As the title of this post conveys, I’m viewing this announcement in a negative light, but that doesn’t mean that Square-Enix has no chance to redeem themselves.
Ever since Final Fantasy X had an official sequel, everyone’s expecting that each non-online installment surrounds itself with more games that flesh out the world and characters. Final Fantasy XII handled itself elegantly by having a DS ‘gaiden’ counterpart (Revenant Wings) that not only plays differently, but distances itself from the main game quite well. Square-Enix didn’t even make a big deal out of it. When FFXIII was first announced, it was immediately attached with two associated games with more planned on the way: Agito XIII and Versus XIII. The Fabula Nova Crystallis project, was it? Does Square-Enix even use this name anymore?
The biggest problem with such an early announcement of two other games associated with FFXIII is their projected release dates. Agito XIII and Versus XIII have been in development limbo for so long they’re no longer considered the games they once were. The biggest evidence is Agito XIII’s name change to Type-0. Yes, you read that right. After years of development, the game is now known as Final Fantasy Type-0, further distancing itself from logically-named titles and the initial plan with the FFXIII sequels. At this point, I will not be surprised at all if Versus XIII changes its name, too. Wait until the end of 2011 and we may see it known as Final Fantasy Versus. Catchy, right? As a project, Fabula Nova Crystallis was ambitious but a failure. One big advantage though is spawning two different games…which may get their own franchises in the future.
Here’s where Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes in, obviously not part of the initial project. It’s a logical move yet I’m extremely surprised by its push. 2011 release? Really? This soon? The development cycle will definitely be faster since they will be using the same White Engine that has been in development for years, but I didn’t expect the scenario to be completed this fast. After Agito’s XIII name change and next to no news for Versus XIII, I guess I can understand why Square-Enix are going for it. People expect sequels either way, and perhaps the ideas have already been fleshed out when the developers considered DLC content for FFXIII yet never delivered.
Now, for the sequel itself…as with most longtime fans and players disappointed with FFXIII, I’m very, very skeptical. After all, Final Fantasy X-2 was a shocker for me because of its huge pop diva influences. While it’s safe to say that FFXIII-2 will not feature a dancing, singing Lightning…I really hope that the developers know the flaws of their first game. No linear experience, please. No cringe-worthy voice acting, please. No shallow English localization, please. I’ll probably cave in and check this out, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll love it at first sight unless it shows that they’re careful in building upon the strength of the original game, eliminating the negatives, and coming up with a good plot scenario.
Source: PlayStation Blog (Yes, the game is set for a simultaneous release for the PS3 and Xbox 360)