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Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda: “Final Fantasy is not something we could ever discontinue” By Tony Garsow on November 27, 2017 at 7:34 PM

Final Fantasy is one of Square Enix’s most important franchises, but in a recent Gameindustry.biz interview with Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda, is a franchise that’s exerted great pressure on everyone attached. That may not come as a shock to many when considering the challenges that come with inheriting a title with such a voluminous history and expectation. While there have been stumbles, such as the original failed launch of Final Fantasy XIV, Matsuda says that the series is “not something we could ever discontinue.”

He continues:

“Each time, it’s a challenge for us to decide what kind of team to put on Final Fantasy. The developers always work under a lot of pressure. Innovation is the key. Of course the motif is consistent, but we need to always challenge ourselves, to do something that surpasses the previous installment or to provide something different to what we’ve had before. I think we were able to maintain that tradition with both XIV and XV, and I see that as an achievement.”

Both Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy XV had considerable challenges facing their development but were ultimately met with commercial and critical favor. Final Fantasy XIV, as an MMORPG, has released two expansions after its initial 2013 re-release, with timely content patches that continually deliver more content to players hungry for more. It’s a game that director and producer Naoki Yoshida hopes will last at least ten years. It may be hard to believe but the half-way mark next year is nearly upon us, and the game doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Final Fantasy XV in it’s own way is extending itself beyond its original release date with scenario DLC, a multi-player expansion, and more to come in the following year, but it also includes an expansive trans-media campaign that saw release of the Kingsglaive movie, Brotherhood anime, and a slew of tangentially-related mobile titles. While it’s very much a single-player title, the development has tried to treat it very much like a game that operates as a service, adding in patches that fix bugs and add new features. Will other games get this treatment? Matsuda thinks it’ll have to be on a case-by-case basis.

Square Enix has been doing this with Final Fantasy in different ways in the last decade, for better or worse. See: the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII or what became of the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos.

Matsuda: “At the end of the day, we are rooted in the games industry. Having solid games is at the basis of everything we do, and that’s not going to change.”

These days, it’s hard not to stumble into conversation about what’s next for series, especially with a recent comment from series brand manager Shinji Hashimoto that 2018 will be a big year for Final Fantasy announcements. What shape will the next numbered title take? Who will be working on it?

If Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy XV, and the general industry tradewinds are any indication, it’ll likely be a title that lives well past its original release date. Maybe the important question may not be “will Final Fantasy XVI be a thing” or “what director will be installed” but rather “will Final Fantasy XVI be more than one thing?” What methods will it employ to deliver more of itself to its audience? Should we expect micro-transactions? Episodic DLC? A new trilogy?

You can check out the full interview over at GameIndustry.biz here.

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  • Games Das

    What an obvious statement.

  • Dod

    “Will other games get this treatment?”

    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NO !

  • Luke Watts

    I don’t want the FF franchise to end, but it sure as shit needs a good shake up. Since FF10 it’s been a case of 3 steps back, one step forward – The titles they deliver are still no where near what I would call an even remotely on the forefront of the industry.

  • Codes McGodes

    Square-Enix before FFXV released: “If FFXV doesn’t sell well this could be it! So please buy it! ;]”

    Square-Enix after FFXV: “Girl we would never quit. ;]”

  • MajoraMan28

    Well, it did become the best selling FF of all time, so surely they would go with this stance.

  • Codes McGodes

    I just think it’s funny how dramatic they were in order to make sure FFXV sells well, and NOW they’re suddenly in it for the long haul.

  • Luke Watts

    Yes it was shameful. They’re all about that these days.

  • MajoraMan28

    “What methods will it employ to deliver more of itself to its audience? Should we expect micro-transactions? Episodic DLC? A new trilogy?”

    F*** NO.

    Microtransactions is killing the industry, EA has become a laughing stock bc of their insistence with this uncaring practice, and it would put FF in an even more sad state than it already is.
    I for one actually like how FFXV is turning out to be, but I think it’s unfair that they made the game great through DLC, almost two years after release by the end of the service.

    Episodic DLC is something that made FFXV feel incomplete to many people. Deliver the full experience from launch date, S-E. DLC should be extra stuff. Please, look at Breath of the Wild if you want a good reference.

    And no trilogies. FF is a series of individual stories that may share connections, but can be appreciated individually. Sequels were preety much bad ideas in every iteration of this series (The After Years, Dirge of Cerberus, X-2, the XIII trilogy).

    Look back at the Nintendo and PSX era to see what we really want FF to be, from a creative standpoint. Full games that came in the package on launch date, with no microtransactions, no cut content just to earn an extra buck.

  • Hyou Vizer

    yes EA is laughed at but they themselves are laughing all the way to the bank. Microtransactions/lootboxes and paid DLC are the best ways to make continual income for a gaming company sadly. So as long as foolish gamers keep playing with their wallets, such underhanded practices in the industry will continue to get worse =/

  • Codes McGodes

    To that point, EA is often criticized for their business practices while other companies get praised for doing the exact same thing. Idk if either of you play FFXIV, but have you ever seen the prices in their cash shop? God above the prices for FFXIV microtransactions are OUTRAGEOUS, yet not only do people buy them, they frequently check the cash shop for new items and they’ll drop $10-20 on a single item without a second thought.

  • CallMeGod

    Don’t worry the next FF games will employ all these methods to milk as much money out of you cows even when their game is incomplete. FF15 has already proven that already. I already know Tabata’s next game will employ these methods to milk as much money as they can because that’s all they care and you cows will let them milk you.

  • Dod

    One story, one package. That’s all we want indeed.
    No more confusing “compilations” like FFVII or KH where you basically have to own 10 different consoles to understand the entire story. Not to mention this idiotic DLC trend that just ruins everything. I miss the time we could buy one single product and enjoy it from start to finish.. and then move on.

  • Hyou Vizer

    i fully agree there. Sure FF14 cash shop are just emotes, minions, and mounts all cosmetic so no P2W nonsense but it is a B2P/monthly fee game, it definitely does not need extra income from having a cash shop added on too. I recall a fat ass moogle mount costing $30 on there, that’s the price of an expansion alone smh.

  • Codes McGodes

    Exactly. I don’t mind that microtransactions exist, but like, emotes are $7. Fucking emotes. Mounts are anywhere from $12-30. Fantasia bottles (to change your appearance) are $10 EACH. Level skip/story skip potions are a whopping $25, and furniture/clothing items go anywhere from $5-20 each.

    Just to buy the six mounts alone, you’d pay $114. Like that’s two whole games worth of cost.

  • of course not because the legacy of the franchise makes you money!

    how about making a good game for once

    has the internet ruined entertainment?

  • dear god no

  • chizwoz

    Where you getting that from?
    FF7 is the best selling.

  • MajoraMan28

    The compilation of FFVII was the worst thing to happen to the game.
    The original game was a masterpiece and a complete experience in itself. AC and the following games (to a lesser extent with Crisis Core) ruined the plot, continuity, characters and quality of the VII mythos.
    I want them to deliver experiences like the ones we’ve seen them deliver in I-IX.

  • Randy Marsh

    That was more of the nutty rambling of Tabata that did that whole “FF MIGHT DIE OMGZ!!!!!!!!”, than actually a statement from SE themselves. Which was pretty asinine and I knew something like this would happen after the game came out lol.

  • Randy Marsh

    I mean yeah, don’t quit FF SE. However, maybe finishing making the game after it comes out isn’t the brightest move to do for future titles. DLC that focus on characters and add costumes, yes I do not mind, that’s a given nowadays. However, adding cutscenes and side quests that should have been in the title at launch is a tad bit ridiculous, at least for me. *sigh* I miss the days of FFXII and FFXIII at times, but stuff like this isn’t going to make me kick and scream or quit FF though lol.

  • Codes McGodes

    Yeah fair enough. Like I’m just sitting here listening to this guy assure everyone they’re not quitting the franchise and we’re all like “well yeah why would you?”

  • NoctLightCloud

    I agree. I sometimes really miss XII and XIII. They were at least complete, long, had many cutscenes and no bugs (at least no apparent ones).

  • I miss the PlayStation 1 & 2 era FINAL FANTASY games

  • Daniel

    I’m totally with you, guys

  • Krijn van Alten

    XII was a PS2 game.

  • All Seeing Eye

    Dude, XIII-2 was incomplete. The real ending is a DLC.

  • Randy Marsh

    “FFXIII at times”
    Was there any mention of the sequels in that?

    Anyways, the DLC of FFXIII-2 was completed along with the original product and were already in the base game. The DLC was released a few months after because of the scheduling calendar of the DLC.

    The Requiem of the Goddess DLC was intended as an additional scenario to add Knight of Etro Lightning as a playable unit. However, having that with the true ending was a fault of the development team, but it wasn’t because it was incomplete as you mentioned. Anyways the DLC of FFXIII-2 was not an afterthought as many of the stuff being added into FFXV currently. Other games have done this type of dump for DLC seen in FFXIII-2 though, was just “money money” that time.

    So no, the game was not “incomplete”.

  • All Seeing Eye

    I thought you said you miss them at times, which for some reason registered as sometimes in my head. Also, I still think the game was incomplete because the true ending isn’t in the base game. Call it an oversimplification but meh.

  • I could not leave out FINAL FANTASY X… XII, and XI too

    I am in disbelief at what has become of the franchise now

    from FINAL FANTASY I to FINAL FANTASY XV(!?)

  • CocaineCowboyFF7

    It’s heartwarming to hear my favourite series isn’t leaving, although it should be expected to stay. I would blame no one but SE for killing it off. If there’s any pressure coming from us it’s by your own decree, Square.

  • Final Fantasy

    Final Fantasy xiii part 1,2 and 3 – being Lightning Returns ofcourse – all have MAJOR lagging issues. they go from 60FPS to 23 FPS for no usual graphics settings reasons. xiii and lightning returns would be FANMUTHAFUCKENSTASTICAL to play right now on my pc at 60 fps at least most of the time lightning returns would look AMAZING if it just ran better. but the final fantasy now and back in whatever days are not much different from each other because they ARE all different from each other. so “missing” is a weird way to describe something. unless you lost your console or pc. just playem.

  • Final Fantasy

    also i like your profile pic

  • NoctLightCloud

    I am that kind of person who doesn’t care about fps. I don’t need 60 fps to be happy. It ran great on my ps3, I didn’t notice any lags. idk about the PC version though, since I’m not a pc gamer.

  • NoctLightCloud

    I am surprised that this would ever come out of my mouth, but: the PS1 FFs are too slow for me now. I still love them, but those random fights and load screens have become a big pain for me. I was super sad when I realised my impatience since I loved them a lot.

  • xMysticx

    tell me somthing i dont know …
    as long as FF brings cash .. FF isnt leaving

    now you reminded me of tabata saying : OMGZ FF IS IN THE VERGE OF DEATH !!!!!!1111
    as long as clown like masuda and tabata in there it will be harder fall

    i dont think what they did to xv is hard enough they will keep it up
    well good luck

  • CRIMSON-XIII

    FFXVI in Ivalice please, or medieval steampunk world… or some sort of spin off yet huge console game for XII 🙂

  • Jesse

    They already have made good games, Plenty of them. And that includes XV.

  • back at the turn of the millennium, the kids back then could tolerate those things because they not only had more time but those games were almost as cutting edge as you could get for the time, life moves too fast when your are an adult, especially now that we are used to doing things that way

    I feel a bit of a resistance going back to that after having played it already and having experienced modern gaming, I cannot help but sped the gameplay up whenever level grinding is required, I will not lie though that I feel a sense of longing for the heartfelt stories that were told back then

  • Invictus

    I’d say give credit to whom it’s due. Tabata put FFXV out the door. Cleaned up the mess that was left by Nomura and the other higher-ups.

  • xMysticx

    are we going to the blame game again ?

  • Invictus

    not anymore. it’s been a year and a lot has come out. Putting it behind us now lol

  • xMysticx

    good

  • NoctLightCloud

    Very well said! I agree 100%.

  • xMysticx

    can i point out that persona 5 took best rpg of 2017 awards ?
    can i point the irony that nier automata took best music awards in 2017 ?
    guess who steeped over the other …

  • Games Das

    Damn,I am happy for Persona 5,Nier Automata and BOTW.
    I wonder what the CEO has to say now about FFXV not winning anything,not an award alone.

  • xMysticx

    i was wondering the same . but, where all those little snowflakes at ? they didnt vote for their GOTY

    all they good at is yapping about how good ffxv is here and on yt comments . quality beats the quantity