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Editorial: How Square Enix Can Save Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy is one of the oldest series in the industry, but longevity doesn't guarantee success. This hardware generation hasn't been easy for Final Fantasy, but as a fan from the beginning, I don't think all hope is lost for the legendary role-playing franchise. With new consoles on the horizon (and a new entry confirmed to be in development), these are the things Square Enix should do to restore Final Fantasy's reputation and start the next generation off right.  

Don't Dilute The Brand
In the SNES and PlayStation eras, the Final Fantasy name meant something. A new entry in the series was once a big deal, but Square Enix has been liberally applying the name to a glut of releases on various platforms. Amid an array of sequels, Final Fantasy VII spin-offs, and bizarre genre experiments like Dissidia and Theatrhythm, the value of the Final Fantasy moniker has diminished. Also, when a new Final Fantasy game comes out, the name should be just be followed by roman numerals, not gibberish.

Enough With The Remakes and Rereleases

I love Final Fantasy IV, but that doesn't mean I need to play it in multiple incarnations across a variety of devices. From handhelds like the DS and PSP to mobile phones to download services, classic entries are abundant. All the while, the Final Fantasy VII remake fans have been clamoring for still isn't happening. For the audience that is anxiously awaiting the next "real" installment, Square Enix's habit of endlessly returning to the well sends a message that the company cares more about mining the series' past than guiding its future. 

Pretend Final Fantasy XIV Never Happened
I understand that games are expensive to make, and that knowing when to stop sinking money into a project is difficult. But in the case of Final Fantasy XIV, the battle is already lost. The game originally came out over two years ago, and people didn't want to play it. Despite the changes on the way in the Realm Reborn campaign, I don't think Final Fantasy XIV can succeed in doing anything but sponging money and time away from more valuable Square Enix projects. 

Either Make Final Fantasy Versus XIII or Don't


The timeline surrounding Final Fantasy Versus XIII is extensive, to say the least. Square Enix revealed this game so long ago that an entire generation of hardware has come and gone with no hints as to when it will finally see the light of day. The company either needs to put a push behind the game and get it finished, or cancel it and let everyone know. Games with such a protracted development rarely turn out well.

Fix The Mobile Approach

Square Enix is mistreating Final Fantasy on two fronts in the mobile realm. First of all, the original games released for phones just aren't very good. Secondly, all of the titles are too expensive for what they provide. Who wants to pay $30 for an iPhone game? Rein in your expectations, charge a fair price for a good product, and maybe fans will support you.

Stop Copying Cloud and Sephiroth
Cloud was cool. Sephiroth was cool. However, that doesn't mean that every lead and antagonist in the series must be cast in the same mold. Squall = Lightning = Cloud. Kuja = Caius = Sephiroth. Yes, the ideas worked once, but part of the magic behind the characters was that everyone hadn't seen the archetype a million times before. If Square Enix were to venture into territory that isn't so well-traveled, I'm sure longtime fans of the series would welcome some new ideas.

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