Calling out brand failure may not be something a CEO of one of the largest Japanese publishing houses should be saying, especially when it comes to one of their biggest titles, specifically Final Fantasy. There are more than a few people out there who feel the series has taken a bit of a radical turn, and not in the best way possible. Square Enix CEO, Yoichi Wada, admitted himself that the brand has taken a turn for the worst.
Wada-san spoke at a press conference in Japan and talked about Square Enix's two biggest franchises, the oft-beleved Dragon Quest series and the increasingly ridiculous Final Fantasy series. It's hard to not like Dragon Quest, the classic turn-based gameplay, artwork by Akira Toriyama, and that small amount of ludicrous that make it so homely. However, Final Fantasy has seen a great deal of changes throughout its history, dealing with some pretty interesting issues like industrialization and creating interesting gameplay systems like materia, to making the leap online, which has been less than stellar.
It was about Final Fantasy XIV that Wada-san had talked about, which has seen a great deal of issues since it was released in Japan, and was the leading point after his rather maverick statement:
"The Final Fantasy brand has been greatly damaged... We'll continue with our reform work, which basically amounts to fully redoing the game, and hope to revive the FFXIV that should have been released."
FFXIV isn't the first foray into the online market for Square Enix and people might remember Final Fantasy XI, which wasn't entirely greatly received either. Don't worry about that happening to their other major franchise though, Dragon Quest will strictly remain a single-player medium, which has served it well all these years.
Some fans might becoming a bit disillusioned with the FF franchise, especially with the incoming release of Final Fantasy XIII-2 and it wouldn't be something incomprehensible. The series has certainly taken a strange direction since Final Fantasy X and it would be nice to see a return back to the simpler "kids save the world" story rather than "kids save the world with political allegory" story. Oh well. You can also read our hands-on for Final Fantasy XIII-2 circa E3 2011.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 releases on January 31, 2012 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
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