Brandon Strader

Final Fantasy XV

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Let's not exaggerate here... Final Fantasy 14 was a failure, yes. But FF13 was quite successful overall. 6.6 million copies sold as of Jan 2013 and Metacritic rankings of 83. The reception was MUCH warmer than some of you are giving it credit for. FF14 was the one that really bombed.

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FF11's initial slam into a wall barely phased them.

Once again, FF11 reached a limited audience but was financially successful, frequently their largest source of income over a period of years.

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Not sure about FF XV but I think I'm going to try FFXIV: A Realm Reborn when it releases the end of August... it will be my first Final Fantasy game I've ever played... unless of course anyone can suggest an older FF game I should play without having to buy an old console...

Anyway, more on topic, I don't see a FF XV release when the rebooted FF XIV is still 3 months away...

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Anyway, more on topic, I don't see a FF XV release when the rebooted FF XIV is still 3 months away...

They have separate (rather large) teams working on their MMOs and their main installments. Plus I think a XV announcement is still reasonable even if Realm Reborn is 3 months away. All they need at this point is crunch work and a maintenance team. They had no issues producing main installments when XI was running strong. They actually produced quite a few expansions alongside 13's development.

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Because FF13 epitomizes all aspects of Japanese culture? Your theory here is all sorts of weird, as if the later FF installments could somehow encapsulate an entire people. I wouldn't presume to speak knowingly about what a Japanese person would or would not bat an eyelash at - or an American person, for that matter.

For my money, I'd summarize the problem with two bullet points:

  • The FF universe has not survived the move to voice acting all that well; what once was text dialogue that the reader could imbue with emotion & gravitas now leaves less to the imagination, and suffers from it. I'd rather SE spent HALF of their CG budget on A/B testing different voice actors & voice acting directors, & writers that understand the difference between written dialogue and spoken dialogue. At this point, if that's not possible, I'd prefer they just switch back to text. I actually like the system that Fire Emblem: Awakening uses, with little mini-phrases & expressions substituting for the full text of what's being said, augmenting it. OR just make it ALL in some gibberish made up language. ANYTHING is preferable to what we've been getting.
  • There seems to be a general, fundamental mistake that MORE ELABORATE = BETTER. It's easy to confuse intricacy with quality; I'm not saying that as FF games develop they shouldn't alter the formula a bit, but it feels like there's this false pressure to make most changes additive, when I think stripping away & making subtractive (or even regressive) changes makes a ton of sense, based on the story you're trying to tell.

I really TRIED to play FF13, but for the life of me, everything felt so elaborate but simultaneously so devoid of soul that I simply couldn't proceed. Storytelling has been at the heart of the series & is what I feel it has excelled at in most of its cherished installments. It makes no sense to attribute bad storytelling & pacing to Japanese culture when they've gotten it right so many times in the past.

i'm not saying FF13 is japanese culture in a nutshell, what i'm trying to say is the majority of complaints people have with FFX and onward (that aren't gameplay related) are things that pretty much make perfect sense in a japanese context. this definitely extends to the voice acting and CG that you referenced in your first point.

the major reasons (and other people have pointed at this) that cut-scenes and characters fall flat in modern final fantasy games are a) overly literal translations that don't fit into Western archetypes and B) having to fit English syntax in Japanese lip sync. prime example of a) is Snow. Snow is a fairly typical 'self-prescribed hero/give all the attention to me' archetype. You see this all the time in the form of school delinquents and chaotic-good characters: for anyone who's watched Gurren Lagann, Snow is supposed to be a Kamina. But that idea of someone coming into the picture and being like 'I'm a hero!' falls completely on its face in English. In order to allow this character to work in a Western setting, it requires a lot more creativity than fairly direct, A-to-B translation. Translations of modern Final Fantasy games are overly transparent: they are written in English, to be sure, but have exactly the same content as the Japanese written version, and are as close to word for word as you can get within the constraints of lip syncing.

That's a bad thing.

This is ripped off wikipedia (lol) but "A competent translator is not only bilingual but bicultural. A language is not merely a collection of words and of rules of grammar and syntax for generating sentences, but also a vast interconnecting system of connotations and cultural references whose mastery, writes linguist Mario Pei, 'comes close to being a lifetime job.'" The issue I refer to here is that these games are being translated bilingually, but not bi-culturally.

Why is this a new problem, you ask? When a game is all text, a la FF 1-9, you can do anything you want with the original text. As long as it makes sense, sounds good, and is kosher with the original writers, it's fine. This gives translators ALL KINDS of flexibility for translators to write in a way that fits their sensibilities, and the sensibilities of their audience. Video and voice acting do not do this. If a CG shot is done, it's done. You have to fit the lines of characters to time, get all of the meaning across, and (hopefully) still have it be impactful. It's a nightmare: trust me, I've done subtitles and that's not half as painful as voiceovers. your only option is to shoot for equivalence, and in cases such as a Snow character, calling Sazh 'old man' even though he's in his like mid thirties, or even Vanille, who I believe is the most beautifully crafted character in FF13, equivalence just doesn't make sense. Snow doesn't work because it's not clear that he's hiding his own insecurities behind his machismo, which is actually outed in an optional cutscene very late in the game, but is very clear to a Japanese audience quite nearly from the get go. Sazh getting called 'old man' works because all young Japanese kids would do that to a middle aged man if he was hanging around with young people. Vanille doesn't make sense because she just seems like a bimbo who is a compulsive liar. In Japanese, it's a little girl who gets caught up in the middle of this terrible situation and attempts to just get along with everyone and be positive, even though her inability to face up to her struggles unintentionally makes everyone's situation worse. In English? Dumb bimbo. In Japanese/Japan? Heartbreaking tragic character.

If you're wondering where I'm pulling all this out of, it's not my ass. I played the game in English and Japanese. It made a big difference.

Also on a much smaller note, character designs might as well be pulled straight from J-pop stars in some cases. So if you don't like it, now you know who they're catering to. (hint it's not you)

And yeah. FF13 did well globally, as did 13-2, as will lightning returns. OMG TERRIBLE is really off base and inaccurate. "Square Enix sent word today that [Final Fantasy XIII] has sold more than a million units in North America, in the five days following its March 9 launch. This makes it set the record for the best first-week sales in Final Fantasy history, which is no small feat considering the pedigree." link

"Final Fantasy XIII-2 received highly positive reviews from Japanese critics... During the first week of sales in Japan, the game sold 524,000 units, becoming the fifth-best selling game of 2011 in Japan, and sold 3 million copies worldwide by January 2013." link

Edited by The Derrit

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Also on a much smaller note, character designs might as well be pulled straight from J-pop stars in some cases. So if you don't like it, now you know who they're catering to. (hint it's not you)

well genesis in crisis core was straight-up based on gackt...

also i get the feeling that versus might be rebranded as ff15. consider that ff9 wasn't originally gonna be a main numbered game (it was to be a side game instead) so it's not like a game can't ascend to main entry status. also ff agito xiii became type-0, so rebranding the title and removing the xiii connection from the title has been done before as well.

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the major reasons (and other people have pointed at this) that cut-scenes and characters fall flat in modern final fantasy games are a) overly literal translations that don't fit into Western archetypes and B) having to fit English syntax in Japanese lip sync. prime example of a) is Snow. Snow is a fairly typical 'self-prescribed hero/give all the attention to me' archetype. You see this all the time in the form of school delinquents and chaotic-good characters: for anyone who's watched Gurren Lagann, Snow is supposed to be a Kamina. But that idea of someone coming into the picture and being like 'I'm a hero!' falls completely on its face in English. In order to allow this character to work in a Western setting, it requires a lot more creativity than fairly direct, A-to-B translation. Translations of modern Final Fantasy games are overly transparent: they are written in English, to be sure, but have exactly the same content as the Japanese written version, and are as close to word for word as you can get within the constraints of lip syncing.

I agree with this completely, and it sort of ties into the point I was making a while ago about why I don't like Anime in its subbed version. That's problematic because you're putting your hands into a translator (who are often not that great) but this is an awesome point about transporting entertainment across cultures. Sometimes it can work A to B but many times it just doesn't.

I would argue that the out-of-the-gate sales stats of a game directly correspond almost solely to the hype built up before the game's release, and have nothing to do with the general quality of the game. The complaints - legitimate or not - about FF13 came after people beat the game, which certainly was not the majority of the cases in the first week of sales. Final Fantasy VII still almost doubles all-time gross sales of FF13, though I know we're talking about many years of lag time in availability.

As someone else mentioned here, 13 was very divisive and polarizing among the gaming culture, likely for many of the reasons you cited.

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You can play pretty much any Final Fantasy game without worrying about continuity unless the games are part of the same "series"(AKA FFX and FFX-2 or FFXIII and FFXIII-2/FFXIII-3). This is especially true with FFXIV given that not only are they entirely different teams, the MMOs are developed with entirely different goals.

Anyway, for the most part I think that DJP is right on the money, specifically about the difference between written and spoken dialog. I love FFXIII, but the dialog is INCREDIBLY hokey, which is something that's been plaguing a lot of Western translations of Japanese games. Granted being that I actually speak the language now, I can pretty much vouch for the dialog being equally terribly in Japanese, so they don't just add another dose of shit for the NA/EU release, although they DO handle voice acting differently than we do. Regardless of that, it's as if the localizers forgot exactly what it means to localize something. Stop speaking in esoteric terms, stop giving far too much meaningless exposition, etc.

Also. Derrit, you should feel pretty bad for using such a pathetic and antagonizing copout bro. Seriously.

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Also. Derrit, you should feel pretty bad for using such a pathetic and antagonizing copout bro. Seriously.

could you explain this

you're both privy to both the language and culture, which means your differing opinions are both very interesting to me

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Damn! I'm getting bested by all these other gaijin! I live in Japan and I didn't bother to play it in Japanese. Now I feel like I should just so I can add more to this conversation.

Anyway, Derrit's reply didn't seem like any kind of copout to me. It also sounds like djp, Derrit, and Malaki all agree that the voice acting is a big problem, which is not what I expected to hear. I had always assumed that people didn't like the stories themselves or aspects of the gameplay. I mean, I know everybody likes to make fun of Tidus but I always thought the REAL turn-off to people was the running through hallways and switching party members in and out.

I disagree with the CEO saying that they should make games that people want instead of the games that they themselves want. I said it in the Metal Gear thread as well but, I think everyone should make the games they want and let the market decide.

I personally love these huge AAA console games but most of them require too much money to be profitable it would seem. I would like it if Square-Enix would make some much simpler games (like with sprites and no voice acting) that had killer gameplay ideas in them and had Final Fantasy be there only huge-budget franchise.

I like Brandon's vision of Final Fantasy.

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I agree with Malaki. My wife is native Japanese. We live in the US but frequently visit her family and friends in Japan. I've watched many Japanese movies and tv shows, all across the board (subbed, dubbed, Japanese language only). Neither of us can stand the recent moe-moe bullshit character types and nonsensical over-complicated and convoluted storylines as seen in FF13. I understand the cultural meaning behind it all and it always just comes off as shallow and uninspired.

Sure, Derrit is right as that means we're not the target audience. But that alone doesn't make it a good game.

On-topic: I'm not holding my breath for any new FF game. It's gonna take a lot of convincing to get me back on board.

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On-topic: I'm not holding my breath for any new FF game. It's gonna take a lot of convincing to get me back on board.

QFE.

I used to be a day one buyer of almost FF game. But each time I find myself thinking I should've just waited for the game to show up half priced on craigslist. Maybe Im getting older and the magic is just getting away from me.

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Also. Derrit, you should feel pretty bad for using such a pathetic and antagonizing copout bro. Seriously.

what are you even talking about are you on drugs

boo hoo if you don't like my post but that's pretty much it. you don't have to like it for me to be on the money with this.

seriously.

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I actually don't think Final Fantasy needs a change. I think FF13 is awesome and I think FF13-2 will be even better. You can enjoy it more once you realize that it's not supposed to be the same as FF7 or FF12. I thought the localization job of FF12 was great. They should get those two guys again.

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I'll just repost what I wrote on an article on Joystiq dealing with this sort of sentiment. I also mention a bit about the new FFXIII-3 trailer(still not calling it that other dumb thing), so ignore that part at your leisure:

Lately I honestly have no idea how I feel about the FFXIII series as a whole. At first, I was put aback by the extreme linearity of the first game, but fell in love with the graphics and the battle system once it opened up fully, and while I appreciated the ideas behind the main characters, I just couldn't get past some cringe-worthy dialog and cliched anime tropes present in most of the characters. The second game eased up on the linearity, but while one would think limiting the party to just two characters would open up all sorts of possibilities for character growth, it fell relatively flat on that end, even though I found Serah's overarching plot pretty interesting, and I appreciated the risk they took with the ending. The world building in FFXIII-2 was much better than its prequel, and it's a shame that said prequel didn't do more in that regard. How is anyone who doesn't read the Analects and other journal logs in FFXIII even supposed to know who Etro and all the different Fal'Cie are otherwise? FFXIII did a pretty terrible job in that regard.

I'm still a fan of the FFXIII series though, although that (FFXIII-3)trailer was all over the place. RPGs have changed over the past decade alone. Whereas in the SNES, PSX, and PS2 days Final Fantasy set the gold standard for what an RPG on a console should be like, Western and indie RPGs have really left their own marks and have shaped what we expect from RPGs in terms of narrative, gameplay, and how the two are intertwined. Final Fantasy XIII-3 really has some britches to fill; Not only does it have to regain people's hope in the FF franchise as a whole, but it also needs to live up to modern RPG standards.

Here's to hoping for the best.

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Final Fantasy XIII-3 really has some britches to fill; Not only does it have to regain people's hope in the FF franchise as a whole, but it also needs to live up to modern RPG standards.

Here's to hoping for the best.

You really think anyone who hated the previous two FFXIII games will give the third one a chance?

I am really dumbstruck to the media's reception of FFXIII. Most reviewers gave great to excellent scores, while the gamers raged. I would probably have bought the game if not a local newspaper in my country (norway) gave it the low score of 3/6.

Im sure as hell not giving the next game a chance. I will be observing the new numerical FF release, but its far from a day-one purchase.

I am suspecting that FFXII-3 will be very poorly received, regardless of its quality.

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I am really dumbstruck to the media's reception of FFXIII. Most reviewers gave great to excellent scores, while the [extremely fucking loud subsection of] gamers raged. I would probably have bought the game if not a local newspaper in my country (norway) gave it the low score of 3/6.

regardless of your opinion on the games themselves, can we just stop saying that EVEWYBAWDY in your demographic hated them just because people on the internet like to allcaps rage about them?

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Final Fantasy Versus XIII is now confirmed to be called Final Fantasy XV and it will be on PS4 along with Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy XIV A realm reborn.

gNd2wYl.jpg

And now look at the Versus XIII logo.

FFVXIII.jpg

Square Enix skipped a console generation for me. But it looks like it's back with some good games. All thanks to Nomura and new guy Yoshi-P

Edited by Thin Crust

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Well considering that KH3 logo is a fake one that's been circulating for some time and that ARR hasn't even been confirmed for PS4 (even though there's been plenty of chances to do so)...

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