I understand that Final Fantasy XV changed directors during production. But so did Final Fantasy XII. However, Final Fantasy XII had pretty much the same tone and story. Final Fantasy Versus XIII had a massive tonal shift change to Final Fantasy XV and a parsed down story. In my view, this left a lot of the good stuff out. In case anyone wanted a chronicle of all Final Fantasy Versus XIII/XV progression, here you go.
As we can see, Final Fantasy Versus XIII seemed to be a trippy soap opera. So many references to dreaming and hallucinations. We could have seen a Final Fantasy that questioned the nature of existence and reality. It could have been the “thinking man’s” Final Fantasy game. And with a story directed by Nomura, we could expect very complex elements in this deliberately nonsensical trilogy. All could add to the overall confusion, which would have been perfect.
But then Tabata replaced Nomura. We know Tabata from his work with Crisis Core and Type-0. The ending to those games was powerful, emotional. Square Enix tasked Tabata with a Final Fantasy story to interpret AND cut down into a single game. Not an easy feat to accomplish. But given the time frame, I think he pulled it off fairly well.
However, when we look through the trailers, we see something building into a powerfully moving epic…in multiple directions. From a story about a father’s sacrifice, brotherhood, fighting against the empire, exploration of the world, a literally road trip, choices and consequences, etc.. Yet when taken together, the themes are all over the place and aren’t about any of them. Final Fantasy XV is truly a story about everything and nothing at all. Really. Final Fantasy XV has a road trip for example, but that’s not what the story is about. Luna is in the game and the wedding was the catalyst, but the wedding was not what the story was about either. Even the covers never gave us a good indication of what the game was about. What really was this all about?
The hype, epic music and our short attention spans impaired our understanding. We missed realizing that Final Fantasy XV was all over the place.
But we were given clues that Final Fantasy XV wasn’t focused. Kingdom Hearts gameplay was used to pique the interest of Kingdom Hearts fans, not inform the story. Developers made a movie and an anime series, with very little reference to them in game. But what did these have to do with anything in the end?
Then they released Final Fantasy XV. We can see that Final Fantasy XV was all good fun, but the story was incomplete. The whole thing felt “off”, mediocre (at times) and disappointingly underwhelming. The only consistent thing about the game was the road trip.
Now, look at where the series is heading. Why would anyone want to fight Square Enix’s president?(aside from those who are angry about the game). MogCarnival was fun, yet probably would have been better if it were there from the start. But since when was Power Rangers a thing in the game. Now they’re just piling on more stuff, rather than explaining what they have. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is all good stupid fun. But “Magick Exosuits” is the type of cheap stuff companies do to sell toy lines. Square Enix billed Final Fantasy XV as anything but cheap. Now, it’s becoming a parody of itself to garner interest to fans who expected more from story and gameplay.
But let’s think back. Final Fantasy never had to do so much to sell. We know Final Fantasy for its story, graphical and gameplay quality. But if we point this out, do we still have “the disease”? What’s next for Final Fantasy XV’s DLCs?