Square Enix Finds a Way to Ruin Final Fantasy XII
Let us just pose a little hypothetical here. Let us just suppose that you are an average gamer, with the typically finite quantities of free time and capital that the average gamer possesses. Then just suppose for the sake of argument that you are intent on picking up Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age when it releases in July, but then just suppose for a minute that you put picking it up on the backburner in favour of paying the bills [because you have already played through the vanilla game three times over the last ten years]. Say all of that happens to be true, “THEN FUCK YOU“, says Square Enix. Square Enix wants you to pick up that day-1 copy of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, and they are going to deploy every gnarled cudgel at their disposal in order to coerce compliance.
Remember how the Final Fantasy X HD Collection allowed owners to play the game using the original soundtrack right out of the box? Remember how there was no fucking around required, because that was just part of the game – and good thing too considering how fucked the new soundtrack was. Remember not jumping through hoops and slamming up against paywalls. Pretty nice, eh? Well fuck all of that.
Ever since Square Enix completely fucked Final Fantasy XV and firmly look to be traveling in the same direction with the Final Fantasy VII remake, one constant refrain on the part of Lusipurr.com has been that at least we are getting Final Fantasy XII – a HD remaster of what is pretty much the last great Square Enix game. But wherever a chance exists to just completely fuck something up, no matter how unlikely, Square Enix just have to shoot for gold by doing the single most fucktarded thing possible in any given situation.
If one wishes to play Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age using the game’s original soundtrack then one will have to pick up one of the game’s finite number of limited editions or collector’s editions – as they are the only versions of the game that will come with unlock codes for the original soundtrack. That is right: unlock codes; because the original soundtrack will be pressed to all versions of the game disc, but owners of the regular version will simply be unable to access it because it will be jealously locked away behind a wall of artificial scarcity.
Already the game poses a poorer value proposition than the Final Fantasy X HD Collection, seeing as it is just one solitary ten year old game being sold for $50 – but now they further sour the pot by stripping out content for anyone who does not manage to grab a limited edition of the game, Sincerely, fuck you Square Enix!
The Reason Square Enix Never Built Upon the Gambit System
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is the next big game that Square Enix has coming out, and because of that the remaster’s producer, Hiroaki Kato, and director, Takashi Katano, joined Gamespot in order to shill for their product. This is nothing out of the ordinary, but what is interesting is the fact that the topic of conversation briefly turned to a subject that Lusipurr.com has long pondered – and that subject is the question of why Square Enix never decided to build on their highly successful Gambit system. It really was the perfect halfway measure. It was tactical enough to please more longtime Final Fantasy fans, but at the same time it had enough realtime elements to appeal to a more general audience. It was a compromise, but it was a highly agreeable one.
With this in mind Gamespot put the question to the interviewees:
“You’ve commented before that you’d like to see another Final Fantasy game use the Gambit System. Is that still something you want to see? Maybe a Revenant Wings 2?”
To which Hiroaki Kato replied:
“I feel that the Gambit System is very complex, so it’s been really hard to implement that in other titles. But I do really want to utilize the mechanics somehow, maybe in a different form. It’s very difficult to develop around, so that might be a difficult thing to do.”
On the one hand it is very believable that Square Enix would just throw their hands up in the air and not do something because it was ‘too difficult’, but on the other hand they are just blatantly lying here. Gambits are essentially used in every game which has allies or enemies that are controlled by AI. The only difference here is that usually it is the game designers who set the gambits which determine character behaviour in battle, whereas the Final Fantasy XII team created an interface which allowed players to set this behaviour themselves. It is unlikely this was a particularly onerous task.
Rather, Square Enix has long seemed to have a corporate directive compelling their staff to describe anything they are not currently doing in terms of being too difficult – that is why a Final Fantasy VII remake and rendering the inside of buildings were apparently both impossible – until suddenly they were feasible. This is probably a viable tactic in the land of the rising sun where people are too polite to point out that someone is blatantly lying, yet here in the unruly West that is kind of something that grabs our attention [and ire]. One cannot help but think that Square Enix would be better served by just being honest and saying that they are omitting popular features because they do not fit with the current roster of Square Enix projects.
Hello Games:They Are Doing What Now?
Fresh off of their unexpected win at GDC [none of the team was present to collect the award from Mr Shitface], Hello Games is announcing Hello Labs. Hello Labs is a new division of Hello Games which has been set up as a publishing arm for independent games built around procedural generation – because that is going to turn out well. Hello Games founder Sean Murray went on to say:
“I know that procedural generation will be a small part of games in the future. Loads of the talks at GDC – whether it’s [Horizon: Zero Dawn] or [Ghost Recon Wildlands] – that are talking about procedural generation components in their games are super cool.
For us, it is a big part of our future. And making really unique, weird, engine decisions and allowing that to dictate a cascade of problems… And we want to continue going forward making new, impactful technology.
The focus is going to be on procedural generation, experimental games, games research, that kind of thing. We would love to help people avoid some of the pain that we went through ourselves. That’s something I’m really passionate about.”
From a practical standpoint Hello Games probably has plenty to offer small up and coming studios in terms of concrete experience in launching a procedurally generated title – especially in terms of what not to do. From a public relations point of view however, it is hard to conceive of a worse blunder than allying one’s fledgling indy studio with Hello Games, which has become a byword for a failure to deliver. In Hello Games’ defense, they appear to have been working double time since the game’s release in order to add more features to the core experience. They have thus far released two well-received major patches which add in more base-building options, and access to a new vehicle for planetary exploration. That being said, Hello Games still has a terrible reputation among gamers, and people are going to be lining up to root for the failure of any studio dumb enough to align themselves with 2016’s biggest pariahs.