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Square Enix:  Final Fantasy XIV  'Greatly Damaged' Entire Brand
Square Enix: Final Fantasy XIV 'Greatly Damaged' Entire Brand
September 27, 2011 | By Mike Rose

September 27, 2011 | By Mike Rose
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More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing



The Final Fantasy name has been "greatly damaged," due to the troubled Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix admitted today at a Tokyo press conference.

Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada said that the entire Final Fantasy franchise has been affected by the shortfalls of the MMO title, according to an Andriasang report.

"The Final Fantasy brand has been greatly damaged," he said. "We'll continue with our reform work, which basically amounts to fully redoing the game, and hope to revive the FFXIV that should have been released."

Released last September on PC, the MMORPG saw launch problems, thanks to stability and performance issues.

The PlayStation 3 version of the game was later delayed, as the development team attempted to improve certain elements of the game "to meet customer expectations."

And as the publisher chose to delay charging players any subscription fees to play the game, Square Enix reported declines in fiscal year sales and profits.

Producer Naoki Yoshida then revealed that the company was laying out an extensive list of gameplay changes, all planned for the title through the summer.




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Comments


Lee Zhi Fei
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you mean... you don't think there's something wrong with FFXIII? Square Enix couldn't be more blind...

Eric Geer
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"We'll continue with our reform work, which basically amounts to fully redoing the game,..."



I believe they are aware.

John Martins
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Have you not seen FFXIII-2? Towns, NPCs, open environments? Aren't those the things you babies were crying about?

Mark Harris
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Edit : Bracketed for clarity, the internets strikes again!



[begin sarcasm



Dear John Martins,



I'm impressed that babies were typing scathing rebukes of FFXIII, infants have advanced so much over the years.



end sarcasm]



Personally, though, I couldn't care less about the towns, NPCs, whatever. The trite and overly dramatic characters and storyline were my big turnoff. Fighting a ginormous wolf-dragon-beast as a 12 year-old-boy wielding a boomerang and spouting stereotypical inspirational monologue is just not my style anymore. I'd appreciate some more gravitas in my FF.



My opinion, take it or leave it.

Cordero W
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Lee's right. FF13 got negative reviews, and they even admitted it wasn't their best due to development problems. I was curious as to why they were over-hyping it during their marketing campaign and that explains it. I think even more, what threw fans off, is that it was suppose to be FF on the next gen console, but instead, we got something entirely different. Towns and fields isn't that much of a problem with me. FFX threw away that formula and it was still good. It just made traveling to those places easier, with the airship mechanic naturally linking it all together. Not to mention, the airship itself became its own little separate field of interaction.



FF 13 didn't feel complete to me. It lacked substance.

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Mark Harris
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Edit : No longer needed!

Yaser Latef
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Dan,



While I agree about a probable staffing problem, I'm not sure it's Sakaguchi that's the big deal, though part of that might have been that I was a bit late to the FF party, with 7 being my first and my favourite.



It's my understanding that (and I'm not sure how accurate that understanding is) that Directors have a lot more input than Producers on the general outcome of a game, despite the Producer being considered the higher position, and the one that gets most of the credit. Disillusioned, somewhat, after XIII I did some reading up on who'd worked on which ones: It turns out my favourites 6, 7, 8 (and Chrono Trigger), make up the entirety of games directed by Yoshinori Kitase before he (I assume) got promoted to Producer.



The man, despite not having his name bandied about in forums as much as others, is basically my god, now. If they had him direct another FF, I'd sacrifice lambs and perform all kinds of crazy obsessive devotions for the opportunity to play it.



Alas, that won't happen, and if someone else can't step up to the plate soon, FF will dissolve into mediocrity (imho).



v.v

David Holmin
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@John Martins



Still the same joke of a combat system and the same contrived characters, though.

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Fiore Iantosca
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YES to Anthony and John.

Adam Bishop
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The sad thing is that all of the issues with FFXIV were pointed out to Square in the Alpha and Beta tests, and they just didn't bother to do anything about them until the game was already released and everyone saw how broken it was. The game had major issues with things like its controls that were always apparent and the game never should have been released in the state that it was.

Patrick Davis
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Apparently they outsourced core gameplay elements to the lowest bidder. It shows.

Kale Menges
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I was pretty certain that FF X2 damaged the franchise's reputation long before XI, much less before XIV...

Ethan Lincoln
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Maybe this is the case in Japan, but I haven't really seen a change in perspective on the franchise from US gamers...

Denis Nickoleff
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I think there's been something wrong since FFXI personally, XII at the latest.

A W
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The FF line for PS3 may not have been much of a drag from the Western perspective since we have distraction from Bioware and Blizzard to fill the void. The Eastern countries i.e. Japan blog-sphere, critics, and fans really had a negative reaction to both the single player game and the MMO. So he's right when he says "we done F up"

Eric Kwan
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I think the dilution of the brand through various spin-off series is what weakened it. X-2, XIII-2, the VII series, the Ivalice series, Tactics Advanced, Revenant Wings, My Life as a King, Crystal Chronicles, Online, etc. ad nauseum. Where Final Fantasy used to have a clear identity, it now looks to be nothing more than a brand being exploited.

Michael Joseph
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Isn't that what brands are for?



You see it in comics, books, TV, film all the time. I think it's amazing that any game series can even make it to a dozen+ iterations and spinoffs and still be viable.



This sort of public admission to the fans is a smart first step towards getting back on track.

Ed Alexander
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To anyone who includes FFXII in the "damaged era", come meet me outside. It's a fight to the death.



Really, though, XIV is the biggest flub of the series. The copy/paste outsourcing and quick release really hit waaay below the quality benchmark the series usually gets.



XIII certainly has its share of vocal detractors, but it wasn't quite the disaster it was portrayed to be. There certainly were a lot of development problems encountered in the title, but Square learned a lot from it and I feel confident avoiding those pitfalls will be high on their priority list for future releases.



I still respect Square a great deal because in an era of utter risk avoidance, Square still pushes innovation and takes risk with every new title like they have for decades now. Many Final Fantasy games feel similar in many ways, but are quite different in many others. Most publishers want to finance games to be as "proven" as possible and taking only enough risk to make this one game look a bit different from the rest of the herd.



Heaven help us the day three Final Fantasy titles play like the exact same game with different characters, for that day something truly great will have died.



But if you say anything beyond "bland story" and "some uninteresting main characters" about XII... them's fightin' words. ;)

Mark Harris
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XII is one of my favorites.

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Mark Harris
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So?

Rey Samonte
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Hehe! I'm also part of the minority that really enjoyed FFXII.

Patrick Davis
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I felt the story and characters were great, but it has the worst battle system of the entire series. The single player mmo feeling didn't sit well with me. The whole automation system wtih gambits was terrible. Having to certify in every piece of gear/spell you wanted to wear/cast wasn't fun in the slightest.



The worst part of the game was the complete loss of the old summons. After having Ifrit, Ramuh, Shiva, Bahamut, Titan, and the others for so many games... To swap them all out for a bunch of new uninteresting summons was a big blow for me.



I tried to trudge through it, but beyond the old spells and item names, it didn't feel like Final Fantasy to me. It was something else. I didn't make it.

Ian Uniacke
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I'll preface this with saying I haven't had the time in the last 5 to 10 years to play a FF in much depth like i used to but I agree with Patrick about the combat system. Seems to me (from my limited experience with it) that it was just 'hit a to continue cutscene' based combat.

Sergio Juarez
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This sounds like the perfect time for a Final Fantasy VII remake!

Ron Dippold
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Everyone's doing the usual 'oh how awful FF [N] was', 'no way that was the best one!' argument from a design perspective, which entirely hides that FF XIV was completely broken from an /implementation/ perspective.



Love them or hate them, all the mainline Final Fantasies were quality productions that were very playable IF you could accept the design decisions each title made. FF XIV was not. It was broken in nearly every aspect and literally unplayable for any stretch of time (I tried! It just kept crashing on me). I consider some of its design choices questionable too, but then we're back to the preference thing.

Mark Harris
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You're right, and I imagine everyone pretty much agrees. XIV was a horrible, rushed, buggy, broken mess.



So now all we're left with is arguing about the non-broken FFs that came before it. :)

james sadler
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I think we're all pretty much in agreement that FFXIV was not what has damaged the FF brand but other mistakes they made along the way. Personally I hated FFXI but I am also very vocal about my dislike of MMO's, so there is no surprise there. I liked FFX but it seemed like there was just something missing with it and FFX-2 was pretty good once you got the nature of it. FFXII was a fun game but really lacked in the story department compared to what I had come to expect from Square-Enix. FFXIII had it problems and I give a lot of credit to Square-Enix for letting the developers talk about its short comings. In the end though I did like the game but it just seemed like there was a lot of problems in their story delivery architecture. By the time I really figured out what was going on I was probably halfway through the game. All the flashbacks hurt more than they helped. I am looking forward to FFXIII-2 in hopes that they will be able to put out the game that they should have. I was tempted a few times to pick up FFXIV just for the shear desire to play it without having to pay for it, but it just hasn't been anywhere near the top of my buy list so I will probably just pass it up. It has nothing to do with the errors they made with the game, just the fact that it isn't my preferred format.



I agree with Sergio that it is a perfect time for a FFVII remake, but I worry about them screwing it up more than I hope it will be awesome. An FFVII remake could easily bring back a lot of favor to the brand an make the JRPG style a little more interesting to us westerners.

Lyon Medina
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The Final Fantasy name has been "greatly damaged," due to the troubled Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix admitted today at a Tokyo press conference.



So does this mean that this was their "Final" Final Fantasy.



I only said it cause I know you all wanted too.



Blame peer pressure.

Ben Lippincott
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Final Fantasy has slowly been turning into somewhat interactive movies since FFX. Each game since has revealed in taking more control away from the player and showing more colorful cutscenes. This all stems from a design team not understanding what makes a good game and simply trying to push a particular vision forward without considering the consequences, or if they had considered the consequences they ignored them.



If I can fall asleep in while playing Final Fantasy 12 in a dungeon and wake up a few levels higher, something is abysmally wrong. And yes, I have done this.



I'd really like to see what Square's design process for the Final Fantasy games looks like. When do they discuss combat mechanics? When do they lay out the story outline?



I just find it interesting that with such great artist, competent programmers, and huge mountains of money with a rabid fanbase to make even Nintendo jealous they'd drop something like design on what really amounts of Square's most well known franchise. They knew before pushing out FF14 that it was broken beyond playability and yet went with it anyway. What did they think was going to happen?

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Jonathan Murphy
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When FF14 was released I took an immense amount of criticism from the fans. I wrote in my review it was the, "Superman 64 of MMOs." I stand by that statement. Their forums were overloaded with complaints months before launch and Square's response was to ignore them. I enjoyed FF1-12. I knew when I played FF12 that Square would go up or down with the next FF.

Josh Jones
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I have been in XIV since release. I have watched the criticism from the very start. As a designer, it was almost a college course on what not to do for a release, The good news is for 64.99 it was a cheap course. But, It is also nice to watch the design process and choices being made and how they are involving the community to turn the product around. The Producer letters come out, patch notes are sent and you can see the changes and understand every aspect of what they are trying to do. I give them an F for the actual release and an A for what is this? Effort? because they are putting a huge amount of work into this product that should be dead. It still might die, but it wont be because they did not try to make it better.



I think the game really starts the rebound next Tuesday with the 1.19 patch. The patch is not a little patch, it is huge and should make the game at least seem to be in a proper Beta stage.



My Advice?

Pick yourselves off the floor, swallow some pride and put on your working gloves...its over, it happened now fix it and have some pride in yourselves, your team, your product and most importantly your company for god sakes.

You have alot of history and traditions does this product represent that?

I was taught in the Marines to lead by example, the people in charge have to hold themselves to a standard for others and the product to follow. That is how these mistakes started, and that is how you start to fix it.



Well its free to play right now and I am getting a chocobo for the first time in game and some new classes are coming, so let the class continue and lets see what we end up with.

Ralph Wells
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This is just my 2-Cents:



First and foremost: Square-Enix needs to stop trying to make Final Fantasy a MMORPG. The game never felt like it belonged in that genre. To me, a FF based MMORPG feels like trying to make a MMO out of Rock-Paper-Scissor. The MMOs try to do what games like World of Warcraft do, however with a FF theme. Sadly that theme gets lost and doesn't make up for the fact it has been done better in other games.



Second: FF needs to go back to its roots: a Turn based RPG. In FF 12 and 13, I didn't like the fact I had control of only one character and that I had to rely on the AI to act. FF 13 made it worse however because if the character died, it was game over. Nevermind the fact the AI could shoot a Phoenix Down on the main. Add to it all the rubbish like the leveling up weapons/armor, lack of gaining money for fights, a return to the FF10 experience system, and literally being a passenger on a rocket train not a participant to the story that is inferior and you are left with a game that doesn't belong to the FF series.



Finally: Square-Enix needs to stop thinking that the game universe centers around Japan. That is the exact same mistake Sega did with their game consoles... I don't have to tell you how well that worked out for them. Square-Enix can learn a lot from watching what is successful in other areas of the world and implement them to their next title. This whole "Emo with a big sword saves some world from some threat" worked in FF7 but began to get old after FF8 and is dead in FF13. This formula definitely doesn't work in a MMO either. MMOs like World of Warcraft are successful because there is more versatility and non-linearity than what the FF series has to offer.



If Square-Enix wants the next FF to succeed, they need to stop trying to "reinvent" the game and try what was good about the series before FF10. That is not to say they shouldn't experiment, but so far all the experiments seem to have been just that: Greatly damaged.


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