Unsurprisingly, making a video game takes a long time. Every aspect of the massive worlds players can explore – games like Final Fantasy can take players over 50 hours – must be created digitally. But even with that process in mind, over the past decade, Square Enix’s epic games have come to epitomize long, long stretches of development. The Tokyo-based game maker seems keen to change that perception for its next PlayStation 5 title, Final Fantasy XVI.
Games are often promoted as they are created. The problem with revealing games too early in development is that some ideas or features that developers want to implement change often. It can also inadvertently mean that a game studio promises one thing but delivers another. Plus, the longer fans wait, the more the delay can create inordinate expectations.
For example, the previous franchise installment, Final Fantasy XV, took 10 years to release. The game started life as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which was announced with Final Fantasy XIII in 2006. FFXIII also had a long (although relatively shorter) development period, and when it was finally released in December 2009, for some fans, the game did not live up to expectations. It couldn’t.
The changing media environment has also changed expectations. When Square Enix announced FFXIII and Versus XIII, video game blogs were taking their place and starting to replace print publications. As a result, game news could be reported around the clock to a wide audience. Square Enix was scheduled to show new trailers and footage at game shows throughout the year. The arrival of Facebook and Twitter accelerated these trends – game updates were expected more frequently, and Square Enix fueled the flames of the hype by broadcasting PR to fans. Since gamers couldn’t play the games yet, they’ve built them in their heads over the years.
Producer Yoshinori Kitase reflected on how things turned out for FFXIII, telling the GameReactor website, “Personally, I think we took a little too long to release it.” The following year, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV was released, but was so poorly received that Square Enix brought in team member Naoki Yoshida to helm a revamped 2013 version. During this time, Versus XIII appeared to fall off the map and disappear into the Aether, but was later resurrected and transformed into FFXV.
After FFXV, Square Enix seems to have learned from past experiences. Yoshida, the man who saved Square Enix’s MMORPG FFXIV, is now producing FFXVI. As is always the case with any new main Final Fantasy game, people are excited! When Square Enix first revealed FFXVI in September 2020, the first reveal was different from usual, with Square Enix simultaneously releasing an elaborate, cinematic-filled trailer and gameplay, rather than distributing them separately. It was a smart move, as it immediately handled the expectations of the players.
In a live broadcast of last year’s Tokyo Game Show online, Yoshida said he didn’t want to show a pre-rendered trailer for FFXVI first, but as much real-time gameplay footage as he did. possible. He knew that if they started with a trailer full of cutscenes, fans, especially those in the United States, would joke that the game wouldn’t be released until 2035. Yoshida also said he was personally fed up with it. drip public relations. that stretches information about the game over time – historically at the heart of Square Enix’s marketing playbook.
This means that Square Enix has already shown a lot with the first FFXVI trailer and has not seen the need to retain fans. Even though there is no official release date, development appears to be progressing well, perhaps because Square Enix waited longer to reveal the game instead of showing it earlier in development. Looks like the wait this time will be worth it.
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