So I was walking around in my local Gamestop, minding my own business…
When all of the sudden some guy with a mustache jumps out in front of me. With wide eyes and a low monotonous voice, he asked:
“Would you like to come with me?”
I said yes, because what could possibly go wrong?
He led me to a room with a mirror, a table, and a projection screen. I sat in a room with about eight other Final Fantasy fans.
“Alright well thanks for participating in our focus group, everyone. Today, we’re gonna show you some Final Fantasy XVI gameplay” said the guy with the mustache.
Yay! Cool! We all cheered.
“So we want you to tell us what you think and be honest because no one from Square Enix is spying on you.”
Just then, the mirror sneezes. Something was amiss.
“Why is that mirror sneezing?”
“Uh, look it’s just an old creaky mirror, y’know…er, sometimes it sounds a little like its sneezing or coughing or talking softly.”
After giving his reflection the thumbs up, the research conductor hands one of us the controller. He gave us no more than five minutes to play the demo. He gave us an electronic device. Then the researcher explained how we would each make our vote.
“Now, you each have a nob in front of you. When you like what you see, turn the nob to the right. When you don’t like what you see, turn it left.”
Someone put the nob in their mouth.
“My nob tastes funny.”
“Please refrain from tasting the nob.”
He turned on the game and the TV. The Square Enix logo pops up and we start on the open world with none other than Agni, fighting Bombs. So far we like what we saw. Some guy really liked the very buff “monk” character.
After we all got a chance to play the game, he turned off the TV and started asking us questions.
“OK, so how many of you would want Final Fantasy XVI to deal with reallife problems like the ones you face everyday? ”
I do, I do is what we said.
“And, who would like to see them do just the opposite, getting into far-out situations like robots and magic powers?
Me, me, right here is what we said.
“OK, so how many of you want to explore on your own with little direction from the game?”
Omg, yes! we all vibrated.
“So then, how many of you want to be told where to go, what to do and how to do it at all times?”
That sounds perfect, we all gleamed.
“Okaaay. Who wants another medieval fantasy?”
Ito, Ito, we shouted.
“And which one of you want science fantasy?”
Kitase, Kitase, we exclaimed.
“Huh. Do you want Real-Time or ATB?”
Yeah, we yelled. One of us squirmed with joy, thrashing their legs about.
“Do you want a main protagonists like Zidane or Lightning?”
Yes, we all screamed. One member of the focus group shook violently in ecstatic joy.
“…do you want something completely new or based on nostalgia?”
YAY, we cheered spastically. I have no shame in admitting I foamed out of my mouth in an epileptic fit of pure orgasmic bliss. I never knew my eyes could roll so far back into my head.
“So, you want a realistic, down to Earth Final Fantasy, that’s completely off the wall and swarming with magic robots? One that’ll be science fantasy but medieval, with a main character who’s like Zidane AND Lightning? It won’t tell you where to go and what to do, except for when it does, it’ll be linear and open world with real-time and ATB action? And it’ll be completely new but based on nostalgia?” asked the researcher.
Yeah all that sounds good, we reasoned with ourselves.
“And also, you should win product placement when you pay for the DLC” blurted out someone among us.
The research conductor sighed in resignation.
Baka na koto o iu na!!
Suddenly, we heard a click coming from the direction of the mirror. When we turned our attention to it. We saw a businessman in a slightly ill-fitting suit, screaming at us.
“What do you want? What do you want?!! Say what you want to make Fainaru Fantaji better!!!”
Click, and the mirror reverted to its reflection. One of us cried and turned their nob to the left. I wanted to help, so I wiped my mouth, walked right up to the mirror and stated:
“Um, excuse me sir. The thing is, there’s not anything wrong with Final Fantasy – it’s as good as ever. But after so many years, the game just can’t have the same impact it once had.”
The mirror clicks on. On the other side is The Businessman, wide-eyed, who exclaimed:
“EEEEEEEEEEEEH? Oh mai gah… Yas. Yas! YAS!!! You did it! You did it, Gah-ri! You saved Fainaru Fantaji!!!”
Then I had to sign something that said I did not save Final Fantasy.
TL;DR: Final Fantasy XVI is a complete mess of ideas, again, thanks to us, again. AMA.