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View Full Version : Why FFXV failed and the lessons to be learned.



ceeemeee
23rd Nov 2018, 20:36
So I've kept up with "FFXV" ever since 2006, I bought the game on release and have spent almost 350hrs playing the game, and after a lot of thought and now some mild disappointment at it's end, I think I have a pretty good idea of what went wrong from an external point of view and what can be done in the future to prevent an epic like this from suffering the same problems.

1)

Firstly and foremostly, this game ends in the same way that it began, with its story. For over 6 years teams at Square were developing Final Fantasy Versus XIII and that not only includes a game engine and battle mechanics, but also story. Before FFXV's inception they had 6 years to develop a storyline for the game, something that they stuck with even partially up to the FFXV announcement trailer it's self in 2013, and that was swiftly abandoned. Eventually this was FFXV's ultimate downfall, it lacked story content, and sadly it's story expansion DLC's were cancelled and this is now the end of the journey.

Lesson to be learned? Stick to the story. If you're stuck in development hell and you're making this epic and you've spent the best part of 6 years working on a concept for a game, don't abandon the story and change the game right at the last minute. I understand that the Fabula Nova Crystsllis series went it's separate ways, but it didn't mean that Versus XIII had to, FFXV being part of the FNC is no different to FFXII being a part of Ivalice. You already had a concept for a story, you had a setting, you had characters, you had relationships, you had motive, you had lore. What happened is that FFXV lacked almost all of these things.

You learn more about FFXV and it's untold characters by watching the trailers than you do by playing the base game it's self, and that's pretty sad. I no longer play FFXV, if I want to enjoy FFXV I watch the trailers, simply because they're works of art, not that it wasn't a fantastic game, but that the trailers retained everything that the game lost, and had the team just stuck to the script, stuck to their guns, and not changed the game right at the last minute, there would be no plot holes that needed to be filled with DLC and all those years working with Versus XIII would have been time well spent.

2)

Kingsglaive. This is going to be a bit of a nit pick, because Kingsglaive is actually a good movie, but yet again, the opportunity to tell story through cinematics through a CG production company was completely thrown away. Sure FFXV is a 50GB+ game on disc, but there's no reason why the time working on Kinsglaive couldn't have been production for FFXV cinematics and been an installation disc onto the hard drive as part of a 2 disc pack. This is something that could have absolutely happened and yet again it was a wasted opportunity, going into backstory to explain something that doesn't even exist in the main game.

One of the most upstanding features of a modern FF game of recent times is it's cinematic content, and we go back once again to this abandonment of story. Why are we telling backstory for a game that doesn't even have a story? Why do we have cinematic trailers including characters that have no significant role in the game? If you have no story, and 2 years later you're still working on DLC to flesh out said lack of story and add depth to said characters, there was no point at all in Kingsglaive because the end result still wasn't achieved.

3)

Comrades, Pocket Edition and Windows Edition. This imo was also a mistake and needs very little explaining. Time spent making alternative FFXV content was time wasted making actual FFXV content. There's no need for a multiplayer experience because we already have FFXIV, there's no need to retell the same lack of story in a smaller chibi context, and there's no need porting a base game to a platform that even with the most current hardware can't handle at 4K with HDR (maybe now it can with the 2080Ti). This was just a complete and utter waste of time and resources that took away from the main game when instead it should have been focused 100% on the original product.

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Lots of criticism here, but it's safe to say that all the efforts made to make more from a product, actually failed the product in the end and ruined what could have quite possibly been the biggest epic that Square or Enix have ever produced.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII should have continued, Kinsglaive should have been the game's cinematic production and all the side games should have been work put into the actual core product, and that's the big lesson to learn. In the end there's not enough scope to continue, and with Luminous Studios now at a financial loss of $30,000 000 doing nothing you can't help but wonder just how much was wasted internally and how many mistakes were made during FFXV development.

In my opinion, one strong core product is greater than many separate weak products, and this is evident with the fact that at almost 350hrs of gameplay, FFXV still had DLC 2 years in the pipeline even though I had very little intentions of even buying it at this point. How hard is it to tell a story? It is very hard if you throw the story away, make a CG movie instead of in game cinematics and waste countless hours of production time making stuff that expands on nothing.

To me the 2013 FFXV Announcement Trailer and Gameplay Trailer were the epitome of FFXV, and ultimately the beginning of its end. The 2016 Omen Trailer cinematic was a nice taste of what could have been, but in the end the game while a very high class title didn't live up to any of its expectations and I'm still living with the opinion that any concept shown between 2006-2013 Is better than anything we got in the final game.

It is a shame, but I have learnt a lot as an ameture writer from witnessing these mistakes. Don't give up on an idea, don't deviate from your principles, don't create characters that are left to be neglected, and ultimately, don't release something half baked unless it's going to be finished. It's been a fun ride with FFXV, but it's true potential was never realised, and I will continue to enjoy the Versus XIII content you put out regardless, because it's still some of the best work Square-Enix have ever produced.