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APA fangirl Kanara Ty muses over the delay of Final Fantasy XIII -- and laments over Square Enix's stall tactics.
Since the launch of the of the PlayStation 3 console in 2006, there's only been one game I've been itching to get my hands on, and perhaps, the legion of RPG-loving fanboys and fangirls will agree with me. That, my readers, is Final Fantasy XIII. When it was first announced at the 2006 E3, it suddenly became really clear why the game was moved from the PS2 to the PS3: it basically demanded a console that met the limitless boundaries of just how effin' amazing a Final Fantasy game could be.
In past years, the Final Fantasy series has served as a groundbreaking and well-received role playing game (RPG), and it deserves the credit, since the first installment of Final Fantasy saved Squaresoft (now known as Square Enix) from going bankrupt. The series has now become one of the best-selling video game franchises, and with the amount of commercial success it has received over the past twenty years, it has set the standard for development in video game graphics, improved the MMOG market, made a household name of composer Nobuo Uematsu and also spawned a number of spin-offs and sequels, not to mention an anime series and feature-length films.
The series primarily made its dent in the role-playing genre. Each installment is quite independent of the next, with different storylines, characters, and game features that have pretty much made each edition a strong standing game on its own. You can imagine the work and effort that goes into each game, as playing each Final Fantasy has given every gamer a remarkable emotional experience, as you're drawn to the well-thought out character and plot development. (Come on, there had to have been no dry eye in the house during the ending of Final Fantasy X!). Fandom surrounding Final Fantasy boasts a very large following of fanfiction, fanmedia, and cosplay. I'm quite positive a majority of gamers have at least been influenced by one Final Fantasy, and even then, that's enough to say what an impact the series has had on the video game industry.
Final Fantasy XIII was primarily the top reason (okay, perhaps more the sole reason) that I invested in getting the PS3. While I do think the PS3 is ultimately a great gaming machine, there is still a lack of prolific games that shows the console's most redeeming and shining qualities -- especially for a system that comes with a hefty price tag. My expectations are riding high on this particular installment because everything that has been leading up to it has only added to the hype. The PlayStation console has already redefined our conceptions of the Final Fantasy series today, starting with the release of Final Fantasy VII, which catapulted video game developer Tetsuya Nomuro into stardom, as he developed the series into not just a game for RPG enthusiasts, but a truly remarkable and emotional experience.
Do you recall the cries of blasphemy from die-hard FF fans who found out that FFXIII was going to receive a release on the Xbox360? For a game that was vastly developed (and became more commercially successful) on the PlayStation console, to be released on the rival Xbox 360 seemed like a slap in the face to loyal fans of the series. With many muttering at this stall tactic put out by Square Enix, what did this entail? Sure enough, Square Enix's commercial success with the series will warrant for more distribution across multiple systems, but to delay a game after some years to release it on another console is pretty preposterous. In addition, when it was announced that the Japanese Blu-Ray version of the film Final Fantasy: Advent Children (Nomuro's first film) would also feature a playable demo of i, North American fans also rejoiced...until they found out that no such thing would happen for that release. What a restless feeling.
Nevertheless, I had much higher hopes for this year's E3. If the Japanese were able to get some sort of a playable demo for FFXIII, then something of the sort should appear at E3, yes? Slapped in the face again, I was totally wrong. Instead, I was greeted with a new Final Fantasy: the 14th edition.
Wait, a new installment, you say? But Final Fantasy XIII isn't even released yet!
At this year's long-delayed Square Enix press conference at E3, the surprise announcement came in the form of a follow-up to the MMOG Final Fantasy XI, with Final Fantasy XIV, set for release in 2010. It's the first time ever that Square Enix will release two Final Fantasy-themed games in the same year (as Final Fantasy XIII will receive a worldwide release for both consoles in Spring 2010). While I cannot deny the fact that Final Fantasy XIV looks every bit gorgeous in its trailer, and while I understand it's an MMOG, I cannot help but feel just a slight tinge of disappointment. What's the delay, Square? Why are you holding us by our necks?
What's to become of the series? The franchise shows no signs of slowing down, but with another delay of FFXIII, fans like myself lament further over the lack of awe-inspiring games for the PS3. There are far too few games that highlight the PS3's most shining qualities, and having spent such a hefty price tag, how much longer must one wait to finally see the PS3 redeem itself? I'm entirely interested in what the second Final Fantasy MMOG has to offer, such as the rumor that it is actually an MMORPG and a sequel to Final Fantasy XI, as it borrows some characters from that installment.
Nevertheless, hold on to your Chocobos kids, we'll have to wait until 2010 for the real magic to take place.
Date Posted: 6/19/2009