With Final Fantasy XV adopting more than a few Western-influenced approaches to its RPG, one has to wonder if Square Enix will look to another one of the most successful Western RPGs of today -- Bethesda's Fallout series and most recently Fallout 4.
While on the surface a Final Fantasy game usingFallout 4 mechanics may seem a bit farfetched, but I've compiled a list of features that could help Final Fantasy have more crossover appeal to both modern Japanese and Western audiences.
Base building in a Final Fantasy game may seem strange at first, but imagine if you were able to build and customize your very own massive airship/base (or car from scratch). I would love this as a feature in the series.
Being able to customize every aspect of the ship would be fantastic, from its guns to its rooms, and assigning minor NPC's to certain jobs would work quite well in this universe.
I would love the ability to customize weapons in Final Fantasy right from the appearance, to the abilities, and effectiveness of said weapons.
Adding in the ability to break down just about every material you find and craft it into something else would add a lot of longevity to weapon and item collecting, rather than just collecting 'metal scrap' to upgrade weapons.
I'd love to be able to recreate weapons of old like Squal's Gunblade from Final Fantasy VIII or modify other favorites like Cloud's Buster sword with the ability shoot rockets.
This is something I feel would fit nicely in a future Final Fantasy title, as there has always been a focus on relationships with your companions -- the general story usually being a small band of warriors facing the odds.
Adopting a similar approach to Fallout 4 and adding dialogue choices could add more depth to character relationships based on the decisions you make and their interactions with you the player. This could help add a more organic feel to Final Fantasy's characters, plus add more replay value by exploring other choices and consequences a second time around.
Character customization is quite deep in Fallout 4 and the ability to change your avatar's finer details of his/her appearance to your liking can help you connect and enjoy playing as that character more.
While I wouldn't expect Square Enix to allow as much depth as Bethesda (Square has a very specific and recognizable art style and I'm not sure how flexible that style is to customization), the ability to change certain things would be definitely be appreciated.
Not everyone appreciates the pretty J-Pop boyband look of Final Fantasy XV, so to be able to change a few simple things like hairstyles, facial hair or the ability to add muscle or weight to the character may help go a long way.
Final Fantasy XV offered a far more open world than previously seen in the series, so I wouldn't be surprised if they take this approach again. In the past we've had world maps that did their best to replicate an open world with the technology limitations of the time, but still these maps did fell open and offered up a lot of secrets, and hidden parts of the world. I always got a special feeling whenever I saw a new town in the distance to explore.
Fallout 4 displays how far today's advancements of open world games have come, and done right and it would be the perfect evolution of the old world map system seen in previous games.
An open world like Fallout 4 in terms of interaction could potentially provide so much more immersion -- the ability to go anywhere, explore every building, and have almost nothing that is just for decoration purposes. This combined with the beautiful art style of Final Fantasy should definitely make for an incredible experience.
Now that Bethesda has opened up mod support on consoles for both Fallout 4 and Skyrim, I can't help but wonder what the possibilities of such support would be in a Final Fantasy game.
The main issue that would hold this back is the history Square Enix has in delaying PC releases years after the original console release. Perhaps introducing mod support would encourage Square Enix to release the games within closer proximity.
Fans could create their own crossover adventures and bring favorite characters/maps/missions back from past games, or add in completely new ones. The possibilities are endless and would definitely help breathe new life into the game long after release -- helping to keep fans occupied until the next main series title comes along.
With Square Enix's willingness to take inspiration from Western influences, it's definitely plausible they could use a similar approach as the Fallout franchise to great success.
The level of interactivity in Fallout and its massive open world could fit well in the Final Fantasy universe. I especially would like to see how the companion system in Fallout would work in the game, and what the community would do with modding opportunities.
As long as the developers are careful not to pander too much to a Western audience, and keep the fundamentals of what makes a Final Fantasy game, there is no reason not to try and appeal to both audiences to continue the series global success.
Whatever they decide to do, I'm confident it will be another experience worth playing.