Final Fantasy XV Has Been Grounded
When Tetsuya Nomura was handed the Final Fantasy Versus XIII project in 2006 he described it as being a project in which he would bring together all the quintessential elements which he considered to be most important for a Final Fantasy title, and chief among these elements was the ability to traverse a seamless world map in an airship. Nomura had his priorities right – there are few [if any] Final Fantasy fans who would not be able to identify with the heady rush of excitement upon first gaining access to one’s very own airship in any given Final Fantasy title. It is a universal empowering thrill which has sadly been missing from the numbered Final Fantasy series since the last great entry of the Sakaguchi era, Final Fantasy IX. This week Final Fantasy XV‘s new director, Hajime Tabata, tore up Tetsuya Nomura’s longstanding commitment to fans during a Gamespot interview, saying that the team was still looking into the possibility but that it might be too technologically challenging to implement.
“To be completely honest, that’s still to be determined, but the development team does understand that this is something everyone is looking forward to. It is a huge technical challenge; as mentioned earlier, all areas are connected. We are trying to tackle that challenge. So at the moment we can’t say yes, they will be included, but we do want to and we’re ready to take on that challenge and see what can be done.”
Travel by car has been implemented, travel by train has been implemented, travel by Chocobo has been implemented, but travel by airship is just too damn hard. This week Tabata has also claimed that players will have the ability to jump to the elevation of birds in the sky, so one wonders whether airships really are too difficult for the team to implement, or whether Tabata simply did not want to overshadow that damn car!
In other news for the week, plans for Final Fantasy XV‘s demo have changed. The demo, which will be accessible to owners of first-run copies of Final Fantasy Type-0, was set to feature a stretch of gameplay involving Final Fantasy XV‘s iconic physics-challenged car – not any more. The team decided to change the region in which the demo takes place to a location where story events have rendered the car temporarily inaccessible, so as to acclimatise players to the feel of on-foot exploration. Given that demos are supposed to constitute a representative sample of the finished product, and given that car travel is such an inextricable part of the final product that it has been given clear priority over travel via airship, then one might have hoped that car travel would make an appearance in the demo so that fans will be able to get a sense of how car travel is set to change the series gameplay formula. No such luck.
Holiday Season Sees Kickstarter Fortunes Firm, Yet Money Donated to Games Is Still Down
In October of last year Lusipurr.com ran a story which looked at Kickstarter’s fortunes over the first ten months of the year, and projected that by the end of 2014 twenty-seven million dollars would have been donated to game projects, and that three hundred and fifty projects would have been successfully funded – indicating a steep decline from Kickstarter’s 2013 earnings.
“the first half of 2014 has seen 13.5 million dollars donated to Kickstarter, with donations projected to reach roughly twenty-seven million dollars by the end of 2014 – less than half of the fifty-eight million dollars that was pledged in 2013. The number of successfully funded projects has declined, albeit by a smaller amount. The first half of 2014 has seen 175 projects successfully funded, with roughly 350 projects projected to be funded by the year’s end, which constitutes a decline of roughly twenty percent when compared to the 446 projects that were successfully funded in 2013.”
As it turns out these October projections were a little too pessimistic, though they were not off to anywhere close to the extent that Kickstarter would have one believe. Kickstarter wasted no time in hitting back at naysayers on the sixth of this month, declaring that 89.1 million dollars had been donated to successful game projects in 2014, representing a drop-off of about fifteen percent – this is nowhere close to being true, on account of the fact that Kickstarter has combined video game donations along with board game donations in order to make the total sound more impressive than it actually is. In reality twenty-nine million dollars was donated to video game projects in 2014, representing a year-on-year shortfall of about fifty percent. Surprisingly however, the year ended with more projects being funded than in 2013 – 465 to 2013’s 446, meaning that less money is being donated to Kickstarter, but it is being shared among more people, so we likely have many more failed Kickstarter projects to look forward to!
Playstation Announces the Biggest Sellers of 2014
This week Sony has announced the biggest sellers on the US PSN store, making for several lists that are interesting and disappointing by turns. On the PS4 front the most heartening aspect is that Lusipurr.com’s worst game of the year, Assassin’s Creed Unity, did not make the list, indicating that there is at least some hope for Assassin’s Creed‘s userbase. Other than that, it is an extremely orthodox list, with perhaps the biggest surprise being the extremely strong performance of a re-release from 2013, Grand Theft Auto V. The list in order of popularity is as follows: Destiny, Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Minecraft, The Last of Us Remastered, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Battlefield 4, Infamous Second Son, Watch Dogs, and Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. It is perhaps easy to see why the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity had Ubisoft shitting themselves enough to give away its DLC expansion for free, as the French publisher’s only berth in this list is Watch Dogs at the ninth position. This indicates that their big brands like Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry lack the kind of dependable popularity of Activision’s Call of Duty, EA’s Battlefield, and Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto.
The Vita’s list of big sellers is perhaps a little more oddball than that of the PS4, and one is very happy to see a Final Fantasy make the cut in the form of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster [it is not really HD] in the fifth position. Alternately, one is bewildered to see the top position go to Sword Art Online -Hollow Fragment-, a game which sounds like every FTP game one has ever seen advertised on The Pirate Bay, and one about which this author has never even heard of until now. The list is as follows: Sword Art Online -Hollow Fragment-, Minecraft, Killzone: Mercenary, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, Terraria, Need for Speed Most Wanted, The Walking Dead, Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition, and Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. One possible thing to keep in mind is that EA was briefly giving away Need for Speed Most Wanted for free this year, so it might not actually warrant its berth at seventh place.
The PS3 was apparently still a thing in 2014, and it was a little surprising to see 2013’s November release of Grand Theft Auto V beat this year’s installment of Call of Duty, given that most of a title’s sales occur within a couple of weeks of release. The list is as follows: Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Destiny, Battlefield 4, Tokyo Jungle, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Need for Speed Most Wanted, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and Terraria.
Finally and most interestingly is the list of best selling PS1 and PS2 classics, and it would seem that the sales of JRPGs [which dominated prior years] have now reached saturation point, with the only JRPGs to make the list being Legend of Dragoon in the eighth position, and Final Fantasy VII in the ninth position. The list is as follows: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2, Crash Bandicoot 3, Bully, Spyro, CTR: Crash Team Racing, Legend of Dragoon, Final Fantasy VII, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.