Fantasy with an edge.
Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV has been highly anticipated for quite some time, especially since the initial gameplay reveal earlier this year. Whether it’s the cast of characters, roaming the gorgeous open world, or the combat, people are chomping at the bit to get that game in their PS4 or Xbox One in the near future. Today, Square Enix put out a questionnaire asking players if they’d rather pick up the game in the summer of next year or around the same time that Atlus’ Persona 5 is scheduled to hit.
It’s certainly a ballsy move on Square’s part, given that they’re flat out asking people if it’s smart to put out their product the same time as their competition does, and for some people it’s seen as an act of desperation. And yet, it may end up benefiting them more than it does Persona. Final Fantasy has been around as a series about a decade longer than Persona, and as such has a longer legacy and a bit more fame behind its name. Even with what the fans regard as stinkers – the Spirits Within, the XIII trilogy (debatable) – the series has had a pretty strong and consistent following over the years. It’s still one of Square’s best selling game franchises, not to mention best selling game franchises in general (look at how much the XIII trilogy sold). How popular is this series? Square could just put out a Final Fantasy game where your job is to tap the screen to beats of music from various games in the – oh.
Another thing that Final Fantasy XV has over Persona is that by going off first looks, it seems like a much easier sell to non-fans than Persona 5 does. In the case of the latter, the game’s aesthetic is largely associated with anime, and more strongly targets its fans. Nothing wrong with that at all, but looking at the trailer, with its skeleton pirate men and cats that can summon giant swordsmen, its not as big a marketing shoe-in, particularly in the West. The style, while pretty big in the States, isn’t the mega hit it is in Japan.
Final Fantasy XV, on the other hand, has a much easier sell; it’s four dudes going on a car ride from town to town and punching monsters (and people) in the face. Hell, there’s already an endless amount of funny memes just about the four protagonists driving around and seeing sights. Yeah, there’s stuff about invading nations and prince Noctis reclaiming his kingdom’s crystal, but even the basely recognizable themes have something for non-FF fans to latch onto. If three Hobbit films have taught us anything, people dig adventures to reclaim royal artifacts. Especially if it’s got a big name behind it. Noctis’ story may even become more of a focus leading up to release, but the initial idea of four dudes just going on an action adventure will be enough to lure people in.
XV also has something that Persona 5 currently lacks at the moment, which is coverage. Not even counting this game, the series as a whole has been in the relative spotlight since in June alongside the announcement of Final Fantasy VII Remake and the PS4 update, not to mention the fairly recent release of Lightning Returns on PC. Even with the hesitant press surrounding VII Remake’s multi-part release, people are still talking about the franchise in general. Square’s been giving out news of Final Fantasy XV on a way more consistent schedule than Atlus has with Persona for sure; in addition to the March conference where they’ll reveal the game’s release date, January will see a report from Square focused on giving fans updates on the game’s progress.
Regardless of if Final Fantasy XV goes up against Persona or aims for a later time, the winner here will be the players. If a Summer release date is the decision, it’ll be the second year in a row that a big game (that isn’t Madden or FIFA) has hit that season, following Batman: Arkham Knight this past June. Summer is typically a dead zone for gaming, but a big scale game, and a Square Enix JRPG no less, would be a strong arrival. Spring, Fall and Winter gaming seasons are pretty crowded with big games that come out on the same day or a week apart, which is tough on wallets. Spreading big games out is always a good idea, and if FFXV is relatively unopposed in say, June or July, it’ll be in plenty of people’s minds before the Fall gaming season starts.
Do you think Final Fantasy XV will go up against Persona 5? Which one are you interested in grabbing? Let us know in the comments below.