First, a little music to go with my thoughts.
This week, I’ve played a lot of open-world games.
I have been playing The Witcher 3 : Wild Hunt.
I’ve been playing Dragon Age: Inquisition.
I REALLY like Sera.
And after over 60 + hours of testing, loading, learning and fixing, I finally got Skyrim packed with mods and next gen graphics to work. We’ll uhm *Ahem* just leave that one out. Ah~ It’s so awesome it will **** your mind!!!!
Yeah, I totally don’t have any mods making the women in Skyrim look like super hot amazons at all. >.>
All of these Open World flower box, sandbox and big boxes and I have realized something.
I’m craving some Final Fantasy.
I’m craving a JRPG that has characters that were clearly designed by a Japanese inspired hand. I’m craving a JRPG that will pause the world when I fight. I’m craving those big number that appear when I find weapons that are ridiculous and beat my enemies to death with it.
But then I look at things like Skyrim and The Witcher 3 and Dragon Age, and I realize just how sad I am for Square.
Before I continue, no I am not a nostalgia fiend. My first Final Fantasy was FFXI, an open world MMO.
My first real turn based FF game was 7 and I didn’t play that until College. It was great, and ever since I’ve grown fond of the Final Fantasy franchise. Still, I’ve come to look at how these companies have created and innovated their product and I can’t help but be disappointed in Square.
I look at Bioware and notice how they have crafted something similar and yet different to both an open world and a turn based RPG. It’s kind of like an action oriented game of Dungeons and Dragons. I look at how they implement it into Mass Effect and Dragon Age, and The Knight’s of the Old Republic I & II (Haven’t played them yet.)
I look at The Elder Scrolls which started out with something resembling Doom and Gauntlet and then changed over time. But the common factor is a first person custom character who is exposed to this country in Elder Scrolls continuity. As the game got bigger, so did its narrative and it’s strengths. But, they stuck to the roots of Elder Scrolls while appealing to the fans old and new alike.
Oh my god, how did this get herE?!
THIS IS NOT MY MOD I SWEAR
(Seriously, this isn’t the kind of body replacer I’d use.)
I look at Tales of and how they have something that resembles both open world and a turn based RPG. But, they remove the turns and just let you duke it out with your enemies using a selection of your spells and skills on an open plane of action. Also keeping timeless characters in their narratives.
I look at Atlus and praise its use of relevant social issues to keep its narrative going and its characters lovable. Seriously, Persona 3 is still my top turn based RPG.
I look at Final Fantasy and Square and am both proud of it and disappointed in it. Square got to know turn based RPGs, It got to know what made them interesting, and what made people love them. It’s no secret that Final Fantasy X was one of the best entries Square had and it was so unique and yet so similar to previous entries. With a dogmatic approach to social injustice: racism and xenophobia, the cycle of societies foolish system and what is lost with extremism and the effects our actions may have on our children?(Looking at you, Jecht.) Final Fantasy X was great. It approached these issues and did not show you too much. It wanted you to ask questions, and kept its lore on the d/l. Even with the conclusion, you are still left with questions.
But I can’t appreciate where Square is going with its newer entries.
Square created Kingdom Hearts to put action in an RPG made by square. It worked, and it was great for childhoods across the board, present-spirit company included
But Kingdom Hearts made Square get reckless. They saw how well received these MMOs, open world, action games and RPGs made by bioware with politics and intrigue were. They saw how much their target audience loved it when they tried a new product out.
So, FFXI was made, then FFXII was made, then FFXIII and XIV and now XV is approaching.
XI was obviously an appeal to grab the WoW franchise livers. (No, I do not mean lovers, they live there.) XII felt like an appeal to gather fans of Bioware. XIII ......Let’s skip that one. I love Lightning, but I can in no way justify her. XIV was fresh meat their already crowded MMO fanbase who were craving and seething for their precious.
XV....I look at it and I see what they are doing. With the success of Skyrim, Minecraft, Fallout 3 and NV, and other open world esque games that demand patience for true stimulation, it would be silly to not hop onto the open world bandwagon. Especially after their latest single player mainstream entry was a mess. I love lightning returns, but it tried too hard to be Dark Souls and Skyrim at the same time. It was hard, it was tough but fair. But the fairness did not show. I did not feel rewarded for losing all of that time. I appreciate how power ups are given only upon completion of questing, but I don’t care for its system being all over the place. It was unfocused in almost every aspect of its creation. Narrative was sloppy crap, the game required you to explore but limited your exploration with either hard as balls enemies or a ticking time limit. It also lacked graphical fidelity, but then again...I DID play it on the Ps3.
I see how much work and effort is going into XV and I’m excited, but now I’m fearful. Because as it stands, the only product Square truly has on its own is Kingdom Hearts.
They had innovated the turn based genre and still sold millions with it, but they decided to abandon innovating their product for the sake of appeal and gathering more fans.
Smart move, but where is the love? Where are the men, xie, women cim, toiling away in the room to craft this masterpiece? Probably still in there, but likely just a derivative of somebody else’s work in an effort to make money.
I don’t know much about business, but I do know about reception. You can make a stupid amount of money, you can make good money and have respect, or you can fail.
Square has my love, but I question the respect I have for it.