Fabulous Final Fantasy Franchise Discussion Catch-all

That's basically every big game with a lot of hype going into it, right?

You're not wrong.

I finally got to watch the State of Play. Looks pretty fun! I still hope FF17 or FF18 introduces a story with a bit more levity than the last few games, but the overall vibe in 16 looks like my kind of thing - Witcher 3 but slightly more over the top Japanese combat.

Pixel remakes out for Switch and PS4 today.

Stele wrote:

Pixel remakes out for Switch and PS4 today.

That took an interesting turn. For a moment I thought you meant pixel remakes for XVI.

Now there's a thought. Instead of remaking Final Fantasy 7 in a style that makes it take a decade to develop, turns combat into a tedious convoluted chore, and pads out the runtime with low-quality filler side quests, what if we made modern Final Fantasy games in a style that allows them to come out more or less completed in a reasonable time frame, with streamlined and intuitive gameplay systems and reasonable runtimes?

I'm down.

I was always curious how well that mobile chibi-style remake of FF15 did in terms of number of players. It was such a random thing for SE to do, but I guess that tracks with all their marketing and development decisions.

Speaking of odd development decisions, the PS4/Switch versions of the Pixel Remaster include some nice quality of life features that are not in the PC version, and it's currently unknown when or if they'll make their way there. For example, the new versions have XP and encounter-rate modifiers, the ability to use the classic soundtracks, and includes a classic-style pixel font. In a Famitsu interview they said they're looking into adding them to mobile and PC, but it's not guaranteed they'll all make their way there. Seriously, why was that not a given from the start? I was hoping they'd be patched in to the PC versions today.

Also, FF7R's combat was perfect, fight me <3

Yeah saw the bonus info a few weeks ago and figured I made the right decision waiting for Switch. Rather have them portable anyway.

Question now is do I bother with the bundle, or just 1, 4, 6?

Probably waiting on sale either way.

FF5 is a solid entry in the franchise - don't overlook it. As an added bonus, the main character's name is canonically Butz.

I blasted through FF1 when the Pixel Remaster came out and it holds up really well in this version. Obviously still an artifact of its time, but it's short and sweet. It's pretty approachable if you're interested in the history of the series. 3 through 6 are all quite good, and give a good mix of mechanics-focused and story-focused entries. People somewhat overstate how bad 2 is, but that said, it can be safely skipped unless you want to play for completionism or historical purposes.

Why Final Fantasy XVI Is The Most Shocking Final Fantasy Ever - PlayStation Access

Final Fantasy XVI - Mega Preview - Easy Allies

Final Fantasy XVI - Impressions After 5 Hours, Combat, Gameplay, and More! - FightinCowboy

As the videos above indicate, lots of previews for FF16 dropped today.

RPG Site
Game Informer

I'm sure there are many others out there.

With the Playstation Showcase this week, maybe we'll get the demo this week as well?

One month to release!

The thing that drives me the most nuts is the way he carries his sword. It is just open by his whole right side - he would impale himself immediately! It is just comically dumb like the Buster sword in 7 or something.

Final Fantasy XVI Sounds Fun, But Series Vets Might Have It Rough

It seems undeniable that Final Fantasy XVI’s combat will be a good time, but if you weren’t onboard with Final Fantasy XV’s controversial action-focused, mostly single-character combat system, well, the new game seems to go even further down that road.

Yes, there are status effects and equipable items that boost stats and such, but according to Polygon, the game can quickly turn into “a brainless, glorious, button-mashing lightshow.” GameSpot is in agreement, describing the combat as “mostly [consisting of] mashing the square button to attack, sprinkling in some ranged magic shots, and waiting for [summon] abilities to refresh from cooldown.” To top it off, this is a solo outing, with the player only controlling one character, not a party throwing out interlocking attacks, defenses, buffs, and debuffs. This is arguably an evolution of what Final Fantasy XV was aiming for, but one that’s looking to embrace even more action with less emphasis on stats.

I'm interested in this one in part because its a reimagining of what the series usually does. Generally speaking, the higher the number next to the title, the more interested I am in seeing where they iterate and change up the formula. I'd rather a Final Fantasy takes a swing, even if it ruffles some (presumably Chocobo) feathers.

The Final Fantasy series left the things I love about Final Fantasy behind a long time ago. I play other games for that now, your Bravely Defaults and Octopaths and Crimson Echoes and Cosmic Star Heroines and Crystal Projects.

The games that carry the Final Fantasy name now have nothing to do with the classic JRPGs I love. If somebody, somewhere gets some joy out of what they are now, they are welcome to them. It's not worth the effort of getting mad about it, not when there are so many games that have more in common with classic Final Fantasy than 16 does that I still haven't played.

Wow, Kotaku's quote of Polygon -- the one you have bolded above, Farley -- is really not a fair quote. Yes, Polygon does say that combat can turn into "a brainless glorious, button-mashing lightshow." But it says that's true if you equip the most powerful of the items that are meant to make the game easier and more accessible. Like, the gear that's meant to widen parry / dodge windows, for instance. So Kotaku is taking Polygon out of context, quoting Polygon as if they agree that status effects and stat boosts don't matter, or that there's no element of strategy, here. When really, Polygon is saying that if you turn on FF XVI's equivalent of easy mode, the game's made easier.

And I'm not meaning to be snide about easy mode or greater accessibility, I think it's wonderful that FF XVI has this. I also think that Polygon's quote shouldn't be taken as proof that the game doesn't have that greater challenge, or a depth of strategy and build-planning, for people who want that.

Wish I was more excited about this one. I don’t mind them trying new stuff, I just haven’t seen much that has me interested so far. Happy to have that change but I think I’ll be waiting on reviews and maybe a heavy discount.

*if true* This disappoints me.

Not Even Final Fantasy XVI Devs Could Follow The Game's Confusing Story

There’s a lot going on in Final Fantasy XVI, Square Enix’s upcoming stylish reinvention of the iconic RPG franchise. Between the new setting, massive Eikon battles, and Game of Thrones inspiration, FFXVI can be confusing to follow. And if you feel that way as you’re playing, you’re not alone, as the developers added an in-game explainer because even the team couldn’t follow the game’s convoluted narrative.

I don't know that obscure or hard to grok plots are necessarily a storytelling detriment, but I recognize that's very much a me thing. I do think American audiences tend to put an alarming amount of stock in exposition over story, and ambiguity can be a storytelling asset in a ton of ways (centering vibes, design, emotional journeys instead of plot, lore, and backstory isn't automatically a flawed artistic decision.)

That said, I have never played through an entire Final Fantasy game (save for the original) but I've definitely been in houses where they are going on in the background. FFVII, for example, seemed very followable (both OG and remake), but just about all of the other ones I've seen seem impossible to understand.

A lot of this might just be me catching fragments for many games in the series, but I watched my partner play through the first twenty hours or so of XIII and I've never seen something that felt so plot-focused but narratively slippery at the same time. It felt like a bewildering dream (in an unpleasant way) so who knows? I'm super comfortable with games that are obscure, but something about how much that game seemed to want its plot to take center stage and how bad it was at delivering plot was abrasive.

I'm totally comfortable with too many factions and proper nouns flying out everywhere, as long as its all in service of making something that feels good or resonates in a different way.

(A good example is I don't think audiences need to understand the various board factions in Succession or know the ins and outs of the various squeezes, shareholder tactics, or in the weeds finance maneuvers to connect to the broader themes/characters/emotions presented in the show.)

I agree, Rich, and I also don't think that the in-game explainer that's featured in the Kotaku article is necessarily a bad thing or a sign of a confusing game. It reminds me of the UI elements in Tyranny or Disco Elysium that let you hover over something for a little additional explanation. I always appreciated that: the explanation was there if I wanted it, but having the exposition available also freed the characters to talk in a way that felt organic within the world.

XIII also had a feature that let you read up on the lore, and it made it fairly easy to follow the plot if you did. XV was easy to understand the moment to moment, but the overall lore and motivations were extremely difficult to parse. That was more due to the overall terrible state in which the story was presented.

Otherwise most of them are pretty straightforward to follow. They tend to get more esoteric and metaphysical by the end (see 7, 8, 9, and 10), but you at least know what happened and why.

I'm glad they're being honest about the flaws in XV in particular. They know people are skeptical of the series after the last several releases. But they're also going for Game of Thrones-style storytelling, and part of that involves dense factions and lore. To be fair, they said this came about after a full script readthrough of a 30-60 hour game. It would be tough to keep all that straight no matter what.

I'd rather have a Tyranny style lore compendium and characters interacting like they live in a world, frankly.

I also agree that keeping a big multi-faction/large cast story straight is a tall order no matter who you are. Ask anyone who has ever DM'd a homebrew world - getting lost in the thing you are creating is totally normal. Especially if it has a lot of moving pieces.

TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

I don't know that obscure or hard to grok plots are necessarily a storytelling detriment, but I recognize that's very much a me thing. I do think American audiences tend to put an alarming amount of stock in exposition over story

In my limited experience with Japanese art (especially RPGs), they are more interested in creating certain characters and situations, and will twist a narrative and metaphysics into whatever shape is required to get there. We westerners are much more interested in a believable story. Not to say either are better or worse, but, I've come to accept these different priorities when I play Final Fantasy. I've enjoyed most of them, but I usually struggle to fully understand them.

I don't know if this game will be good, but I love the idea for this feature.

I've also noticed something which might be similar in Jedi Survivor: when you do a scan of a Force Echo or of some point of interest, a database entry pops up, and you can keep doing what you're doing or immediately pause and go to the entry. I love that.

LastSurprise wrote:

I've also noticed something which might be similar in Jedi Survivor: when you do a scan of a Force Echo or of some point of interest, a database entry pops up, and you can keep doing what you're doing or immediately pause and go to the entry. I love that.

Yeah, this was a treat in Jedi Survivor. Some of the writing in those entrees was also quite snappy and fun! I never regretted when I opted in and enjoyed the ability to just move along if I wanted.

Final Fantasy XVI - 'Salvation' Launch Trailer | PS5 Games
got a Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy Tactis vibe - probably the costumes etc.

Final Fantasy Tactics was actually heavily influenced by (And better than) Game Of Thrones so that tracks even if there's not a lot of overlap and the dev side between the games

That doesn’t seem likely based on release dates and stuff. I think they were both just inspired by the same historical events. War of the Roses etc.

Hmm I know I had read it was an influence on something Matsuno worked on and would have sworn it was FFT, but it might have been FFXII and I don't have time to check right now. My main point though of FFT being better still stands though