Gamers have been waiting since E3 2006 for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, a Square Enix retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a gritty futuristic feel.
The extended trailer showed promise. We saw stunning realistic graphics influenced by Square, seamless game play and the return of a navigable world map. With a lengthy Wikipedia page filled with character descriptions and a plot synopsis, it would seem as if Final Fantasy Versus XIII already existed. Some fans shut it down as vaporware or compare it to Duke Nukem Forever, a game that took 15 years to complete yet received horrible reviews.
Fans wonder why Square Enix released two sequels to Final Fantasy XIII but haven’t greenlighted FF Versus XIII. Final Fantasy is about moving forward. Why linger on spin offs? It’s just not the Squaresoft style.
Last week’s episode of Square Enix Merchandise Radio (MdRadio) featuring Director Tetsuya Nomura gave us the confidence we needed to hold on to this long awaited game. Nomura apologized for the news being overdue and said a date has been set for the next Final Fantasy Versus XIII information reveal. It could very well be this June at E3 or at the Tokyo Game Show in September.
Rumors are spreading that Final Fantasy Versus XIII will be renamed Final Fantasy XV. Japanese fashion designer Roen, who announced in 2008 that he would craft the costumes for Final Fantasy Versus XIII‘s characters, had on his website for over a year that he was designing attire for Final Fantasy XV. He later released a statement in March claiming the text was wrongly posted.
The Final Fantasy series means a lot to me. I grew up on it and consider it one of the biggest influences in my life, not only as creative inspiration but musically, too. But Final Fantasy XIII disappointed me. It didn’t seem like a true Final Fantasy game. No longer did we have a Japanese style RPG but a linear game geared toward Westerners. I felt like I had watched a movie and every so often tapped the controller to progress the battles. I couldn’t finish it. The characters resembled rehashed anime stereotypes far too much. Nothing made me want to go back and play it.
What we need for the future of Final Fantasy is a blend of that old Square Soft feel and a realistic yet strategic battle system. Final Fantasy Versus XIII is my last hope for the series. If all goes well, it will be an unprecedented success. However, if it disappoints, then that’s when I give up with successive games and go back to replaying the old ones.
Time will tell whether or not Final Fantasy Versus XIII will remain in stasis or become a seven-year-project put back on the burner just in time for the next generation systems.