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 Final Fantasy XIII-2 's Diminished Debut May Spell Trouble For The Franchise
Final Fantasy XIII-2's Diminished Debut May Spell Trouble For The Franchise
December 21, 2011 | By Eric Caoili




Final Fantasy XIII-2 for PS3 moved over half a million copies after shipping in Japan last week -- around one-third of the sales the original Final Fantasy XIII saw just two years ago.

These relatively low sales could reflect diminished consumer interest in Square Enix's flagship franchise, or more specifically for its Final Fantasy XIII line of titles, which includes upcoming PS3 action RPG Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

Square Enix also admitted several months ago that the Final Fantasy brand was "greatly damaged" by the troubled launch of PC MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV in September 2010 (a PS3 version is due to release in late 2012/early 2013).

Final Fantasy XIII, which sold 1.5 million PS3 copies in its Japanese launch week two years ago, suffered much criticism from gamers who found fault with its linear gameplay approach -- something the company sought to address with this sequel.

Elsewhere in the charts, 3DS software sales remain strong this holiday season, led by Monster Hunter 3G. The Capcom RPG sold over 200,000 copies in its second week after launching, coming off its 522,000 units sold the previous week -- a record high for 3DS software.

While Monster Hunter 3G's week-to-week fall-off is around 60 percent, the game is on track to sell a million copies before the end of the year. Capcom's preparing for that milestone, and has shipped over 1 million units in the country already.

Nintendo's Mario Kart 7 sold about the same as last week, 182,418 copies. And Super Mario 3D Land enjoyed a 25 percent boost in week-to-week sales, pushing 112,533. Both are also on the way to hitting 1 million sold each before 2012 arrives.

Inazuma Eleven Go: Shine/Dark for 3DS, the latest from Level-5's popular soccer franchise, sold 135,259 copies -- much less than Inazuma Eleven 3: Spark / Bomber's half-a-million debut in 2010 , though that released for DS's much bigger userbase.

The strong 3DS software sales were likely supported by the number of new hardware sold -- 367,691 of the Nintendo portables made it into consumers' hands last week, besting even the PS Vita's launch weekend of 324,859 sold.

With the PS Vita's launch came plenty of new titles for the PSP successor, though only four made it into the top 20 software chart. Sony's Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational was the top seller of the bunch, moving 61,412 copies.

The SCE Bend Studio-developed Uncharted: Golden Abyss, which was voted as the most anticipated PS Vita title by online readers of gaming site/magazine Famitsu, was the system's second biggest seller last week after pushing 48,224 copies.

Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors Next (29,181 copies sold) and Square Enix's Lord of Apocalypse (28,742 copies sold), were the remaining PS Vita titles, taking the #18 and #19 spots on the top 20 software list respectively.

When the 3DS launched in February, the console saw six of its games chart, their sales numbers varying from 24,556 (Konami's Winning Eleven 3DSoccer) to 119,591 (Level-5's Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle).

Media Create CEO Atsushi Hosokawa admitted on Tuesday that PS Vita hardware sales were lower than expected, and blamed the unimpressive launch on the handheld's expensive price and the lack strong titles in its initial software lineup.

The complete top 20 chart, as supplied by Media Create and posted by NeoGAF, is shown below:

LWTWTitlePublisherPlatformWeekly Sales
NEW1Final Fantasy XIII-2Square EnixPS3524,217
12Monster Hunter 3GCapcom3DS208,427
23Mario Kart 7Nintendo3DS182,418
NEW4Inazuma Eleven Go: Shine / DarkLevel-53DS135,259
35Super Mario 3D LandNintendo3DS112,533
86Kirby's Return to Dream LandNintendoWii71,028
NEW7Hot Shots Golf: World InvitationalSony Computer EntertainmentPSV61,412
NEW8Uncharted: Golden AbyssSony Computer EntertainmentPSV48,224
109Just Dance Wii NintendoWii44,021
1210PokePark 2: Beyond the WorldPokemonWii43,829
1111Wii PartyNintendoWii42,632
612Magician's Quest: Oshare na Mahou TsukaiKonamiDS35,068
1313Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic GamesNintendoWii34,351
NEW14Shin Kamaitachi no Yoru: 11 Hitome no SuspectChunsoftPS333,686
NEW15BlazBlue: Continuum Shift ExtendArc System WorksPS332,992
1616Wii Sports Resort with Remote PlusNintendoWii30,804
1717Taiko Drum Master WiiBandai Namco GamesWii30,046
NEW18Dynasty Warriors Next Koei TecmoPSV29,181
NEW19Lord of ApocalypseSquare EnixPSV28,742
1920One Piece: Gigant Battle 2 - New WorldBandai Namco GamesDS28,406

This week's major releases in Japan include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Dubbed Edition) for Xbox 360 and PS3, Musou Orochi 2 for Xbox 360 and PS3, and Inazuma Eleven Strikers 2012 Xtreme for Wii.


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Comments


Nicholas Ulring
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After the PS3 tech demo I don't understand why Square is not working a remake of Final Fantasy 7.

Jason Withrow
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Technically Kingdom Hearts 3D is KH7, but they're not calling it that.

Ramon Carroll
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To this day, I still don't understand that argument. Square pours tons of money into other, more riskier projects. FF7 is an established IP with a massive fanbase. It's pretty much already guaranteed that the committed fanbase would purchase the game. Instead, Square releases a FF MMO that was horrible and then a new Final Fantasy (13) with amazing graphics, but cheesey voice-acting and limited gameplay. After all of the complaints about FF13, Square just shrugs it off, says "You Westerners don't understand good story-based games", and then moves on to make the sequel? Sounds like the sequel was already signed off in the contract before the release of the first one...



So, you can't use that money for a game that everyone's begging for, but you have no problem throwing it away?

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Olivier Riedo
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The FF7 PS3 "tech demo" really just was a WIP of the Crisis Core ending cutscene, not an actual PS3 app.

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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

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Ron Dippold
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Purely anecdotal, but I know quite a few people who have given up on the franchise entirely by this point. It's a desperate relic.

Ian Uniacke
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I disagree with your disagreement. ;)

Harry Fields
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LOL I agree with your disagreement of his disagreement.

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Ron Dippold
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Final Fantasy is pretty bold with its mechanics, but it's certainly hidebound with its tropes. For instance, Balthier was supposed to be the hero of FF12, but Square had a fit and demanded an angsty teen boy be crammed in as the hero near the end of development, which is one of the reasons that title was so delayed. FF13 was pretty much a laundry list of horrible JRPG plot points and incoherent swill, even though I did love the combat.



Well, whatever the reason, I know many people who've given up on it. And JRPGs entirely. Most were playing Skyrim last time I checked, and they're probably playing SWtOR right now.

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Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Looking at the top 20 chart up there... whats Capcom's reason for not making a PS3/360 Monster Hunter game again?



As for FF it saddens me but this isnt the franchise I grew up with anymore. Times change and so do IP, new ones get created and replace the old ones. BTW just looking at *screenshots* of FF-XIII-2's combat UI gives me a headache.

Robert Boyd
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Monster Hunter is drastically more popular in Japan than it is in the West. Portable systems are drastically more popular in Japan than the 360 or PS3.



That's why.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Or maybe the IP is more popular in Japan *because* its hasnt been on the consoles popular in the west for years.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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@christian

Oh please dont start that fanboy stuff here, this isnt the place.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Except that, in the west at least, the majority of people who like games where you run around slaying giant monsters dont play it on the wii. I rented Tri (I own all 3 platform and a gaming PC), but I couldnt get around the low resolution* and poor controls. People tell me its much better with a classic controller, but people who mostly play on the 360/ps3 wont invest in a classic controller just for one game.



It seems like a game me and my friends would really enjoy, if only it was on a HD platform.



*I dont mind the low resolution when the art direction is appropriate for it, but low-res images and high-frequency textures dont mix well, says this observer.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Oh please.



First, dont put words in my mouth. Yes the wii is a *real* (whatever you mean by that) and fun console and it did sell well.



Now take a look at the US/Euro sales. Look at the best selling 3rd party games on the wii, and take a look at the best selling 3rd party games on the PS3/360, and tell me which console has the audience for a monster-hunting game.



And thats the last I have to say about that.

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Robert Boyd
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Keep in mind that all PS Vita games are also available on the PSN and these charts only track retail sales so the actual total game sales are higher than is being shown here. How much higher is anyone's guess.

Maurício Gomes
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Square should stop being stupid and focus on what people actually want:



FF7 remake and/or FF Versus (that look WAAAAY more interesting than XIII)





For me the linear XIII was stupid, the XIV was EVEN MORE stupid, and throwing a XIII-2 in the mix is like the old saying:



Doing the same shit again and again and expect a different result is beyond stupid.

Matthew Mouras
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They could better address the complaints leveled against XIII by developing XV (and letting XIV die a slow death). I am a huge FF fan, but the mechanics of XIII soured me on the world to the point that I have no interest in XIII-2.

Adam Bishop
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If Square really wants the game to sell, all they need is a bit of a Final Fantasy 7 tie-in. Instead of "Final Fantasy XIII-2", they should call it "Final Fantasy Red XIII".

Jeanne Burch
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...Don't do that to me when I'm in the middle of drinking a latte. Now I have to clean off the computer screen.

wes bogdan
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So old "IP" gets swept aside for newer and that's why metroid,mario and zelda don't matter anym...oh wait that's right skyward sword is a fantastic new zelda.



People love stuff they grew up on even between cod and bf deathmatches.



Does it challenge the avaunt guard to change and incorporate new ideas to remain relevant,sure but i don't expect a FF game to ever turn into a fantasy cod/bf multi-player game.



Wouldn't that be a sure sign the apocalypse was upon us all?!!

Terrence Ortiz
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The problem seems to me is that since the acquisition of eidos, squenix has been focusing more on the western audiance. We've seen tomb rider, hitman (please give us legacy of kain) and they have put their roots on standby. They are burdened too much. Just give us a ff7 remake and kingdom hearts 3 (no secondary console spinoff) and lets move from there.

Matthew Cooper
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I'll take an FF6 remake in 2D high definition plz. And Chrono Trigger.

Wayne Lei
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I believe after Hironobu Sakaguchi, the father of Final Fantasy left Square which was around after FFX, Final Fantasy hasn't been the same. Guess that probably explain SE's diminished quality of gaming.

Lorenzo Czaeldnni
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"Except that XII was one of the best games since VI".



LOL. I love how you state this as if it's a fact. Really, anything past IX is pretty bad, with XII and XIII being the worst. They've become too interested in what they THINK Western audiences like. Tidus was an annoying caricature of a jock that had about as much depth as a kiddie pool. Va'an, as someone pointed out, was just a hurried slop job to appease youngsters.



@Christian- dude, enough with the blind fan-devotion. It's called market research. Go to ANY web forum online discussing Final Fantasy and the consensus is thick and palpable: people genearally disapprove of XIII and a vast majority consistently request a remake of VII. THOSE are facts. Also, your argument isn't helped by the fact that, despite that list of financial "successes" Square-Enix has posted, it was on the verge of bankruptcy just 1 year ago, reducing its earnings forecast a staggering 91%!!!! How do you explain that as a success?



I agree with pretty much everything Dan Eisenhower has said her, particularly his comment about Squenix being no more than a glorified CGI studio, "a decaying husk of a game developer". When you post 91% reduction in earnings and then 1 year later, sell only a 3rd of your what your flagship franchise is supposed to sell, you are circling the drain. If you can't see that, you're as delusional as the Squenix Executives themselves.

Lorenzo Czaeldnni
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@Anthony- fair enough, my apologies. I guess I'm just kinda taken aback when people say anything past X is their favorite/one of the best. I actually don't think XII is that horrible, it was entertaining and had a pretty good story, but all the flaws 13 had were subtly lurking in 12. I do think if the gambit system and Va'an were withheld from the game it would have been about 10 times better, but, again, just an opinion.

Lorenzo Czaeldnni
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@Christian: Can you explain to me how the following words don't concern the quality of a game?



"The success of these titles comes for a good part from it's original mechanics, that, as it seems, don't are oldfashioned and for another part from it's modernised technical presentation. Square Enix invests a lot of time to find a balance, between modern 3D technology and the classic bitmap graphics and it seems, they are successful as a developer here."



....because to me it sounds an awful lot like you're talking about the quality of these games being the reason for their respective success.



Please also explain to me how market research, as the process is truly defined and exercised, has nothing to do with what a significant portion of people are saying, expecting, and determining regarding their future consumer relationship with a company.



We're not talking about one guy hopping on a forum and reading messages from a few people scattered across the world; we're talking about a consistent, proven trend that is undeniably affecting a brand's success. You act as if we're only talking about one forum, or you're laboring under this perplexing delusion that the internet is just some small pond that has no influence on consumer patterns. If we were living in 1998, I could accept that argument, but we're not. It's ludicrous, especially considering the fact that Square stated themselves that the brand was damaged by FF XIV. While I don't think this is entirely true, as it's obviously a scapegoating tactic, there definitely is some truth to it. So if Square themselves are stating that their brand was damaged by a lack of people who play games online (or the disappointment of those that did/a mixture of the two), how are you not seeing that those would be the same people that aren't the ones in the forums complaining? W.O.W. is the largest MMORPG in the world. If innumerable members of its forums started complaining about something, W.O.W. memberships started to decline/get cancelled, do you think that it'd be unwise for them to fix that problem everyone was complaining about?



I will admit, however, that I was a bit overzealous in saying "verge of bankruptcy", but how do you think that cycle starts? Probably much in the same way Square itself started- releasing a bunch of unpopular games and then finally having to consider shuttering business, unless you release a hugely popular game that pulls you back from the brink.



Enter Deus Ex. Without that game this year, they would be in a much, much worse place. Bankruptcy? That's up for debate, but they certainly would be hurting, and far beyond the point that one could argue whether or not they were circling the drain. Every financial report they've released since last year has been abysmal. I'm curious to see what this year will close out like for them.



The problem is that with this kind of insular thinking, you never admit or accept your problems. Can you admit that Square has made huge mistakes, generally ignored its fanbase, and underperformed? You probably won't, and neither will Square-Enix, which is the problem and how companies lose.



Dude, I know enough about how to run a company to know this is not how you do it. I also know that, as a shareholder, if I was seeing the kind of financial reports the company has posted over the past year, if I watched the man arguably responsible for the flagship franchise's glory years walk out the door, if I saw this:



http://ps3.ign.com/articles/116/1168200p1.html



then this:



http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=square%20enix%20sales&sour
ce=web&cd=4&ved=0CEIQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fxbox360.ign.com%2Farti
cles%2F116%2F1168963p1.html&ei=lKz8TomjEce1gwf824mjAg&usg=AFQjCNE
eFhXtsmgs1bhsSBpNiRW5thMfoA



Then if I saw how a game that WAS being developed concurrently to XIII was now benching its 5th (possibly 7th) year in its development life cycle, if I had sat and watched as the company hemorrhaged money on a DOA MMO venture for over a year, and then- after all that- I saw the flagship franchise sell a 3rd of what it was once capable of after the company itself admitted that its predecessor was a failure- both creatively and financially, would I start to wonder if the writing was on the wall, ESPECIALLY given the world's current economic crisis?



*YES*.



But hey, if you would sit in your chair complacently, smiling as they waved the once mighty, yet now weakened company banner in your face, cool. But in my opinion, that's NOT how one does business wisely.



Their virtual console repackagings amount to little more than a desperate fire sale. It's not sustainable. They need to start producing quality games or they will be in much more trouble than they have been. That much is obvious, as it's what the company has stated themselves in their report. If they keep rehashing filler, re-upping failed games, and only posted a hit infrequently, then Final Fantasy could end up finally living up to its moniker.

Terrence Ortiz
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Ahhhh.... 12 was a tad too short for me. I personally think that since the next gen (playstation 2) final fantasy last itself and became too linear. Of course we need a world map!

Chris Dickerson
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Help us Sakaguchi-san, you're our only hope.


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