Fabulous Final Fantasy Franchise Discussion Catch-all

Lawdy lawdy lawdy you people take my self-deprecation seriously, but thank you for speaking positively nonetheless.

For what it's worth, hbi2k, I'm still loving the game despite the more critical eye. And as for perhaps not turning that critical eye to other older games, screw that. I'ma bounce on over to Link to the Past, EarthBound, Mario RPG, and perhaps take even another stab at Secret of Mana. This SNES Classic be deliverin'!

And when VII and IX rerelease on Switch, oh ho ho! I'll definitely be coming back in on this thread.

VI felt very epic for me at the time I played (err around my late teens perhaps). Having unique character mechanics (Sabin is the most obvious one with Street Fighter mapped skills) was enjoyable at the time and the Eidolon system permitted hybrid party members. There was a specific Shadow build I stumbled on in one playthrough where evasion was out the roof and so was counter rate, resulting in practically 100% evasion and counters. Then Shadow was raised with high strength stats for max damage. It was absurdly overpowered but on reflection I'm not sure if that was a glitch or not.

Also, I'm on Team Celeste. Long Live Celeste!

I would probably play through IX again, especially if it has the quality of life improvements of the PC/PS4 versions. I got pretty far in a play-through on the PSP 4 or 5 years ago, but got bit by the mobile-ness of it, I had played for probably 10 hours of pick up and play, but did not save in that time, and the battery ran out. Killed my desire to continue.

IX is probably still my favorite though. DON'T FIGHT ME ON IT.

Citizen86 wrote:

IX is probably still my favorite though. DON'T FIGHT ME ON IT.

We are not alone in this.

Grenn wrote:
Citizen86 wrote:

IX is probably still my favorite though. DON'T FIGHT ME ON IT.

We are not alone in this.

Haha that's amazing. And gratifying. Money well spent

So I think Blind_Evil asked about people playing World of Final Fantasy. I was only able to start this week, though I played a good chunk in... 2016? when it released. Never completed it, so it's a bit frustrating returning and being reminded of how much dialogue is in this game. The production values in the cut-scenes are actually kind of surprising even a second time through.

What's different this time is I decided to switch it on over to Wait mode for combat. I went back to Semi-Active at one point but the leap in challenge is surprisingly high. Enemies make decisions instantly, so before you even act they're all hacking and slashing away. I suppose the game wants to push you into using the "basic" command style rather than classic, thus each command is a single button-press away. Maybe I'll experiment with that a bit, because otherwise the best option for Classic mode is Wait, which in some cases feels too easy. I never noticed on my first playthrough but Reyn and Lann are actually maybe twice as fast as their enemies (at the game's start), so they act quite frequently. I imagine this is in part to make up for the delay in response a human has versus A.I. when playing in Active and Semi-Active modes, but... I dunno. I feel like I can get traditional Final Fantasy games to a decent level of challenge on Active mode by adjusting combat speed, but in World of Final Fantasy it's just sort of nuts.

I’m in chapter 10 now, playing in wait mode with the classic menu style. Yes, it’s easy. I’ve spoken about this years ago here, but I don’t play FF games for challenge. I prefer to be a content tourist and enjoy the story, and manipulating whatever systems a particular entry features. I’m enjoying the Mirage system a lot.

Having fired FFXII up since I was so graciously gifted it during this years Secret Stanta, I have to say, it is better than I remembered. Maybe I'm just moving slower and really taking in the story, but I just feel that the world is so well established. There are so many NPCs walking around the different towns, and the majority of them you can talk to and get a good feel for how the Empire has affected their lives. The combat is still super fun for me since you can often times just set it and forget it until you start seeing things go south. The remaster makes everything look beautiful and overall I am just enjoying being back in Ivalice.

Most of what I remember of FFXII involved squinting at font-size-7 menus on my sub-480i TV and thinking, "Man, Square really wants to be making PC games, what's this doing on the PS2?"

So I'm not surprised to hear that the remaster makes things better.

I have high hopes for the Switch port.

So I finally got back to Final Fantasy VI today and did the Floating Continent and started World of Ruin.

I have thoughts. Many thoughts. But I'm going to save most of them for my video. All I'll say is that it's interesting my brother and I somehow decided Kefka was a secret genius the whole time and no one noticed, when in actuality his decision to betray Emperor Gestahl is completely impulsive. My interpretation of him as a villain has greatly changed, though I'm not sure what my actual thoughts are on him yet. I've spent so much of my life viewing him fondly that I cannot really come to a conclusion about how good or bad of a villain he is. Simultaneously, I've grown to like Gestahl more because of how different he is from Kefka.

Regarding whether you save Cid or let him pass: this.... part had a major logic problem that really, really prevents it from being as impactful as I recall. Not to mention that the entire system for Cid's health is actually a huge pain in the butt.

I played this game a ton as a kid, but as I never actually owned my own copy until late in the SNES life-cycle I very rarely made it to the Floating Continent, let alone beyond it. So while I have some memory of what to expect from here on, it's mostly bits and pieces. It's going to start feeling new again from here on.

Should be interesting to see how you fare in the WoR. As I recall, at the time the non-linearity on display there was a big departure for JRPGs. Nowadays it's de rigeur thanks to more cross-influence from Western RPGs.

Personally, I thought it struck a pretty good balance between giving you freedom to follow up on different leads and story hooks in the order you chose but still giving you enough sign posts that you never felt lost as to what to do next. I know people who disagreed in either direction, though, either feeling lost and directionless or railroaded.

Well, it helps a little bit that I read ahead in Clyde Mandelin's translation comparisons and therefore had a sense of what was next, but he only skimmed so it was a matter of me following points on the map. It's interesting how "open" it is, in that I think you can skip right to Nikeah without even getting Sabin in your party. You can completely pass by Mobliz and thus have no clue what's happening with Terra. I stopped by all these places, of course, because I'm having a good time and was driven by curiosity.

I now have the Falcon, and while the game directs me to the next potential stop, there's nothing preventing me from going somewhere else. In fact, I returned to Daryl's Tomb to finish a puzzle and get the remaining treasures.

What's really interesting about the World of Ruin is that the enemies deal a lot more in status ailments, which has increased the difficulty somewhat. I have tried to equip relics on my party members that impacts their power or has other effects (such as a lack of back-attacks). This leaves little room for relics that prevent status ailments. Returning to Daryl's Tomb I encountered what must have been super rare foes that nearly zombified the entire party. It's interesting just how much The World of Ruin has changed the nature of the game, both in how open it has become and in how more challenge has been added in.

But what remains the same is that these dungeons actually aren't very long at all. I think I love that most about Final Fantasy VI. You can hit a lot of story beats in the span of two hours just by going from one dungeon to the next, and even now I have no reason to grind... of course, I'm about to go grab Cyan, I think, which means I'll have five characters instead of four. The need to rotate and keep everyone evenly leveled (at the very least so each character is averaged in more in-line with where the rest of the cast is) is going to be high, I think.

It's amazing to me how much I loved this game despite having rarely played beyond the Floating Continent, and yet today's two hour game session was... not just in terms of gameplay, but seeing the changing world and the impact it has, it really adds something on a lot of levels. In FFIV, the world "opening up" really is a simple matter of going to locations you couldn't or returning to old locations and finding new doorways. While there's still that element here, they change the world on you and twist the familiar in a way that resonates like it hadn't in prior games. I mean, multiple worlds is nothing new – FFIV had the underworld and the moon, and FFV had something similar where two worlds become one – but just going into South Figaro and a man at the bar bringing up how a little girl hasn't shown up since the apocalypse... it's a different emotion.

I'm so glad I began my year replaying this game, and I really, really do hope to go back and replay a bunch more Final Fantasy games. I want to reconnect with this franchise that meant so much to me, because even with all the positive gushing I'm making... I know they're not the best games, but they really are something special.

What is perhaps most interesting to me is thinking back on Clock's statements of the combat being boring, and yet... I don't find it boring. I used to! When I was a kid and ground the heck out of the game I remember finding it more dull and less inspired than FF4 and FF7, and it some ways that remains true. Got Sabin and Edgar on your team? Fire Dance + Flash and you're almost guaranteed to kill the majority of foes... but then again, I haven't been using Edgar and Sabin so much, and therefore each dungeon I spend several battles trying to figure out the most efficient way to tackle each encounter. It took me half the floating continent before I found a strategy that didn't result in healing my guys after each battle. It's not engaging in the way Octopath Traveler or Shin Megami Tensei games are, but in some ways that's a relief. Combat can be quick and allow me to move on through the dungeon while still enjoying enough challenge to experiment with my party build and maximize efficiency.

I never had to do that when I was younger because I was always over-leveled, and even if I was still inefficient I had enough money to max out potions and other healing items in a way I don't now. So I don't run into that same boredom as I did when I was spending an hour in the forest outside of South Figaro using Auto-Crossbow on everything so Edgar, Locke and Terra could be... how high? Level 15? 16? before I walked onto Mt. Koltz.

Whatever, enough gushing outta me. I hope to replay it on GBA or with a superior translation without Steam's/mobile's "let's get the intern to re-art everything in Adobe Illustrator" one day. That's the one issue with this replay. The character count limitations in memory, as well as the clearly rushed job that had to deal with Nintendo's content policies. There's definitely a decent enough story in there, but man if it's hard to see how we found it with this localization. Ted Woolsey did his best, but everything was stacked against him.

So I'm technically going to do a bit of grinding, but not for experience or levels. I decided I'm going to do the 255 battle grind to change the Cursed Shield to the Paladin's Shield. This way I have both the Ragnarok Magicite and the Paladin's Shield to use in order for characters to learn Ultima. By doing this at the starting island where Celes washes up, where the raccoon beasts automatically die after a single combat round, I'll avoid gaining experience I might otherwise have gotten if I were to try and get it through legit fights.

Plus... really, who tries to change this thing in legit combat? No sir.

I've got 11 of the 14 characters now. Once I have the Paladin's Shield I'll go snag Relm, followed by Strago and Gogo. I... am really uncertain what I'll be doing with Relm and Strago, honestly. The closer I get to Kefka's Tower the more I'm trying to think of what that "final three" party will look like, and it's becoming increasingly obvious that there's too many dang characters in this game. What's worse is that Gogo, the bonus secret character that I don't know if anyone found him without strategy guides, is effectively better than either Strago or Relm.

Once I have all characters I should have the Opera House and the Underground Castle to do before Kefka's Tower, as well as Strago's hidden monster at Ebot's Rock and the Cultist Tower. Right now the lowest member is 35 and highest I think is 38 or 39. So I think it's safe to say I can get all my characters to level 40 without grinding before Kefka's Tower. The question is: who will learn what spells and at what speed?

Which is where I'm starting to really grumble with the game's mechanics. It's really starting to feel like non-magic abilities are becoming more and more obsolete. Edgar's multi-attack tools barely do considerable damage, and most of Gau's abilities are weak as well. Looking online, people tend to turn Edgar into a Dragoon. But I used to always count on his multi-attack abilities. Using Magicite to try and boost him up isn't having the impact I'd like. Setzer I'm effectively turning into a mage. Gau's going that way, too.

Basically, I think my original thesis and test has reached the conclusion I was suspecting: the game encourages you to just turn everyone into a Mage, which stinks because it removes specialization. I was hoping that the stat boosts at least gave everyone a type of magic they could specialize in to give them a semi-class, but nope. If you go purely by that, then everyone's meant to have no white magic because almost none of the white-magic Espers give boons at level-up.

Still, this has been an interesting playthrough, and I'd actually love to play it again even after this. I refuse to rank these games at this point, but this one does a lot of enjoyable, fun stuff. It's not perfect, though, and it started the rather unfortunate "trend" of eliminating any meaning in character class over the next few games. Sabin's one of the only characters whose class still holds meaning of any sort, and Shadow... well, I'm just prepping him for the Offering relic so he can just cut foes to death.

Ah well. Still having fun. Would love to go back and do a better job against certain bosses that kicked my butt this time around. Can't wait for Final Fantasy VII to come out on Switch this year so I can give it the same analytical treatment. IX, too.

There is no such thing as playing a game right, or playing a game wrong, but I just wanna say, in all my FF6 playthroughs, My non-magic damage dealers remained that way until the very end, so maybe you need to find other means to do this?

For instance, Sabin's Blitz remains relevant all throughout the game, that's an easy one. Depending how much money you have, but what I do is I always buy 99 Ninja Stars for Shadow to throw, dealing 9999 damage. Edgar's tools yeah, in WOB his multi foe attacks were great, but in WOR he focuses on single enemy attacks. Choose Drill or Chainsaw, also for 9999 damage. Oferring and Genji Gauntlet? 8 attacks per turn baby. I slap that on either Cyan or Locke. Get the Rage Ring relic, and Umaro will be dealing 9999 himself or by throwing one of your party members against an enemy (which is awesome).

Espers being able to be switched in and out is a big part of this, so don't arbitrarily slap on this difficulty and limitation on yourself to only have one esper on one character, not learn more magic types or get different stat boosts, and then not like the results. Keep an eye out on when your characters are gonna level up, and then slap a stat boosting esper on for the best results, then swap back to whatever esper they had to keep learning more spells.

I'm not debating you, I agree that i think the game encourages everyone to just learn every spell and that's it, but by no means is that the only viable, non-grindy way here. But yes, spells in general become better than other characters' base abilities, like slots, dances, lores, and gau's rages.

kexx wrote:

Choose Drill or Chainsaw, also for 9999 damage.

Specifically, choose Drill. Chainsaw is a trap, since its 25% chance of instant death is functionally a 25% miss rate instead, and either one one-shots everything anyway so Chainsaw's extra damage is wasted.

Keep in mind I'm not trying to figure out what you can do if you know what you're doing, but what the game encourages. Granted, simply by grinding the Cursed Shield I'm breaking this rule a bit, and the fact that I'm conducting this experiment purely based on what I know about the game means I can't give a purely fresh look at the design. I will be noting that the game counts on repeat plays, however, both in discovering more of its characters' stories and in improving your combat prowess. If my playthrough has proven anything thus far, it's that you don't need to grind.

Also keep in mind that being able to "break" a game is not something I consider an inherent positive. Unless you're using a guide or have a lot of experience with the game, you'll never figure out how to break it or maximize a characters' capabilities. So I'm checking to see how this game stacks up on initial playthroughs as well as repeat.

To my point, I've effectively begun focusing on Drill instead for Edgar because Flash and Auto-Crossbow just aren't as strong (though, being based on the Strength stat, Auto-Crossbow can be decent at points even if not great). The thing is, I've spent maybe more of his levels focusing on MagPower than Strength.

Also keep in mind I'm not just sticking an Esper on the characters and leaving it. I'm actively and continuously trying to adapt my approach. I have no doubt if my video breaks the trend and somehow manages to get spread around, I'll get plenty of comments telling me I'm playing it wrong because who in their right mind would actually put the sneak glove and thief ring on Locke. Simultaneously, I've continued to use Cyan's Sword Tech and want to emphasize strength on his level-up. I considered trying a Black Belt + True Knight + Retort set up, since that was a great way to get him dealing some damage in theory, but given how rarely I got to take advantage of it I'm thinking I'll swap him to something like a gauntlet to boost his power.

I'm still trying to decide who I want to hold onto Atma Weapon.

Either way, don't expect me to be finding the most optimal solution. That's not the point of the analysis. The point is whether the game can naturally encourage a certain type of play, and while I can't provide a fully accurate and scientific approach (again, I've already broken that possibility), I can do my best to view the game honestly.

It's easy to come in and defend the game when you know the ins and outs, have obsessively read all the guides, and scoff at how someone would do anything on the Cult of Kefka boss but use Vanish + X-Zone. But 1) yeah, you only know about that because of a strategy guide or the Internet so it's not like you're clever, and 2) that's a glitch and clearly not how the game was designed. Dropping a Phoenix Down on an undead foe? Yeah, totally intended.

Now, again, you're technically not wrong about optimal ways to build a character, and that's one of the reasons I'd like to go back and replay the game. To sort of "try again" with my new knowledge. But this isn't about what's possible, or assuming that the game is good "once you know what you're doing". It's about whether it's good or not despite having no idea what you're doing, and if the game helps nudge the player in the correct direction or not.

Will be very curious to hear how the final boss fight goes, while trying to play the way you are. I still remember joyfully and gleefully playing through FFX the first time, unaware of anything about the other games in the series, and getting curbstomped by the final fight. It was strategy guides forever for all subsequent games after that happened.

A couple of years ago, I did the same thing -- tried to play FFX without doing all the side stuff at the end that gave you the ultimate weapons and extra experience (I had played it to completion before). That final fight was BRUTAL, and I lost and never finished that playthrough.

ccesarano wrote:

It's easy to come in and defend the game when you know the ins and outs, have obsessively read all the guides, and scoff at how someone would do anything on the Cult of Kefka boss but use Vanish + X-Zone. But 1) yeah, you only know about that because of a strategy guide or the Internet so it's not like you're clever, and 2) that's a glitch and clearly not how the game was designed. Dropping a Phoenix Down on an undead foe? Yeah, totally intended.

Now, we know through outside knowledge (the fact that it was "fixed" in later releases) that Vanish + X-Zone is a glitch and unintended.

I would dispute that it is clearly unintended based only on one's knowledge of playing the original SNES release, though. The Clear status gives magic a 100% to-hit rate. Instant-death spells have a very low to-hit rate. Based only on the mechanics of the game as derived by playing the game (as opposed to looking at the code and discovering that bosses were meant to have an immunity to instant death regardless of to-hit rate), there's no reason to assume that the former overriding the latter is an unintended interaction.

Although you're certainly correct that 99% of us DID learn the trick from a guide and NOT by deriving it from gameplay ourselves, so I'm not trying to dispute that it's at some level an artificial way of playing the game. Just being pedantic. (-: And FWIW, back in the day even after learning the trick, most of the time I would voluntarily refuse to use it because it seemed less fun than actually experiencing the boss fights.

I'm also curious why you feel that Phoenix Down instakilling the undead is a contrasting example. After all, in the SNES release, a Phoenix Down would instakill the Phantom Train, and that's also an interaction that they changed ("fixed") in later releases.

I accept your pedantry as a solid argument. I suppose enough years have passed where I'm used to thinking of that as a glitch, similarly to the fact that evasion does nothing as a stat and to instead focus on MBlock, which counts as physical and magical evasion stats (boy howdy is this game broken).

The reason I count the Life/Phoenix Down on Undead trick as counting is because it's an intended design choice that also can be gleaned logically by a player. If you learned that restorative magic hurts undead, then you may experiment with using Life. While most bosses you may not think to try it, a clever player may think to test it out and thus be rewarded for thinking outside the box.

Using Vanish on the enemy is really outside the box, though. It's so outside the box it is in another box entirely. There's nothing in the game that would indicate it should be tried, and then combined with X-Zone.

However, to more go with your point, I think the idea of using Cure/Life on undead was better telegraphed in earlier Final Fantasy games, and therefore if you really are coming in to FFVI fresh then it may not be as instinctual to a new player.

As I said, this is an imperfect experiment. Nevertheless, I do think there's enough that a modern player can go back and enjoy it, should they be down with its combat style. I think the real mechanics of FFVI aren't in the combat itself, but how you build and power your party.

So close to completion! Gotta do some file conversion and moving before I can record anymore (stupid small hard-drive on a laptop). Hoping to resume tonight and perhaps finish tomorrow, depending on how long it takes to convert and move the remaining files.

Anywho, don't want to say too much at this point other than the Cultist's Tower being the perfect example of why this game does and does not work, depending on your perspective. In playthroughs past I just stuck the Moogle's Charm on Mog and fought the boss with Wall Rings and abundant use of Life 3. This time I decided to keep the Wall Rings and Life 3, but ditch the Moogle Charm. I wanted to try and do this tower "as intended". Y'know what? I learned stuff today! Life 3, Osmose, Demi and Quarter all bypass Reflect, and if you multi-cast on your whole Reflected party, the effects will stack on enemies. It was an interesting tower to better learn how the game works a bit, with many of the encounters becoming puzzles. In fact, it kind of amazes me I never used Osmose in prior playthroughs. So much cash wasted on Tinctures!

But it is not without its issues. If I truly went in knowing nothing, then there's no chance I'd have completed the tower in one go. In fact, I don't know how many attempts it would have taken. This is another example of "we had guides" and other such assistance going in. Of course, back then, we might have been fine coming back to it later, attempting it several times over the course of a week, etc. because we were younger (I was roughly 10 when this game first released) and had more time (at least, many of us did... I know some GWJers were already in or past College by time this came out).

If you're coming to FFVI today, however, it's a big ol' bottle of "ain't nobody got time for that". FFVI, like many other games, is designed with the intent to master on multiple playthroughs. But today, people want to feel like they've got a grip on mechanics on a single playthrough so "mastering" it doesn't even come into the equation. To this end I feel like FFVI can still be rewarding, but not if you go in and just one-and-done it. Of course, with the Internet you can also use guides and all that, and sure enough I've used some myself, but if you're regurgitating someone else's discovery then... is it really fun?

I'd need someone that makes liberal use of guides to help me out on that one.

"Don't want to say too much", I says, and then spew forth three paragraphs. Good thing there's not much FF news in here, I feel like I'm keeping the thread alive for the time being.

I do really want those dates for FFVII and FFIX, though, because I feel like each game took the Magicite concept and ran different ways with it. I already wanted to look at both, but through this lens I feel like I can get even more out of a replay of IX in particular.

So at this stage I really don't have much to add regarding my FFVI playthrough. I'm ready to stumble on in to Kefka's Tower, and I'm probably going to try and draft some of the first pages of my video script. That or get lazy and just play some World of Final Fantasy while it's slow.

But in a brief discussion with my titular podcast buddy in Google Hangouts, we began to wonder what would happen if Square Enix really did give the reins of Final Fantasy to Yoko Taro. Would he make it an action-RPG? Would he revert to something more Turn-Based or ATB? Would he reduce the blood content or keep it violent and risk an M-Rating (which I believe would be the first in the mainline series)? Would it have multiple endings or would he leave that as a Nier/Drakengard trope/staple and keep Final Fantasy as a single linear quest?

I then began to wonder if there are other people working at or for Square Enix that I might want to also see take the helm. People from perhaps outside the franchise that might bring something fresh, or even those from within but elsewhere. So, I decided to put together a list of potential candidates and see what people thought. Keep in mind this is strictly theorizing for the next mainline single-player game, and is also just for fun.

Naoki Yoshida a.k.a. Yoshi-P (Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn)
I believe his technical position at this point is Producer, and I don't know if he retains any direction duties on the expansion packs. Nevertheless, he is often credited as saving Final Fantasy XIV, and many folks within and without GamersWithJobs often credit the MMO as being the "secret best Final Fantasy". In some ways he seems like an "obvious choice", but only if you trust the FFXIV team to be fine without him from here on or if you think he'd be willing or able to take the reins on another big project that... well, to a lot of people, also needs to be rescued. While I feel FFXV has received a more positive reception compared to FFXIII, I think the fanbase as a whole is still yearning for "the glory days", whatever those days might be to that person's subjective nostalgia. That's a lot of pressure to put onto someone. Nevertheless, I think a lot of people out there would be excited to hear Yoshida was going to helm the next big Final Fantasy.

Kensuke Nakahara (Bravely Default, Bravely Second)
I already thought this was a long-shot, but in researching the guy it turns out he works at CyGames now. Nevermind!

Keisuke Miyauchi (Octopath Traveler), Atsushi Hashimoto (I Am Setsuna, Lost Sphear)
These are the long-shots for a variety of reasons, but I figured I'd cover them anyway. After all, they're both designers that developed games intended to appeal to a more old-fashioned style of mechanics. However, that either would hop on board as director of a high-budget, mainline Final Fantasy is near impossible for several factors, the first being that Square Enix may still lack the confidence that such a combat system could succeed on a AAA scale. That I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear received such lukewarm reception means that, honestly, Tokyo RPG Factory is either going to be confined to an assistant studio to help other projects out or has one third and final attempt at a game before being shuttered. They won't get a Final Fantasy. Keisuke Miyauchi is technically a possibility for the same reasons Kensuke Nakahara might have been, in that their throwback mechanics managed to be a success. The problem, however, is roughly the same: Keisuke actually works for Acquire, not Square Enix. So unless there's some corporate ownership I'm not aware of, or Square Enix decides to work with a company outside their own offices on the next AAA Final Fantasy blockbuster, the odds of such a director are astronomically lower than they already were. Nevertheless, figured I'd cover them here.

Akitoshi Kawazu (SaGa franchise, Final Fantasy II)
I don't think it's likely, but at the same time to save the Final Fantasy franchise your best bet might be to get one of the guys that was there at the beginning. The only entry in the franchise he was responsible for designing was Final Fantasy II, whose mechanics were later spun off and evolved in the SaGa franchise that is largely his baby. He's mostly been a producer, but he returned to game design with the release of SaGa: Scarlet Grace, which is still a Japan-only product from what I can tell. He's got quite a resume in direction and scenario design. Unlikely perhaps, but not impossible that Square Enix would bring Kawazu in if you're hoping to bring the franchise "back to its glory days", as vague and potentially misguided a concept as that might be.

Hiroki Chiba (World of Final Fantasy)
Am I grasping at straws? Probably! But while I think Square Enix wants Final Fantasy to be a big deal again, I also think they're more likely to go for "new" talent on the rise as opposed to relying on older developers. Hiroki Chiba was originally a scenario and event writer for Dirge of Cerberus (ouch) and Final Fantasy Type-0 before designing and directing World of Final Fantasy. Given that Hajime Tabata was selected to direct FFXV after his work on Crisis Core and Type-0, I don't think it's impossible that Hiroki Chiba might have a chance himself, and World of Final Fantasy is both a love-letter to the franchise history while also trying new things, attempting to appeal to a younger audience, and being anime as all get-out. But from what I can gather, the franchise had respectable sales without being noteworthy. I'd say it's more likely Hiroki sticks to spin-offs or is given a chance at an original IP, but not a full-fledged Final Fantasy.

Yuji Horii (Dragon Quest franchise, Chrono Trigger)
I mean... I... because... I mean... maybe? I only include Chrono Trigger to show that he worked with Square before the merger, so it's not impossible, but the real question is whether you'd take the Dragon Quest guy and put him in charge of Final Fantasy. It seems like such a weird move. If I were thinking like an EA or Activision executive, it's a no brainer because look at the success Dragon Quest XI just achieved. And who knows, maybe someone at Square Enix would feel the same. I'm just... I mean I'm putting this here to cover all the bases, and because I'm curious if people would want this, but I... don't think it's gonna happen.

Yoko Taro (Drakengard/Nier)
In trying to do some digging on all these projects I was surprised at how increasingly likely it was becoming that Yoko Taro could possibly be put in charge of a Final Fantasy. Partially because of timing, as he just shipped a game and thus would be free to begin on pre-production. I also mean that he's got a lot of positive things going for him now. His old failures are becoming cult-classics that guarantee the man himself has a fanbase, and while that fanbase may be small compared to the whole of Final Fantasy, you're bound to create headlines. Yoko Taro has become a character ever since he put on that Emil mask, and as such he has brand power. He's a personality, and personality does a lot in this social media driven age. Nier: Automata managed to become a top seller on Steam and it has sold over 3 million copies despite being an incredibly niche title. I thought Yoko Taro directing Final Fantasy XVI might be a dream, but when you look around it's actually not a bad idea. So... could it actually happen? And if it does, would it be a real monkey's paw of a situation? Where it turns out putting him on such a project with such high expectations is the worst thing that could happen to the guy, and in the end the game is a mess of compromises, inconsistent vision, and yet another disaster in the long line of post-PS2 disasters? I really, really don't know.

Who most certainly will not be directing the next mainline Final Fantasy
Tetsuya Nomura, for sure.

Who do YOU think might have a chance?
As much as I'd like to believe, I do not have my fingers on the pulse of the industry, nor do I really understand how executives think. I actually play games, after all (easy laughs, applause, wait for the "laugh" sign to dim). So perhaps some of you know a few designers or directors working in them Square Enix offices that might actually stand a chance at directing a Final Fantasy.

As for me, aside from Yoko Taro, I actually think the most likely option is Naoki Yoshida. I think the only barrier is whether he can leave Final Fantasy XIV or not, which many of you would know better than I would. Otherwise, I'm just not sure who would have the experience and track record to be reliable with such a big name to the company, especially after the literal trainwreck that was FFXV.

I noticed on Naoki Yoshida's wikipedia page that he's listed in the "Special Thanks" sections of several FF games' credits like FFXV, Brave Exvius, and Dissidia. I'm curious what impact he's had on those games behind the scenes. He does seem like a good candidate to me. With the new Shadowbringers expansion coming out for FF14 this year, the team will have 3 expansions under their belt. Perhaps someone else could take the reins. They've got a lot of story stuff planned out far in advance, so the roadmap could be pretty clear by now. Anyway, I'd love to see what he could do for FF16 given the opportunity.

I'm afraid that the stress of developing a mainline Final Fantasy would actually kill Yoko Taro.

beanman101283 wrote:

I'm afraid that the stress of developing a mainline Final Fantasy would actually kill Yoko Taro.

It nearly killed Yasumi Matsuno. But it would be fantastic to see Matsuno* do another Final Fantasy (XII is my favorite). With basically the same team (Hitoshi Sakimoto for the music, Akihiko Yoshida for the character design), and without the depression/overwork part.

* who's not with SquareEnix anymore.

Yeah, I really liked FFXII too. FFVII was my favourite, but I think FFXII might be my current. I haven't tried anything past FFXIII (which I hated).

bobbywatson wrote:
beanman101283 wrote:

I'm afraid that the stress of developing a mainline Final Fantasy would actually kill Yoko Taro.

It nearly killed Yasumi Matsuno. But it would be fantastic to see Matsuno* do another Final Fantasy (XII is my favorite). With basically the same team (Hitoshi Sakimoto for the music, Akihiko Yoshida for the character design), and without the depression/overwork part.

* who's not with SquareEnix anymore.

I heartily approve and second the wish.

Dakuna wrote:

Yeah, I really liked FFXII too. FFVII was my favourite, but I think FFXII might be my current. I haven't tried anything past FFXIII (which I hated).

FFVII was my fave until XII. Have played every mainline game in the series, but those two and IX are my faves. With VI being a close fourth.

I want Matsuno to do more games period. I didn't bring him up because it's well known he has his own company now doing consulting and stuff. Aside from Unsung Story, which is now in development under a new studio, I haven't really seen his style of story anywhere in recent times.

Having started but not finished FFXII, I was really liking the story and setting, but the combat made me wish I was playing Xenoblade Chronicles instead. I think I'd like Matsuno's writing with more traditional turn-based mechanics, truth told.

I'd argue FF did kill him. He hasn't undertaken anything significant and overly stressful since. Can't blame him, but it sucks as I enjoy so much of his work.

Yoshi-P, hands down. This man knows his MMORPGs! He used to be a world ranking Age of Camelot (MMO) player, was leading the charge on FFXI Online, then they moved him across to FFXIV 1.0 to reboot it (my wife, brother and I bought collectors editions and FFXIV 1.0 was terrible like you wouldn't imagine - we're talking about NO AUCTION HOUSE and having to literally check every player's inventory to buy crafting materials/goods). Without a doubt, FFXIV would have failed if he wasn't responsible for its redesign. It's still probably too early for SE to pump out a third FF MMORPG (it would cannibalise subscriptions from FFXIV). But should they do so, he would be the smartest pick to produce the next generation MMORPG.