Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Final Fantasy VS XIII

No, no, you must be mistaken. I didn't miss Musical Monday.


I am, sort of.  I really like this theme.  But I'm not here to talk about the theme.

Final Fantasy VS XIII was announced at E3 in 2006.  The trailer, seen above, knocked everyone's socks off.  It was more desired then Final Fantasy XIII itself, and then it fell off the map.

This is understandable.  The Final Fantasy XIII trilogy of the time (XIII, Agito XIII (later became Type 0) and Versus XIII)  were being developed in one office, and XIII then Agito/Type0 had more of the focus.  XIII would be their basic title, and Agito was in turmoil.  It first started as a mobile phone game before switching to PSP.

Agito came out to rave reviews.  XIII was... mixed.  (For the record, I liked it. I am at the final level. I can see some complaints, but anyone who claims all the character are unlikeable did NOT give them a chance to develop. Especially Hope.) So Square Enix decided to create XIII-2.  That's also been... mixed.

One of the reason it has been mixed is due to SE's discovery of DLC which I've talked about before.

Which brings us back to Versus. Very little has been released about Versus since it's announcement in 2006.    Things have been mentioned, like there will be airships and cutscene and ingame models will be practically identical, and a few very incomplete trailers have been released.

And they have explained that not only has Noctis' clothes changed, they ended up switching the entire engine to another one, and the lighting effects changed so they were very realistic.
^That is the in game effects.

The lack of information been frustrating, but SE just decided to make it more frustrating.  In the leaks for the next Famitsu, Tetsuya Nomura stated that to speed up the release date, two thirds of the game wil be released as DLC.  

(I have since found out that that article was an April Fools Day joke.  My apologies)

Admittedly, he says it's because the fans are frustrated, but this is just stupid and sets a REALLY bad precedent. 

May I direct your attention to Capcom and Valve?

Capcom had announced post release DLC for Street Fighter.  People were annoyed, but accepted it.  Then people started digging into the files and found fully working models, costumes, and sound.  To say people are spitting mad is an understatement.  It might have been better if they were incomplete, but you could hack them in no problem.  At this time, several people have registered reports with the Better Business Bureau and Capcom has stated:

"While Capcom is sorry that some of its fans are not happy about the chosen method of delivery for the DLC, we believe that this method will provide more flexible and efficient gameplay throughout the game's lifecycle. There is effectively no distinction between the DLC being ''locked'' behind the disc and available for unlocking at a later date, or being available through a full download at a later date, other than delivery mechanism."

Valve for Half-Life 2 switched to an episodic model in order to save development time.  Half 2 Episode 2 was released in 2007 with NO updates since then. At least XIII releases trailers. 
Square Enix, if you want to relieve frustration, the answer is very simple.

Release information.  I will NOT buy a game like this in installments. You have no idea how much I was looking forward to it, but putting 2/3 of the game as DLC has pretty much killed my interest.  The game looks fascinating, complex, has a heavy focus on relationships, and... it will mostly be DLC.    If you want people to get excited, start by saying EXACTLY how far you are along.  The most recent trailer did not have complete voice acting!  VAing is all or nothing for trailer cut scenes, otherwise it just comes across as unprofessional.  You can release screenshots, talk about characters, over view the battle system, etc. 

This also sets a VERY bad precedent.  Valve at the very least has been upfront with how they were going to do episodes in the beginning and how the idea that it was supposed to cut down on development time didn't work.   But look at something like Kingdom Hearts, the other FF's or just games in general.  "We know you wanted it out sooner, so here is a third of the game.  The rest is $20 DLC on top of the $60 price tag".  "You can't beat the game unless you pay us more money" I'm sorry, but gaming does not work that way, especially for a longer game.  You will lose your customers.  People buy DLC.  I've bought some.  But changing a game style to mostly DLC is frustrating and insulting.  (This also ties into getting rid of used games).  You'll make money now, but you'll lose your customers in the long run. Capcom may often talk to it's community, but this DLC issue is using up a lot of good will very quickly. Square, you will lose even more. And what about Kingdom Hearts? People are getting VERY frustrated waiting for that, will you release that mostly as DLC?  

This is coming out negative, but one point remains.  If you want to reduce frustration, SE, don't release the game in installments and release more (non trailer) information in the mean time. I love trailers, but I'd rather an interview that gives background to the characters more then a new trailer right now.


  1. DLC= downloadble content, right? (Forgive my ignorance!)

    2/3 of the game??? Square Enix can't seriously expect people to do that, can they? The passionate fans, yes, but the average gamer? Not unless they place a cheaper price on the original game, since it's only 1/3 of the game. But even then, I don't like the idea very much. Why not do as you suggest, and show more content and/or demos, and get some feedback from fans if they're having trouble ironing out the kinks? Or if it's just that it's too technologically advanced for its time right now, wait 'til they're done making the game, because fans are just going to get even more impatient if SE releases 1/3 of the game and then leaves us hanging.

    This is really a shame. I was really looking forward to playing this game- not as much as Kingdom Hearts, but this did look really good. Now I'm not so sure.

    And Kingdom Hearts isn't much better. Yes, SE is releasing full games...but those games are all on different systems and apparently fans need to play all of them to understand the whole story. (Ok, I'm not sure if that's really the case for Days and Coded, but still.) So not only are we expected to buy four games, but we need the different handheld systems to go with it. It's really, really frustrating.

    1. Don't worry.

      No, really, don't. Turns out I fell for an April Fools day prank. In my defense, I would not have gotten most of the hints. This is NOT happening. There has been no word on Versus.

      As for KH. Yeah, that can be a problem. But KH3D might fix it. The 3DS doesn't have many games right now. People will be more likely to pick it up. And it has that recap feature so they can catch up on things.