With this year being the 25th anniversary for the Final Fantasy series.. they've made it a point to celebrate with a bang.. and that they did at their 25th anniversary art gallery event in Shibuya.
Some of the developments there are fairly interesting, for an FF fan like me. And I'm just going to mention them here..
Final Fantasy XIII gets a part 3 in the form of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. This will be the final chapter in the "Lightning Saga", so to speak. It's a totally different game (and I suspect sub-genre of RPGs) as it will evolve solely around 1 playable character, Lightning, as she explores the distant future in the 13 days before the end of the world.
Time will run in the world, so there's day and night, and cities that are alive with people and so on. To put it in the simplest way possible, its going to be a sandbox. To this end, I've been wanting them to try out a sandbox RPG with FF elements for the longest time, but I was fully expecting Versus XIII to be that, instead of "FFXIII-3".
I have much anticipation for the actual gameplay that will come in LR:FF13, but am none too impressed by the way they handled the story. It really feels like they shaped the story to the game instead of the other way round - and XIII-2 left a whole bunch of questions unanswered.
Ultimately I'd say its a good thing they're finally being somewhat more adventurous with their beloved IP, but because this is the 3rd of 3 parts, it does feel very in-congruent in contrast to the more traditional JRPG style in XIII and XIII-2.
I'd love to see footage of it in action, but since it's coming out in TBA 2013 its not too far away anyway.
Something I'm slightly more excited about is Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
After witnessing the massive failure than FF14 was, I was personally skeptical about how their new producer and director Naoki Yoshida would revive FF14 and restore faith in their brand name.
Suffice it to say, the developments over the 2 year period in which he took over were sweeping changes to the game itself, but all of that had nothing on the great version 2.0 (now marketed as A Realm Reborn) that was to happen with the relaunch of the game, alongside its PS3 release.
Final Fantasy XIV looks phenomenal now, both visually and in terms of the new mechanics that have been introduced. It may seem a little early but I have no doubt in my mind that the relaunched FFXIV will be far more successful than the original.
And one thing in particular that I love about it is that it truly captures the essence of Final Fantasy. FF is really a synergistic sum of familiar parts, and somehow XIV ARR manages to nail this down very well. I am excite!
Alpha testing starts next month. I hope I get in.
Watch the latest "Limit Break" trailer for FF14 here!