The ‘Final Fantasy’ Series To Turn Action-Based

Published 3 years ago by , Updated November 24th, 2011 at 12:40 am,

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Action-based Game Future

Square Enix has had an epiphany: the Final Fantasy series is in need of an overhaul, something fans have known for years. With the swell of action-RPG’s dominating the role playing market, slower paced, turn-based games are finding this generation of players lacking the patience for strategy, critical thinking and the ability to wait for anything.

Without the panache that action brings, constantly littering the gameplay experience with loud noises and flashy effects, it seems current gamers are left feeling bored. It’s hard to not go into a “back in my day” speech about the beauty of old school turn-based RPG’s that are still often considered some of the best games in history, many of them developed by Square Enix (Squaresoft back then). It was another time and another generation; things have most definitely changed.

The greatest evidence for this change came after lousy sales of Final Fantasy XIV, the company’s second foray into the MMORPG market, also turn-based. This has prompted a delay in its port to the PS3, and an admission by CEO of Square Enix Yoichi Wada that “The Final Fantasy brand has been greatly damaged,” and that the gameplay design of Japanese developers is “weak.”

Yoshinori Kitase, producer of Final Fantasy XIII-2, has apparently come to this realization as well and has implemented a faster battle system into the upcoming game to appeal to this trend, one that “you ignore at your peril,” Kitase notes in an interview with Edge.

“FFXIII and FFXIII-2‘s battle systems have those elements of speed and action that are the key words for us, though that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to stick to the same route in our next game. That’s something only time can tell.”

While the first step in reviving the franchise would indeed be to bring it up to current standards of gameplay, possibly taking hints from the popular Tales series, they might want to dig back into their roots in terms of storytelling as well. Final Fantasy has always been an innovator in the RPG genre by continually tweaking its battle systems with every sequel, changing the game and setting the bar for competitors, but the heart and soul of the series was its story.

Personally, I would give anything for a reprieve from the futuristic, semi-steampunk craziness that is now the series’ standard style, and see it go back to the old sword and sorcery days of castles and airships. Things really hit their low point for me when the games completely lost an overworld map, removing the spirit of exploration and becoming a more linear experience.

It will be interesting to see how Square Enix will attempt to one up current action-based games when and if they edge into that market. Future Final Fantasy installments will be different indeed from the games we grew up with, but let’s hope they don’t lose the spirit of the series that made them a name in the first place. Those familiar with the company’s history will know that their first fantasy was supposed to be their last, but has now spanned twelve sequels. Perhaps they should delve into why they were successful, be their own inspiration and apply it to the brand. If not, the next sequel might just be the final fantasy.

What do you think, readers? Is the idea of an action-base Final Fantasy intriguing or blasphemy? What direction would you like the series to go?

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Source: Edge


TAGS: Final Fantasy XIII-2, Final Fantasy XIV, PC, PS3, Square Enix

  • Kholdstare89

    I really wish they’d return to the days of Final Fantasies that didn’t feel like a waste of my time. I believe the last FF game I enjoyed from them was FF Tactics Advance (well, unless you count remakes like FFIV DS)

  • Derek K.

    “Sir! We made a crappy semi-turn based MMO and released it when all the beta testers said it wasn’t ready, and it did badly! What should we do?”

    “Give up on turn-based games.”


    We know consumers don’t want slower paced rpgs, because publishers keep telling us that. And I’m sure they know best. Just like they told us consumers don’t want single player games like Skyrim.

  • Vanity

    It was Squaresoft back then, not just Square.

    • Curt Hutson

      Yikes! You are totally right. I deserve a slap on the wrist for that one.

  • wasabi

    “The greatest evidence for this change came after lousy sales of Final Fantasy XIV, the company’s second foray into the MMORPG market, also turn-based.”

    I disagree as using this one point as the “greatest” evidence, the main reason why FFXIV suffered such lousy sales was not due to it’s turn-based system, or any one system in the game for that matter. It was and to this day to various extents, a completely incomplete game. So many of these various ‘systems’ within the game had massive short-comings and were just not finished. Some of these ‘systems’ weren’t even in the game period(Auction House). You could point to declining sales from release to release in this genre by SE as being a bit more valid evidence, of course with other varying factors. But if you played FFXIV at launch, you’d realize it wasn’t any one ‘system’ within the game as even die-hard fans were extremely unhappy with the game.

  • Brandon

    I do agree that it’s time to make the battle system a little more fast paced, because that’s what everyone is used to now-a-days as far as video games go. But I do not agree that Final Fantasy should go back to the “old sword and sorcery days of castles and airships”. To be honest, I would find the story to be boring. I’d rather play a game with the setting current, or in the future.

  • Queen Anthai


  • Brandon

    Making Final Fantasy into an action based game? Sure, why not. That’ll do wonders for its popularity. Just look how much more beloved Castlevania is after it strayed from Symphony of the Night into the realm of action based games. I hear a lot of people are totally loving how Resident Evil has strayed from its survival horror roots and become a pseudo-Gears of War knockoff as well. Maybe the next Zelda game will take place in a boxing ring or something.

    • Patrick

      If they do it right it can be good. Castlevania has just come full circle man, all the way around the moon back to it’s action based roots. Never gonna top Symphony of the Night, so they need to try something new.
      Same with Square Enix.

    • Curt Hutson

      Haha! Good points. We all realize it’s just an attempt to try out some new things and freshen the brand, which is good, but sometimes it doesn’t pan out. Zelda boxing would be pretty interesting to see. I don’t think I’d enjoy getting in the ring with a Goron, however.

  • Patrick

    They need to get rid of this generic Final Fantasy look and go back to more individual looking worlds and stories.It’s all blurred into the “final fantasy look” instead of each game having it’s own look and feel.

    • Curt Hutson

      Completely agree.

  • Motosyko

    Maybe they REALLY need to change things up. License the next Final Fantasy (at what point does numbering them become absurd?) out to a Western Developer, like, say Bioware, and see what they can dream up.

    Failing that, drop the overly pretentious Latin sounding names and anime-esque angsty character development.

  • Elcobydos

    I am in the process of writing an article about how to improve the Final Fantasy series. Here is my top ten…

    1.Bring back Mini-games
    2.Stop with the Linearity
    3.Implement Sensible Weapon/Magic System
    4.Bring back Limit Breaks
    5.Improve villains – They’re just not good anymore
    6.Stop Polarizing Characters – Moody protagonist, hyper happy girl, super cool big brother guy ect…
    7.Powered Up Summon Monsters – They so weak these days
    8.Increase difficulty – Make it a challenge
    9.Bring back towns – Gives a better sense of the world and story
    10.Less movies, more game play – I paid for a video game, not an interactive movie

    • Patrick

      I agree with everything you say. Guardian Forces used to be Badass.
      Everyone looks and acts like a clone of Cloud. Need the Enemies to take a page out of Sephiroth’s book. I hated most of Advent Children. The exception being how Sephiroth.

    • Brian

      I totally agree with you. I KNOW I’m going to get some negative replies to this, but in my opinion, my favorite FF game was FF8. Sure, Squall was a whiny, stereotypical character but I loved it for several reasons (most of which were already described in your post):

      The Card game…that thing was addicting. I remember playing FF8 one time (one of the playthroughs) and spending an hour and a half, only to realize that I still have not left the toll booth area where the very first person to play cards was hanging out, lol.

      The different towns…it was kool as hell to fly around in your little city-ship and just go stopping by other places. The hell with linearity.

      And one more (not trying to steal your thunder)…I personally like all the little “secrets” in the FF games of old. For instance, finding the three “Omegas” (I believe that’s what they were called) in FF7, Getting the special cards in FF8 (by drawing from certain creatures/bosses), the secret GFs (like the Brothers)…that kind of stuff. It wasnt necessary to get that stuff to complete the game, but it was nice to know that there was WAY more than just the storyline to complete in the game.

    • wasabi

      Nice list. I’d add, stop making them MMOs.

    • Curt Hutson

      Bingo. I think you hit the nail on the head. They have just been so concerned with completely revamping the franchise that they forgot what made it great. I don’t care for the characters the way I used to. They’ve become extremely one-dimensional. Final Fantasy VI FTW.

  • Angie

    I agree, I really miss the old swords and airships. That blend of fantasy and steampunk was so much more appealing. I would think even the people who fell in love with Final Fantasy 7 would agree that turn based is the way to stay. They can develop action based games under some other title. Give me new story driven turn based action or I’ll just go replay FF6 yet again.

    • Curt Hutson

      You’re right, Angie. Let’s just go play FF6 and forget all of this ever happened.

  • Vivivivi

    I’m all for it, I’m a longtime die hard Final Fantasy fan, and even since XI, the gameplay has been much faster paced, so it would be a natural progression to shift from selecting commands quickly to moving those to direct button pushes.

    In fact, the way most people play XI (and yes there are hundreds of thousands of them still), they rely on sets of macros that essentially execute spells or special attacks with single button pushes. So long as Final Fantasy maintains lovable characters and wonderful stories, I don’t think fans will mind a shift in the gameplay.

    • Curt Hutson

      I think the shift is inevitable, yes, but the characters and stories have been lacking. I think so, at least.

  • anon

    Ever played Chronotrigger, Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, Seiken Densetsu 3? No? Oh, right, these were the action based RPG’s made by Squaresoft that were all as comparibly successful as the Final Fantasy series. Why the hell they never released a Chronotrigger 2 is beyond me (if you say ChronoCross I will stab you in the neck). What about Vagrant Story’s combat mechanics? FFXIII gets its combat mechanics from Xenogears and why was Xenogears infinitely greater in every way than its FF predecessor? CHARACTERS. STORY. IMMERSION. LIKEABILITY. DEPTH. COMPLETION. I really wish they would keep the turnbased system in the FF series and utilize their other games as foundations for alternate means of gameplay. I would never purchase a Final Fantasy expecting a hack’n slash game. Even if it was heavy on the RPG elements.

    They tried to make combat faster paced due to complaints relating to the loading time of combat, the time it took to execute combat commands, shuffling through menus (which I think is a primary enjoyment factor of the FF series) and inability to skip obscenely long summon videos. These things didn’t exist in FF6 nor any of its predecessors. FF7 and 8 and 9 introduced these qualms. FFX cleaned things up and the PS2 was better capable of handling the loading process involved. FFXII pioneered the scripted combat system used in action based RPG’s like Dragon Age 1 & 2 (and overly dumbed down its combat). Bring back the chess-like turn-based strategy with modern graphics and don’t shortcut stories or environments. I don’t mind spending 60+ hours in a world that I feel involved with. FFXII was unfortunately released at the 11th hour and the PS3/360 already had a grip in the market. Though it, too, gave the clear impression that it was an incomplete game.

    FFXI and XIV are just examples of how ill equiped/employed Square is for the PC.

    • Curt Hutson

      Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana are still two of my favorite games ever (Chrono Cross sucked it big time). Square Enix is missing the soul it used to have in the days when it churned out hit after hit. They need to look back and try to find it again.

      Personally, I love the old system. Turn-based is great if it’s done smart. The problem is, currently, it’s not. I think you make a lot of valid points. FF7 was great, but introduced a lot of bad habits that Square Enix has today.

      The most important thing for me in a Final Fantasy is story and character development.

      Btw, Chrono Trigger 2 (a PROPER sequel) would blow my mind in the best possible way.

  • isaac

    I love the old school but if they change it so b it but goddamnit do it right final. Fantasy13 bored the s*** out of me. I hated the characters they never drew my interest like cloud for example. I want more exploration, more secrets more gameplay. I dont want to watch a 70 hour movie i occasionally have a battle eith a s***y rpg battle system. Let me customize characters and make them unique. Give me a reason to hate the villian. Damn u sephiroth why aeris why!!!! And bring back towns not even world maps but make it so i have choices and can atleast explore extra dungeons for awesome goddies and secret bosses maybe find out more about a character by doing this u dont find out in the main story. Make me want to play it 13 times through