Thanks to /u/novaleven for the inspiration!
Back when I was a Moderator for the Final Fantasy Subreddit, I asked this question:
For fans who’ve seen the evolution from before and after Final Fantasy VII, what is your perspective on the evolution? What do you think about shift from the Nintendo to Playstation? What do you think of the shift from Amano to Nomura? What do you think of the Final Fantasy games after Sakaguchi stepped down from director (and limited his writing for the series)?
What do you think about Final Fantasy VII’s influence on the gaming world and the series as a whole? What do you think about the shift in tone and where the franchise is heading? And most importantly, what is your perspective on Final Fantasy’s evolution?
A lot of people had well-written and thought-provoking responses. Tanuji in particular had a very interesting comment that caught my attention:
A lot of people say that “FF is always about evolving, constantly changing” etc.. But, to be honest, I feel like it has not been doing that at all for the past decade. On the contrary, I feel like they just chose a direction and gradually degraded more and more into that throughout the games, I feel like know pretty much in what direction they will go, graphics wise, design wise, setting wise, and music wise, because they’re just extending what they’ve followed as a guideline since Final Fantasy VII, and because a lot of members are now recurrent throughout the games like Nomura, who have each one of them a huge oversight on the overall design decisions pretty much every time. Honestly, who didn’t expect for FFVII: Remake to be even more realistic and even more action-oriented? Even nowadays, with FFXV’s release, the most common opinion isn’t “Oh I hope they will completely change the next time around”, it is “Oh I hope that they will keep XV’s core and build upon that”.
To which I replied:
Now that’s an interesting take. Most series do have guidelines to maintain a particular style, but Final Fantasy seems to have tropes. Character tropes are apparent. Nobuo Uematsu’s grand pieces had certain tropes to introduce certain characters, same types of dungeons, same enemies, etc. But then again, sometimes they break from Nomura’s vision (i.e. Final Fantasy IX and XII come to mind).
It seems like the only things they end up changing happen to be the style of dungeons, the gameplay, and the graphics. And who knows what Final Fantasy XVI will be like?
And who knows, if Final Fantasy XVI will be different.