Editorial: The Enixsoft Production Team 1 Presser (and other musings related to the arcane mysteries of Gilbert Gottfried-Pachter’s surprisingly sharp genitals)

Well fuck me. I had already written this week’s article, and one for next week also, and then Square Enix’s Production Team 1 conference dropped into my lap. Production Team 1 as it turns out may be a bit of a misleading title, as through the chora of Orient gibberish and game blog retranslations, it would seem that all of the old Squaresoft Production Teams were rolled into Production Team 1 (and likely downsized) last year, meaning that, like the Jecht Shot, there is only mach 1.

I hardly begin to know how to frame what I’ve just witnessed, it was simultaneuously surprising and not surprising at all. Perhaps it was surprising in the fact that it was everything that I imagined it would be, which is no mean feat given my profoundly uncharitable spirit. What I imagined were farcical rivers of shit flowing from an out of touch dinosaur, and what I got was something akin to Squeeeeeenix voiding their bowels on my head.

First up we have Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Yes that’s right, 358/2 Days is no longer the most absurdly named title in the KH series. We have a title comprised of three words beginning with ‘D’, do you get Nomura’s very clever joke? Apparently Nomura has put a lot of work into the action sequences of the game, and has attempted to imbue it with a sense of great speed. Aditionally, they have attempted to maximise the 3D effect offered by Nintendo’s poorly constructed 3DS, by including many falling and flying sequences. The game alternates between the player controlling Sora and Rikku, and looks to recycle many of the graphical assets from the original Kingdom Hearts game. Given the advancing years of the initial cast of the English voice component, one suspects that Sora, Riku and Kairi will need to be recast, seeing as we don’t have an entertainment industry built around adult’s efforts to sound like ten year old girls.I’m almost glad that this game sounds so lacklustre given the 3DS’ terrible battery life, abhorrent region locking and the fact that the majority of users allegedly suffer malign side-effects. One less reason to fritter away my scratch.

Next up the the Final Fantasy Duocedem producers took to the stage to introduce Final Fantasy Prologus! That’s right, Duodecem is to have a PAID demo, and buying said demo is the only way to obtain Aeris (though I imagine a solution might be fothcoming on the internets). Selling the FFXIII demo was a ridiculous, mercenary and despicable move on the part of Squeeeeenix, but a) it was a highly anticipated game (none of us knew how awful it was), and b) it came with Advent Children Complete, so there was at least some component of the package which was a legitimate product. Final Fantasy Prologus on the other hand is a demo of a game that no one bar Luis Vasquez could give a shit about. Squeeeeeenix continue apace their decent into absurdity, which brings me to …

Final Fantasy XIII-2! And once more at the helm is that master of storytelling Motomu Toriyama! According to Kitase many fans (such as poor Lusipurr with his obscene Vanille obsesstion) implorred the FFXIII team for a sequel to the worst game of 2010, nay the current console generation. So rejoice Lusipurr, for you shall have MOAR of that abject horridness you so enjoy. PS3 and Xbox360 versions are being developed concurrently this time around, so there exists the possibility that the M$ version won’t be a standard definition, artefacted mess. Additionally the game has been pencilled in for a 2011 release in Japan, and a vague Winter release for the American market. Things could be worse I suppose, as Joystiq pointed out, the ‘-2‘ in the title could well indicate the subtraction of Vanille and Hope, and I think we can all agree that the game would be better for it.

Moving on we have Final Fantasy Agito XIII, which is no longer Final Fantasy Agito XIII, but rather Final Fantasy Type-0. What a fun buzz word, Type-0, branding can do what quality game design could never dream of. The game is now assuredly hip and cool, mission accomplised. Whether the title itself is still a part of Fabula Nova Cristallis is anyone’s guess at this point, as it is not yet known whether the name change was brought on due to the X-factor of having a title with a ZERO in it, or whether the game simply strayed too far beyond the scope of the FFXIII platform in its attempts to ape Monster Hunter. Whatever the case it has been pencilled in for a Summer 2011 release in Japan, is being released on multiple UMDs, and is allegedly being turned into a series (SE have already trademarked Type-1, Type-2, and Type-3), because polymorphic content has been such a smashing success for them thus far!

Finally, Squeeeeeeeenix showed an extended gameplay trailer of Final Fantasy Versus XIII. My opinion of SE is at rock bottom, I am filled to brimming with cynicism and bile, yet that trailer was amazing. Amazing in a way that, if I didn’t know better, I would say was the direct result of competence. I know that I’m setting myself up for an epic disappointment, but the gameplay trailer really did look like a game that would be amazing to play. The footage moved beyond the colourless urban and rural wastelands which have been revealed thus far, to demonstrate colourful and lush environments. Also in evidence was a third person shooting mechanic made available to one of the party members, dare I say I am hopeful for this title? At any rate there was no vague 2010 release window given to Versus, so I guess we can all just look forward to playing XIII-2 instead!


  1. I generally liked FFXIII!

    There is a lot I did NOT like about it, but my second playthrough significantly modified my initial impressions.

    I dare say I will like it more the third time round. Perhaps it grows on one?

  2. You know what else grows on you? Fungus. FF13 is like fungus. Minus the fun. It’s Gus, that creepy old man next door that always had Popsicles that tasted like chloroform and shame.

    I’ve decoded what all this means. Seenix has become a game trailer production company. They don’t make games, but instead create moderately untwisted eye candy that causes sexless otaku and their furry-suited Western counterparts to experience weeabagasms. This is their portfolio so real studios like Konami or Valve will hire them to make trailers for real games that will be released.

  3. Untwisted above is an example of autocorrect malfunctioning. I meant to type interesting, but untwisted seems somehow appropriate.

  4. @Lane: I’m just glad that I stopped playing before I succumbed to the same lunacy now gripping poor Lusipurr in the form of his Otaku obsession with Vanille (I bet he tries to feed her cake on her birthday).

    You’re right though, SE do make some amazing trailers, the Last Remnant looked amazing, and XIII looked like a Final Fantasy game.

  5. p.s. Claiming there is nothing good in FFXIII is just as absurd as claiming there is nothing bad in FFXIII.

  6. There’s about as much right with XIII as there is with Eternal Sonata. It’s a piece of software which works, you can use it, but I’m not about to award it points for that.

  7. Seenix hasn’t lost the magic; I mean, you see it in flashes, in the trailers… it’s just that they, like so many games, take “oh, we have series quirks!” to the extreme, assuming that as a “niche” hobby, console RPGs will always have as its fanbase nerds who think the quirks are endearing or make them special.

    So much that good gameplay and solid mechanics often get swallowed in stupid shit like deliberately obtuse crafting systems, side missions of questionable relation to the plot, or pointless grinding for weapons and levels just to progress through stages that are uneven in difficulty.

    Which is not to say that other developers avoid this shit. Morality systems in WRPGs in general have started to piss me off, because I finally started ME2 again in anticipation of ME3, and I’m just upset that it’s so frickin’ obvious how I can maximize Paragon points. I never feel any emotional connection to my choices; it’s like I’m a sociopath performing the correct moral actions in order to maximize a selfish goal, rather than having them flow organically from the game’s situations and who I want my character to be.

  8. If you don’t like the morality system, then play as a gray character. I have no problem with this mechanic when it’s done right. It was terrible in Alpha Protocol and Infamous, but I dont mind Bioware’s implimentation of it.

  9. You know, I have a feeling that there really is no hope for returning to the glory days of squaresoft.

    Remember when you went to the movies as a kid, and there were no commercials? Then they started to have small infections of ads before the previews. Then a few commercials. Then before you knew it the commercials completely became their own entity before the previews. Then blatant product placement within the movies themselves.

  10. Squaresoft is like Disney, gone forever, though we can still sometimes hear their distorted echos …

  11. You know, I have a feeling that there really is no hope for returning to the glory days of squaresoft.

    Remember when you went to the movies as a kid, and there were no commercials? Then they started to have small infections of ads before the previews. Then a few commercials. Then before you knew it the commercials completely became their own entity before the previews. Then blatant product placement within the movies themselves. Now I see people actually enjoying these parts, these commercials, these desperate attempts to distract us from something enjoyable to brainwash us into becoming their target audience to buy the unnecessary products they wish to shovel feed us.

    This to me is a metaphor for what has happened to squaresoft, and their diminishing quality of games.
    I loved their games as a kid- they were unique and original and offered a storytelling experience you could not get anywhere else. Then at some point they became a money grubbing focus group more concerned with trite entertainment phenomenon similar to the random manatee joke writers of family guy.

    Once they were an underground developer with something to prove to gamers and were offering something different. Now they are a big time corporation concerned more with profit than good story telling or gameplay. Less Radiohead (or whatever musician you believe has integrity), more Lady Gaga (that was for you Mr. Liles).

    But we loved FF4,6 & 7, so we retain the fantasy that they will someday create an experience of that caliber
    , but they have nothing to prove anymore, so they will go with what is easy and predictable- every time.

    Final Fantasy 13-2? Are you fucking kidding me? 13 was the gaming equivalent of KFC’s double down and now they want to throw in another chicken patty…

    Square-enix officially needs to be thrown off the artistic integrity roll call. Its official- they are a joke, a self perpetuating parody of their former glory, capable of nothing more than disappointment and shallow fan service that only people with ADHD or autism can honestly appreciate without feeling a since of being underwhelmed.

    I asked for a steak, not a McChicken.

  12. Sorry about the weird double post thing… not intentional.

  13. @El Hefe

    Mmmmm…Triple Down…

    Seriously, though. I don’t understand why so many people completely buried FFXIII. I can only speculate that people have latched on to some ridiculous ideal that will never be realistically fulfilled.

    The story was certainly not the best, but I haven’t really enjoyed a FF Story since 6 (I have yet to play 9 yet, tho). I’ve stopped looking to them for great writing. Instead I play to see how they can tweak the graphics and experiment with new battle systems. In that way, I very much enjoyed XIII and can’t wait to see how they change up the sequel.

  14. Most Asian games have shitty graphics unless they are stylized. Tales of Vesperia, for example, was gorgeous and cartoony. The Last Remnant looks like shit. Aion was supposed to be soooo pretty, but it looks ridiculous and washed out, like every F2P Chinese/Korean grinder out there. Square was never known for mind blowing graphics. I can forgive texture tearing, bleed in, artifacting, etc., if the game runs smoothly and is fun to play.

    Don’t make me dig through windows and select text commands. Let me push buttons and have fun.

  15. @DCS: Agreed, I certainly didn’t hate XIII and will watch to see what happens with XIII-2. It’s not a definitive day-one purchase for me or anything like XIII was, but like I said in another thread somewhere, if they can address the design flaws of XIII (of which there were many, I’ll be the first to admit), I’d play that.

    Also, like SN said, VsXIII does look good, especially now that they’re actually showing gameplay. Since it’s on FFXIII-time (a degree worse than Valve-time), it probably won’t see release until 2048, but I’ll keep an eye on it until then.

    All in all, I figure it doesn’t hurt to keep giving them chances. If the games come out and I don’t like what I hear about them, I won’t play them, simple as that. Doesn’t cost me anything to let them keep hurling darts at the wall in hopes of striking classic gold, you know?

  16. It’s not worth the emotional investment, nothing they make is good anymore, but it all looks good, which plays havok with my anticipation and subsequent dissappointment.