Square Enix: That Friend That’s Never On Time

Square Enix has no idea what it’s doing, as far as I’m concerned. Nowhere is this more hilariously blatant than if you look at their treatment of Final Fantasy XV, which has been in development for nearly a decade.

It was originally announced at E3 in 2006 as Final Fantasy XIII Versus at the same time as Final Fantasy XIII itself and Final Fantasy Agito XIII (which was also delayed and renamed to Final Fantasy Type-0). Originally part of the Fabula Nova Crystalis series centered around the setting of Final Fantasy XIII, it was revealed to have been changed to its own entry in the series proper (and changed systems from the Playstation 3 to the Playstation 4).

The director of the game, Hajime Tabata, has recently said that the game will be released “before 2017”. Considering this game has been in development for a solid decade with very rare updates (typically only a small announcement at E3 and the like), I highly doubt that. Most people seem to be taking this as “Final Fantasy XV will be released in 2016”, but the release date has been changed numerous times already, so I don’t see why this is any different.

This is Square Enix trying to restore some semblance of hype to the game and the series in general. It’s like the announcement that Final Fantasy VII (arguably the most popular entry in the series) will be getting an HD rerelease at some point. They couldn’t even give an estimate of how long it would take to make a game they’ve already made.

Now, it’s true that “Development Hell” is a very real phenomenon, and making a massive game is difficult. I don’t command a multi-million dollar game studio and have no clue what goes into the process. But even given those caveats, Square Enix’s output over the past several years has been lacking. Final Fantasy XIV was so widely loathed that the studio apologised for it before relaunching the entire game.

Something here is very wrong. This shouldn’t be happening, but there a couple of guesses as to why. The first is easily the most cynical. Square Enix is a business, businesses exist to make money, and to make money they have to release games, even if they’re not perfect, and even if that takes resources away from bigger projects. If that is the case and these delays and problems stem from Square Enix not spending the money it needs to where it needs to, perhaps it’s then best not to buy the games at all. I really hope this isn’t what’s happening here, but if they’re prioritising worse games to make money, that ought surely to stop being the way they make money.

The other is that Square Enix is massively disorganized. People are assigned to the wrong jobs, there is miscommunication, etc. Some reorganization would hopefully clear that up, and it would explain the company’s erratic behavior. Considering how long this mess has been going on, though, it’s clear this is either very deeply rooted or they’re taking notes from Steven Moffat and just enjoy trolling their audience. Nothing would surprise me at this point.

Whatever the problem is, I just hope it gets solved. I want the Final Fantasy series to continue and be as good as I remember it being, but the longer this continues, the less the finished game can possibly match expectations.

Do you have your own idea for the underlying problems here? Think I’m an impatient jerk who’s being far too hard on the company? Leave a comment below!

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  1. reallydude? 28 August, 2015 at 15:39 Reply

    Another day another “journalist” writing his opinion on something he knows nothing about. I mean seriously, he thinks the FF7 remake is simply and HD re-release. No, dear author, it is not. Square is completely remaking the game, and with an entirely different combat system at that. I gotta ask: do you want FF14 to be another AS:Unity, or do you want to wait a while and have a really solid game released?

    • Robin Wilde 28 August, 2015 at 17:07 Reply

      I don’t want to speak on Nick’s behalf, but I think part of the point he’s trying to make is that instead of remaking a game all its fans can still go back and play, they ought to be spending time that’s clearly limited on making new property as high quality and with as few delays as possible.

      • reallydude? 28 August, 2015 at 20:14 Reply

        This is an extension of not knowing how development works. Most companies (video game related or not), have multiple teams that work on different projects. Once teams hit a certain size they actually LOSE productivity which costs money. That being said I’m sure Square has hundreds of people working on each game and they are probably about as big as they can be.

        Delays aren’t bad, Witcher 3 had delays, people were bummed but it turned out to be a great game that people are STILL playing! Mad Max, which is slated to release in just a few days, was originally for last gen (just the same as FF15), but they had delays and issues trying to get the tech to work on last gen so they pushed it off till this gen and it looks like especially solid. AS:Unity was pushed out the doors without any delays and look what happened, a massive mess that turned many gamers away from the series. FF13 did that for fans, and Square really has to have a solid game to win them back and that is what they intend to do.

        • Nick Brown 28 August, 2015 at 20:43 Reply

          You bring up some very good points, and I will say that FFXV hasn’t been released yet. It might be one of the greatest games ever made.
          However, I will also say that I would MUCH rather have a defined release date or none at all. It just feels like Square Enix is teasing the fans, though I doubt that’s what they’re trying to do.
          This is all my opinion, of course, and you ARE right in that my knowledge of game development is rather limited.
          Thank you for your comments!

          • reallydude? 28 August, 2015 at 22:26 Reply

            It makes a lot of sense to not have a defined release date because nobody knows what the future holds. Anything could happen to cause another delay. It is better to have fans somewhat disappointed with no release date (but still excited for the game), than there is to have fans angry and almost boycotting your game due to a delay… Especially for a game delayed this long.

            We also don’t know what caused these delays to begin with, so I find it kind of unfair to judge a company that has brought us great games in between.

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