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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Square Enix: Final Fantasy XIII-2 [coming 2012]

Apparently unfazed by the disastrous reception of Final Fantasy XIV publisher Square Enix is once again looking to its extensive back catalog for the next in the much-loved series.

But this time it's Final Fantasy XIII that's in the frame for a follow-up, and in one of those naming decisions that'll make perfect sense to fans and none at all to anyone else, it'll be called Final Fantasy XIII-2. It'll launch in Japan this year, while Western gamers will have to wait until next winter. Although little is known about the game beyond its trailer and a solitary screenshot, Square Enix promised in a statement it'll sport a new story, an "evolved" battle system, and the return of numerous familiar characters from the original game.

Depending on exactly how you count them, there are somewhere in the region of 30 major titles in the Final Fantasy series, making it one of gaming's most prolific franchises. Known for its intricate plots, strong characterizations, and sumptuous presentation, the series has been on a downward trend for some years.

Final Fantasies IV, VII, and IX are still remembered as some of the best games of all time, but following the 2004 departure of series' creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, they've struggled to attain the same recognition they enjoyed in previous decades, although sales remain broadly strong.

Its most recent installment, subscription-based massively multiplayer online world Final Fantasy XIV, was a disaster. Excoriated by critics for its poor interface, bad economy, and unfinished game mechanics, it scored an  above 50% average Numerous prominent publications scored down in the 30-40% region -- a rare feat for a major release.

Square Enix has repeatedly apologized for its quality, handing out free subscription extensions to unfortunate players. Around 600,000 players bought Final Fantasy XIV, and we suspect as many as two or three of them are still playing it.

Trailer (Japanese)
Trailer (English)

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