[Promoted from our Community Manager’s inbox, here’s another fantastic Guest Writer! This article comes from community member Chris Leddy. He offers up a three step plan to get Square Enix back to its former glory. You can find Chris on Twitter in case you have some, ahem, suggestions of your own.]
Listen in children to a tale of true horror…The age of WRPGs is upon us! Hark! and come unto me to hear the tale of a generic fantasy plot with Goblins and Dragons! Heed thy warning adventurer~ You shalt soon crave for the days of yonder, where the cycles between thine dusk and dawn were filled with silly haircuts and ridiculously large overbearing swords!
We’re currently in the middle of a draught, an RPG draught If you will; but you’ll do well to remember the days of SquareSoft and Enix prior to their merger in 2003, both were giants of the RPG genre during the 90s but have recently lost their throne to the sudden influx of Western RPGs such as The Elder Scrolls and everything that floats out of BioWare.
However, given the correct guidance I feel that Square Enix could be put back on path of righteousness, one full of third party titles, remakes and fanservice – Look, trust me, it’s the only way.
I proclaim a simple set of events that could potentially put Square Enix back on track, not only in terms of profit but also in the eye’s of the fans, here is my easy three step plan for the once god tier Final Fantasy developer to follow.
[STEP ONE: Remakes]
Geezus; c’mon, what’re you guys playing at? It’s been how many years since that teaser PS3 tech demo hit the web launching fans into an absolute shit storm, yet you still claim to this day that we won’t be seeing a remake until you’re happy with the latest Final Fantasys, well, we’ve all got bad news for you bub – that will never, ever happen; no matter how great of a Final Fantasy title you put out there, it will never beat Final Fantasy VII, there’s just way too much nostalgia involved, so do yourself a favour and just remake it, whilst you’re at it If you could remake Final Fantasy VIII and IX then that’d be great.
Whilst on the subject of remakes If I could potentially point your view in the direction of the Crystal Chronicles series, a spin off from the main Final Fantasy franchise that had its humble beginnings on the Nintendo Gamecube, utilising the Game Boy Advance networking ability to allow up to four players to play together. It hosted some pretty cool features including the ability to sort your inventory out through your GBA screen and talk to NPCs without interrupting the flow of the main game, it was great and probably the best co-op RPG to this day, however never really received the love it deserved in its hey-day.
However, might I suggest re-releasing it on the Wii U as either a direct port or a HD remake, perhaps even a true sequel? either way it’s easy to see that the FF:CC series has gone down a dark path of being genuinely rubbish – why not revitalize it with the very thing that made it great in the first place and the Wii U offers the perfect set up to do so, I quite literally cannot imagine a more perfect set up.
[STEP TWO: Theatrhythm]
Recently Square Enix published Theatrhythm, a title developed by third party developer Indies Zero, the game consists of some relatively simple rhythm based gameplay to both old school and newer Final Fantasy themes. It’s a tidy little title that offers the true Final Fantasy fan a good few hours of fun and fanservice.
However, I propose that Square Enix buy Indies Zero (Or simply in house develop the next Theatrhythm) and go to over developers and publishers to do collaborations, namely Nintendo.
I’m yet to see the sales on Theatrhythm but I’m willing to bet they aren’t the greatest, most likely mediocre – which is exactly what you’d expect from a developer/publisher that is allegedly wasting away (That is until they read this beauty!) however, imagine tapping the Theatrhythm franchise into a much larger franchise perhaps one with crazy, rabid fans; lets say, Oh I don’t know – Pokemon.
Even a cut of the sales from a Pokemon game would be crazy profit! Nintendo have been known to allow over developers to play with their IPs, so it doesn’t sound like such a crazy idea, the simplicity of Theatrhythm mixed with one of the world largest intellectual properties could lead to success all round.
You could even go crazy and have a Super Smash Bros-esque title, the rhythm equivalent at least, featuring music and characters from all of Nintendo’s greatest IPs, remember; Super Smash Bros. isn’t directly developed by Nintendo, so why would this case be any different? (Albeit Hal Laboratory pretty much exclusively develop for Nintendo…)
[STEP THREE: Stop trying to revitalize the Final Fantasy franchise]
It just doesn’t work; sure, mess around with spin offs, have your Kingdom Hearts, Theatrhythm and Dissidia, but stop playing with the format that works. Final Fantasy was a great turn based RPG, fans crave for those titles again; just please, please give them that back – FFX was the last bastion of greatness in my eyes (We’ll consider the MMOs a separate franchise for now) – and a lot of fans agree, we don’t want this pseudo-action-turn based RPG stuff, leave that to KOTOR and DA:O/A, get back to great stuff, go back to real turn based combat, throw in older levelling up systems, bring back the looks of older characters, throw GF/Aeons/etc around, but as they were – not motorcycles and silly tech (I legitimately took a guess on that based on early press material, as FFXIII was just too terrible to get into and actually find out what actually went on with that stuff) give us the same old stuff we loved; I assure you it’ll sell. If the true Final Fantasy were to come back then life would just be better, we’d be one step closer to world peace, a cure for famine and life would just be lovely.
I feel like right now Square Enix is sitting in the same part of Purgatory as SEGA, quite literally the only two developers in the world that know exactly what to do to fix this relationship, but just won’t.
Here’s hoping my simple three step guide to not being as terrible will guide them through this tragic part of their development cycle and back into the hearts of gamers worldwide.