Geek Revolt

Square Enix: You’re Doing It Wrong

While Square Enix has a rather decent line-up on the publishing side of things with games like Hitman, Tomb Raider, and Kingdom Heart 3D, they did something today that is bound to make many gamers unhappy. In 2006, Square Enix announced a group of games known as the “Fabula Nova Crystallis” which would include 3 Final Fantasy games titled Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and Final Fantasy Agito XIII. These games were promised to be some of the best Final Fantasy games ever made, but there was an issue, promises were broken.

EXCLUSIVITY

Square Enix promised us that FF XIII and Versus XIII were to be exclusive only to the PS3 platform while Agito XIII would stay exclusive to the Sony PSP. While this would follow what SE has done in the past, many rumors were abound that FF XIII was headed for the Xbox 360. After months of denials, Square Enix announced at E3 2008 their plans for an Xbox 360 version of the game, albeit a tad downscaled and put onto three DVDs instead of one. This brought on questions as to whether or not Versus XIII was going to get the same treatment. While SE has been saying no Xbox version, many rumors are still abound as to whether or not they are lying through their teeth again, but since Versus has become what people believe to be “vaporware”, only time will tell.

RELEASE DATES

Second promise that seems to get broken often comes down to release dates. While exclusivity upset some fans, people were ultimately more interested on when the games would be out. Tetsuya Nomura has gotten himself some bad rap over the years due to this issue. He has become famous for his work on Final Fantasy, but nowadays he is famous for telling gamers planned release dates and info sessions that never happen. He, and SE for that matter, kept telling gamers that they would get Final Fantasy XIII during the Holiday 2008 season, which then changed to Holiday 2009 (which was true for Japan). After several delays, Final Fantasy XIII hit store shelves in the U.S. on March 9, 2010.

Agito XIII was released as planned in Japan, but under a different name called “Final Fantasy Type-0” on October 27, 2011, and now rumors of an international version could be coming to the PS Vita, but who knows if that will end up being true. Versus XIII has been on the backburner for years, while SE worked on a sequel to FF XIII called Final Fantasy XIII-2. This upset MANY people because XIII was considered a rather mediocre game, but nonetheless Square decided to make a sequel for it instead of shifting priorities to Versus. While XIII-2 was considered an improvement over XIII, it was ultimately unnecessary, almost to the point that people felt it was created to atone for its predecessor.

VERSUS XIII

Now you may be asking, why is Versus XIII a broken promise? Well, considering that Nomura and SE have been telling us that this will launch, hope just keeps diminishing. Whether it be a lack of release date, lack of information, loss of exclusivity, or insert disappointment here, many fans feel betrayed by Square Enix. What is probably the saddest thing about this game is the fact that the majority of information given to us has been from journalists who got behind the scenes viewings several years ago. If we were really lucky, it was given to us via crappy cell phone videos. Nomura has promised that we will get more details, but these promises feel quite empty considering he shouldn’t say anything unless he means to execute within a month or two after his statement. You could almost say he is the bane of Versus XIII,  which is harsh, but could it be true?

One final fact about Versus is that the general consensus has been wanting this more than XIII. With the promise of a possible M Rating, this would be a first for the Final Fantasy series. Not to mention getting a much more mature setting and theme would be a welcome addition. It goes to say that Square Enix needed to give us details this week at E3, but unfortunately did not. The next best thing we have to wait for is Tokyo Game Show in September, which if SE does NOT give us any more details, then expect this game to be done with, or end up like Duke Nukem Forever which had a long development time and turned into utter trash.

E3: DOING IT WRONG

The purpose of this article was brought up by Square Enix’s move made today at E3. Today, Square Enix showed off something new, a promise of sorts of next-gen proportions…. a tech demo called Agni’s Philosophy. While many people want Versus XIII, Square decided it would be a better focus of time to create a tech demo showing off what Final Fantasy may look on next-gen systems. While the tech demo was quite nice, it brings up the question, where is Versus XIII? Why did Square give us a teaser of next-gen when what people want now is Versus? Anyways, you can view the tech demo above and marvel in how beautiful it is, but keep in mind, Square Enix should have made a better move by showing us something of Versus. Call me bitter and upset, but showing off something we may never see is not the right thing to do Square, just stop before you dig yourself deeper (much like Capcom has done).

I am a student at Missouri State University and I am studying Computer Information Systems. I am all about gaming, movies, music, anime, manga, and technology. I am a big computer geek who loves to write about the things I care about. Feel free to contact me at bryan@geekrevolt.com for anything.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000172099718 Dominic Hunter

    THANK YOU, sir! I have been looking for someone to bring up this argument. Instead of holding up to their “promises”, Square thought it would be a better idea to show off (again) how much money they have to spend on CG. Like you said, the tech demo was pretty and all, but it meant NOTHING to all of us who have been waiting for a game that was teased FIVE YEARS AGO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dimitris-Thomopoulos/728901586 Dimitris Thomopoulos

    Well, I disagree when I read that FFXIII was a mediocre game. This kind
    of characterization is far from truth. The only thing that disappointed
    the fans was the fact that the FFXIII didn’t turn out to be what we had
    imagined it to be. I remember when SE showed the first footage of FFXIII
    was CGI that was too flashy and gave us all that it’s going to be a
    very action packed story. The truth is that it turned out to be somewhat
    different, but not bad. No. It still had cool story, nice gameplay and
    in terms of graphics it still kicks a** of many of today’s games. With
    that being said I can’t believe there’s actually an argument on whether
    FFXIII is a decent game or not.

    As for the Tech Demo they released at E3 (behind closed doors), it was
    actual REALTIME FOOTAGE and a showcase of what to expect in next-gen.
    It’s good on their part that they thought about the future and not just
    about now. I was impressed on how far graphics will go and for me that
    particular tech demo was the highlight of E3 (I know Watch Dogs,
    Assassin’s Creed III, Tomb Raider, Beyond: Two Souls, Star Wars 1313
    were all good looking games with a lot of potential of being great
    games, but that was it and nothing more).

    After saying these things, I wanna give you a piece of information I
    learned last night. It has been said that Nomura was going to use a
    small portion of SE’s new graphics engine LUMINUS on Final Fantasy
    Versus XIII. That portion is related to the lighting effects of LUMINUS
    that are going to be implemented to FF Versus XIII. The interesting
    thing about this info is that it’s because of this implementation that
    “Nomura-san” couldn’t reveal us much about Versus; it would expose the
    existence of LUMINUS engine. Whether it’s cool or not, it’s what
    Square-Enix and Mr. Nomura wanted. So, I don’t believe that Versus will
    be disappointing or underwhelming when it’s going to come out. On the
    contrary, I believe it will be one of the highlights of the current
    generation and with “Agni’s Philosophy” TECH DEMO the future might be
    even more brighter that could imagine. Oh, and on other thing. Let’s
    don’t promote chaos by saying that Versus will lose its PS3 exclusivity,
    because FFXIII did that. Versus is being developed FOR PS3. The
    techniques that are going to make the game look fabulous and be awesome
    are specifically being utilized for PS3. Whether it’s for the better or
    for the worse, there’s no room for multiplatform development. Plus, one
    of the reasons that FFXIII went multiplatform was because SE needed
    quick money in order to continue their other several ambitious projects
    (which are too many, yes). Indeed, they have done terrible marketing
    mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t deliver the job, which
    is to provide us with high quality games (regardless of whether they
    turn out how we imagine them to be or not).

    • Kaizin514

      About the mediocrity, just because I said it was mediocre does not reflect my own personal judgement of the game. You cannot argue that it was widely considered as mediocre because look around, all you see is people bash how they felt about it, which was mediocrity. I personally liked it as well, but my intentions of this article was not to bash Final Fantasy, but to raise the question as to why they would release a tech demo when people are more interested in Versus XIII.

      I do agree with you though, FF XIII did turn out differently than people had hoped, but that goes into saying that Square needs to fix some things. They sort of fixed some things with XIII-2 but also raised new issues (why are you making a sequel when you should have shifted priorities to something better?).

      Now, the tech demo is a good thing, yes, but at this time, it is misplaced. People have been crying out for more Versus XIII info, SOMETHING, but Nomura is just like “wait long, wait longer” when people have been waiting a LONG time as it is. I think THIS is the reason why people are becoming apprehensive in regards to Versus XIII. Why should we continue to wait for something that has seemingly become vaporware? At this time, with NO next gen announcements from Sony or Microsoft, showcasing what we could see next gen is a waste of time, especially since gamers this generation live in the present, not the future (hence the popularity of fast paced FPS games – cough cough – Call of Duty).

      Assuming Versus XIII is using Luminus, then good, but there is something that Square should have done differently. After showcasing this new tech demo, they should have had someone like Nomura himself come out and say: “Now that you have seen what Luminus can provide, how about seeing what we are currently using it for.” and then showcasing a new Versus XIII trailer. This would have been the best move Square could have done. Even if they provide NO details, giving people a new trailer and maybe some gameplay in that trailer, shows that they haven’t given up on it (which is what MANY people believe now).

      As far as exclusivity, please don’t kid yourself. It does not matter if it was being developed FOR PS3, after all, XIII was FOR PS3 until Square decided to put it on 3 discs and hand it over to Microsoft. I am not promoting chaos by saying that there have been rumors, because I did not state that I, or Geek Revolt, supports these rumors, but rather that these rumors have been abound for several years. Unfortunately, exclusivity means virtually nothing nowadays, if Versus XIII was going to go the Xbox (and I am NOT saying it will), then it could, even if that means some downscaling and putting it on say, 5 discs, it is possible.

      I, personally, still have some hopes for Versus XIII, but those are slowly diminishing. I am starting to believe it vaporware, and Square is slowly turning into a Capcom of sorts, which means, slowly disregarding the fans for either money or their own foolish ambitions. Gamers should always come first, which is why many games have started to fail this generation. The rise of DLC and greed has caused this generation to take a nasty hit. Why make a good game when we can profit over people’s hopes? Why make a good game when we can charge people for mediocre DLC and if it is broken, fix it with a patch?

      Anyways, thanks for the comment. I see where you are going with this, but as it stands, Square needs to make sure they please others before themselves, which is why so many people bash them. A lack of communication and broken promises does not help anyone, in any way. So, next stop, Tokyo Game Show, if we don’t get a LOT of details, I expect Versus to be vaporware by that time.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dimitris-Thomopoulos/728901586 Dimitris Thomopoulos

        Well, at a certain extend I agree with ya, but still the only issue I see here is that we assume the worse. Duke Nukem Forever was a different case scenario, in which even the developers didn’t have a clear idea on what did they want from their game. Square Enix had the opportunity to experiment in a way with FFXIII, while they were slowly developing Versus XIII. The only issue with FFXIII becoming multiplatform was with the graphics level. But still, I don’t think it’s that bad. I mean, they hadn’t had any practice with making a game for this gen, so do you honestly believe that it would have been a lot better than it turned out to be? If you take as an example Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series, then I’d say that SE did a good job producing their first FF game. What they truly did wrong was the fact that they announced Fabula Nova Crystallis while it was just an idea and nothing more. They had created early CG cutscenes for Versus XIII and showed them to us as if the game was in a 50% or more state of development. So, it was a baaaad, a really bad move on their part to deceive us in that way. Although, still, I don’t know if we’re talking here about deception or naivety. But that’s just it. They still provided us a few games to play with, which cannot be regarded as indifferent and the world is moving on (or as I can sense, half of the world).

        I’m not implying, though, that SE had strategically planned their moves regarding their development roadmap and that they are where they stand because all went according to plan. No, by no means, no! What I see from SE is a company that was a bit too ambitious that through their mistakes are trying to re-bounce. I mean, look at Kingdom Hearts 3D; it’s one of their major games (even though it’s for a portable console) that hadn’t went off schedule and generally without too many drama over its development cycle.

        This can be applied to FFXIII-2, too. In my opinion, they went for a sequel due to their developing “momentum” they had and from my perspective that was a right move. I mean, again like KH 3D, the game was produced smoothly and it turned out to be an alternative and more balance version of the original FFXIII. So, I don’t see why this can be a bad thing and certainly it didn’t hold them back.

        Having these things in mind, among other few minor things, I can see that Square Enix is somewhat aware of the situation and they’re trying to make things right. I admit that showing their new game engine is kinda “off topic” (we do have to note though that it was shown “Behind Closed Doors” and nothing more) but that can only be a positive sign for us gamers, ’cause Versus XIII is kinda involved with this engine (even if it’s just for a small aspect of the game such as lighting effects). This only means that it’s still alive and far from vaporware. The fact that they didn’t make any other announcement was probably, as you said, due to TGS. I think this time they actually have something in mind. It’s just that we’ll still have to keep going with the things as they are now (a result from their past mistakes indeed) and be kinda optimistic. =D

        Clearly, FF Versus XIII is a new approach to the franchise and I’d say it may even be quite revolutionary for the standards that made us to get used to for the past few years. In other words, this game might lead them to their return of their Japanese “throne”. Definitely, Square Enix SHOULD have kept it secret in the first place and they should have treated the game as their ultimate, secret, ninja, baby weapon (!). Lol. Anyway.. Six years have passed since the announcement of Final Fantasy Versus XIII. We’ve all managed to carry on without its presence. So, I can’t say that I can’t wait for another year or so, since Nomura is stating that the project is still on development and it’s going well.

        Sorry, for replying in such a big comment. I felt I had to say those things that represent my opinion over this matter. So, cheers! ^_^;

        • Kaizin514

          Well, I think we can all agree on the fact SE should have maybe held back a little bit on Fabula announcements until they were more ready. Either way, I could go on and on about this, but, thanks for the replies, I think it gave insight on both sides of the spectrum. Again, I DO hope that Versus can blow us all away, but I cannot remain optimistic when SE does nothing to help keep hopes up (like releasing 100 Kingdom Hearts games before releasing number 3). – Let’s hope Nomura isn’t bullshitting us when he said KH3 was on the slate after Versus.

          • http://www.facebook.com/caleb.mcleod.5 Caleb Mcleod

            i agree with you completely my friend.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dimitris-Thomopoulos/728901586 Dimitris Thomopoulos

            Hahaha! I can go on and on with this kind of topic, too! And since you brought Kingdom Hearts to our discussion, I’d really like to say a few things about it (if you don’t really mind).

            Well, I think Nomura is telling the truth when he says that KH3 will come out after Versus XIII. To be honest, I enjoyed every single KH spin-off game after KH2, like 358/2 Days, Birth by Sleep and Re: Coded. All 3 of them were well-made and they did give me some more beautiful moments in its universe. So, I’m sure KH3D will be as much as good and I don’t really mind waiting for KH3.

            Think about it for a sec. If KH Birth by Sleep wouldn’t have come out, Nomura wouldn’t be able to transition to KH3. Crucial events were occurring in the timeline of KH back in BbS and in some point he had to showed them to us anyway. Nomura had the courtesy of using those bits of story contained in all those 3 KH games for our benefit and he has reassured us that KH3D would be the last game before KH3 (which it’ll act as a precursor of KH3). I’m not aware if this decision to produce numerous KH games was prompted by SE in order to earn extra money, but having played all of those games, I’m very satisfied both in terms of gameplay and story. The only real frustrating thing was the fact that you had to own 3 different consoles in order to be able to play all of ‘em. I was lucky to own a Nintendo DS or a Sony PSP, ’cause other people didn’t own all of the required consoles.

            Anyway.. From what I can understand, if things were going to be rushed, with an imminent release of KH3 (following KH2), things could have turned out in a undesirably different way. Besides, let’s face it Nomura isn’t an unlimited source of imagination. All I’m saying is that, a possible explanation as to what happened, could have been that he was out of ideas by the end of KH2 or he did actually wanted to procceed with Birth by Sleep, in order to explain us some different aspects of KH’s universe. So, in the end, I don’t think having been released multiple KH games is a bad thing either. I mean Nomura hadn’t promised us KH3 just like he did with Final Fantasy Versus XIII, so I can’t be that frustrated as with the latter case.

            P.S. I ain’t a Square Enix fanboy. I’ve felt betrayed by SE many times in the past, when their decisions were based on their best interest and not ours. We have provided them money–almost blindly–for their services to eventually help them prosper in the gaming business and our support was kinda returned in an arrogant way. However, despite what has happened, I chose to adapt and get what I want from them, which was their games. It’s a fact that Nomura can’t develop a game in regular rhythms, but I respect it ’cause the final results (the games themselves) are highly satisfying and so I trust him. As for Square Enix, I don’t trust them as I did.. I don’t know, 5 years ago, but I can see their effort to correct their past mistakes and eventually be towards us, if not respectful, consistent and straightforward. So, that’s why I’m kinda tolerant to what has happened. I’ve been happy–not extremely–with what they gave me so far and I tried to focus on that.

  • http://geekrevolt.com/author/fallguysoldier/ Edgar Ocampo

    I’m just giving Square Enix the benefit of the doubt here, mainly because I’m an optimistic guy, but I’m thinking these tech demos are to foreshadow the possibility that Versus XIII may be undergoing a revamp to support the new gaming engine, which in that case would be an awesome treat for everyone even if it means waiting for the game a little bit longer.

    And I have to say, this Agni’s Philosophy trailer was pretty bad-ass, though I’m not really sure what just happened lol.