Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Let's Talk About... Final Fantasy XV (AKA Sir Not Appearing At E3)

 Now here's a game I'm not looking forward to.

 Not so much in a 'I think it's going to be painful' way, more in a 'I don't care' way. Although I am anticipating it to be rather painful.

 Honestly, my attitude towards this game hasn't changed in the eight years that it's been in development. (For the sake of guilt by association, Duke Nukem Forever was in development for fifteen.)

 Lest we forget, this was originally a Final Fantasy XIII spin off game. The fingerprints of which are still smeared on it.

 Noctis was supposed to be the 'dark' to Lightning's 'light' and the duality can be seen in their names.

 This game should have come out a short time after XIII did. So it's at least four years late.

 Final Fantasy Agito XIII didn't come out around the time it was supposed to either. It was renamed Final Fantasy Type-0, and although it was apparently rather good, does speak to the total failure of the Fabula Nova Crystalis as a concept.

 Which isn't even grammatically correct, by the way. The proper title should be Fabula Nova Crystalli or Fabula Novum Crystalli (depending on whether you want the feminine or neutral form of nova). What they have doesn't mean 'the new tale of the crystals' like they want, it means either 'the new tale is a crystal' or 'the tale is a new crystal'.

 The base game was terrible, and the two spin offs were both reworked into brand new IPs for the series.

 So from the two games from the series that have been released so far, we can predict that this game has a fifty per cent chance of being awful.

 But there's also a bigger problem. It's a Nomura project.


 I don't like Tetsuya Nomura. I think he's terrible at his job, is dragging down Square Enix and represents an awful lot of what is wrong with the video game industry in general, and possibly all of what's wrong with it in Japan.

 So I'm not particularly keen on XV because he's directing the game, designed characters for it and came up with the concept and base story.

 According to Wikipedia, this is going to be 'a heavy departure from previous games, providing a darker and more realistic atmosphere that focuses on human emotions and believable characters'.

  1.   shows that the company thinks poorly of the previous fourteen games and their spin offs, 
  2.  shows a fatally flawed understanding of what that sentence means, 
  3.  begs the question of what they thought was going on in Final Fantasies VII, X, XII and even XIII not to mention an awful lot of the other games attached to the franchise
  4.  implies that they're going to confuse 'dark' for 'oppressively grim' (Kingdom Hearts, anyone?) and
  5.  grossly overestimates Nomura's ability to create believable characters or realistic atmospheres.
 Here's a pro-tip, direct from me to you: just because you can draw, do not assume you can write.

 Nomura isn't the only one who falls into this category (although opinions vary on how well he can draw), although the guy I'm going to bring up kind of can't.

 And I feel kind of bad for saying that, I've heard he's a nice guy.

 However, it's true.

 Rob Liefeld is a terrible, terrible artist, and an even worse writer.

 (I also have anecdotal evidence of this phenomenon happening with a person I once knew. She too has a terrible, terrible grasp of Latin. But that's a story for another time.)

 Testuya Nomura is the Rob Liefeld of video games.

 I say this entirely because he is convinced he can write and has all of these 'brilliant' ideas, but he's really, really bad at it.

 For example, if you've been reading my Let's Play Log, you know that one of my bugbears about the game is that no one ever mentions Seifer's large facial scar. But worse than that, I can't actually remember any point after the opening sections of the game where anyone has actually mentioned Squall's.

 I bring this up because the only reason all that happened in the first place is because Nomura designed Squall with a scar.

 Here's a better example of how Nomura is totally awful at writing.

 Yeah, for a day, but the fact of the matter remains that he thought this was a good idea for long enough to go into the office and demand it be made so.

 I've also heard rumours that he's gotten bored of XV and is already working on a sequel. Of course, I can't cite this, but considering that we got two XIII sequels and Versus XIII is now a main series game I wouldn't be at all surprised if this turned out to be true.

 After all this rambling about Nomura and XIII, you may be wondering what XV is actually about.

 As far as I can tell, it's going to be about a Mafia like royal family protecting a crystal and running a city state repelling invaders while the Prince is off having romantic dalliances with some blonde girl he has a single thing in common with. It's also going to probably have them be star crossed lovers or something.

 I'm not impressed.

 The only thing new about this entire premise is the Mafia thing, and even that's not that new if you consider how the idea of royalty came into being in the first place.

 This premise could be interesting, but after suffering through Nomura led projects in the past, my expectations are so low I can hardly bring myself to care.

 Furthermore it's coming to the XBox One and PS4 at some point in the next few millennia, and I don't have either of those, nor do I intend to get one.

 No, my console of choice is the Nintendo Wii U. So be sure to check back on Sunday, because I'll be talking about Nintendo's offerings at E3 this year.

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