Yep, it's another blog. I'm on a roll. This one is about Square Enix and how they've just lost touch.
Leave it to Square Enix to take the wind out of everyone's sails by vaguely commenting that Final Fantasy VII's Remake could very well be episodic and that each episode will play differently than the last. No one wants FFVII-1 FFVII-2 and so on and so on. When fans asked for a remake after the PS3 Tech Demo, we had something very clear and simple in mind. Take Final Fantasy VII from the PS1, and simply update the visuals to the Present Day. A very simply stated request no?
Now say what you want about ATB vs. Action-RPG, I myself was adamant that turn-based was necessary but have since reversed my position slightly after seeing the gameplay trailer from PSX. Yes, there's still the questions of how it will work on the overworld (if there will be an overworld), and the depth of the Materia system, and how limit breaks work, but for now I'm pleased with the combat. The point though is that that really was the only contention among fans and some are adamant that they will not be buying FFVIIR now because of the switch. That's all well and good but the problem is SE's latest comment.
FFVII is apparently too big to release as one game. This is troubling for many reasons. First we'll focus on the game itself, then my worries about FFXV.
For starters, FFVII was too big during the days of the PS1, that's why it came on 3 discs but you paid for it as one game. Before all of you start with your "game development costs are higher now so they can't do that again" argument, I present to you this....
That is a list of the most expensive games ever made, and it just so happens to include Final Fantasy VII. The cost of making the game back in '97 was 45 million dollars. After inflation, that would be approx. 68 million dollars today, which is essentially right around the average for AAA games today. To suggest that it would cost more today to make FFVII really doesn't follow the math. It would cost the same today as it did then precisely because SE have had the habit of making use of the very latest tech they could for their big releases.
So SE's reasoning that FFVII is too big to release as one game isn't backed up by history or numbers.
Next we'll discuss the potential for price gouging. The cynics among us have presented a very plausible case that SE will charge full retail price for each episode, meaning at least $180 if we were to follow the 3 disc model of the original release. That is ridiculous, and in no way worth the price. Assuming that the game ISN'T following the 3 disc model, the price could end up being higher, or if the game is being released in the same way as FFXIII 1 thru 3, then we'll be getting completely different games which may justify the price. Given SE's track record, I'm siding with the cynics for now because I also believe SE will release ridiculous graphic novels and "true ending" DLC a la FFXIII-2.
Now that that's out of the way, why does this make me worried for FFXV? Because SE have boasted about its size forever. If FFXV truly is as big as SE have claimed, why can it be released as a whole game yet FFVII can't? Either SE are exaggerating about the size of FFXV, or owing to the many changes it's undergone since Nomura left, SE have stripped out so much of the game in other areas that that's the only way they could make it fit as one game. Likely FFXV will have a lot of DLC, probably other "parts", graphic novels, etc...
What really baffles me is when you consider that MUCH smaller devs (comparatively) can make MASSIVE, content filled games without splitting them up into "parts", why can't SE do the same? CD Projekt Red are based out of Poland. Do you think Poland is a particularly rich nation? Do you think CDPR are a big developer? The answer to both is no, and yet look at the scope of The Witcher 3. Then there's Bethesda. Skyrim is huge, and has so much to physically interact with ingame that it must have been an immense undertaking (which explains the lengthy development time) and even though it released with a lot of bugs, it still released as a whole, one part game.
I'll admit that there are still a lot of questions about this, but SE have developed a very bad habit of being more vague than any other studio out there, and enjoying trolling us all to boot. After FFXIII, SE don't exactly have the clout to be able to afford upsetting the FF fanbase any more than they already have, and I can't imagine that the Japanese fanbase is any happier with this potentially episodic release of FFVIIR than we are. No matter what you may feel about it, the one objective truth in all this is that no one knows what SE are smoking these days.
The combat put me over the fence, the "multi-part series" put me right back on it again.