Oh dear... Well this is sparking quite the news huh? On the 18th, at Square's 1st Production Department Premier, Final Fantasy XIII-2 was announced. Following the announcement, reactions from fans roared into a howl of "I can't wait!" and "I hate this game! It sucked! Why make another one?"
So what's going on with FF XIII-2? It's fairly hard to say really, and it's difficult to look at this without a biased opinion. I enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII.
Yes, that's right, I liked Final Fantasy XIII.
And if I may say, I do know about and acknowledge the game's flaws. Corridor after corridor of linear gameplay, the story is complex and difficult to understand, the battle system is more of a numbers game than anything, some annoying characters, no towns, no airship, lack of open world, etc.
For me, I pretty much liked the battle system. It kept you on your toes at times. And I like linear RPG's, although XIII did get tedious at times. Especially at that damn airship, yeah, that sucked. I generally enjoyed the characters and didn't hate any of them, but I did miss the towns and airships.
At first the game came out to generally positive reviews, but as gamers got the chance to play FF XIII some were soon disappointed. It was certainly a cloudy response at first, with lots of people enjoying it and others being disappointed. Over time more and more people posted negatively about the title, and those who enjoyed it hushed up.
The people who didn't like FF XIII seemed to have had a large influence on those who hadn't played it yet. I call this the "Catching the FF XIII Sucks and I Haven't Played it Train".
Yup, and there are still people out there that say "FF XIII sucks! I haven't even played it and it sucks! Square-Enix is an epic fail!"
Those who had enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII began to change their minds on the game. Maybe they reflected on the game and changed their opinions, or maybe they saw how the general fan reaction was going down and decided to go with a seeming majority.
But wait a second here. Final Fantasy XIII went on to sell over 6 million copies. So regardless, the game was a blockbuster hit for Square. This leads to Square announcing a sequel to FF XIII, and it is titled "Final Fantasy XIII-2".
If it sounds familiar, it's probably because you are remembering Final Fantasy X-2, which is generally considered a disappointment. I haven't played much of it, but there are people who really enjoyed the game as I have learned recently.
So why FF XIII-2 and why now? Toriyama says it's because the fans wanted it and the staff wanted it as well. I'm with most people on this one... I don't really think fans wanted a sequel. But hey, who knows? Toriyama also admitted "that the first Final Fantasy XIII received a variety of opinions from players. With XIII-2, the development staff hopes to respond to many of those opinions." (Andriasang).
That is a hopeful statement. It's actually a very hopeful statement, taking the recent boot of FF XIV's higher-ups into account to fix mistakes and try to please the fans. So will FF XIII-2 be successful? It's fairly difficult to say right now.
After they finished production of FF XIII, Toriyama said they cut out enough material to create another game. I don't think that was a very smart idea to say that, since fans are saying "Well the game's already made for them. They're just trying to make a quick buck!" Who knows, that may be true. But there's an opportunity to get things right for the fans. Maybe we will see less narrow corridors and paths, and more open world stuff?
All we know about FF XIII-2 right now is that it has Lightning with new armor. Yeah, armor. It's a lot different from her outfit in FF XIII but change can be a good thing.
I have hope for this game and I am excited for it. Hopefully, it will be better. But no one will be getting their hopes up, except maybe for some.
But there's one thing that's been nagging at me recently.
As I was reading reactions to the announcement of a sequel for FF XIII, there seemed to be less haters of the game and more people willing to state how they liked it. Better yet, people were engaging in critical discussion about the game instead of just saying "I like it" or "I hate it". They looked into its flaws and gave support for their reasoning. It was nice to see.
One commenter on Kotaku said something along the lines of "This is amazing. I have never seen such polar opposite opinions for a game before." And that really hit home. Even though people were discussing both good and bad aspects of the game, you could generally tell if they actually liked it or not.
So what should you do? Try FF XIII and form your own opinion. Does it warrant a sequel? We will see within the next year since Square said it's supposed to be out sometime in 2011.
Keep your fingers crossed.
- Jared C.