Final Fantasy XV
PS4, Xbox One
It’s been almost 5 years since the last traditional Final Fantasy title, and with the mixed reactions that title received, it’s not hard to see why. Final Fantasy XIII was a game-changer for Square-Enix’s flagship series but probably not in the way they were hoping. While it received good press at launch time, it failed to resonate with the series’ longtime fans. Criticized for nixing much of what made the series what it was in favor of big budget blockbuster moments and a near incomprehensible plot, Final Fantasy XIII and the “Fabula Nova Crystalis” project would ultimately be seen as a failure by fans, and to a certain extent, Square Enix themselves.
In response, Square Enix rapidly altered their plans, marketing the sequel, Final Fantasy XIII-2, as a return to form. Playing as a mix of classic RPGs like Chrono Trigger, Pokemon, and Final Fantasy X, FFXIII-2 was indeed a heavy improvement over its predecessor, and one of the strongest games the company had released in years. The word was in however, and the damage was done. FFXIII-2 undersold dramatically, as did it’s follow-up, the strangely-titled Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Meanwhile, another disappointing debacle occurred with the launch of FFXIV, the second online only entry in the series.
With the faith of their fan base heavily damaged, Square-Enix pulled a double hail-mary. First, they completely re-wrote the Final Fantasy XIV experience, and re-launched it with the subtitle: A Realm Reborn. Next, they removed the long-delayed Final Fantasy Versus XIII from the ill-fated Fabula Nova Crystalis project, and re-branded it as Final Fantasy XV.
If this all sounds rather confusing, it’s because it is. One of the most successful series’ in gaming history is in more trouble than it has ever been since the launch of its first title. With all of that in mind, Final Fantasy XV has a heavy burden to bear when it launches next year.
While the new trailer shows a lot of promise, it once again looks heavily different from anything else that the series has ever done before. Let us hope for the sake of Square-Enix, that this time, that’s a good thing.