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Square Enix Admits Final Fantasy XIV Damaged Brand 234

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-downhill-since-tellah-died dept.
_xeno_ writes "It's taken a year since Final Fantasy XIV launched to what can at best be called unfavorable reviews, but Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada is finally willing to admit that the (still subscription-free) MMO 'greatly damaged' the entire Final Fantasy brand. Despite this damage, Wada said Square Enix will continue to work on 'reviving' the game, with an upcoming patch promising to finally introduce such series staples as chocobos and airships. Even so, there's still no word on the PS3 release, which was delayed until the game was 'fixed,' nor is there any sign that Square Enix feels the game will be worth a subscription fee any time soon."
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Square Enix Admits Final Fantasy XIV Damaged Brand

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  • by bipbop (1144919) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @09:21PM (#37534634)
    FF11 and FF14 never seemed like they were FF games in the first place, so they didn't tarnish my perception of the brand, at least as far as I'm aware. On the other hand, FFX, FFX-2, FF12, and FF13...
    • I've been waiting for the franchise to recover ever since it fell off after 7. Some people like 9, but I'm tired of being an old fogey and insisting 7 is the last good one.
      • by vga_init (589198)

        9 definitely had its redeeming qualities. Heck, even 8 was a pretty good game, but the problem is that neither of them even came close to reproducing the magic that went into 7. Now I'm just convinced that Square got lucky with 7 and that was just a fluke--a one-off occurrence that will never be repeated in the series. It's been more than 10 years so we should all just accept that fact and move on.

        • by slyrat (1143997)

          9 definitely had its redeeming qualities. Heck, even 8 was a pretty good game, but the problem is that neither of them even came close to reproducing the magic that went into 7. Now I'm just convinced that Square got lucky with 7 and that was just a fluke--a one-off occurrence that will never be repeated in the series. It's been more than 10 years so we should all just accept that fact and move on.

          I think 9, 7, and 6 were the best in the series. I think part of it is how well the battle system is done in each game, along with the quality of the music/story. 8 was nice and pretty, but the battle system (which was so easy to break) was just not enjoyable over time. I liked 10 but then if you wanted all your characters to gain xp you had to switch them all out every battle, which was so annoying. 9, 7, and 6 had good battle engines for their time and that really makes all the difference for me at least.

          • by TheCarp (96830)

            I pretty much agree though, I have to say, 13 had potential. I payed it for...actually about 13 hours before I gave up "waiting for the tutorial to end". I am used to FF being pretty linear for the first 10 hours or so...but...when I realized there would be no opening up of the world, no towns....

            I liked the battle system, I would have rocked a game based on it...but...not a gratuitous battle system game.

      • So stop being an old fogey.

        I've enjoyed everyone of the non-online ones. Some were better than others, but I finished and had fun with them all.

    • I played FFXI for over 5 years, only stopping after life changes made playing too costly from a time sink standpoint... I played the FFXIV Beta for all of 10 hours before uninstalling with a simple note to the devs: "This game is nowhere near ready for Beta." I'm quite surprised it was released at all... but FFXI was a very good game for the brand, even if it was quite obviously geared with a large bias toward the Japanese market with North America (and finally Europe) as an afterthought.
      • If you haven't played in the last year, consider coming back. SE has done wonderful things - an increase in the level of casual friendly content, and raising the level cap up to 95 with a planned final cap of 99.
    • by genner (694963) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @10:15PM (#37535018)

      FF11 and FF14 never seemed like they were FF games in the first place, so they didn't tarnish my perception of the brand, at least as far as I'm aware. On the other hand, FFX, FFX-2, FF12, and FF13...

      Hey now FFX was a good game and I'm pretty sure the sequel was just some lame fan fiction that people mistook for a real release.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by the_humeister (922869)

        How can you even call it fan fiction when there wasn't any nudity involved?

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        FFX-2 had some of the best mechanics in the entire series; the battle system/jobs system was great, and it had a non-linear mission based storyline. I think a lot of people hated it because (1) girls and (2) it had a very different feel and mood than X. That was deliberate, I'm very sure. The theme of FFX was death, almost oppressively so... but in the end you won, and so X-2 was about life and optimism, and the lighthearted-silliness was part of that.
      • heh, the thing about FF X that I realized after going back and playing it again years later is that there was a lot of crap in the game, but the things that were good were so good that years later I basically forgot about all the crap.
      • I liked FF12 going on phase. I like turn based, but I liked that type of gaming too. I am just sad I can't load it on my PS3...
    • by _KiTA_ (241027)

      FF11 and FF14 never seemed like they were FF games in the first place, so they didn't tarnish my perception of the brand, at least as far as I'm aware. On the other hand, FFX, FFX-2, FF12, and FF13...

      FF10 was ok. FFX-2 was amazing. If you took the story tongue in cheek (like it was clearly meant to be), the battle engine and gameplay was just plain fun.

      FF12 was a bit too politically heavy, but it was fun having what amounted to a FF Sandbox game.

      FF13 was just shit, however. Interesting battle system, but the current executives at Square Enix must have a VERY low opinion of gamers to think that they had to dumb the rest of the game down to that level.

      I'm worried that the same stupidity has their hands

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        FF13 would have been a great game if they had included more than just a battle system in the game. It felt crippled as it was... like a final fantasy spinoff fighter.

        I appreciate how well done FF12 was, but they somehow made it as dull as sand. It felt like a particularly boring MMORPG with no other players. I appreciate how high the production values are on it, but somehow the fun got left out.

        The online FF's, 11 and 14, don't even seem like they should be considered to be part of the same series.
        • by _KiTA_ (241027)

          FF12 originally had either Basch (the soldier who gets screwed over before the game) or Balthier (middle aged sky pirate with the furry bunnygirl in a spygirl outfit sidekick -- aka, Han Solo and a disturbingly sexy Chewwie) as the main characters, depending on which version of the story you read. Then the director (Yasumi Matsuno) had a nervous breakdown from working conditions at Square Enix and they replaced him with the guy who did the SaGa games (Akitoshi Kawazu). Around the same time, the "Belts, Be

    • by Firehed (942385)

      Obviously it's all a matter of opinion, but they were all* IMO pretty decent strictly from a gameplay standpoint, and X held up relatively well in terms of story. I thought IX was crap and XII was mediocre at best, but XIII and (surprisingly) X-2 I found quite fun to play - in fact I'd quite recommend X-2 as a game with excellent mechanics, provided you ignore the fact that it somehow got Final Fantasy in its title.

      *I haven't played either of the MMOs so can't opine on them

    • by bhcompy (1877290)
      Realistically, it's not FF that has stagnated, it's Square. Their last great RPG was Vagrant Story(Kingdom Hearts is good, but not up to old FF snuff).
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      That's a good point, the MMOs really are different games.

      But as "members of the title", I think 11 did more harm to the brand than 14. I *could* enjoy 14 if I didn't foucs on the things I tend to focus on. I couldn't enjoy 11 past level 18 or 19.

      And, yes, FF13 probably tarnished the brand more than anything else.

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @09:24PM (#37534664) Homepage Journal

    It wasn't just "Stability and Performance Issues" that caused the game to suck so bad.

    It was, well, everything.

    A map that wouldn't show you where things you wanted to find were
    A bizarre bazaar and shop system
    No real story or major quest line (that I could find at least, in the week or so I spent playing it)
    A UI that was designed for consoles - which is ironic since it never launched on the PS3.
    Sloow animations on the menus. You have to hit menu (and wait for all the elements to slide in) then click on the submenu, and wait for all the elements to slide in and then click on "map" (instead of just being able to hit 'm' or whatever).
    Class system didn't make any sense.

    I dunno, there were other things I can remember really hating about the game, but it's been a year and I've tried to black out that part of my memory as best I can.

    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      It wasn't just "Stability and Performance Issues" that caused the game to suck so bad.

      Yeah, I'm not sure why they went with that in the article. It's why I included the link to the earlier Slashdot story. I mean, there were performance and stability issues (I guess) but they weren't what killed the game.

      It was things like XP rewards (called SP) being awarded at random that did it. Every time you did an action (like attack a monster) there was something like a 10% chance you'd gain XP. This made leveling horrible. It turns out that a Skinner box has the opposite effect if you're more likely t

    • Sloow animations on the menus. You have to hit menu (and wait for all the elements to slide in) then click on the submenu, and wait for all the elements to slide in and then click on "map" (instead of just being able to hit 'm' or whatever).

      If you find those menus bad, try to play Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Well, actually playing it wasn't bad...I break into a cold sweat everytime I have to open *any* kind of menu or overlay screen.

    • The Japanese have a different attitude towards gaming, or at least it appears to us that way. Insane hardmode seems to be done not through AI but by explaining nothing at all. They also don't tend to do PC gaming.

      Having all the configuration outside the game, in a seperate program that doesn't even start up automatically for a first time config... what year is this again? That was the days of DOS. In 2011, PC gamers expect something better.

      Especially in a game where tuning your config is so damned important

      • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

        As a US beta tester we complained considerably and were of course ignored as 'silly north americans' who didn't know how to play a 'real game'... Of course since part of us could in fact never finish downloading a 4 GB 'patch' during beta (it eventually timed out for quite alot of people), some of us could only complain anyways...

        All that said, I love the FF settings (usually), but FF7 & FF8 for PC should have long ago proved they cannot handle a PC game... Which is ironic since I can run both in emulat

  • The problem is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chispito (1870390) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @09:29PM (#37534704)
    they are still JRPGs, and the industry (outside of Japan) has grown. Western RPGs keep growing and innovating. I feel like Western developers learned from Japan back in the 16 bit era, but Japanese developers are stuck in a time warp. There is more to life than turn based combat and angsty teenage heroes.
    • I disagree, FF 1 thru 7 and still classics, it is when they changed and "innovated" that they went downhill.

      • I think the main problem is that design leaves too little to the imagination.
        This, combined with much longer game-play and not much better stories means that things need to be drawn out for far too long.

        In the older games, the character design needed to be minimal and thus you didn't notice how bloody silly it looked in the mind of the designers.

    • by discord5 (798235)

      they are still JRPGs

      It's true that the genre has done few changes to the formula. I recently picked up a few JRPGs after not having played any of them in a few years. I still had some fun playing them. There's a few design decisions gameplay-wise sometimes that really frustrate me (not having control over your party-members, insisting on a terrible skill-up system, ...), and sometimes these games tend to feel like a chore to play through near the end. Some people will complain about the storylines, but to be honest, if you're

    • Final Fantasy XII and Xenoblade are the two most WRPG-like JRPGs out there. They're like a perfect middle ground between story and exploration. Both of them are very critically acclaimed, too. You should give them a try sometime! This generation has been filled with mostly good-ish RPGs but few truly great ones, aside from Xenoblade/The Last Story/Monster Hunter Tri, and ironically those were released on the Wii, the system that "hardcore" gamers shun all the time.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @09:29PM (#37534710)
    No such thing as brand dilution. No sir. At no point did they stretch the brand thin.
    • I've never played XIV. The dress up game of X2 made me stay away from FF.
    • "Yeah I'm sure it wasn't 13+ sequels."

      It wasn't the sequels that did them in, it was that each game in the series progressively was getting worse because game development kept getting more expensive and difficult (shinier graphics = more time and money). So final fantasy went from being decent games developers could spend time to polish (last one being roughly FF7, but even FF7 you can notice declines in quality from earlier games) to stories wrapped in garbage gameplay.

      Japanese developers have not dealt w

    • by Xacid (560407)

      Something that irked me was lack of continuation. After so many sequels you'd kind of like to see some of the same faces instead of having to readjust to everyone all over again. Dirge of Cerberus was kind of a nice spinoff like that IMHO.

      Something else that kills me with the FF series now is how friggin long it takes to play. I'm pretty sure I got up to roughly 200+ hours in FF12 and finally said "fuck this noise". FF8 I think may have been around 80 and that pushing it. There was actually a /. article on

      • by billcopc (196330)

        I'm kinda with you. I don't have nearly as much time to play these stupid long games as I once did, and even back in my pre-career years, I still rarely finished any RPG because they were too damned long.

        What I do like is the (recent?) trend of a game that you can beat once, and if you feel like it, you can play through it again with all your gear to reach an even higher level, collect doodads you may have missed, or explore alternate questlines. Borderlands comes to mind, as does Mass Effect. You can "b

  • I haven't even played this game but I'm quite positive that the lack of airships and chocobos (which I'm about as fond of as Cait Sith and Moglies) is not the problem here.
  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @10:00PM (#37534922)
    Asheron's Call 1 sometimes comes up as best MMORPG ever. I played both AC1 and WOW, and AC1 was far more exciting. AC1 let you dodge arrows and magic if you were agile enough. AC1 wasn't the perfect MMORPG, drain health1 broke the game by itself, but it seemed worlds more fun than WOW. AC1 had free updates and they happened every month. AC1 had a bigger explorable area when you're low level, not containing you to zones. If your stats were primed enough, your low level could take on things far outside your level, not using some artificial level comparison rule(if monster over 7 levels, you can't hit it).

    However AC1 died when AC2 came out. AC2 was flawed in many major ways such as armor didn't work very well, and fighting in a group is much more profitable, especially with a tactician. People went from AC1 to AC2 and when AC2 flopped, people didn't flood back to AC1.
    So AC2 hurt the franchise far worse than if it was never released at all. Still, I think people are not sour on Asheron Call series. I bet if they'd release an AC3 similar to AC1, but with several basic things fixed, they'd be set.

    Sadly this probably will never be since they made LOTRO, and forgot what made AC1 awesome, and adopted WOW game design laziness.
    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      I'd jump into a revamped AC1 with updated graphics.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Still, I think people are not sour on Asheron Call series. I bet if they'd release an AC3 similar to AC1, but with several basic things fixed, they'd be set.

      Would people play AC3 if it felt like a mash-up of Asheron's Call, Assassin's Creed, Armored Core, and Animal Crossing?

      • by troc (3606)

        Only if one of the classes you could play was an Anonymous Coward :)

  • by jasonla (211640) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @10:18PM (#37535038)
    Ever since the merger, the company's games have been shit, and I completely blame the Enix side of the family. Square Co. produced some of the most memorable and genre defining games, such as FF, Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Secret of Mana/Evermore. (full list here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Square_games [wikipedia.org]). WTF has Enix ever released that was as noteworthy or even approaches the quality of Square?
    • by ThosLives (686517)

      I think I have to agree with this. Although, I think XII was pretty decent; given its style, though, I think it was done by the teams involved with Tactics and Vagrant Story which were, if I recall correctly, before the merger.

      XIII reminds me of Xenosaga II and III, which both destroyed the awesome Xenosaga (I) with its crazy linear gameplay and "narrative" loading screens.(Seriously - the story should come out during gameplay, not a loading screen!)

      So, yes; while I purchased XIII, I think that's probably i

    • Final Fantasy XII is tied with X on Metacritic as the #2 Final Fantasy game of all time. The only bad-scoring FF and DQ title to be released since the merger was FFXIV. A little more evidence on your part would be nice because your claim doesn't exactly fit with reality. Sure you have the right to dislike these games, I'm not contesting that, but when pretty much all of the critics liked the game, maybe you're approaching it from the wrong angle.

  • At this point it's hard to tell if they're earnestly trying to polish a turd, or if they simply don't know shit from Shinola.
  • Lets be honest: mostly no one ever accepted the MMOs as official Final Fantasy games despite them being numbered. Yes, the game is horrible, and likely many will never again touch a SquareEnix MMO ever again (I gave them too much credit expecting them to not be capable of doing worse than FFXI again.)

    But the Final Fantasy brand HAS been damaged big time and it had little to do with XIV. It was the horrendous XIII that had those honors. I think to this day I have not met a single Final Fantasy fan (in person

    • by lbbros (900904)

      not be capable of doing worse than FFXI again.

      At least from a commercial perspective, XI is not bad at all, being still in operation and (partially) developed. Having played it for about 7 years, I would add that it was not that bad despite clearly a very unrewarding set up. In particular, the main scenario (and even more in particular the Chains of Promathia expansion) are well worth the FF name.

      • FFXI's major problem now is that it's run into a brick wall with the limitations on the Playstation 2. Unless SE drops PS2 support and reprograms it from the ground up, it literally cannot expand any further. NPCs have to be shifted around constantly because of memory limitations. There is a maximum of 255 zone IDs, of which 246 are already in use. While the PC and Xbox users have had some minor graphical tweaks, it can never go onto the Crystal engine so long as it's tied to the PS2. I believe SE is w
  • You know what harmed the brand? Final Fantasy XI, XII, XIII AND XIV. Changing the basic formula of "you control a party and its actions in battles" and going with completely linear game play and odd online experiences killed Final Fantasy. X was the last game that embraced the Final Fantasy brand, since then its been throwing crap at the wall hoping it will stick. These games are Final Fantasy in name only, the magic, the SOUL is gone. Long gone.

    • The soul is there in FFXI, you just have to endure a bit of grind before you get to it. FFXI actually has four major expansions that are old school FF game quality storylines in their own right. SE did manage to create a true virtual world in XI - a perpetual breathing landscape that is ever changing, with memorable NPC characters (anyone who completed Chains of Promathia knows and loves Prishe dearly) and a lot of meat to dig through. It doesn't hurt that after XIV tanked, the developers got the green l
  • I hear they're also going to apply lipstick to all the game's pig models.

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