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The RPG Files: Final Fantasy 15: The Death Throes of the Series

By Christopher Coke on September 26, 2014 | Columns | Comments

Final Fantasy 15: The Death Throes of the Series

Does anybody else feel like Tokyo Game Show didn’t get as much attention this year? TGS is a huge event but by and large, we’ve kind of forced it into the spotlight. This year, the biggest story was, by far, Final Fantasy 15 and the new trailers on display.  And, though the internet is all a-tizzy, I have to be the bad guy and state what should be obvious: that wasn’t Final Fantasy. That and more of the week’s RPG Files!

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Let’s get right to the point. Final Fantasy 15 looks like one more in a series of games so far removed from Final Fantasy that they don’t even deserve to remain in the franchise. Does anyone else remember how the series began? Epic fantasy stories, turn-based combat, and deep characters that didn’t cause high blood pressure from the sheer valley girl in their dialogue. There used to be Fantasy there, now there’s just Final. They’re in the modern times, the final steps before its all-in science fiction instead of the piecemeal elements of past generations. They’re sitting in the pseudo: the pseudo-future, the pseudo-sci fi, the pseudo JRPG. Didn’t they learn anything from Final Fantasy 13 – the most disappointing non-MMO in the series? (Which is also releasing on Steam, by the way).

There is a palpable sense that these developers are tired. They don’t want to be making Final Fantasy anymore. They want to be making new games, in new settings; games that are inspired by Final Fantasy but that have their own identity.   

None of this is to say that Final Fantasy 15 will be a bad game. The trailer, really and truly, looks like a game that I would be interested in playing. But unless we’re qualifying a franchise on pretty hair and flying manta-rays, it isn’t Final Fantasy. Just like FFXIII before it, what Square has revealed of XV has been lip service, a skin-deep iteration on a cash cow they can’t afford not to make.

That Bravely Default is a better Final Fantasy game than any actual Final Fantasy game since 2006 is just sad. As a fan of classic JRPGs, I had hoped that the profound success of the 3DS title, and the middling-at-best reviews for the XIII trilogy, might have clued Square Enix in onto who butters their bread. With the exceedingly long development cycles, it’s not unreasonable to think that the foundations for XV were set in stone before anyone realized what a hit Bravely Default would become. Regardless, pushing the misguided agenda of XIII into yet another sequel – further, even, with the new action combat system -- could be the killing blow for this generation’s Final Fantasy series.

But hey, a phoenix first has to burn before it can rise again. Right?

Quick Hits:

Since the last time we visited, Destiny has released to middling reviews. In a push toward post-launch support, Bungie has begun a train of in-game events. I mentioned on the podcast last week that I find the game inexcusable for the lack of content, poor mission design, and shockingly bad story; something went wrong at Bungie and more than any game in recent memory, Destiny feels unfinished. That said, the fundamentals of first-person shooting are rock solid and if you can get past the mindless mission structure, actually playing it isn’t half bad. These kind of events could keep me logging back in for a long time to come.

But could someone please point me toward a source that says Bungie will be updating this Destiny for the next 10 years? My research points toward Destiny as a franchise being developed, not that Bungie is prepared to treat this like the MMO they said it wasn’t. Console history certainly makes it seem like they may patch some things but, fundamentally, we’ll be waiting until Destiny 2: We Fired Our Writer before we see it reach its full potential.

Divinity: Original Sin has received its first real content drop. Titled “The Bear & the Burglar,” the update streamlines some of the lengthier dialogue sequences and adds a new rogue and ranger companion to the game. Divinity is a higher water mark for CRPGs, and since this is a free update, there’s no reason not to check it out.

Shroud of the Avatar is officially looking for your help to release via Steam Greenlight. Unlike many of the projects which appear through the service, SotA has received very public and very positive word of mouth since it first became available to backers. This is a great opportunity to support one of the year’s most exciting upcoming games.

Bloodborne, the PS4 exclusive RPG by the makers of Dark Souls, will be releasing on February 6th, 2015. If the combat is less stiff, I’m in.

And last but not least…

There are still people playing Dust 514. I’m of the opinion that these are either a) have no other online shooters or b) are already dedicated into EVE Online. Either way, pats on the back for persistence. In celebration of its not-deadness, CCP Games is reviving the Million Skillpoint Challenge, tasking players with killing one million clones for to earn the same back in skillpoints. Hear that guys? Grind! I kid. But seriously, get killing.

That’s all from me, folks. Let us know what you thought was newsworthy in the comments below!

Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.