Pump the Gas, Fam
Remove the fillings and pump the gas, Square Enix is done. Final Fantasy is done. Kingdom Hearts is done. Final Fantasy XV did well. Final Fantasy XV did far better than it deserved to – and this author was part of the problem. The game was released in a broken unfinished state, and it deserved to go down in flames. Better games have met a worse fate at the hands of consumers. Gaming blogs have started to derisively talk about Final Fantasy XV as an unfinished mess, but this did not exist at the time of the game’s release. When the game released it garnered an impressive 81% on Metacritic, and it even had reviewers claiming it as a course correction after Final Fantasy XIII. The games media dropped the ball hard on Final Fantasy XV, and they gave people a false sense of security about the game’s quality.
The long and the short of all this is that Square Enix learned the lesson that releasing an unfinished mess of a game carries with it no adverse financial implications – and so Square Enix will do this for all of their major titles going forward. For anyone upset at Final Fantasy VII Remake being broken into episodic content, now you can enjoy every episode having the final 20% of its content being added in after release [for a fee]!
This week Square Enix revealed that all of their future games will be developed around a ‘games as a service’ [GaaS] release model. They are doing this because releasing an unfinished game and then charging owners a bunch of money for content-restoration patches is far more lucrative than simply releasing a finished game from the outset – at least until consumers stop buying their shoddy product. This is why Final Fantasy XV has been so successful for Square Enix, because the game has been utilised as a vehicle for selling $20 character episodes in order to pad out its pathetic twenty hour run time.
In case there was any doubt about what Square Enix is trying to do here, their own description says all that needs saying:
“Develop service-type content in HD segment.
→Add titles that generate recurring revenue
streams in addition to one-off sales titles.”
Square Enix views their customers as open wallets that will continue paying into their shit irrespective of how bad the games become. How much self-awareness do these guys have? Square Enix are currently looking to divest themselves of IO Interactive because releasing Hitman (2016) under the games as a service model was an unmitigated disaster! It seems that Hitman (2016) was not a big enough sacrifice to GaaS, and now Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts III also have to be thrown onto the bonfire of Square Enix’s vanity.
Warm Bodies for the Square Enix Rebreak Machine
Talking about Final Fantasy VII Remake, it would appear that Square Enix is having some trouble attracting the programmers required to work on the game. It is unclear whether Square Enix had allowed the developer pool to dwindle down during the planning phase of the project, or whether the game’s development has already seen a hell of a lot of attrition. Perhaps developers are becoming profoundly dispirited at working on this terrible fractured game, and are simply choosing to gas themselves. One expects that Square Enix have had to install a suicide net like at Foxcon! Yoshinori Kitase does not see this however, as to him the best way to raise a game’s quality is to raise the number of people working on it:
“For this project, we aim to surpass the original work in terms of quality by increasing the number of staff to strengthen the core company development as we head into the development progress phase.”
Yes, staffing was not an issue during the development regress phase, but now they have entered into the development progress phase it is imperative to recruit a larger workforce. This is then reiterated by Tetsuya Nomura. Most companies would advertise through industry websites, but Square Enix is a tad more direct:
“As those of you concerned with the industry may already know, the number of domestic staff is significantly lower compared to that of foreign high-definition developers. Therefore, in order to further strengthen the development of this title, we must urgently recruit as much staff as possible.”
And all of this for what? What is even the point of Final Fantasy VII Remake?
“Twenty years have gone by and the number of generations that aren’t familiar with Final Fantasy VII is increasing, so we must remake the game using today’s technology and systems in order to make it into a title that can last several more decades.”
Final Fantasy VII is being remade for the sole purpose of milking it for another couple of decades, and they do this by changing every aspect of the gameplay and structure that actually matter. Hell, not even the story will be the same, as Cloud’s Wall Market escapades will have to be re-filtered through a politically correct lens, else be omitted entirely. Square Enix should just cancel the game.
Capcom Pulls the Rug On Switch
Oh to be a Nintendo Switch owner! The console has been on the market for two months, and is still without a single piece of exclusive software to make a case for it. Things do not look much better on the third party front, as the Switch is quickly gaining a reputation for being a port machine. Capcom are not helping. Their first game for the system was the recently released Ultra Street Fighter II which is just a port of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix at twice that game’s initial asking price, while their second game was the recently announced Monster Hunter XX, a 3DS game. Switch owners should enjoy these games, because they may be Capcom’s last offerings for the system.
In an interview this week Capcom’s CEO revealed that their future support of the Switch will be determined by how well Ultra Street Fighter II sells. Not only is Ultra Street Fighter II an overpriced reheat of a poorly received Street Fighter II bastardisation, but it is also a game that can only be played properly by Switch owners who have also purchased a $70 Pro controller. Was Ultra Street Fighter II developed for the sole purpose of justifying Capcom’s lack of investment into the Switch platform? That is certainly what it looks like to this author.