News: Finally Some Quality Control

This game is not of high enough quality, it needs more Lightning with jiggle boobs!

Final Fantasy to be Made by Committee

Final Fantasy has not been quite right for a while now. It is as though the series was not y2k compliant, and emerged from the other side of the millennium with an infestation of defects and bugs, causing it to misfire randomly. The series has had its bright points since then, but it has been a decidedly patchy affair on the whole. People have been suggesting for years that the Final Fantasy series was in desperate need of some form of quality control, and now it seems that Square Enix means to do something about it.

FF-Reunion has this week revealed that Square Enix has established a ‘Final Fantasy Committee’ – a group charged with watching over the series and bolstering the quality of series entries. While this is a laudable move in theory, one nonetheless harbours a degree of doubt as to how well it will serve them in practice. When attempting to solve a problem one is ill-advised to appoint the parties responsible for said problem to positions of authority. That is to say that any committee charged with correcting the trajectory of Final Fantasy should have been formed, at least predominantly, by people further removed from it than its principal creators. The ‘Final Fantasy Committee’ is comprised of Yoshinori Kitase, Hajime Tabata, Naoki Yoshida and Motomu Toriyama. One has no qualms with Naoki Yoshida and Hajime Tabata’s involvement in overseeing the series, as Tabata’s output has been sterling, and Yoshida knows a thing or two about salvaging an ailing project. Kitase is a little more of a stretch, as he does not seem to have been much of a potent custodian of the Final Fantasy series in recent years, yet his directional work on three of the four projects that he led in the 1990s may warrant his inclusion. The one real head-scratcher is the inclusion of Motomu ‘Lightning is my waifu’ Toriyama, who is held by many to have steered the Final Fantasy series towards its current seventh generation nadir.

Notorious belt and zipper fetishist, Tetsuya Nomura, has not been included in the committee on account of his being too busy directing Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, yet one dismaying oversight is Square Enix’s failure to include Hiroyuki Ito, the man responsible for creating the ATB battle system, directing Final Fantasy IX, and co-directing Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy XII. If anyone were an obvious choice for Final Fantasy custodian, then it should have been him. At any rate, while the committee may not be up to the task of remedying all that ails Final Fantasy, it may nevertheless be able to put a halt to the creation of true stinkers like All the Bravest.

Pokemon X & Y Starter Evolutions
This is one bugtype you might prefer not to catch.

X and Y Have Shipped as Bugtype Pokemon

In a move that is quite uncharacteristic for Nintendo, it appears that they last week released one of their key franchises replete with one crippling bug, capable of crashing the game and corrupting save data. As readers may be aware, attempting to save your game when located in the outdoors portion of Lumiose will cause this error to occur, leading many gamers to suppose they had just lost several hours worth of progress. In response to this Nintendo have pledged that a patch for the game is a top priority, and that it will be able to salvage corrupted save files – yet there is no ETA on when this patch will be available.

Fortunately for impatient gamers, a more immediate work-around has been found for users with corrupted save files. Allegedly, players are able to get corrupt save files to load by repeatedly hammering the ‘Home’ button during loading when the music begins to play and the screen is still blank. Still, as the saying goes, prevention is better than the cure. It is incidents such as this which perfectly illustrate why one is becoming increasingly dismayed at the growing prevalence of portable RPGs which only ship with one save file. Maintaining multiple saves is an excellent way of mitigating game breaking design flaws.

Kinect Display
Kinect may seem laughably nonthreatening, but Microsoft may have delivered on the promise of 1984.

Kinect to Place Shoppers Under Surveillance

It would appear that the watchful eye of Sauron that is the Kinect is not set to stop at watching gamers in their living rooms, and then passing along the information to the NSA. In perfect timing to throw a spanner into Microsoft’s hamfisted mollification efforts ahead of the Xbox One’s release, Mondelez International, the company behind brands such as Triscuit, Ritz and Oreo, have this week announced that they will be using Microsoft Kinect in order to spy on consumers as they do their shopping, so as to to harvest their response data, and to ultimately better target marketing at individual shoppers.

Our goal is to understand how shoppers see, scan, spot, show interest and select products from the shelf in the store, we can also engage and influence the purchase decision by delivering a targeted shopper experience. For example, we can deliver audio or play a video based on demographics, distance and even the time of the day.

When Microsoft created the Kinect it was never going to end up as just another sub-par video gaming peripheral, not when it is capable of stealing/processing the kind of data which virtually any commercial entity would find invaluable. Indeed, probably the only reason that Kinect is not being used for surveilance purposes by America’s law enforcement agencies is the fact that it cannot see black people!

9 comments

  1. Why does Ito stick with Squeenix? They have no respect for him there and he could be doing so much more elsewhere. The fact that freaking Toriyama is part of a Committee to ensure FF quality control is mind boggling.

  2. “X and Y have shipped as Bug type Pokemon” made me lose my shit. Hilarious!

  3. I don’t have that much of a problem with Toriyama. As far as FFXIII goes, I liked it for the most part, including the basic arc of the story and the ideas of the world. The script was bad however, and that had to be the fault of lead writer Daisuke Watanabe, who held the same or related position for such games as FFX-2 and a lot of the spin-off Kingdom Hearts games, so you can see where he’s coming from. Toriyama has an idea of what makes Final Fantasy, but he’s not able to push through a vision despite questionable staff support. He’s probably better off doing more particular work (like Event Planner) than directing the whole game.

  4. Watanabe is a hack, and undoubtedly shoulders much of the blame for how poorly the narrative turned out, but Toriyama still chose to make the game one big tunnel run, without any towns to break up the monotony.

    I’m personally a big fan of what Square sometimes do, where they have separate event directors and gameplay directors.

  5. Absolutely, it should not have taken Toriyama much effort to tell someone to redesign the areas a little better (unless he was just fine with it). But that speaks more to his ineffectualness as a director than his sense of what Final Fantasy is. I’ve just read some unwarranted reactions to his inclusion. Kitase too – he’s the man I want in there, being that he directed 3 of the all-time best Squaresoft games (certainly at least my favorites). People seem to forget that, focusing only on the negative. Tabata and Yoshida are fine choices, but their record may be clean in part because they haven’t done as much. Yoshida especially must know what Final Fantasy is though, given how A Realm Reborn has turned out. Then you have Yasumi Matsuno, and why is he not included. Besides not being there and working on other games, he had his own world-vision which was refreshing for the series, but is still his own and maybe not what they want for the series in general.

    I have reservations about how FFXV will turn out regardless of this committee. They can say they have all the elements included, but how good will they be? Square Enix to spend a lot of both soul searching and hard work to make it as good as it needs to be, and not let the announcement of it years ago influence a deadline. No one wants another decent-but-flawed Final Fantasy game; we want a great one. Let the fans enjoy XIV and Bravely Default in the meantime. But they may also need to cut Nomura off and let him finish Kingdom Hearts III if that is delaying the process. What is Kitase doing right now that he can’t pick up some slack? Lastly, Kazushige Nojima writing is heartening.

  6. I’d be careful not to heap too much praise on Kitase – his contributions to FFVI and CT were as scenario directer. Beyond that, he did fantastically well as director of FFVII, and then did an abysmal job on FFVIII.

    After FFVIII he became management – and that’s all he has done ever since.

    I don’t think that he’s the best judge of what is Final Fantasy – and in fact he may be part of the problem. I’m guessing that his approach to the series is very similar to Toriyama’s: pretty cutscenes >>>> everything else.

    – And Yasumi Matsuno no longer works at the company.

    – Also, I would guess that in practice this committee will be nothing but a circle jerk, where they sit around patting one another on the back while Rome burns… But, as I said in my post, it may be able to prevent the most offensive shit (All the Bravest) from being made.

  7. Since when do games need committees to make sure they don’t turn to shit? Really? Getting someone who knows how to make a good game is just that hard, I suppose.

    This just sounds like yet another please understand.

  8. Wat Mel said!

    Sometimes I think that SE employees prefer to jerk around the press than to actually make games…

  9. I don’t know how they could allow multiple saves in Pokemon without destroying the integrity of the trading system. If they didn’t allow cross-slot saving then it wouldn’t do what you’re wanting and if it did then it would be stupidly easy to duplicate Pokemon.

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