GameSpy.com GameSpy Cheats GameSpy Cheats
  SEARCH: The Web GameSpy  
Case File 28: Is Square Enix milking the Final Fantasy VII franchise?
Page:   1   2  


Let This Fantasy Stay Final
Phil Theobald, Associate Console Editor

Back when Square-Enix released Final Fantasy X-2, I was pretty convinced that the company wasn't making the game for the art of storytelling, but just to get a few more bucks out of the hardcore Final Fantasy fanboys. "Hey, remember Yuna? She's back! Only now she's wearing short shorts. And using guns (be sure to buy the limited edition reproductions). And being a pop singer. And teaming up with her sexy friends and dressing up in all sorts of revealing outfits. It's kinda like Yuna's doing cosplay! You FF fans like cosplay, right? Ha-ha! Of course you do."

Of course, FFX-2 may have just been a one time deal. After all, one sequel, no matter how "catering to the fanboy" it may seem, is hardly "milking it," right? Well, now Square-Enix has upped its own ante with a triumvirate of Final Fantasy VII spin-offs that practically scream, "SELL OUT!"

Not that is doesn't make sense to revisit the FF7 universe. It is the game that brought not only the FF franchise but RPGs as a whole into the consciousness of the mainstream gamer. Even today, seven years after its release, you can hardly go on the internet without bumping into someone named CloudLuvR254 or SephirothBAD@$$69 or some such nonsense. And people still fill message boards and blogs with elaborate descriptions of how they wept during Aeris' death scene (whoops! SPOILER ALERT!). It's can a bit extreme sometimes, but hey, the game has certainly touched a lot of people so why not sequel it up?

"You can call my game Vincent May Cry all you want, but at least I'm not stuck in a cell phone game."

Here's where Square-Enix's desire for a quick buck (or two, or several million) starts to reveal itself. If you ask any FF7 fan what they want in terms of a new FF7 game, they're most likely going to give you one of two answers: a remake of the original FF7 with slick new, PS2-style graphics or Final Fantasy VII-2. And yeah, either one of those (or both, while we're dreaming) would be great to see. So what do the fans get instead?

A cell phone game.

Specifically, Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis. I don't care how big cell phone games are in Japan (and they're pretty big), the fact is that any game played on a cell phone cannot match the scope of the original FF7. Is this what the fans wanted? To be hunched over their two inch screens playing the new FF7 with their phone's number pad? And don't forget that this game is Japan only. Sorry, U.S./Europe/anywhere else fans. You couldn't even play it if you wanted to.

Then there's Advent Children. Square-Enix was touting this as last year's Tokyo Game Show as not being a game, and not being a movie, but being "visual content." A year later, we now know that, yeah, it's just a movie. Since it's clocking in at about 60 minutes, it's not even a full-length movie. Admittedly, it looks terrific, and has Square released a feature length Advent Children theatrically back in 2001 instead of that awful The Sprits Within movie, it would have felt more like an actual sequel to the FF7 storyline and less like "we're creating cross-platform synergy with the release of the Advent Children DVD along with these other fine FF7 products."

Finally, we have Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus, the only "real" game of the three. But is it the true continuation of Cloud's story that the fans want? Nope. Heck, it's not even an RPG. It's a Devil May Cry-ish action title starring Vincent. I guess making the game star Sephiroth would too too much like a marketing maneuver. The merits of the game will be seen as it's closer to release, but the fact that Square Enix is developing a new FF7 game for PS2 and not making it one of the two games that the fans really want speaks volumes.

It's as if the company is saying, "You know, we can just make a lot of quick FF7 spin-offs. It won't be nearly as difficult as creating a whole new RPG sequel, and the fans will buy them anyway because of the FF7 name. And if we make a bunch of spin-offs, it will convince the fans that we're eventually working up to a full-on Final Fantasy VII-2, which we may or may not produce in the future. We can decide that at a later date."

There's just too darn many Final Fantasy VII games/movies coming out right now for comfort. It feels less like a long-awaited revisiting of a beloved game and more like a perfectly time corporate decision. In his Final Fantasy VII: Compilation article, Raymond wrote, "There was a time when it seemed that each Final Fantasy game was too sacred to revisit." Now, however, it seems like Square-Enix has no problem with multiple revisits if it's sure that the fanboys will fork over the cash.