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!