How Final Fantasy XV can either make or break the franchise
When the PlayStation 3 released back in 2006 with a whopping $600 price tag, a lot of people were spurned from purchasing it at launch -- myself included. I was in high school then, and that price was just too much for a student to pay for. However, when Final Fantasy XIII was announced, I knew I just had to get one.
I was and still am a big fan of the series from the original PlayStation. I played Final Fantasy IX, VIII, X, X-2 and XII. Naturally, hearing that three whole new entries were under production made me want to get the PlayStation 3. Bad.
Of course things don't always go the way you want them to. Final Fantasy XIII was an alright game -- a bit short and not up to my expectations, but that was okay. It wasn't the one that I was most looking forward to -- that was Final Fantasy versus XIII.
What really hit hard was XIII-2 (and eventually Lightning Returns) being released, while we heard no word nor mention of Versus XIII. I was worried that the game had been dumped into the "never-gonna-see-the-light-of-day" bin. It was heartbreaking. Type 0 had been left unreleased outside of Japan and then Versus seemed to have been scrapped.
In 2013 it was confirmed that they've re-labelled the game as Final Fantasy XV and that it was still being developed. I liked that Square Enix was willing to take so long with the game's production, hopefully to ensure the quality of the game and with Tetsuya Nomura (big Kingdom Hearts fan here) apparently being included in its production made my expectations for this game just go up the roof. It just felt like a powerhouse game with all of the big names attached to it.
When the trailer came out and the battle system was shown, I was a little nervous. I didn't hate the hack-n-slash/RPG hybrid thing that they were going for -- it reminded me a lot of Kingdom Hearts. But this was Final Fantasy. I thought that Enix would be aware of what the Final Fantasy fanbase wanted from them, and it is not a hybrid battle system. I was nervous -- not simply because of how people will hate on it, but the impact that negativity will have on the series. A big flop equates to a higher chance that they may never produce another Final Fantasy game again. And that isn't something that I want.
With a game that's been in development for this long, and considering all the ups and downs of its production, it's quickly becoming clear that this is a high-risk game for Square Enix. A lot of time and assets have been spent on this game -- so much that it can't afford to flunk. Not only will Enix lose a lot of money, but fans may and will turn their backs on the franchise that forgot its roots and started focusing too much on the graphic details of the games.
At least there's always the Final Fantasy VII remake to turn on when Final Fantasy XV fails, which I hope it won't.