Second, the Squenix CEO thinks the Final Fantasy team should "move on to create and generate some ‘next generation’ forms of play".
Needless to say this has caused a certain amount of consternation amongst the "particular audience they have now" who are concerned that they're not going to be "catered to."
So this dove-tails with a couple discussions i've had with people in past month or two about what exactly _is_ Final Fantasy?
I think most fans would agree that there is a certain character to the Final Fantasy series, and you couldn't just slap the name on a game from a different series and have people accept it as a legitimate entry. So how much can they actually change about the series and still have it be a "real" Final Fantasy?
So as best as I can tell, based on my own memories backed up by a little research from a couple different sources, this is what the Final Fantasy series has been, reduced to a simple chart format. (Note that i included FF13, but the information there is somewhat speculative. I suppose if you really don't want to know if Cid is going to be in FF13 and such, don't click the cut.)
|Main Theme Music||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Battle Intro Music||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Victory Fanfare Music||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Chocobo Theme Music||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Selectable Party Members||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||?|
(Edit: For those who haven't noticed the usage of the term in the poll, i forgot to mention that SHPB = Silver Haired Pretty Boy)
You'll notice of course that i also included FF Tactics but excluded FF11. That's because i really like the one, and it's interesting the areas that it overlaps, and i haven't played the other at all so it was hard trying to check off elements for it. And honestly i've never thought that FF11 should have been part of the numbered sequence in the first place.
A couple of those were a little hard to judge of course, like how many job characteristics does a character have to have before they can be considered to have a Job Theme?
There's also a couple categories that i didn't include because they've been in every game so far, having multiple party members, being able to control multiple party members/
Also note that i don't actually have a copy of the FF8 soundtrack, so i couldn't test the music for that one. I've heard it claimed however that the Prelude and Main Theme were in every numbered Final Fantasy game... up until FF13. FF13 is the one that hasn't included "one or both of these tracks."
And yes, i'm sure the new guy wants to make a name for himself, but the prelude and main theme are just two songs and there are it about 80 other tracks they get to do whatever they want with. It's sad to see those two iconic pieces go.
Amusingly however, in related news Sqenix is disbanding their entire music team. And guess who's handling the music for FF14? Uematsu!
We also came up with a more specific subset of traits, how exactly does character development work in each game? After a lot of discussion we narrowed the traits under consideration down to "uniqueness" and "transferability." I.e. how much does the choice of one character over another matter (aside from personality of course,) and can you switch defining attributes between characters?
Of course it can be hard to simplify some of the character systems to just those two elements. Is FF1 the ultimate in "uniqueness" because each class is entirely different? Or are they totally generic because you could have all four members be the same class if you wanted? I decided to compromise on that one, of course you can feel free to comment about it, or just draw up your own table (with blackjack! and hookers! In fact, forget the table!)
(Edit: For Uniqueness i kind of figured the numbers using two caveats, that you wouldn't _necessarily_ make all your characters clones of each other in the games where it gives you the option, and that you wouldn't spend a hundred hours unlocking every ability for every character in order to make them all identical again *cough* like i did for FF10 *cough*)
Some of those numbers are rather hazy. Not only is it more difficult to assign an analog rating, my knowledge of some of the character development systems is rather hazy (FF9 in particular)
I was also going to try and graph them all out on a grid, but that involved too much work :)
And now for the user participation part of the program, the poll!
Instead of listing each FF game as an option for every single question, i'm just going to do a text box. At least try to restrict yourself to one answer for each question. And for the sake of my own (and possibly others') sanity, please answer in the form of "FF7" or "FF8" rather than "FFVII" or "FFVIII". Roman numerals may look cutesy in the titles, but they're a lot harder to read at a quick glance.
What elements do you think are important for future Final Fantasy games to contain?
What other important elements did I not list that are especially important to you?
In your opinion, which FF game had the best character development system?
Which FF game had the best battle system?
Which FF game had the best characterization?
Which FF game had the best story?
Which FF game had the best music?
Which FF game had the best art style?
Which FF game had the best graphics?
What category did I forget, and which FF game was the best at it?
What is the best possible set of names for the first Final Fantasy MMORPG and its sequel?
How excited are you about FF13?
Do you think it will live up to whatever your expectations are?
Which system will you by buying it for?