The Fate of Final Fantasy Versus XIII
The only interesting games to come out of Square Enix in the last ten years have come from Tetsuya Nomura. Kingdom Hearts, The World Ends With You, and Dissidia Final Fantasy respectively gave us crazy cross overs, Atlus-esque insanity and epic aerial combat to relieve fans from a stagnant slew of turn-based RPG’s. And now we’re being told that Final Fantasy XIII, a game that would promised the incredibly fun combat of Kingdom Hearts in a mature* setting with characters that don’t look like they just escaped a zipper factory, is cancelled.
After all, this was just a spin-off right? Who cares about it? Just keep reallocating people to the superior FFXIII with its memorable characters like Lightning, Snow, Broom, Hope, and Table** to meet the supposedly high standards of FF fans. It’s been announced that Lightning’s story will get at least one more sequel so gamers can continue to scream her name whenever they think feminists are trying to take their toys away. Unfortunately even a series that managed to tell original stories for over twenty years can descend into endless sequelitis.
So what’s going to happen to all of those expensive assets that have already been made for Versus? Well, there’s probably three different ways this can go.
Painfully optimistic? Yes, but it isn’t completely out of the question. If a proper numbered sequel is in the works, why take the time to come up another new cast of characters and setting to skin with turn-based tedium when there’s one ready to go, with more engaging gameplay to boot? Versus has the foundations laid for a great game and FF fans are already in love with Noctis, even if his name would induce head-table after being repeated by supporting characters ad nauseam. By FF standards, the rest of the game would practically make itself in the hands of a few Square veterans. Just add chocobos and some obnoxious expectations for obtaining the best gear.
This would be the ideal option since Square Enix could use more of these if they aren’t going to make good use of their current ones. Versus is thus far only Final Fantasy in name. Call it The Eponymous Narrative, freeing it from the need to appeal to long-term fans and bring in some new ones. Give one of Noctis’s currently undefined buddies a crisis of sexuality to bring in some of that juicy Persona fandom. Keep going with that crazy floating weapon idea and let people customize their load out for different benefits. Just do something new!
It’s okay, we should all know by now that Square Enix doesn’t always take fan feedback into account and that this is just as likely as the other options. I mean, nobody wants a remake of Final Fantasy VII or Chrono Trigger. What the world needs is an HD update for Final Fantasy X, so we can watch everyone awkwardly never say Tidus’s name on modern TV screens! Kingdom Hearts III? Nonsense! Long cutscenes and complicated skill management are tailor-made for gamers on the go!
* That is, the kind of mature that adults can appreciate with themes like self-discovery or what it means to be alive. Not the fake “look the blood and guts and tits and drugs and alcohol” mature.
** I only made two of those up.