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 FFXIII  Achieves 1 Million-Unit Five-Day Sales
FFXIII Achieves 1 Million-Unit Five-Day Sales
March 19, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

March 19, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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Final Fantasy XIII, the latest installment in Square Enix's seminal franchise, has sold over one million units in North America in its first five days -- the company says it's the biggest first-week performance in franchise history.

Final Fantasy XIII, notably released on Xbox 360 in addition to PlayStation 3 in Western markets, launched on March 9. The publisher said it sold-in five million units worldwide for initial shipment -- bringing global shipments of the Final Fantasy series as a whole up to 96 million units. By comparison, Square Enix's major Dragon Quest series has shipped only 53 million units worldwide.

In Japan, where the game is still PS3-exclusive, FFXIII launched December 17 and sold 1.8 million units by the end of 2009 -- 1.5 million of those in its first week alone. Despite releasing at the end of the year, it was the fifth top-selling game of 2009 in the country.

The Final Fantasy series debuted on the NES/Famicom in 1987, and through all its installments and spin-offs it's become one of the most recognizable RPG franchises -- certainly, the most recognizable Japanese RPG franchise -- in the West, enjoying a famously fervent fan base.

This may be why the release has achieved major sales numbers despite a tepid reception from critics, many of whom complained the game is too linear and lamented the lack of traditional series elements such as towns.


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Comments


Roberto Alfonso
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They are surprising because the series never sold this well. However, it never was multiplatform on launch date, so it was kind of expected. The best seller is still FFVII at a bit lower than 10m units, we will see if FFXIII can reach that amount. The reviews were killing it, and it wasn't as revolutionary as FFVII was launched.



And not sure what they can do to revitalize. SE has two main RPG franchises, an extremely traditional one like Dragon Quest, and a changing one like Final Fantasy. The series has always aimed at the best multimedia experience (contrary to DQ which always went to the platform with the biggest install base). Not sure what FF needs to become revolutionary since it is always changing its battle system. Maybe go back to the World of Ruin in FFVI to allow free roaming instead of following a script?

Rebecca Richards
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Whoa, what was the point of the editorializing on the last two paragraphs? I expect better of Gamasutra (and Leigh Alexander for that matter) than to insert personal opinions in a news story.



As for the commenters, I always laugh at stuff like:



"After FFVII they (SE) were convinced that females and J-pop lovers were really into this franchise."



The blatant misogyny of the "core" gamers will never cease to amaze me.



Also cool? Blowing off the androgynous male heroes, gratuitous cutscenes, and melodramatic storylines of the pre-FF7 era to whine about how it was all SO MUCH BETTER before it got popular, I mean, before they "sold out".

Rebecca Richards
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You didn't play the old games, did you? Take a look at some of the protagonists of the older games. They traditionally have long hair, make up, and crazy and impossibly colorful outfits.



For that matter, take a look at the one that just came out. Does that look like an androgynous male hero to you on that box?



I'm just noting that most negative stereotypes about gaming these days seem to come from men that are uncomfortable that women play games.

Roberto Alfonso
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Wow, Rebecca, take it easy.



Regarding the editorial, I think the last two paragraphs are fine. The game has been bashed by the western media (it got a 39/40 in Famitsu, yet it has a Metacritic of 82 right now), and the complains about lineality are true. Maybe she could have added a few links to support the paragraph, but to assume those were biased claims is going a bit too far.



As for the current state of the franchise, I am kind of tired of young protagonists (regardless of gender). I mean, look at Metal Gear Solid 4, Snake is old! When will we play a Final Fantasy game where the protagonist has wrinkles? The franchise isn't tied to particular characters (as is Mario, for example), so why can't I actually play someone old, maybe a powerful but retired wizard?



Maybe wrinkles are too hard to render for Square artists?

[User Banned]
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Charles Forbin
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Always all this talk of demographics. I am currently playing and fully enjoying FF13, Demon's Souls and ME2. According to the demographicers (that's a word, right?) I don't even exist, or I am some sort of impossible meta-entity that warps space and time. :-)

Ismael Escandon
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Charles O.o You prolly are.. and don't even know it.. pick me up and warp me to Japan :) I want to go to the Tokyo Game Show :O. And I agree with Jerry. I'm honestly tired of the ( Culture FF ) is now creating though Kudos to SE for selling their shizz right. :) Oh.. and as an added in bonus Kefka is FF's Joker :) Kefka ftw :D.

Andrew Dobbs
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If you look at the illustrations, FF characters have always had an androgynous quality. It just took some time for graphics capabilities to support more detailed characters.



The characters' femininity is no more ridiculous than the masculinity of Gears of War characters.

Z Z
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@ Jerry



I'm responding to your first comment.



"If this strong support continues, Square-Enix will do nothing to fix any issues the critics may have with the series. Why would they?"



SE has always changed up the next FF in the series despite what any reviews said. Compare FFX to X-2, X-2 to XII, and XII to XIII. They're nothing alike, and far from what Capcom was doing with RE. You could consider any of those games a revitalization on the level that RE4 was. That's why I have always liked FF, because all of them are so different with just enough references to know it is a FF game.



The combat in FFXIII is like nothing ever in a JRPG which you can't say wasn't a huge risk. Turns out most people liked the combat while not liking the linearity, which was equally a huge risk. You can say a lot about FF, but you can't say that they stagnate with a single working game mechanic between games like RE did for so long.



-----------------



Regarding targeting of casuals:



I agree the commercials may be targeted that way, but why not? All the FF fans already know all about FF. Targeting them would be a wasted effort. As for the game actually catering to casuals? I disagree. I've played all the FF games, and FFXIII is probably the most difficult. I could, and did for the most part, go through all previous FF games without so much as a single game over screen. FFXIII is entirely different, I've had my fair share of game over screens. Sure, it has a retry feature, but the battles are still tough and require a lot more strategy than a lot of past FF games. That retry screen is what allows them to actually make the battles more difficult. In past FF games they would never dare to create some of the difficulty spikes they have in FFXIII because they know people would get frustrated with having to start over from the last save point. Overall, the inclusion of that feature made the game better by allowing them to increase difficulty.

Mark Kilborn
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I'm going to make a few comments that address things various people have said. I don't really have the time on a Sunday to write detailed replies to everyone.



First, concerns over "fixing" the issues critics have with the game are foolish. If people are buying and enjoying the game, and they moved 1M in five days, then I don't really care what the critics think. If the fans of the series are happy and willing to purchase it in such great numbers, then so be it. Game developers shouldn't be in business to please critics, they should be in business to please their customers. If you're going to obsess over how critics will react to every design decision you make, you might as well listen to your publisher's input on everything too (and I'm sure we all know how THAT will turn out).



Second, to concerns over the hairstyles, costumes etc of Final Fantasy characters... go play Gears of War or Mass Effect then. There are plenty of games that cater to the western, masculine style. I enjoy that FF games are so whimsical and colorful. It's a nice change from the dreary look of most games these days.

Geoffrey Mackey
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This is a really great thread that a lot of people have made some great comments about. I got the game and I'm pleased it's multi-platform. SE implemented all kinds of new "trendy" things like music and crazy art. The one thing that we have to ask ourselves is that what is actually making the games sell, or is it because everyone buys the game hoping for a new FF7? Great stories make the game, the rest is just extra.



I'm only four hours into the game but I have to say that this is the first game that doesn't feel like a Final Fantasy game to me. My resentment doesn't come from it's popularity however. I'll beat it all the way through regardless but I don't know if I like the direction. I still can't understand why there is a save spot every 10 minutes. FF12 was risky also, but it still felt like home to me. I love the graphics so much but the pacing seems way off.



I have to admit I'm on the side that dislikes effeminate men in games. I don't think they need to be on steroids, but SE is trying to market games to the entire world and thats a Japanese thing.

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Rebecca Richards
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FF games are...Japanized?



Okay, kiddo, why don't you come back when you're not going to do the culture wars crap. Or at least whine that Modern Warfare needs to stop being jingoistic and macho.



As for remaking FF1...where have you been the last 10 remakes?!

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Tom Newman
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Best since FFVII hands down! Nice report - but as an aside from a FF fan, I would not mind one bit if Square stopped with the whole metro-sexual thing for it's male charachters.

Jeferson Soler
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Some of these comments about male character designs are actually interesting. The main reason I'm saying this is because these comments/opinions would actually serve real well in a discussion forum as well as on a case study about the next two upcoming games from Square Enix: Nier Gestalt and Nier Replicant. Nier Gestalt is coming for the Xbox 360 and the main male character (Nier) is portrayed as a muscular warrior, while Nier Replicant is coming for PS3 and the main male character (also called Nier) is portrayed as an effeminate fighter. If you go to Square Enix’s Japanese website, you can look into those games for compare contrast. As I said before, some of these comments about male character designs (especially in regard to the Final Fantasy games) would actually serve real well in a case study when the two Nier games come out.

Ismael Escandon
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I honestly haven't played a good Final Fantasy game since ( FFVI ) - And don't get me wrong I've played every single and I will say that i'm a super fan as well no shame in admitting it. But yes I'd have to agree I have grown tired with the trend mostly created after FFVII, well when Enix got added into the mix basically.



My comment on (FFXIII) - I found it extremely linear one thing which I disliked since I actually do enjoy the free roam - The battles were way to easy, I know that might sound unrealistic to some gamers but I honestly didn't find it challenging enough..( I did however fall inlove with (Lighting - Snow - Hope) Fang was great too though I didn't use her that much same goes for Chocobo dude hahaha I love that guy he's hilarious the only character I found annoying was the Oh so adorable Vanille.



I just felt that in this new game as Geoffrey mentioned - I too saw the pace kinda off most of the time I felt sluggish at times and other times it was just rush after rush after rush then for a long period of time slow and sluggish very inconsistent pace.



@ Blake - I honestly see what you mean about FF evolving but I also see it recycling some of their systems FFXIII Is FX + F12 atleast thats what I see in it..I wouldn't mind FF going back to a jop type I always enjoyed Tactics with that type of system. Haha But I suppose I'm just a dreamer.


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