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An article I found called "A Planet w/o SE"Follow

#1 May 19 2011 at 6:57 PM Rating: Decent
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http://kotaku.com/5803573/a-planet-without-square+enix

Very interesting and thought I would share with everyone. I don't think SE is going to bite the dust anytime soon...however, if they keep going and making craptastic games...well...lets hope that won't happen.



A Planet Without Square-Enix
Tim Rogers—It has come to my attention that we might, within a few short years, find ourselves living on a planet devoid of Square-Enix.

Square-Enix, for those who don't know, is a suit-wearing organization whose members enjoy excellent health benefits in addition to an opportunity to get paid to do things that, as God as their witness, they'd be doing anyway.

Square-Enix is, at the end of the day, a large, shiny office building full of young people with coffee-stained teeth drawing endless pictures of Mickey Mouse and / or wasteland-wandering rhinoceros-sized flame-crackling hovering ghost motorcycles. If I'm not mistaken—and I'm probably not—the average employee of this organization's lunch consists of fried onion ring snacks, and their blood vinegar content is in excess of .02—whatever that means!—what with how much cheap ramen they eat for dinner. Lording over these youngsters are a dozen black-cloaked men—known as "The Thirteen"—whose hoods hide sun-leathered faces (they own yachts) and coal-tar-stained teeth (they eat tar). A few years ago, The Thirteen lost touch with The Five Billion Nine Hundred And Ninety Nine Thousand Nine Hundred and Eighty-Seven, and it seems that now, conveniently, in the wake of a major natural disaster, they're willing to admit that they are in Serious Financial Trouble.

I will tell you what—it's no secret that seven out of ten game pitch documents here in The West are plastered with concept art pulled shamelessly from Deviantart.com, with asterisked captions under every tenth or eleventh image: "This art is copyright Some Talented Individual From The Internet—she or he is not our employee, though this is definitely the sort of thing we would want an artist to do; in fact, we might hire this person." I don't see anything wrong with this method. Well, in Japan, they do: You can't photograph your friend hugging a plastic statue of Colonel Sanders without a representative of Kentucky Fried Chicken theatrically weeping and groping his face at you. It's confusing and weird.

So what I'm driving at is this: they say Japan is on the skids—re: games, anyway—and they say that The West is on the smooths. I tell you what—the smooths are pretty smooth, up in here. And I tell you what again—in Japan, they wouldn't use some kid's art in their pitch document. They'd have to offer the kid a lifetime contract first. So, in this manner, I present you with a hypothesis that Square-Enix has accumulated—through numerous expansions, attempted expansions, and maybe-superfluous conglomerations, so many artists that a nuclear physicist wouldn't feel wrong assuming that they were probably—and definitely—the most important members of the company.

"They" say one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. I say one bad apple usually means you have ten or eleven more. Square-Enix probably has over a hundred bad apples. I realize it sounds like I'm being snippy and mean. I am not: I am being myself: what I'm saying is that they probably have a whole lot of dumb people working, and making decisions, at Square-Enix.

Nearly two months after one of the five largest earthquakes in recorded history, Square-Enix has one of those public meetings where they talk about money like money were a dead monarch. Every word falling out of the mouths of gray-faced businesscodgers has an ethereal implied apology attached. The point of truth is that, between a little while ago and right now, 600 million yen has turned into a ghost. I'll paraphrase the punchline—as if apologies had punchlines: "We lost 600 million yen, because it's tough times, these times, what with that big earthquake and all." 600 million yen is what Square-Enix would pay me to work for them flex-time five days a week for one hundred gosh darn years.

So is it the earthquake's fault that Square-Enix is crumbling? Or is it that they are merely a shadow of their former spastic, gorgeous glory, now less of a knight in shining armor on a white horse than a headless centaur whose hind legs are a little motorcycle wheel? I'd say the earthquake—real and scary and tremendously horrible as it is—is a mere melting rubber puppet of a convenient excuse. The truth is that Square-Enix is deflating because of all the sucking.

(You want to know which Japanese company could blame the earthquake for their financial collapse? That'd be Irem, who decided that they shouldn't release their years-in-development post-earthquake-survival adventure game Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 4 immediately after the earthquake — when it was planned to drop — or ever, as the issue would likely never stop being a serious, sensitive subject. Irem, for the record, has no other large-scale projects in the pipeline, and likely not enough money to start another one, wonderful and talented as they are.)

The truth is that Square-Enix is deflating because of all the sucking.

Here's what I know for sure about Square-Enix. I know that I loved the Final Fantasy games, as a child. Final Fantasy I, IV, VI, VII, and VIII were integral elements of the experience of my growing up and realizing that mainstream entertainment was the gnarled plaything of rubes. Okay—enough snippiness. Here's what I know about Square-Enix: I know that, by 1986, the company then known as Squaresoft had tried and failed many times to make a game that was as profitable as gasoline or air-conditioning; their investors' faces had transformed into psychedelic angry clown masks. Feeling heat and pressure (also symptoms of a heart attack), Hironobu Sakaguchi fired his soul into the hole of a top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art computer. The game was nicknamed "Final Fantasy", because it was fantastic in theme and would likely be the last thing he ever made, if it didn't succeed.

It succeeded. It was such a runaway success they had to call animal control—figuratively. The moneymen clapped Sakaguchi's shoulder hard enough to gift him with chronic back pain well into his own seventies. So it was that Hironobu The Mustache earned a saintly status as a creative juggernaut, one that remains largely unchallenged to this day, when his name appears on the back and front of a game box. For a few years, even, back then, Squaresoft let Sakaguchi flex that creative muscle, dipping the Final Fantasy series like a penny on a string into a growing-deeper wishing well of weird concepts and bigger budgets.

I have met Sakaguchi and conversed with him, and found him to be a supremely, fantastically, wonderfully intelligent human being. I suppose that's why Squaresoft decided, sometime after he directed the failed motion picture "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within", that this risk-taking creative juggernaut was, frankly, dangerous to a company as large as Squaresoft had become.

So rather than bite the hand that feeds, they took on a housefly with a shotgun, and swallowed the entire arm of the hand that feeds, all the way up to the shoulder: they gave him a Little Job in Hawaii until, one day, he quit to form his own company, taking half of the development team of Final Fantasy XII with him.

Before that, though, there was Final Fantasy XI. It was announced as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, much to the aghastment of the human-interaction-avoiding series fans whose favorite games had taught them that people were either ghosts, demons, or alien cockroach vampires. Final Fantasy XI, from the announcement of its concept, format, and genre, was a crushing disappointment to the company's core fans.

Today, I woke up, slipped off my silk comforter, and, cracking my sore neck—beds of money are not actually very comfortable—checked my email on my white 32GB Verizon iPhone 4. There it was—no matter how hard you grit your teeth when you click "Unsubscribe", all you're going to get from The Square-Enix Email Newsletter is a cordial reply confessing that it'll take at least three months to process your request. Right there, at the top of the newsletter, is that same bland, tired marketing copy every Japanese company uses to announce everything: "Debut! [Game title]! On sale soon!" In this case, "[Game title]" is "Final Fantasy XI Vana Diel Collection 3". What the heck is that? First of all, it's a Roman eleven and a Hindu-Arabic three. Second of all, it's a collection of a bunch of Final Fantasy XI expansions for 3,980 yen. Unearthing the secret identity of this product took about as much work as it had been to discover cuneiform. I had to actually Google it, because on the newsletter, under "product description", it says "This product costs 3,980 yen. It costs 1,134 yen per month to play online, and 105 yen for each additional contents ID created by the user." The golden age of marketing copy this sure ain't!

What I'm driving at is this: the fans lined up to diss Final Fantasy XI the microsecond it was announced. Now it's one of the company's flagship products. Square-Enix sends me failing cult-indoctrination mails about it thrice weekly, and pillows full of dollar bills are uncomfortable. Again: what was once presumptively despised now has devoted fans, and this has not been all that much of a lesson to Square-Enix.

Somewhere along the line — somewhere between telling Sakaguchi to GTFO and then FOADIAF and that enormous, devastating earthquake, Square-Enix (formerly Squaresoft) lost touch with its audience. This could be because, from the start, they had, in fact, never really wanted to touch their audience. (I sure wouldn't.) Between the losing of touch and the losing of money were numerous red flags so red and so flaggy it would take a slobbering anti-genius to not see a single one of them. To wit:

Final Fantasy XIII sucked: Whenever the subject of "lol Japan" comes up during a board meeting at Action Button Entertainment headquarters here in the technology hotbed of Silicon Valley, one of the first sentiments someone throws around is "Japan still doesn't know how to make a next-gen game". Then someone says, "Man, whatev, [such and such game] is next-gen." Then someone else says, "No it's not you jerk", then the other guy says "Yes it is". Then everyone looks at me, and I sigh, and then say, "No, it's not—and here's why." Then I say a whole bunch of stuff with so much eloquence that, if you heard me speak that way, you'd realize that I'm not just some kook writing weird stuff on the internet. I will refrain by choice from such eloquence in this particular venue, and instead posit that Final Fantasy XIII is not next-gen because it's a horrible mess. And I'm not just talking about the story, game mechanics, level design, voice acting, music, learning curve, tutorial length, battle system, and game flow—though yes, dears, those were a mess, too. I'm talking about the way they made the darn thing.

One of the game's producers, in an official statement tantamount to a ****-nugget, let slip that the artists working on Final Fantasy XIII had made so many levels that they could have made an entire extra game out of them. This was an enormous red flag for me. This is the kind of thing that I, as a marketing consultant, made it a point to never encourage representatives of large Japanese corporations to say. This points a big bouncing gloved hand-cursor at a massive crack in the type of workflow Square-Enix finds befitting their flagship series—namely, that they have artists endlessly dreaming up and making a whole bunch of stuff that ends up not, in fact, being contextually related to anything in the final product. This is the way, say, a single artist would write a comic book in his garage, not the way five hundred people should make a fifty-million-dollar game in a platinum-sided office-castle.

Five years ago, we had Final Fantasy XII, a big, clumpy, jumbled mass of spectacular, genre-advancing ideas, presented about as effectively as a basketball-sized yarn-knot, dropped in the lap of gamerkind, a pistol pointed at their collective head, and the command, "Fix it". I loved the game because I am a kook who writes weird stuff on the internet, though fans freaked out. It was an "offline MMO", they cried, still sore about Final Fantasy XI, and a cause of mass motion sickness. The first complaints of motion sickness hit Amazon.co.jp reader reviews mere minutes after the game's release: the 3D camera movement was, apparently, too fast for the 2D-weaned casual Final Fantasy fan.

The slightest hint of complaint was likely the straw that broke the camel's back within the internals of Square-Enix: The game had been a burden throughout its beleaguered development, with director Yasumi Matsuno citing creative differences probably about as frequently as he used the bathroom. Hironobu Sakaguchi, perhaps inspired by the weird risk-taking happening all around him, left his desk one day and invited everyone else to join him in Hawaii, where he would be founding his own game company. I am sure it was not the prospect of getting a tan that caused many a pale, ramen-subsisting programming uber-genius to stand up and rip off his tie that day. Lots of screaming ensued. The big dogs called in resident renegade Akitoshi Kawazu to finish the game when Matsuno maybe had a nervous breakdown and disappeared. Eventually, the game was released, and people didn't love it.

So the vicious cycle swung back around. (If you haven't been keeping score, the vicious cycle is this: Square-Enix, high on success, takes a big risk → Square-Enix, in light of a backlash, becomes stone-cold afraid of their audience, panders to them, succeeds.)

This is an anecdote I like to recount, usually on occasions much less apt than a piece actually about Square-Enix: On the day Final Fantasy XII was released, Square-Enix held a launch event at the Tsutaya store at Hachiko Crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo. Fans were told that the first customer in line would be permitted to shake hands with Square-Enix Final Boss Yoichi "Imperial Hot" Wada. One dandruffy young man took that challenge, waiting all night in the pleasant weather. He shook hands with Wada, had his picture taken, listened to Wada's perfunctory thanks for his years of customer loyalty and fan servitude, and then, when offered a chance to weep in thanks, accepted the microphone and spoke in a quick super-whisper: "Please remake Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation 3 thank you goodbye". He gave the microphone back and walked off. (I was there.)

A man had a brand new video game in his hands, still shrink-wrapped and in a double-taped plastic bag, and he already didn't care about it anymore.

In case you're looking to me for an explanation of what happened, here it is: a man had a brand new video game in his hands, still shrink-wrapped and in a double-taped plastic bag, and he already didn't care about it anymore. He was already thinking about something else — about The Next Big Thing, which was more or less The Thing That Hooked Him All Those Years Ago, Only Shinier. This is the type of human being corporations like Square-Enix are manufacturing.

The truth is that people like things that they like. Kingdom Hearts is more successful than Final Fantasy, today, not just because it has Disney characters. Kingdom Hearts is more successful overall than Final Fantasy because Kingdom Hearts has Final Fantasy characters that Final Fantasy fans already recognize.

What the young man outside Tsutaya that day Final Fantasy XII launched was saying was that he liked things he already liked a lot more than he believed he could like anything brand new. I could be hyper-critical and over-the-top cynical about this. I'll refrain, and instead say that it's because the original Final Fantasy games were so good—and this fan-man had been so very young and impressionable at the time he played Final Fantasy VII—that they acquired an ethereal sheen of perfection in young minds.

If nostalgia were personified in a human body, that human would probably be a real jerk. "Nostalgia" has an undoubtedly negative connotation; it carries a heavy meaning that, somehow, the thing we feel a feeling for does not deserve the feeling we are feeling. Though you know what? I personally believe that without darn good reason, we once-children wouldn't fondly remember the things we fondly remember.

I think Final Fantasy did have something great about it, god darn it—it was the at-wall-stuff-flinging risk-breaking spiritual exuberance of Hironobu Sakaguchi and company. It was desperation akin to lunacy. It was the idea of a game that starts you in a wooden boat with propellers on top flying over the ocean and ends with you fighting a monster alien cockroach beneath the surface of the moon after flying there in your spaceship. It was ideas like cross-dressing your human-body-length-sword-carrying spiky-haired blonde effeminate male hero so he could seamlessly infiltrate a house of prostitution to rescue his high school sweetheart and partner in bioterrorism.

Somewhere along the line, we started trying to manufacture happy accidents. You can't do this. It doesn't work! You can't plan an accident — that's why they call it an accident. (Ask my mother.)

So Final Fantasy XII didn't set the world on fire. Final Fantasy XIII ended up actually dropping the temperature of the planet by a couple of degrees (they call it "climate change" instead of "global warming" for a reason), despite being more or less the closest thing Square-Enix could do to remaking Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation 3 without philosophically imploding themselves. Stepping back and looking at it, we can see that Final Fantasy XII was Square-Enix trying to reclaim the risk-taking attitude of old; Final Fantasy XIII was them giving up and trying to make something that, at the very least, looked "familiar". It was a Eurobeat cover album of Final Fantasy VII, flimsy and cheap and weird and "polished".

A brief aside: I have participated in numerous game design planning meetings at Japanese companies in which some old man literally throws up his hands and says, interrupting a game designer, "Look, the kids don't care as long as it looks cool. If they had any taste, they wouldn't be playing video games." I imagine many at Square-Enix had the same attitude about Final Fantasy XIII.

What happened in Final Fantasy XIII is that they had no idea what the game was about or who the characters were. In my review, I hypothesize that Tetsuya Nomura went on making characters, the other artists went about drawing concept art for environments and the 3D artists went about gleefully making objects until, at some point after they'd cut a demo out of the gelatinous marble of game-material they'd slammed together over a period of three years, a new producer stepped in and said, "Guys, let's turn this . . . thing into . . . something." Hence: half of the environments were unused. Hence: when the characters banter during levels, their banter never has anything to do with the scenery of the psychedelic racetracks down which they shamble: it's always "Hurry", "This way", "We have to keep going". Though hey! It sure looked great! And I still get hungry every time I think about Lightning's hair. (Cotton candy.)

A postmortem in Game Developer Magazine more or less proved my hypothesis.

So came the wake-up call: looks aren't everything and brand-names don't mean a thing if your Louis-Vuitton wallet is falling apart. Square-Enix hit the snooze. They released Final Fantasy XIV, which, as I understand, is a fifty-dollar demo of game being released sometime in 2013. One of their biggest fans, who just so happened to own an enormous amount of stock in the company, sold the stock, leaving behind a memo of "I invested in Square-Enix because I beheld the quality of their products as superior; I can no longer maintain this opinion." Nerd rage, to be sure, though I tell you what — nerd rage means a heck of a lot more when the raging nerd also has millions of your dollars.

Final Fantasy XIV, as I understand it, is a fifty-dollar demo of game being released sometime in 2013.

Square-Enix hit the snooze again. Their release calender is at present a landmine of retreads, remakes and reprises. They make weird financial decisions, like paying Bon Jovi untold reams of hundred-dollar bills to tout an earth-shatteringly inconsequential Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles game.

Meanwhile, over in my second home of Honolulu, there's Hironobu Sakaguchi, the tortoise to Square-Enix's hare, slowly and steadily making Neat Little Games like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, and The Last Story, all games I adore for unique little palm-sized reasons. The Fan Collective didn't like Blue Dragon; they liked Lost Odyssey a little more; The Last Story has been at the top of Japanese hardcore gamers' "Heck Yeah" list since its release. You might see Sakaguchi at Nintendo's next major Japanese press event, no doubt once again crashing into the gate of 1080p next-generation megalithic role-playing games, this time with the support of a company that is less making an effort to understand him and more making an effort to not bother understanding him and just let him be.

In short, if you put a gun to my head right now and told me to predict the future, I'd say that the fans will love Sakaguchi—and hard—once again. I wouldn't say Square-Enix is going to crash and burn—they yet have Heaps Of Money, and seeing as their success in the first place, decades ago, was an accident, I wouldn't put it past them to mess up and get rich again. All they need to do is relax and let what happens happen.

Not that I have any reason to believe they're going to do that. It seems that even their ability to let things happen is insulated by fear of rejection. Five years ago, when they announced Dragon Quest IX was going to be a multiplayer action game for the Nintendo DS, the fan collective screamed and hissed like a barrel of cobras. Square-Enix quickly stepped back and said, "o jk guys" and gutted the action elements out. Around the same time, Monster Hunter Portable made it so Capcom had more money than God, speaking in a deep slow whisper to the world's want, need, and demand for a portable multiplayer action game with the depth of Dragon Quest. That was an accident Square-Enix almost manufactured.

A friend of a friend asked my friend—and then my friend asked me—what game their studio should pitch to Square-Enix right now. I immediately said, "Dragon Quest Hunters". Explanation: "It's Monster Hunter with Dragon Quest characters, for the Sony NGP." The documents got written, the pitch got shipped off, Square-Enix told them to GTFO. This is one of those "Well, I can't help you" situations. (Hopefully, Square-Enix are making it themselves. (I'd play it.))

So we come back — sort of — to the earthquake. The earthquake was definitely a thing that happened. Is it, however, the cause of Square-Enix's financial distress, or even a significantly large part of it? I'd say that saying so is ridiculous. It's not like Japanese companies don't lie.

Heck, even the Japanese government lies — look at this very recent news piece in which the Tokyo Electric Power Corporation (TEPCO) admits that a nuclear reactor melted down sixteen hours after the earthquake.

Square-Enix, however, was melting down before the earthquake. Before the quake, they canceled their weirdo shooting game Gun Loco (they didn't announce the cancellation until a week after the quake). Remember that? Well, let me tell you something. When they say, in Japan, that a game has been "in development" for a year, they usually mean it's been being kicked around in pre-production for half a decade. In addition, they're working hard on some games for three years before they announce them, at which time they say they've been working on it for six months. These things get canceled all the time without you ever hearing about them. I know that Square-Enix had a slew of exciting projects in the works for several years, and that they suddenly canceled the lot of them around the end of 2010 for reasons of their not being Final Fantasy enough. Apparently, as previously hypothesized, they don't understand that happy accidents are an art, not an industry.

Train hours away from Square-Enix headquarters, we have Level-5, a company that represents, for better or for worse, everything Square-Enix is not. Where Square-Enix is a worldwide name, Level-5 is not. Where Square-Enix makes awful business decisions, Level-5 does not. Level-5 have always been about building their company as an "entertainment" factory, actually trying to become a Disney or a Pixar or a Ghibli, where Square-Enix only hoped to collaborate with them for Fast Bux. And look — though Studio Ghibli lord and master Hayao Miyazaki claims to loathe videogames, shunning offers from game-makers since 1998's Jade Cocoon, Ghibli is working closely with Level-5 on Ninokuni, a triple-A production for the PlayStation 3.

Heck, Level-5 are so good at crafting Square-Enix Quality that Square-Enix has used them to develop the Dragon Quest series since 2004. Dragon Quest creative mastermind Yuji Horii has called Level-5 boss Akihiro Hino a true visionary; it's likely that Level-5's one-off non-hit Rogue Galaxy was the result of a friendly challenge from Horii to Hino, to make a proof of concept of Dragon Quest VIII as a seamless, action-based adventure game. If you asked my opinion as Professional Game Designer and an oft-alleged "artist", I'd tell you that, success or no success, huge money or no huge money, Level-5 "Has Got It", and that they already are The New Square.

Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked; this is a deep corporate sigh, a chorus of black-cloaked old men intoning, "If we pretend that we like it, perhaps they will start pretending they do, as well".


This leaves Square-Enix, unfortunately, as "The Old Square". And there's nothing pitifuller than an Old Square. (Just ask my rectangle.) Will they fall apart and fade away? As I stated above, I refuse to put my foot down and say "yes". At Kotaku.com Deputy Editor Stephen Totilo's request, however, I will pretend to put my foot down:


[Editor's note: Warning... Tim's just riffing here. We don't believe he can actually see this far into the furure.]


Autumn 2011: Following a cyberterrorism incident roughly the size of the anonymous PlayStation Network Attack of Spring 2011, Square-Enix will take Final Fantasy XIV down forever, releasing an apology to the non-existent fans, who collectively reply with "lol whatev".

Winter 2011: The first Final Fantasy XIII pachinko machine is released. When you're Playing Really Well (or something) Lightning's hair changes color from pink to purple. This is touted on the fliers and advertisements as "bonus content heretofore unseen in the Final Fantasy XIII universe". Fans will fail to flock to the gambling halls, because that would mean probably accidentally touching people. Old men, however, will play the game, because they don't care what it is as long as it's pachinko. A few old women in bingo visors will complain that the battle system is too obtuse. A Final Fantasy fan will accidentally give chain-smoking and gambling a first attempt, and come away with enough motion sickness complaints to crash Amazon.co.jp.

Spring 2012: Square-Enix will release a remake of Dragon Quest VII for the Nintendo 3DS, by God, and I will buy it and grin like a three-year-old. It will sell a million copies on day one; Yoichi Wada will rub his hands together like a greedy thief while staring into a mirror at his own eyes. Yuji Horii will smoke an entire pack of cigarettes in one puff. Akira Toriyama will let his phone go unanswered as he snoozes in his bathtub.

Summer 2012: Square-Enix will release a remake of Final Fantasy VI for the Nintendo 3DS, in the style of their Final Fantasy III and IV remakes. It will sell less than their Final Fantasy V remake, though still enough to buy Wada enough blood diamonds to finish crunking the steering wheel in the Mercedes his wife bought for the dog.

Late summer 2012: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Exteen Quadriceptoceros for the Wii 2. They somehow trick Bob Dylan into appearing on the TV commercials. It sells fifty thousand copies to young mothers whose children are now old enough to play Pokemon and think Crystal Chronicles is lame.

Autumn 2012: Dragon Quest X for Wii 2 delayed to "holiday 2013", which actually means "holiday 2016".

Winter 2012: Square-Enix announces remake of the original Dragon Quest for the Wii 2, in the graphical style of Dragon Quest VIII, now in full HD. Jaws drop so hard that floors break worldwide. Toupees explode off the tops of heads with such velocity than half the world's buildings now lack roofs. It begins to rain.

Winter 2012: Final Fantasy VI. Virtual Console. Someone's dog throws up on a carpet due to something mostly unrelated (rabies).

Winter 2013: Final Fantasy VII released, with original graphics, for Sony NGP, "formatted for widescreen" in big bold letters on the box. Yes — they find a way to put it in a box.

Spring 2013: Hironobu Sakaguchi's Mistwalker releases a game for the Wii 2, backed by millions in Nintendo marketing. It's a genuine success.

Summer 2013: Level-5 releases a game for the Wii 2, backed by millions in Nintendo marketing. It's a genuine success.

Autumn 2013: Square-Enix releases Kingdom Hearts 3: The Third Number for Wii 2. The game is about Disney characters having their ********* stomped by snaggle-toothed dominatrices. The fans, unfortunately, have grown up — and not in that particular way. Daisy Duck files for a restraining order against Tetsuya Nomura.

Autumn 2013: Tokyo Game Show: Square-Enix, at last, announces the remake of Final Fantasy VII.

Winter 2013: Without an earthquake to blame, Square-Enix makes a trembling, frightened announcement of sorts.

Winter 2013: Tetsuya Nomura gets a job at Hot Topic.

Winter 2013: Just kidding! Hot Topic will be extinct by Winter 2013. Tetsuya Nomura will leave Square-Enix to start his own company. It'll be a game company. Being totally realistic: they'll make a whole bunch of half-decent, conceptually neat games. (In a perfect world, Nomura would instead start a fashion label. (And maybe design some clothes for himself, while he's at it. (Those T-shirts he wears are so 1995.)))

Spring 2013: Final Fantasy series producer Yoshinori Kitase, privately citing the urge to return to actual hands-on game creation as opposed to project management and production, will leave Square-Enix. He will then start a company with the word "holdings" somewhere in the name.

Spring 2013: Square-Enix founds The Final Fantasy Company, which exists to hold and protect the Final Fantasy Intellectual Property in an impenetrable crystal shell for all eternity, or until The World Is Ready — whichever comes first. (Neither will come at all.)

Summer 2013: Yuji Horii smokes an entire pack of cigarettes in one suck, gets out of the bathtub, calls the office, and says he's moving to ******** He goes to Level-5.

Summer 2013: Akira Toriyama wakes up. He is now 95% blind in both eyes. He fills an entire sketchbook with characters. (Two years later, the pope will see these characters and literally cry.) Yuji Horii, Akihiro Hino, and Level-5 make a massive-scale role-playing game that combines Akira Toriyama and Monster Hunter with the glory of Dragon Quest. It probably has "Dragon" in the title. "Dragon Kingdom"? "Dragonstan"?

Autumn 2014: It's been over a year since the last news of the Final Fantasy VII remake.

Summer 2015: Millions and millions of Nintendo marketing dollars later, Level-5 is the premiere name in role-playing game development. Square-Enix has transformed into a vehicle for Akitoshi Kawazu's SaGa series, which guys like me, now pushing forty, continue to play, scoffing at other games, pretending to like Square-Enix better now than ever before. In reality, the cold truth is that we don't like anything—and we never have. Ah, the world! Oh, the world!

tim rogers is a professional game designer who lived in japan for ten years and, no, doesn't anymore; he edits Action Button Dot Net, tweets at twitter.com/number108, and plays in a band you have no excuse for not seeing if you're in the san francisco bay area!


harvey james, author of the comics strip way higher up in this column, is a comic and graphic artist from the UK; you can get to know much about him here; whatever you do, don't follow him on twitter unless you want to become cool and rich.


(So sorry for the huge wall of text, however I am not fond of posting links then not posting what is in the link)
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"I've never watched a nuclear explosion myself. That's a couple of degrees of stupid above my limit"- Old Man Harris
#2 May 19 2011 at 7:10 PM Rating: Good
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Yeaaah... I think I speak for everyone when I say tl;dr
#3 May 19 2011 at 7:47 PM Rating: Excellent
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I read the whole thing. Entertaining writing style and I for the most part agree with what he says and share his frustrations with SE.
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Eithne Draocht
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#4 May 19 2011 at 7:49 PM Rating: Good
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I read the whole thing too... Pretty funny but true in alot of ways.
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#5 May 19 2011 at 8:27 PM Rating: Decent
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Transmigration wrote:
I read the whole thing. Entertaining writing style and I for the most part agree with what he says and share his frustrations with SE.


You quit XIV? I notice you don't have your siggie.
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"I've never watched a nuclear explosion myself. That's a couple of degrees of stupid above my limit"- Old Man Harris
#6 May 19 2011 at 11:48 PM Rating: Good
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2,232 posts
I read the whole thing. Very fun article. I can definitely get behind Level 5. Every game I've played that has their name on it has been GREAT!
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#7 May 20 2011 at 12:12 AM Rating: Default
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He just wrote a Mini-book about SE failing . Why would he do this unless he Hates SE or is trying to profit from this. **** this guy
#8 May 20 2011 at 12:33 AM Rating: Good
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tl;dr

So I skipped down to the last line of the article before the "timeline":

Quote:
Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked
Ah, he's one of those.

lol




Edited, May 20th 2011 1:34am by bsphil
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#9 May 20 2011 at 2:18 AM Rating: Excellent
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I thought that was a pretty fascinating read as, no matter how you take it, it pretty much rings the truth.

HIGHTONE wrote:
He just wrote a Mini-book about SE failing . Why would he do this unless he Hates SE or is trying to profit from this. @#%^ this guy


If you read it again then (to me) it sounds like he doesn't want SE to fail at all, he's as much a fanboy as the rest of us. It's just the reality of bad releases over the last 6/7/8 years have slowly been killing any enthusiasm for the brand.

I would love to know what someone inside SE would think of this article.


Edited, May 20th 2011 4:19am by SolomonGrundy
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#10 May 20 2011 at 5:13 AM Rating: Good
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bsphil wrote:
Quote:
Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked
Ah, he's one of those.

lol


I agree. He has good taste.
#11 May 20 2011 at 7:01 AM Rating: Excellent
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Somewhere along the line — somewhere between telling Sakaguchi to GTFO and then FOADIAF and that enormous, devastating earthquake, Square-Enix (formerly Squaresoft) lost touch with its audience. This could be because, from the start, they had, in fact, never really wanted to touch their audience. (I sure wouldn't.)


Gold. Pure gold.
#12 May 20 2011 at 9:28 AM Rating: Excellent
Edited by bsphil
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Viertel wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Quote:
Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked
Ah, he's one of those.

lol
I agree. He has good taste.
Whether you liked the game or not, it's silly to assume that nobody else could have.
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Almalieque wrote:
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#13 May 20 2011 at 3:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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LillithaFenimore wrote:
Transmigration wrote:
I read the whole thing. Entertaining writing style and I for the most part agree with what he says and share his frustrations with SE.


You quit XIV? I notice you don't have your siggie.


Yes, about 4 months ago. I have popped in a couple times to check out the changes but thus far it's still the same boring experience. While I'm not full of anticipation and hope as I once was, I'm still following the games progress in hopes that it will be turned into something magical the way FFXI was. For now I'm content playing the other mmo.
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#14 May 20 2011 at 5:03 PM Rating: Excellent
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Quote:
I, as a marketing consultant,


Ergo, having an opinion as relevant to anything as, for instance, a telephone handset sanitiser.
#15 May 20 2011 at 10:25 PM Rating: Good
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LillithaFenimore wrote:

He shook hands with Wada, had his picture taken, listened to Wada's perfunctory thanks for his years of customer loyalty and fan servitude, and then, when offered a chance to weep in thanks, accepted the microphone and spoke in a quick super-whisper: "Please remake Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation 3 thank you goodbye". He gave the microphone back and walked off. (I was there.)


A brief aside: I have participated in numerous game design planning meetings at Japanese companies in which some old man literally throws up his hands and says, interrupting a game designer, "Look, the kids don't care as long as it looks cool. If they had any taste, they wouldn't be playing video games." I imagine many at Square-Enix had the same attitude about Final Fantasy XIII.

Spring 2012: Square-Enix will release a remake of Dragon Quest VII for the Nintendo 3DS, by God, and I will buy it and grin like a three-year-old. It will sell a million copies on day one; Yoichi Wada will rub his hands together like a greedy thief while staring into a mirror at his own eyes. Yuji Horii will smoke an entire pack of cigarettes in one puff. Akira Toriyama will let his phone go unanswered as he snoozes in his bathtub.




These quotes literally made me lol
#16 May 21 2011 at 5:18 AM Rating: Decent
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Brilliantly, sadly on point... the whole **** thing.
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#17 May 21 2011 at 5:39 AM Rating: Decent
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Very Interesting read :)
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#18 May 21 2011 at 8:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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This article is actually quite similar to something I wrote back in idk 2005 for a contest for RPGamer. It was a lot shorter tho and more dramatical, but the sad point was, I predicted the decline in originality ( not just for SE, but JRPG's in general ) and I was right looking back now. Yeah, it was coming for a couple years before that, but still, im a little sad. I dont think the writer really wants SE to fail, he just witnesses it and has been for a while. I sincerely wish every jrpg developer gets his act together and starts releasing those weird games outside japan and I'm sure there's bound to be a couple that I'll really like.
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#19 May 21 2011 at 10:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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That was a great read: witty, relevant, and even informative at times. Who knew we'd be free of Hot Topic's tyranny in just a couple more years?
#20 May 21 2011 at 11:16 AM Rating: Good
Quote:
Today, I woke up, slipped off my silk comforter, and, cracking my sore neck—beds of money are not actually very comfortable—checked my email on my white 32GB Verizon iPhone 4.



Quote:
Then everyone looks at me, and I sigh, and then say, "No, it's not—and here's why." Then I say a whole bunch of stuff with so much eloquence that, if you heard me speak that way, you'd realize that I'm not just some kook writing weird stuff on the internet. I will refrain by choice from such eloquence in this particular venue



See, while he made a couple of decent points, things like this pretty much invalidate anything he says. Pretending you are rich and eloquent and that your opinion matters doesn't exactly qualify you in my book, it just makes you a pretentious numpty.

To put it plainly,

Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Edited, May 21st 2011 12:17pm by Luceo
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#21 May 21 2011 at 11:16 AM Rating: Decent
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bsphil wrote:
Viertel wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Quote:
Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked
Ah, he's one of those.

lol
I agree. He has good taste.
Whether you liked the game or not, it's silly to assume that nobody else could have.


Given the fact American and Europeans had roughly 4 months or so to avoid the game given the info out..yeah. One of the top selling FF games too. Huh go figure.

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#22 May 21 2011 at 12:05 PM Rating: Default
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Archfiend Luceo wrote:
Quote:
Today, I woke up, slipped off my silk comforter, and, cracking my sore neck—beds of money are not actually very comfortable—checked my email on my white 32GB Verizon iPhone 4.



Quote:
Then everyone looks at me, and I sigh, and then say, "No, it's not—and here's why." Then I say a whole bunch of stuff with so much eloquence that, if you heard me speak that way, you'd realize that I'm not just some kook writing weird stuff on the internet. I will refrain by choice from such eloquence in this particular venue



See, while he made a couple of decent points, things like this pretty much invalidate anything he says. Pretending you are rich and eloquent and that your opinion matters doesn't exactly qualify you in my book, it just makes you a pretentious numpty.

To put it plainly,

Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Edited, May 21st 2011 12:17pm by Luceo


Really? I viewed those lines as being part of the humor in the piece. I mean, I suppose if you're a joyless moron, you could interpret it as him being pretentious, but who here is that stupid?
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Don't play that game anymore. :P
#24 May 21 2011 at 12:50 PM Rating: Good
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Quanta wrote:
Archfiend Luceo wrote:
Quote:
Today, I woke up, slipped off my silk comforter, and, cracking my sore neck—beds of money are not actually very comfortable—checked my email on my white 32GB Verizon iPhone 4.



Quote:
Then everyone looks at me, and I sigh, and then say, "No, it's not—and here's why." Then I say a whole bunch of stuff with so much eloquence that, if you heard me speak that way, you'd realize that I'm not just some kook writing weird stuff on the internet. I will refrain by choice from such eloquence in this particular venue



See, while he made a couple of decent points, things like this pretty much invalidate anything he says. Pretending you are rich and eloquent and that your opinion matters doesn't exactly qualify you in my book, it just makes you a pretentious numpty.

To put it plainly,

Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Edited, May 21st 2011 12:17pm by Luceo


Really? I viewed those lines as being part of the humor in the piece. I mean, I suppose if you're a joyless moron, you could interpret it as him being pretentious, but who here is that stupid?

this is how i always see it
he may have money and a ******* job, but is he attractive? i doubt it...
but yeah i think he was just being sarcastic, the whole "/sigh no its not and heres why..." sounds legit to me, i say that when i know for a fact what im talking about too!

Edited, May 21st 2011 2:53pm by pixelpop
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#25 May 21 2011 at 12:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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My god, what a rambling mess of an article. His tangents go on tangents, all within a single paragraph.

Not that he doesn't have some good points to make, but they've been made a thousand times before.
#26 May 21 2011 at 10:17 PM Rating: Good
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Mistress Theonehio wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Viertel wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Quote:
Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked
Ah, he's one of those.

lol
I agree. He has good taste.
Whether you liked the game or not, it's silly to assume that nobody else could have.


Given the fact American and Europeans had roughly 4 months or so to avoid the game given the info out..yeah. One of the top selling FF games too. Huh go figure.



A large number of us made the mistake of having faith in S-E and forcing ourselves to believe "It can't possibly be as bad as it sounds.".

Then a lesser number of us made the same mistake and gave FFXIV the same benefit of the doubt.

Fool me once (FFXIII), shame on you. Fool me twice (FFXIV), shame on me.

The same mistake won't be made again.

Edited, May 22nd 2011 12:18am by Zorvan
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#27 May 21 2011 at 10:49 PM Rating: Good
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Mistress Theonehio wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Viertel wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Quote:
Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked
Ah, he's one of those.

lol
I agree. He has good taste.
Whether you liked the game or not, it's silly to assume that nobody else could have.


Given the fact American and Europeans had roughly 4 months or so to avoid the game given the info out..yeah. One of the top selling FF games too. Huh go figure.


Are you suggesting that constant repetition of an opinion doesn't make it true in the face of well-documented facts that prove otherwise? No, no... that can't be true; I won't believe that!
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#28 May 22 2011 at 6:26 AM Rating: Default
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Since when was FF XIII one of the best selling FFs?
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#29 May 22 2011 at 8:49 AM Rating: Good
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Kayako wrote:
Since when was FF XIII one of the best selling FFs?


Exact sales figures are pretty hard to find, but FF13 basically sold the same number of units as most other FF games, all around the range of 5-6 mil copies. 7 and 8 were the only games to sell significantly more than that.

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#30 May 22 2011 at 9:01 AM Rating: Excellent
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Here's a rough idea on sales.

Not sure how current this is, but FFXIII sold roughly 6.3 million copies.

Only FFX and FFVII beat FFFXIII on sales.
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#31 May 22 2011 at 9:28 AM Rating: Decent
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bsphil wrote:
Viertel wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Quote:
Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked
Ah, he's one of those.

lol
I agree. He has good taste.
Whether you liked the game or not, it's silly to assume that nobody else could have.


Well then it's a good thing he didn't SAY that no one else could have liked it. He said that "roughly" no one liked it, and given the style of the rest of his article it's pretty clear he likes to exaggerate to make a point. I think it's pretty safe to say that FFXIII was not that well recieved... not based off sales figures, just off the amount of people I've known or read forum posts from who thought it was by far the worst in the series. And no, that doesn't necessarily mean that is the consensus opinion, but I don't think it's the minority either.

Mistress Theonehio wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Viertel wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Quote:
Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked
Ah, he's one of those.

lol
I agree. He has good taste.
Whether you liked the game or not, it's silly to assume that nobody else could have.


Given the fact American and Europeans had roughly 4 months or so to avoid the game given the info out..yeah. One of the top selling FF games too. Huh go figure.



Right, because sales numbers make a game better. Clearly WoW must be the greatest game ever created! =P


Edited, May 22nd 2011 11:30am by BartelX
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#32 May 22 2011 at 6:34 PM Rating: Decent
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Quanta wrote:
Archfiend Luceo wrote:
Quote:
Today, I woke up, slipped off my silk comforter, and, cracking my sore neck—beds of money are not actually very comfortable—checked my email on my white 32GB Verizon iPhone 4.



Quote:
Then everyone looks at me, and I sigh, and then say, "No, it's not—and here's why." Then I say a whole bunch of stuff with so much eloquence that, if you heard me speak that way, you'd realize that I'm not just some kook writing weird stuff on the internet. I will refrain by choice from such eloquence in this particular venue



See, while he made a couple of decent points, things like this pretty much invalidate anything he says. Pretending you are rich and eloquent and that your opinion matters doesn't exactly qualify you in my book, it just makes you a pretentious numpty.

To put it plainly,

Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Edited, May 21st 2011 12:17pm by Luceo


Really? I viewed those lines as being part of the humor in the piece. I mean, I suppose if you're a joyless moron, you could interpret it as him being pretentious, but who here is that stupid?


People here have no sense of humor.....
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#33 May 22 2011 at 7:25 PM Rating: Decent
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Zorvan wrote:
Mistress Theonehio wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Viertel wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Quote:
Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked
Ah, he's one of those.

lol
I agree. He has good taste.
Whether you liked the game or not, it's silly to assume that nobody else could have.


Given the fact American and Europeans had roughly 4 months or so to avoid the game given the info out..yeah. One of the top selling FF games too. Huh go figure.



A large number of us made the mistake of having faith in S-E and forcing ourselves to believe "It can't possibly be as bad as it sounds.".

Then a lesser number of us made the same mistake and gave FFXIV the same benefit of the doubt.

Fool me once (FFXIII), shame on you. Fool me twice (FFXIV), shame on me.

The same mistake won't be made again.

Edited, May 22nd 2011 12:18am by Zorvan



But in the scheme of things the "fool me once" would have been FFXI which I feel many of us enjoyed, so we were only fooled once with XIV... However, I continue to be fooled with every FF title I have bought since FFVII. I utterly enjoyed every title up until 7, but every game since then has left me with the utter feeling of "meh". I recently started playing FFVII on Playstation 3 and although the graphics and gameplay don't meet today's current standards and it isn't quite how I remembered it almost 15 years ago, the immersion still proves why Square/SE was once my favorite rpg developer.
#34 May 22 2011 at 11:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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The article is seriously one sided, although IMHO is not far from the truth but still.

The relevant thing here is where this prediction becomes reality or not:

"Autumn 2011: Following a cyberterrorism incident roughly the size of the anonymous PlayStation Network Attack of Spring 2011, Square-Enix will take Final Fantasy XIV down forever, releasing an apology to the non-existent fans, who collectively reply with "lol whatev". "

It can happen, it's all I'll say.

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#35 May 23 2011 at 12:08 PM Rating: Decent
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I rarely read this board anymore, and usually check once a month or so like others to see if any substantial changes have been made in this game. I got lucky today, because this article was great, and I whole heartedly sympathize with it.

The reason I loved this article was because he had the same qualms as I have had about SE. It's not about the final product in Square Enix games, it's how they went about making these final products. The development of FFXIV from E3 2009 to September 2010 was an absolute mess, and the complete opposite of how a game should be made.

This is supposed to be a massive multiplayer online role playing game. Why the **** are you giving us a grid of the world, telling us about the cities and making claims they simply cannot live up to. That one news article that simply stated "there are 3 main cities, a water city, a forest city and a desert city" is so much more than just an informational briefing. It showed that SE had an idea and they were going with it, completely oblivious to the continuously growing video game world. We read promises of "no levels" and set release dates for new implications, only for that day to come, and for Eorzea to remain the same.

The author is right, SE is either a timid coward trying to force feed the even more clueless public what they want, or they get pretentious and forget what actually matters about gaming.

Well done, sir.
#36 May 23 2011 at 1:14 PM Rating: Decent
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~~ wrote:
Mistress Theonehio wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Viertel wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Quote:
Meanwhile, what's Square-Enix doing? They are making Final Fantasy XIII-2, a sequel to a Final Fantasy game that roughly no one liked
Ah, he's one of those.

lol
I agree. He has good taste.
Whether you liked the game or not, it's silly to assume that nobody else could have.


Given the fact American and Europeans had roughly 4 months or so to avoid the game given the info out..yeah. One of the top selling FF games too. Huh go figure.


Right, because sales numbers make a game better. Clearly WoW must be the greatest game ever created! =P


I think you're confusing "liked" with "greatest." I see nobody claiming that sales equates to greatness or to quality; they just seem to be saying that, given the number of copies sold, it's likely that more people like FFXIII than, say, something that sold significantly fewer units. Keep in mind that there are also degrees of "like," from "it wasn't so bad..." to, "I quite enjoyed it!" without any degree claiming that FFXIII sits at the pinnacle of its genre.

I think that, taken by itself, though, FFXIII had generally better music, story, battle systems, and graphics than quite a few RPGs I've encountered in the past, RPGs that don't attract half as much of the internet rage - but that's just an aside.

Edited, May 23rd 2011 3:15pm by KaneKitty
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#37 May 23 2011 at 1:22 PM Rating: Excellent
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Sloannn wrote:
SE is... a timid coward trying to force feed the even more clueless public what they want


1) "Timid cowards" don't usually "force" anything.
2) Something cannot be "forced" when it would be giving the target "what they want."
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"Thus opium is pleasing... on account of the agreeable delirium it produces." (Burke para.6)

"I could only read so much for this paper and the syphilis poem had to go."
#38 May 23 2011 at 2:18 PM Rating: Good
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KaneKitty wrote:
I think you're confusing "liked" with "greatest." I see nobody claiming that sales equates to greatness or to quality; they just seem to be saying that, given the number of copies sold, it's likely that more people like FFXIII than, say, something that sold significantly fewer units. Keep in mind that there are also degrees of "like," from "it wasn't so bad..." to, "I quite enjoyed it!" without any degree claiming that FFXIII sits at the pinnacle of its genre.

I think that, taken by itself, though, FFXIII had generally better music, story, battle systems, and graphics than quite a few RPGs I've encountered in the past, RPGs that don't attract half as much of the internet rage - but that's just an aside.


Oh I agree. I've played some god awful rpg's that don't hold up to even FFXIII. My point was more just that sales figures do not equate to a better game, plain and simple. To me, Mistress seemed to be insinuating that people MUST like it based on the fact that we all had 4 months to read about it and sales numbers were still high. ****, I bought FFXIII AND FFXIV on reputation alone, and was sorely dissappointed by both (shame on me for being a bit of a fanboy I guess, lesson learned). Also, pretty much everyone else I know who bought FFXIII or XIV tended to have a similar opinion.

The WoW bit was more tongue-in-cheek than anything. (I actually liked WoW when I played it, just got bored after a while)

Edited, May 23rd 2011 4:18pm by BartelX
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#39 May 23 2011 at 2:18 PM Rating: Decent
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KaneKitty wrote:
Sloannn wrote:
SE is... a timid coward trying to force feed the even more clueless public what they want


1) "Timid cowards" don't usually "force" anything.
2) Something cannot be "forced" when it would be giving the target "what they want."


Did you read the article? Or are you just feeling the debate today? It's usually the latter on this site, oh might Sir Nitpicky. Fans wanted FFVII, so instead SE made this spectacular, colorful, lifeless world that is FFXIII to compensate. Forcing doesn't always literally meaning shoving into someones face. They don't understand a happy medium.

Square Enix is timid to try new ideas, to move forward in the gaming world, so instead they give a steaming pile of rainbow colored ****.
#40 May 23 2011 at 2:22 PM Rating: Decent
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BartelX wrote:
KaneKitty wrote:
I think you're confusing "liked" with "greatest." I see nobody claiming that sales equates to greatness or to quality; they just seem to be saying that, given the number of copies sold, it's likely that more people like FFXIII than, say, something that sold significantly fewer units. Keep in mind that there are also degrees of "like," from "it wasn't so bad..." to, "I quite enjoyed it!" without any degree claiming that FFXIII sits at the pinnacle of its genre.

I think that, taken by itself, though, FFXIII had generally better music, story, battle systems, and graphics than quite a few RPGs I've encountered in the past, RPGs that don't attract half as much of the internet rage - but that's just an aside.


Oh I agree. I've played some god awful rpg's that don't hold up to even FFXIII. My point was more just that sales figures do not equate to a better game, plain and simple. To me, Mistress seemed to be insinuating that people MUST like it based on the fact that we all had 4 months to read about it and sales numbers were still high. ****, I bought FFXIII AND FFXIV on reputation alone, and was sorely dissappointed by both (shame on me for being a bit of a fanboy I guess, lesson learned). Also, pretty much everyone else I know who bought FFXIII or XIV tended to have a similar opinion.

The WoW bit was more tongue-in-cheek than anything. (I actually liked WoW when I played it, just got bored after a while)

Edited, May 23rd 2011 4:18pm by BartelX

i also bought the game despite its bad reviews since i tend to like certain offbeat things (**** i signed into FFXIV yesterday lol), but alas, i agreed with every review i had previously heard, it just isnt a very good game :/

Edited, May 23rd 2011 4:22pm by pixelpop
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#41 May 23 2011 at 2:22 PM Rating: Good
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Sloannn wrote:
KaneKitty wrote:
Sloannn wrote:
SE is... a timid coward trying to force feed the even more clueless public what they want


1) "Timid cowards" don't usually "force" anything.
2) Something cannot be "forced" when it would be giving the target "what they want."


Did you read the article? Or are you just feeling the debate today? It's usually the latter on this site, oh might Sir Nitpicky. Fans wanted FFVII, so instead SE made this spectacular, colorful, lifeless world that is FFXIII to compensate. Forcing doesn't always literally meaning shoving into someones face. They don't understand a happy medium.

Square Enix is timid to try new ideas, to move forward in the gaming world, so instead they give a steaming pile of rainbow colored sh*t.


I completely disagree with you here. The whole reason that FFXIV has been such a disaster is BECAUSE SE tried to do everything so differently and uniquely. They tried to reinvent the battle system, reinvent crafting, reinvent EVERYTHING... and it blew up in their faces. Well, that and the lack of content, horrid UI, massive grind, etc etc... you get the point though.
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#42 May 23 2011 at 2:25 PM Rating: Default
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BartelX wrote:
Sloannn wrote:
KaneKitty wrote:
Sloannn wrote:
SE is... a timid coward trying to force feed the even more clueless public what they want


1) "Timid cowards" don't usually "force" anything.
2) Something cannot be "forced" when it would be giving the target "what they want."


Did you read the article? Or are you just feeling the debate today? It's usually the latter on this site, oh might Sir Nitpicky. Fans wanted FFVII, so instead SE made this spectacular, colorful, lifeless world that is FFXIII to compensate. Forcing doesn't always literally meaning shoving into someones face. They don't understand a happy medium.

Square Enix is timid to try new ideas, to move forward in the gaming world, so instead they give a steaming pile of rainbow colored sh*t.


I completely disagree with you here. The whole reason that FFXIV has been such a disaster is BECAUSE SE tried to do everything so differently and uniquely. They tried to reinvent the battle system, reinvent crafting, reinvent EVERYTHING... and it blew up in their faces. Well, that and the lack of content, horrid UI, massive grind, etc etc... you get the point though.


I am discussing FFXIII with my post. This article barely mentions FFXIV, most fanboys just didn't read it.
#43 May 23 2011 at 2:31 PM Rating: Good
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Yes, but you are saying that SE is too timid to try new ideas in their games... and that's EXACTLY what they did in FFXIV... their most recent FF title.

And yes actually, I read the whole article. To be quite honest, I found his writing style extremely juvenile throughout. Although I know it was meant to be a casual article and almost more of something you'd read on a forum post, I thought it lacked any kind of credulity because of the way in which he wrote it. That's not to say it wasn't an interesting read, just kind of off-putting when you expect a professional article written by a game designer and it sounds more like something I'd write in my spare time...

Edited, May 23rd 2011 4:31pm by BartelX
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#44 May 23 2011 at 2:38 PM Rating: Decent
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BartelX wrote:
Yes, but you are saying that SE is too timid to try new ideas in their games... and that's EXACTLY what they did in FFXIV... their most recent FF title.

And yes actually, I read the whole article. To be quite honest, I found his writing style extremely juvenile throughout. Although I know it was meant to be a casual article and almost more of something you'd read on a forum post, I thought it lacked any kind of credulity because of the way in which he wrote it. That's not to say it wasn't an interesting read, just kind of off-putting when you expect a professional article written by a game designer and it sounds more like something I'd write in my spare time...

Edited, May 23rd 2011 4:31pm by BartelX


No, no I'm not. The author of the article clearly says that SE fluctuates from a company scared to try anything new, to a company that tries to change everything, both of which end up failing. He recommends they keep it cool and the games will end up successful.

He says that FFXII was a good game, but people hated it because it was basically a "single player MMO" which they didn't like. So what does SE do? They make an extremely traditional MMO again, focusing heavily on the story and visuals, something FFXII cannot boast. That too was a massive failure, maybe not to SE, like the author says, because they are swimming in money, but to any fan that expects a good game from a company that has proven time and time again they are capable of doing that.

FFXIV was that shift back to originality, something SE clearly has no grip on, as it is by far the worst main FF installment they have ever created.

Edited, May 23rd 2011 4:38pm by Sloannn
#45 May 23 2011 at 2:46 PM Rating: Good
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BartelX wrote:
Yes, but you are saying that SE is too timid to try new ideas in their games

Sloann wrote:
No, no I'm not.


no?

Sloann wrote:
Square Enix is timid to try new ideas, to move forward in the gaming world, so instead they give a steaming pile of rainbow colored sh*t.


I guess perhaps I am just missed your context then.

Sloann wrote:
He says that FFXII was a good game, but people hated it because it was basically a "single player MMO" which they didn't like. So what does SE do? They make an extremely traditional MMO again, focusing heavily on the story and visuals, something FFXII cannot boast. That too was a massive failure, maybe not to SE, like the author says, because they are swimming in money, but to any fan that expects a good game from a company that has proven time and time again they are capable of doing that.


As per the bold, I assume you meant FFXIII here and meant RPG as opposed to MMO? If so, how is FFXIII a "traditional rpg"? Sure it focused more on story, but it was unbelievably linear and played almost more like a platformer with RPG elements than a traditional RPG. If that's NOT what you meant, then you've really confused me... Also, you don't consider FFXII story driven? I thought it had quite a bit of story and while yes, it played like an MMO, it still had that massive story element to it that MMO's tend to lack.
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#46 May 23 2011 at 2:55 PM Rating: Good
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Sloann wrote:
FFXIV was that shift back to originality, something SE clearly has no grip on, as it is by far the worst main FF installment they have ever created.


I'm actually heading home from work so probably won't be replying anytime soon, but I just wanted to say that this is one thing we are in complete agreement on. =P

That being said, they have at least done an admirable job in righting the ship, and if they can pull off the changes from Letters from the Producer X, I will happily play it.
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#47 May 23 2011 at 6:38 PM Rating: Decent
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Bartel,

What do you define as a traditonal RPG? Because I kind of felt as if FFXIII played as such. The play style reminds me a lot of X. Just choose a button click and watch the sparklies blow up sort of thing. If this isn't traditional, then I guess I'm a bit confused about what is traditional :/ Can you give me some examples on what you define as a traditional RPG?
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#48 May 23 2011 at 6:53 PM Rating: Good
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LillithaFenimore wrote:
Bartel,

What do you define as a traditonal RPG? Because I kind of felt as if FFXIII played as such. The play style reminds me a lot of X. Just choose a button click and watch the sparklies blow up sort of thing. If this isn't traditional, then I guess I'm a bit confused about what is traditional :/ Can you give me some examples on what you define as a traditional RPG?


First, the term would be "JRPG", as it would be a traditional Japanese RPG as opposed to a traditional western RPG ( such as Oblivion, Dragon Age, etc. ).

A traditional modern JRPG that shows how a JRPG should be made in comparison to the crap that was FFXIII?

Easy.

Lost Odyssey.

Made by the father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi.

Also made by Sakaguchi and released in Japan in January of this year was The Last Story ( a nice FU to Final Fantasy ) which scored a 38/40 on Famitsu. I really hope they release it outside of Japan someday and on a better system than the Wii.

Edited, May 23rd 2011 9:03pm by Zorvan
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#49 May 23 2011 at 7:04 PM Rating: Decent
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Zorvan wrote:
LillithaFenimore wrote:
Bartel,

What do you define as a traditonal RPG? Because I kind of felt as if FFXIII played as such. The play style reminds me a lot of X. Just choose a button click and watch the sparklies blow up sort of thing. If this isn't traditional, then I guess I'm a bit confused about what is traditional :/ Can you give me some examples on what you define as a traditional RPG?


First, the term would be "JRPG", as it would be a traditional Japanese RPG as opposed to a traditional western RPG ( such as Oblivion, Dragon Age, etc. ).

A traditional modern JRPG that shows how a JRPG should be made in comparison to the crap that was FFXIII?

Easy.

Lost Odyssey.

Made by the father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi.

Also made by Sakaguchi and released in Japan in January of this year was The Last Story ( a nice FU to Final Fantasy ) which scored a 38/40 on Famitsu. I really hope they release it outside of Japan someday and on a better system than the Wii.

Edited, May 23rd 2011 9:03pm by Zorvan


Ahhh thank you. I will look up Lost Odyssey.

Edited, May 23rd 2011 9:05pm by LillithaFenimore
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#50 May 23 2011 at 7:14 PM Rating: Decent
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"Lost Odyssey uses a traditional turn-based battle system seen in most Japanese role-playing games, similar to early Final Fantasy iterations."

I got this from the Wiki data base of The Lost Oddysey...so maybe I'm not understanding the game play in what is written on Wiki (I'm a visual person), but to me from the entire description of the paragraph, I am having a hard time distinguishing between JRPG and traditional RPG other than you saying that basically FF and The Lost Oddyssey would be considered a JRPG while the TES series is a traditional RPG? Am I understanding this correctly?
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#51 May 23 2011 at 7:21 PM Rating: Decent
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I cut pasted these posts from GameFAQ here is the link. http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/995177-hyperdimension-neptunia/57863208

If anyone is as confused as I am about them here is a discussion on a different site that is going into it *I doubt there are as many people on ZAM as confused as I am about the two* Just thought I would post there...the discussion goes on and on within the post about JRPG and wRPG

morph147
Posted 1/19/2011 12:48:30 PM



so what is the difference between rpgs and jrpgs. i keep hearing these two all the time but as far as i can tell they are the same thing.
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Ghalion
Posted 1/19/2011 1:33:41 PM



There are many ways to answer that deceptively complicated question...

First off, there are some people out there who will tell you that videogame rpgs as we know them are not infact RPGS (and they'd be partially correct). They don't allow you to role-play your character much more than any other videogame where you control a character other than yourself. To most people, videogame RPGS are mostly just standard videogames with a focus on story, and have features like leveling and whatnot.

I once found an article that described what an RPG is and how the videogame RPGS are not actually properly named, but have become so commonly named thus, that it's pretty much an accepted second definition.

That needs to be said.

Anyway, what is PROBABLY the "proper" difference between a JRPG and another video game RPG is simply the fact that it is made in Japan. I personally don't like using this as the cut and dry definition between the two though because pretty much ALL videogame RPGS were Japanese for such a long time. Sure there may have been a few out there since the old days that were not like Ultima or whatever. But RPGS really took off and became mainstream to us in North America at around the latter half of SNES-era (and it skyrocketed into one of the most popular Genres during ps1-times). I kid you not, but when I was a kid who owned a NES before the SNES existed, when I said "I like RPGS" nobody knew wtf I was talking about, truly.

Anyway, because that is when RPGs became mainstream here (I rekon they did earlier in Japan but I have no clue), we were unfamiliar with any form of RPG BUT the Japanese ones for the most part, so as far as we knew, there was no point in saying JRPG since that would be like saying Jsumowrestling. However, because the consumer demand for RPGS grew over time, I suppose western developers started to develop more RPGS once again as well, resulting in western RPGS.

Nowdays, you can identify an RPG as a JRPG or WRPG (most people just say RPG though) because they are usually quite different (though they may have the exact same gameplay still). What I mean is the distinction between the two is really more of a stereotype (although an accurate one) than an actual set of variables needed to be fufilled to reach that definition (other than country of origin).

JRPGS are known for requiring more grinding, having more set stories (you know, play as some kid who discovers he's actually a hero who saves the universe from the super big bad or whatever), and typically having a more standard turn-based style combat system.

WPRGS often are more of a "sandbox" style of RPG, without set stories, more open ended, may not have leveling at all (though they still do normally), and generally have combat systems that range from FPS style, to regular JRPG styles, to who knows.




Xerain
Posted 1/19/2011 1:36:01 PM



jRPG just specifies it's an RPG form japan. jRPGs are games that usually have predefined stories and events. You get to focus on customizing you're characters stat's etc.

Western RPGs give you more control over the character itself, and often control over what happens int eh story as well.


Some people like one region's RPGs but not the other's, so the feel the need to differentiate.
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G Dragon
Posted 1/19/2011 2:58:58 PM



To put this all in perspective, the term wRPGs and jRPGs always existed, it was just never a big issue until wRPGs came to consoles.

Back in the 90s the consoles were dominated by the Japanese period. Of course you did have popular western developed games, but they were all in the shadow of Japanese games (Mortal Kombat being like SF2, secret of evermore, this list can go on). At this time we had the wRPG people pretty much only developing their games for PC (And we'd get a few brutalized console ports like King's Quest IV for NES). Actually not just wRPG developers, pretty much all North American and European video game developers were at the PC Scene (Ever wondered why PC Gamer was so thick and detailed compared to the console gaming magazines?).

I'm not gonna go through everything, but basically through Playstation and Xbox, these PC developers started to make video games for consoles, and at first only a handful were alright, but they started to really evolve and become unique/different from Japanese games (GTA3 probably being the main point in the industry where North American video game console developers were both very successful and really started to be able to compete with Japanese games).

Now in the 90s of course, a lot of people seemed to believe that games like FF6 and FF7 were the greatest RPGs of all time.

As I said, it pretty much wasn't until past the 2000s when the western developers had to compete with Japanese developers, and so obviously, how else compete with jRPGs than to throw around propaganda and laugh at them?

That's basically what happend, and if you look at what the developers write about how they sell Mass Effect you can really see that they make jRPGs all seem cliched just so that wRPGs seem better.

In reality though, both jRPGs and wRPGs are incredibly cliched, just where we are right now, North American console developers are really trying and succeeding with making Japanese console developers seeming dated, and unfun (Notice how I said console, and not handhelds, if you look at the handheld scene, it's clearly still dominated by the Japanese, although you can see a bit of Sony doing what sony has always done, and going to western and international companies to try and make good non japanese games for their PSP, but at the moment everything isn't that serious or good yet.)
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