Final Fantasy. It needs no introduction. It doesn't matter if you never have and never plan to play a role playing game, you'll still know the name. First launched in 1987, the Final Fantasy franchise has now reached title number 14, and where once it was restricted to PlayStation or PC owners, the later games of the series have taken a more multi-platform approach. Xbox owners look set to enjoy any future Final Fantasy games, but will there be many more? Have we reached the finale of this series that has truly redefined the realm of the RPG? Or will the familiar title still find its way onto the shelves of our favorite game stores?
The games that boast the Final Fantasy title have, on the whole, been incredibly well received with great reviews from gamers and critics alike. In an unusual twist to a series of games bearing the same name, developer Square Enix decided that the installments would each tell an independent story. There are the odd sequels to some of the games, particularly the latter titles where more time and energy was invested into the Final Fantasy world, however on the whole the games stand completely alone. The stories tend to follow the same basic premise; evil bad guy or bad corporation needs taking down, enter a pack of sometimes unlikely heroes to work together to save the day. Despite the general predictability in the outcome however, the developers haven't been afraid to occasionally write off characters and take gamers on an emotional rollercoaster through an assortment of real time gameplay and dramatic cut scenes.
As a gamer playing a Final Fantasy game you will always find yourself taking control of a party of key characters, though at times you may be reduced to just one or two individuals as the story progresses and the party splits. The role playing elements of the game involve exploring various surroundings as the main character in your party, and interacting with a wide variety of residents of the world to undertake an assortment of varied tasks. Unlike RGPs such as the Elder Scrolls that boast an open world experience, Final Fantasy games have traditionally been quite linear. Although sub-quests and mini-games are available in all areas, you will progress from location to location according to the plot of the main quest.
Combat within the franchise has historically been turn-based, though the system has certainly evolved through the series with new real-time battle sequences. Straightforward attacks work alongside magical maladies and healing spells to keep your party healthy and able to fight against any foe. Future titles are likely to work to enhance the combat system once again to create enhanced fluidity, but the general principles will surely remain to keep new games true to the Final Fantasy roots.
So what about the future of Final Fantasy? We can certainly expect elements of its past to creep into any future forays into new adventures from Square Enix, but will there be more titles for us to enjoy?
Rumors of the next title in the series, Final Fantasy XV, or 15 to the less Roman numeral literate amongst us are certainly flying around. Square Enix was expected to make an announcement at E3 2012, but instead of coming armed with a trailer they simply showed an incredibly impressive graphical representation of what a Final Fantasy title could look like on a next generation console. Is this a hint that the next game is being prepared for the Xbox One? We think it looks likely. It's definitely a game in development, and has been for more than four years. It looks like Square Enix will be bringing out the big guns with this next title, with some rumors boasting it could be a change of pace from previous titles providing an open world experience that's bigger than Skyrim!
While role playing game fans continue to buy copies of Final Fantasy games it looks likely that the series will continue. An old quote from Final Fantasy producer, Shinji Hashimoto suggests that we are unlikely to ever see a final Final Fantasy, but instead to see a franchise that continues to grow and develop to produce games that continue to captivate the imagination of gamers around the globe:
"The term 'Final' in the title doesn't mean 'last', but the teams behind it see it as a term for 'ultimate', and as long as there are creators that are wanting to make Final Fantasy games, we will probably keep going."
Article by - Rebecca Waterman
Insert Date: 08/14/2012
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