With the imminent release of FF13-2 and the renewal of friction between factions of what once might have been called a singular fanbase before the game’s immediate predecessor caused massive division, thought I’d make an attempt explain the “troll” or “hater” side of things. If only because those individuals who are quick to make such claims upon their fellow gamers not only seem to do so from an stance unwilling to understand much less hear an opinion different from their own, but often give no reason except for the love of the franchise in general as they try to defend this one – now two – games.
And speaking personally for a group I say that it wasn’t the overly linear map that made me a “Hater”. As any true Final Fantasy fan knows, all entries into the franchise have been linear. It was just that in the particular case of Thirteen, such was painfully and blatantly obvious. Likewise I didn’t have all that much trouble with the combat engine. Was frustrated by it, finally quit forty-nine hours in because of a cheap shot near the end of a boss fight, but it wasn’t the real reason why I just gave up on the game. Much less turned my back on a company I’ve been following since its Nintendo days.
I’ve all but given up on Square Enix because they’re lazy.
If you’ve defended them and are still reading this, aren’t just a fellow hater looking for validation, I can only ask that you continue to read. Actually I ask that you consider the blatant evidence of Final Fantasy Fourteen. How its lead developer at the time felt that he could get away with what turned out to be a shoddy release. The lengths and expense to which Square was then forced and continues to commit to repair the damage done there, yet still allowed it to happen in the first place. Then look at Front Mission Evolved which was a deliberate cash in of the First Person Shooter genera. Gun Loco which was canceled almost as soon as it was announced. While these and other possible examples might speak of “Moving With the Times” as many say when trying to defend the company’s motives, they can hardly be compared to announcements made back in the day that generally spoke of imagination.
Weird Japanese imagination – which we Westerners loved with a passion regardless.
Now looking back to FFXIII-2, my first reaction was to call it fan service: catering to fans for the sake of catering to fans. This is where I likely fully earned the Hater label – this despite my position towards FFXIII – even though those who gave it with a negative connotation were agreeing with me in one form or another when they were listening, before they stopped listening to anything other than their own shared opinion. Was an action I understood as attempt to not spoil someone’s self-enjoyment of the game, but then I was finding such mentality being applied to FFXIII-2’s general success. That somehow a game aimed at fans of FFXIII would perform better than it had.
Then the fringe group, the hardcore fans who will state, even though some will admit that FFXIII-2 fixes issues with the prior game, that FFXIII itself is perfect started to speak up. And things really hit the fan from there.
Again, speaking personally, the one thing that I truly hate is the idea that expression of my own opinion towards Square and the FFXIII titles might be souring the enjoyment others still have towards them. At the same time however I’m not just going to go silent or leave no comment when I hear about how absolutely wonderful and perfect those games are from Square much less their fans. The story in FFXIII was shallow if not non-existent and many if not all of the minor characters were wasted. Square will likely never admit but the changeover from standard to hi definition gaming caused them major development strain, not to mention the switch over from single to multi platforms.
And please don’t start up on *that* particular argument below: FFXIII-2 shows that FFXIII could have been a better game if it had begun as a PS3/360 title regardless of how it turned out as it did or as it was originally intended.
Its just as true that the direct sequel was as much an attempt at damage control as the current updates and patching that are going on with FFXIV. Square is trying to make up, and cash in, for not doing the job that they should have done right in the first place. Enjoy Thirteen-Two if you liked the game before it, but please at least try to admit that truth to yourself.
Likewise I share this with my fellow haters to try and consider: Final Fantasy Versus Thirteen was conceived in this new era where Square is relearning how to walk while saying it can do the hundred yard dash in ten seconds.
It will not be a perfect game – it may not even be on one system – just hope that its not a mess, has a decent story with palpable characters, and doesn’t have full game sequels or requires DLC for the complete ending...