybe they should back track and really think about the decisions they are making as of late. I won’t be buying any game they make until it the ENTIRE game is released not episodes.

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    1. I completely feel the same way as you do. I’m not buying any half-made games. I already made that mistake with the new Super Smash Bros. I had no idea new characters would be released after I bought it, and now I’m missing all kinds of extras newer buyers get for the same price. As for FFXV, I’m going to check out reviews first before I consider buying it. I’m going to be a lot more careful with buying any FF games from now on.

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      1. If it helps at all. FFVII Remake is supposedly going to be following a model similar to the Final Fantasy XIII games, with each “episode” having the content and length of an otherwise full game. It’ll be great if they do it right, but (as you’ve both said) *only* if they do it right.

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  3. Square used to dominate. You look at the Super Nintendo, an amazing system if not the best home console ever made, with its tremendously vast library of games. Without a doubt it was a console that featured some amazing RPGs, some of the best RPGs of all time, and they were given to us by Square. Square was renown for innovation. But they still knew to rely on what had come before, to honor their past and to look to the future. That’s the problem with FFXIII, it was like suddenly the past of the franchise was uncool and they threw it all out. Symphonic music is old hat, so let’s go full on J-rock. Talking with some friends, we thought it felt disrespectful almost. We keep returning for another Final Fantasy because of what the series embodies. If I wanted to play another JRPG with other features, I would do that. But there are certain things we’ve come to expect from this franchise.

    What happened to Square? They continued to take risks but had no basis for taking those risks other than for the sake of the risks themselves and it took their beloved franchise to a territory where nobody wanted it to go. Watching this series slide into something that people now brush off rather than when it used to dominate the gaming horizon has been heart breaking.

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    1. You’re right when you say that a company shouldn’t take risks without a good reason. However, perhaps the biggest failure with Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t so much that they took risks, but that they tried to change too much all at once.

      Like you said, fans of the series expect certain things from it. In focusing on trying to change how the games work, perhaps they lost sight of everything a Final Fantasy game needs to support it’s gameplay.

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      1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Risks are fine, but they ought to be calculated, especially when considering everything that’s come before. Final Fantasy is a weird series because even its title is paradoxical. But there are certain things that unite its games, or at least there ought to be. I’m still going to pick up FFVII remake and FFXV, but for me, I’m not expecting the same mindblowing kind of games I played in yesteryear. These are more like spin offs to me, now.

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