If You're Not Worried About Final Fantasy XV, You're in Denial
Final Fantasy XV is one of the most awaited titles in the last decade. With its release date established for November 29, we will all soon be able to play a game that was announced a decade ago under the name of Final Fantasy Versus XIII.
In the meantime, Square Enix is directing a huge marketing campaign around the game, releasing trailers, gameplays, demos, an anime series and a CGI movie. There is even a VR experience planned for PlayStation VR.
With all the hype surrounding the title, it is key to take a step back and really evaluate a few things. We need to learn from previous mistakes and perhaps even be worried about the game -- because there are signs that Final Fantasy XV may not be as good as everyone expects.
No Man's Sky: A Lesson to Be Learned
2016 has been a particularly rough year regarding overhyped games. Many titles with high expectations have failed to deliver, ending up being really mediocre or plain bad. These are, for example, Mighty No. 9, The Division, Mafia III and, most importantly, No Man's Sky.
No Man's Sky has been one of the biggest flops in the history of video games. It is an excellent example of how an exaggerated and poorly planned marketing campaign can sell games, but end up destroying them during the process.
However, there's a big difference between No Man's Sky and Final Fantasy XV: at least we know what the game is about and the minimum we can expect from it, thanks to all the information we have received during the past couple of years. The problem is that a good game is just not enough -- it is too late for that.
I love Final Fantasy and I understand the concept of hype, that is why I will be satisfied if the game is not a masterpiece, but just a really good time instead. However, I belong to a small minority. Most of the players, specially hardcore FF fans, are caught in the hype train, with promises of a fascinating world, a deep story and an engaging battle system. Square Enix has risked a lot with this game and, if it fails, it can be the end of the franchise as we know it.
Demos, demos everywhere
In order to avoid this awful future, Square Enix has released a couple of demos during the last years: Episode Duscae and Platinum Demo. The first one was ok-ish, but the second one didn't convince at all.
Spending time in releasing not one, but two demos, and even updating the first one several times, worries me considerably. And this is not the only thing Square Enix has been working on during the development of Final Fantasy XV -- like I stated before, there's an anime series and a CGI movie, which also had mixed reviews. Square Enix is trying too hard to make everyone love the game when it isn't even out.
And then there are all the details and signs that keep stacking up: during Paris Games Week, more gameplay was shown running on PlayStation 4, a month before its release. But the console shut down after experiencing some serious fps drops. So you have to wonder...will the original PlayStation 4 be able to run the game or are they focusing on PlayStation 4 Pro?
A harmful DLC strategy
Another big problem with Final Fantasy XV is the amount of DLC announced. There's so much downloadable content that even the Season Pass will not cover all of it.
In this DLC there are features that should be included in the main game, like a multiplayer mode. That's right: we will have to pay more to play online. This is just another example of the anti-consumer approach Square Enix is taking recently -- much like they did with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, where they included an insane amount of micro-transactions that ended up harming the game.
Then there are all the details in-game we might not like. Personally, I am still not sure about the progression of the game. Square Enix stated months ago that Final Fantasy XV will become more linear halfway through, but then clarified that it was only going to be the last part. With Final Fantasy XIII still fresh in my memory, I just don't want another linear experience from a Final Fantasy, and I think most of us can agree.
The expectations for this game have been set higher than ever before. But hype like this has proven time and time again to be harmful towards a title. For me, there are just too many clues indicating that it won't be a great game -- certainly not the game we've waited 10 years for.
But what do you think? Will Final Fantasy XV be able to accomplish their creators' ambition, or will it become another mediocre entry in the franchise? Let me know in the comments!