How’s that creativity working for ya, SquEnix? Japanese developers have an obsession for creating something new. Whenever a game designers from East comes in with an idea for a game and its design, the Eastern man will tell you how it will be new and nothing like has ever existed because it was the creativity he holds that gave the design birth. A Western developer will be more grounded and explain that his design will be like this game with elements of this and that game, but mixing with something his own or tweaking these elements.
And it’s the Eastern games that are in dire situation.
A long development time has always resulted in mediocre game at best. Eight times out of ten the game is nothing short of disappointment and falls into bargain bins faster than rock tied to a brick sinks to the bottom of the lake. Final Fantasy Versus XIII has has been under works for six years. In that time Squenix could’ve released at least four or five games with the same budget and they’ve could’ve made money. I’m adamant that creativity was reason to this elongated development time, if you can call it that. Most likely they were trying to do something new in their minds, but as with many artists, the developers most likely never understood what they were aiming at, or didn’t have a clue what they were supposed to be doing. In other words; they were not crafting anything, but sitting on their assess and telling each other how awesome their creative ideas are.
When it comes making a product that you want to succeed, you need to remember that creativity isn’t the key. It’s the lock. Knowledge is what you need. Creativity is not knowledge, it is the anti-knowledge, fiction of the mind.
A Final Fantasy game is actually easy to craft properly. Combine elements from both computer role playing games and arcade simplicity to create deep but simple gameplay, much like what Dragon Quest did. Final Fantasy games could be played with the D-Pad and one button alone if done properly. A computer RPG has a lot of content, and story is there to frame the world and this content, not the other way around like Squenix thinks. If they want to make story the foremost thing, then they should just make new Final Fantasies into million dollar Visual Novels with quick time events. They wouldn’t be making games any more, but they would be making better products. Final Fantasy XIII was an abomination of a game. The staff wanted to avoid making cities because it was hard and lot of work in HD. Tells the tale of creative developers and how HD is taking its toll on game development. On the NES and SNES you saw large cities and beautiful forests everywhere. The story was there to make the player travel throughout the world and fight against whatever evil was there. Final Fantasy games actually need purely evil characters much like Ultima games. That’s why Xenosaga’s story isn’t as compelling as it tries to be.
I’m not even interested in Final Fantasy. I was around FFVI, but it wasn’t until much later I visited the PlayStation and later games. They were pretty horrible. At least Dragon Quest games let me play the damn game. Final Fantasy Versus XIII would’ve followed the same line of downwards spiral that the series and company has been in for the last ten to fifteen years. The merge with Enix didn’t do anything to lift the quality of the games either. Some have argued the other way around. People may blame on bad sales or disinterest in the current franchises, but the main reason is creativity. Creativity won’t bring in any money.
Final Fantasy I was created under heavy pressure. It was supposed to be the last game developers were to make under the same roof, so they put in a simple but complex story for a NES game, refined command system from Dragon Quest and overall polished product. It was made in about a year, and it saved the company. There wasn’t just limitations from going out of business, but time was limited as, as was the resources they could pour in. With such limitations they made a product that launched the company into a new age.
You can’t have a successful product without limitations. Allow creativity to take control and all the work has been for nothing.
This attitude really pisses me off. I’m willing to pay for my games the full price if they’re good. I paid full price on DonDonPachi Resurrection (shooting games will never be massively popular due to their nature) but I can’t recall what was the last game I paid full price before that on either HD console. Wouldn’t it be better if more people would pay full price on their games rather than waiting for sales and second-hand stores to have them?
Even if this rumour on Versus XIII is called false later on, you can mark my words that this product can never the money SqueNix has invested into it. As such, I’m glad that they decided to outsource their games to other developers. This way developers who want to make good Final Fantasy game are able to make more money and show how’s it done. This would be the best case, but seeing how the industry’s rolling I doubt that this’ll happen any time soon. Developers, please prove me wrong.