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Pointless FFXIII Hindsight

Or, How I Would have Done It.

Like most FFXIII "Haters" I don't actually hate the game. Was just disappointed and underwhelmed with what was finally delivered after much hype and promise. Sight of the first trailer, the very first trailer, which hinted at steroid infused grown-up Kingdom Hearts styled gameplay as well as a possibly expansive interactive world. Not the largely linear title with a simplistic and unrewarding combat system. It didn't even have towns.

It had online internet shops that could instantly deliver supplies and equipment to a band of fugitives in the middle of nowhere without any worry - BUT IT DIDN'T HAVE TOWNS.

Anyway, after thinking long if not hard about "What I Would Have Done" just thought I'd share the few ideas I came up with.

1) Make it Like GTA+MGS:
First off, I'd make all general areas big expansive, exploratory sandboxes. The train escape would still a point A to B tutorial, but once the basic character introductions and commands were done, encounters would fit into three categories: 1) Random; monsters or people who just happen to populate an area 2) Hunting; monster or soldiers actively looking for the party and 3) Advance/Boss; encounters that advance the story or trigger a boss fight.

Like Grand Theft Auto, the party could wonder anywhere they like, but as they break laws/became noticed the tension in the area would elevate to higher and higher states leading to higher levels of law enforcement to be call in. Or in this case, being defacto fugitives because of their l'Cie brands which would randomly flare alerting normal citizens that "monsters" were among them, the security forces already looking for them would call in more and more reinforcements until finally a "Boss" would be called in to finish things. Likewise the racket of a random monster encounter battle would alert soldiers to tighten their search to around that specific area.

And Like Metal Gear Solid, the party would have the option to sneak around. Run away from a panicked civilian who saw a flaring brand, blending into the crowd or background to escape an investigating patrol to less and less success as said patrols only become more numerous. Using the advantages of concealment to ambush their pursuers once and a while, which would then make the reminder more alert and harder to surprise.

2) Give Characters Centric Skills and Abilities:
Given that they are being hunted and can’t just walk into shops - Imagine a setup where they find an unlimited Gil card, walk into a shop that just happens to be offering all of the best weapons at a discount only to have a brand flare trigger a panic leading to a mini-boss fight - the characters would have to rely on talents they just happen to have. With Lighting, Snow and Sazh able to modify and enhance certain weapon types, while Vanille can make potions and defensive talismans from things they happen to come across from defeated enemies. Other things that happen to be laying around an area they’re being hunted in giving them reason to stay and explore while avoiding patrols and story advancement. Throw in a few weapon texts or cookbooks locked away in some discarded data terminal that Hope has the ability to hack and unlock, builds the other's crafting skills as well as introduces new methods, and gil becomes pointless.

Also, depending on who’s leading the party, their search/hide profiles and priorities would change. With Lighting and Sazh the best choices for avoiding/surprising organized military type enemies in urban areas, where Vanille would be a better avoider, Fang the best hunter of monsters in wilderness locations.

Hope would be the best all around sneaker while Snow – being the type for whom subtlety is something horrible that happens to other people – would actually attract enemies while inherit luck also means he tends to stumble on very rare items.

Probably be a good idea to have a quick/easy character switch option on world maps.

3) Combos:
Not just timed juggling you have to figure out and use against the more difficult enemies, but outright Chrono Trigger type combined attacks. Vanille casting lightning on Lightning’s sword after Snow just tossed her cannonball style at a monster vulnerable to lightning attacks ending with an electrically charged mushroom cloud. Then there’s the near world shattering Eidolon double and triple combos that you really have to earn.

Of course I’m talking about none of this happening within combat engine used in the game. Would likely have to be turned based with an option to either skip the f/x, or be able to sit back and watch them. Not miss them while you planned your next move or set up a paradigm shift.

4) Airship mini-game:
For my last idea I considered the very elaborate cutscenes featuring the airship. How they could have been made into on rail Panzer Dragoon shooter segments with one even featuring a boss fight before the crash on Grand Pulse. How even that part where Fang wrangles and rides a monster could not have only been made into another, but could have become the Chocobo riding of the game.

Like I said before, in part I’m just offering these ideas to offer them, but also as my final argument of the game as multiplatform. That once the decision was made, the very argument begun to make it multi, the leeway to introduce ideas such as these disappeared. Not that Square in its current condition has shown itself to be anywhere near inventive as to even considered the things I've suggested here.

Again, just saying for what will be my last statement on a dead argument. (At least until/if vsXIII becomes multi and limited by what are currently not even half-issued promises.)

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pinkyxyz2698d ago

i actually enjoyed the combat system for the most part, it was just that annoying "staggering" component and uncustomisable characters. Hell even the leveling up crystal/flower mechanic was linear as hell. you know what I take that back f**k this game, We all waited to damn long for such a mediocre game. Squarenix FTL..

nickjkl2698d ago (Edited 2698d ago )

i liked the game battle system leveling etc

its not like earlier final fantasys even had a controlled leveling system

and that combo section just seems impossible to do the only combos you can do is to set two people to commmandos set your self to ravager use aeroga and send the enemies flying while your two commandos attack the two seperate mobs and then use thundaga thats best combo i have used at least

but still why are you complaining about combos no other final fantasy had combos

all other points are valid except point 1 whih is stupid because no final fantasy game has been gta like matter of fact no other game besides saints row and mafia has been like gta but its not like this game needed

and number 2 just seems pointless to force me to go around creating things that alot of people dont like i barely wanted to upgrade my weapons in this game

Eamon2698d ago

The leveling up system in FF13 was completely linear. I could tell they tried to make it similar to the Square Grid system like in FF10 but in FF10, you could level up in any way you wanted. The crystallium system had only a completely linear path so why bother giving the player an option to customise the way they level up? Older FF games had either auto-leveling or completely customisable leveling up system like in FF9.

You seem to have not played Chrono Trigger. One of the highlights that made Chrono Trigger a legendary game was the combo attacks of 2 or 3 party members. It worked perfectly and was amazing.
Chrono Trigger was ATB just like FF13 and older Final Fantasy games and was made by Squaresoft so it's very likely Square can implement it if they wanted to.

You're wrong that there were no combos in older FF games. There was an element of combo in FF9 when Vivi could use lightning or fire or ice on Steiner's sword to do both physical and elemental damage. I've only played FF4, FF6, FF7, FF9, FF10 and FF12 so I'm not sure if there were any others but I think I remember FF10-2 had some sort of combo system.

I think what Godmars meant about GTA is the scale of the exploration. FF games always had free-roaming in cities, towns and the overworld. FF13 had no free-roaming until a bit in Pulse. Godmars wants the scale of exploration to match GTA. Although that's going a bit too big. To make every major location as big as GTA would be a waste.
I believe the scale should generally be as big as Final Fantasy VII. Midgar was pretty huge in that game as well as other locations and dungeons.

I just hope Final Fantasy Versus XIII is the next true FF game even though the combat is going to be completely action-orientated like Kingdom Hearts. But hey, if we have a world map, overworld, side missions and quests, HUGE world and amazing storyline then I won't complain.

Godmars2902698d ago

When I'm talking about GTA in FF I'm not talking about making full cities, just extending areas to a point they present some general depth. Just like with #2 some hope of introducing characteristics into the characters. The crafting/making thing a better excuse than the online shops, with extra stuff hidden in a given map for those who want to look for. Build/find ultimate weapons.

My real main point in this though was #4. In almost every cut scene someone's riding one thing or another with Fang even taming a monster out of nowhere for the party to ride. That was just tons of wasted potential: just image a mini-game where they tame a behemoth to use as a riding mount!

nickjkl2698d ago

theres lots of those scenes in the game from beggining to end like hope and vannile getting on the vehicles and then saying we lost them as if their we played it

remember they did cut things from the game when the 360 version was announced

Eamon2697d ago

I suspect they cut only towns when they started developing for the xbox 360.

But every other negative aspect was due to lack of coordinated development. It was hell. S-E admitted that themselves. Very disorganised. That is why the first 11-13 hours of the game is pure linear garbage with hardly any real plot development.

Godmars2902697d ago (Edited 2697d ago )

I don't really agree with the "360 cut content" argument. Not wholly anyway. Like lightningsax said, with at least a year and a half's work pissed away on a PS2 version, two graphic engine revisions, a lot of FFXIII's issues stem from mismanagement.

But like I said the argument and eventual decision to make it multiplatform added to that mess further limiting creative options.

Towns, group and crowd AI, was just something that was and possibly still is beyond Square's abilities. Maybe their interest as they concern themselves with cinematics over gameplay.

Hotel_Moscow2697d ago

no the towns were never planned wth does towns have to do with anything towns dont make a game if it takes towns for you to enjoy a game then somethings wrong ebcause theonly thing towns did in older final fantasy was a place to shop and continue on your quest

want proof look at the story

its about 5 people on the run from a society not a group a society that would rather kill them than anything

70 percent of cocoon would prefer to purge purge entire citys that have had the mark of a pulse lcie or falcie

they even wiped out most of a town half way through the game because they thought the pulse lcie would show up there

but still to me chapters 1-10 were good pulse not so much because it had no true goal other than to run from point a to b with no real goal but to beat an enemy and turn around

Eamon2697d ago


I suspect, the decision to go multiplatform was specifically financially driven. They had spent 3-4 years in a mess and they needed to fill the black hole of money spent on the game so they decided going multiplatform would help.
And yes, that could have also hindered the project even further.
As for the priorities of cinematics etc, I believe Square has dedicated squads specifically for them ever since Advent Children came out. Or possibly even from Final Fantasy X. I remember in the PS1 FF games, we'd rarely see a CG cutscene. It would appear every 5 hours or so.
So, the cinematics retained their high quality. The only problem was the dialogue. It contained angst and nothing more. Hardly any of FF trademarked philosophical and metaphysical conversations.
I suspect, they finished the story and scenario very late in development so they had no time to design proper towns and locations let alone an actual overworld.



I respect your opinion, but almost every single reviewer and player out there all agree that the first 10 chapters were hideous. Really bad gameplay, whining characters, lame and fake melodrama, and worst of all, completely linear.

You're wrong here - "the only thing towns did in older final fantasy was a place to shop and continue on your quest"
Towns became a part of the character cast itself. Final Fantasy always went on global scale and somehow the planet always gets involved into the story. But who makes up the planet? The NPCs living in it. Where do these NPCs reside? In towns! Towns and locations set the mood for the particular part of the story you are in. The melody in the background of the town your in develops your feeling of life there. Good examples are the Castle Baron in FF4, Vector in FF6, Nibelheim in FF7, Shinra HQ in FF7, Alexandria in FF9, Black Mage Village in FF9, Besaid in FF10, Zanarkand in FF10.
Only when you've played many iterations of Final Fantasy and immensely enjoyed the story and atmosphere, you can understand the importance of towns and locations in a Final Fantasy game. They are not just places for shopping. That's one major difference between a Final Fantasy game and a standard RPG.
Towns and locations actually become one of the memorable and nostalgic things of Final Fantasy to core fans.

ROFL. You said in Pulse, they only run from point A to B. I'm sorry, but that was exactly what the first 10 chapters are.

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dylandurden2698d ago

I just hope Final Fantasy Versus XIII is the next true FF game even though the combat is going to be completely action-orientated like Kingdom Hearts. But hey, if we have a world map, overworld, side missions and quests, HUGE world and amazing storyline then I won't complain.

Well said my friend.

lightningsax2698d ago (Edited 2698d ago )

You have some pretty cool suggestions for the game, GodMars. They were probably considering stuff like that from the outset, but when they were presented with the task of creating an entire graphics engine instead of using another one, they lost a good amount of funding for creative staff to fund grunt-work engine programming that might not have been such a good idea in the first place. Square has been the great innovator in graphics on past systems, but this time around, it's just too much. Hardware strength went up, but programming so much more detail takes more staff time. Well, at least it did before now.

Of course, this is nothing new. FF12 was a managerial trainwreck that got passed to three different teams. They were supposed to have airship battles in there, getting your own airship would have actually been a rewarding experience, and the giant plot gap between *age-old spoiler* killing Doctor Cid and the lame Go Beat The Big Bad trope probably would have been filled.

DragonKnight2698d ago

Are Jobs. FFIII, FFV, FFTactics. I hate that newer FF games basically let everyone do everything. It started with FFVII, stopped in FFIX, started back up again in FFX and has continued.

I mean, FFXIII does have a kind of party system where some members perform better in certain aspects than others, but there is no clear definition that X will be a mage and Y will be a fighter. I miss that myself. FFX-2's Dresspheres were alright I suppose, but too Charlie's Angels for my liking.

The combat in FFXIII was ridiculous. The game practically played itself, almost to FFXII's degree. All I really had to do later in the game was Auto, Paradigm Shift, Auto, Paradigm Shift. And the staggering component is asinine. The linearity is atrocious. Yes, ALL FF games start off with some linearity, but NEVER have they forced your leveling to be linear, and when the game opened up, it actually opened up.

FFXIII is an unfinished FF game. Plain and simple.

Eamon2697d ago

Actually, there has always been job classes in every Final Fantasy game. It's just some like FF7 and FF10 allow your party members to use any ability you want (FF7 more than FF10).

Every character has weapons exclusive to their class. Such as Cloud being the Warrior class due to his main weapon being a sword.
Tifa being the monk class due to her main weapons being gloves.
Cid being the dragoon class due to his main weapon being a spear.
Yuffie is the ninja class due to her main weapon being a Shuriken (although she could also be the thief class).

Remember each party member that is introduced into the game has their own stats that define their job class. Aerith's stats were basically for a support class (white mage). However, you may make her a black mage if you want to. Cloud was an all-round character. Barret was mainly just attack. Etc.

AceofStaves2696d ago

Specialized Party Members are a true staple of Final Fantasy. I'm also a sucker for Job systems. Achieving the highest rank in all jobs becomes my own Side-quest.

The Sphere Grid and License System are my favourite FF character development systems in the main FF series. The challenge of maxing out the entire party consumed countless hours of my playing time. I don't mind the Crystarium, since it's a modified Sphere Grid. You can choose to specialize a character, or take a more general approach - though it's not as funny as having Yuna use 'Threaten' in FF X. :D

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