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Yoshinori Kitase, producer of Final Fantasy XIII-2, has hinted that the next iteration of Final Fantasy could see it drift away from its turn-based roots and be an action-RPG.

In an interview, Kitane told us that the increasing popularity of action-RPGs compared to their turn-based equivalents represented "a trend…you ignore at your peril."

"I think the nature of the franchise is to present something new each time," Kitase said. "In the global market we see many players moving away from games that used turn-based systems toward what you might term an action-RPG.

"That's a trend, and you ignore things like that at your peril."

Kitase went on to say that changes introduced in Final Fantasy XIII showed that the series was moving forward with each iteration - but left the door wide open for more subtantial changes to be made in the next full game in the series.

"FFXIII and FFXIII-2's battle systems have those elements of speed and action that are the key words for us, though that doesn't necessarily mean we're going to stick to the same route in our next game," he said. "That's something only time can tell."

Despite its long history as a turn-based RPG, it wouldn’t be too surprising were Square Enix to take the Final Fantasy series in a new direction. While five million copies of 2009's Final Fantasy XIII were shipped worldwide, the online RPG Final Fantasy XIV has had a dismal time of it since its launch in September 2010.

Last December, Square Enix announced a delay to the PS3 version of the game following the PC release's dismal reception. CEO Yoichi Wada offered the company's "sincerest apologies"; producer Hiromichi Tanaka stood down, and was replaced by Naoki Yoshida; the dev team was reshuffled; and the free trial period was extended indefinitely.

In September, Wada conceded: "The Final Fantasy brand has been greatly damaged," and confirmed that the team was "basically fully redoing the game." Further evidence that the publisher recognises the need for change came from senior executive officer Koji Taguchi, who said in June that Square Enix's "decline in Japanese titles [shown at E3] was almost humiliating." Just one game of Japanese origin was shown at the conference: Final Fantasy XIII-2.

From EDGE

Sounds like a horrible idea to me, I'd much prefer a return to the large, open worlds which characterised V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and XII. XII Particularly was full of ideas I'd love to see revisited, VIII had a really special, beautiful world. VII and VI both have wonderful stories and characterisation. I don't see that them drifting away from the things which popularised the series will benefit the games or the fans.

 

 

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I wish they'd bring back FF Tactics. The Disgea games sell well right? Why aren't SE making a high def, hand painted Tactics game? Why is everything about making it as pretty as possible no matter how much scope has to be sacrificed?

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My main problem with final fantasy games isn't the turn based battles, it's the unnecessary padding and random encounters. MMOs exist for gamers who enjoy grinding to make their avatars more powerful, it has no place in a single player game.

Same with random encounters, they are just dated. Companies don't need to put "60 hours gameplay" as a selling point on the back of the box anymore, that puts a lot of customers off, if anything. I'd rather have a tighter game with the filler removed, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

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My main problem with final fantasy games isn't the turn based battles, it's the unnecessary padding and random encounters. MMOs exist for gamers who enjoy grinding to make their avatars more powerful, it has no place in a single player game.

Same with random encounters, they are just dated. Companies don't need to put "60 hours gameplay" as a selling point on the back of the box anymore, that puts a lot of customers off, if anything. I'd rather have a tighter game with the filler removed, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

Final Fantasy hasn't had random battles for ten years. Have you played one recently?

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Companies don't need to put "60 hours gameplay" as a selling point on the back of the box anymore, that puts a lot of customers off, if anything. I'd rather have a tighter game with the filler removed, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

Absolutely. I used to love long games because, growing up, I could only afford a few games a year. Today, I see "60 hours of gameplay" and I see a game I'm unlikely to have the time or inclination to finish. Particularly when it comes to story-driven games like FF, I'd take a 20 hour, refined experience over a drawn out epic saga any day of the week.

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I wasn't impressed by XIII at all, but that wasn't the battle system's fault. Had they managed to hang the gameplay on a story that didn't feel like a conveyor belt populated with cardboard cut-outs and ancient tropes, I reckon they could have been on to something really special.

Personally, I think Xenoblade Chronicles is the game XIII should have been, and it represents the evolution of the genre Square-Enix should be aiming for. Done right, there's no reason a leap from traditional turn-based battles to new action-orientated systems should signal a degeneration of the complexity or involvement of gameplay. I relished the dynamism XII's freedom of movement brought to the series. Xenoblade successfully trimmed off all the fat of a heavy menu-driven system, delivering a lean and enjoyable experience without compromising its RPG roots. XIII made battles feel more believable with swift, fluid actions, and took advantage of next-gen hardware to make them showy and exciting to watch.

RPGs were turned-based originally because of their pen-and-paper roots. Early computer hardware didn't encourage developers to try and make games "real-time", but with the machines we have today, and those on the horizon, I think we should embrace the inevitable shift to more intense experiences. That's not to say that turn-based games can't be intense or don't belong in this gen, far from it. Games like Frozen Synapse cleverly blend turn-based strategy with fast-paced action, and there is still an appetite for the longer, more strategic game. But I don't see a developer moving away from turn-based play as being anything to worry about, so in that regard I'm not worried about XV yet. I just hope they take this new action-orientated approach and give us more freedom to explore the world with it.

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As I am recently playing through FF6, it amazes me how that game is able to convey more character and story though a two sentence text box than was seen in the entire FF13. They are missing a trick lately, the newer games lack the music, style and story telling of previous. FF7 was the pinnacle of this, and nothing on the newer generation consoles has come anywhere near to this. I could describe in detail to you the majority of that game, it was exciting, fun and original. I couldnt even tell you all the characters in ff13 dispite finishing it.

Never mind an Action RPG, take the game back to its roots and give the fans what they want.

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So like FFXII then? I loved that game, probably my favourite Final Fantasy since 6.

I think the great thing about FF is that they have been willing to experiment and mix things up every few iterations. Even to the degree of admitting an MMO into the series numbering.

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Just as XIII opened up I lost interest in playing it (which is dumb I know as most impressions I read say that's when it gets really good). The combat system was good but I enjoyed FF XII's combat more (which I didn't get to play to completion sadly). Visually i'd like to see something different happen. VII, VIII and IX all look fairly unique alongside each other (my preference were the slightly more cartoon stylings of IX and VII) but then X seems to establish a more solid style that runs through the rest of the series (particularly the characters and summons which become more and more like intricate machines rather than the glorious mythical beasts I loved in VII).

It would be a pity if it became pure real-time combat. Hopefully it will retain a little strategical turn based element more like the system in XII.

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RPGs were turned-based originally because of their pen-and-paper roots. Early computer hardware didn't encourage developers to try and make games "real-time", but with the machines we have today, and those on the horizon, I think we should embrace the inevitable shift to more intense experiences.

Most early turn based RPGs (like the Baldurs Gate stuff) was turn based because of the IP they were licensing from traditional games with a built-in audience, rather than hardware restrictions. P&P RPGs are designed for simple arithmatic and low notekeeping at a tabletop, with computers it makes more sense to make a gameplay system that can play to the strengths of storage and complex calculation, than deliberately model inefficiencies like they did.

That's not to say that turn-based games can't be intense or don't belong in this gen, far from it. Games like Frozen Synapse cleverly blend turn-based strategy with fast-paced action, and there is still an appetite for the longer, more strategic game.

Why does everything have to be an INTENSE ADHD BLOCKBUSTER EXPERIENCE though? I'm not the biggest fan of the old ways of doing things, but I don't see how reducing variety in the industry is ever a good thing.
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Deliberate misinterpretation if you ask me, the text doesn't match the claim of a "hint", and the series has already had a couple of action rpgs. The lesser spotted Versus XIII is supposed to be an action title too. really it's the sort of 1+1=5 logic that I would expect of eurogamer, not edge.

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Deliberate misinterpretation if you ask me, the text doesn't match the claim of a "hint", and the series has already had a couple of action rpgs. The lesser spotted Versus XIII is supposed to be an action title too. really it's the sort of 1+1=5 logic that I would expect of eurogamer, not edge.

i) Versus 13 isn't out (still)

ii) It's a spin-off, rather than the 'main' title.

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Why does everything have to be an INTENSE ADHD BLOCKBUSTER EXPERIENCE though? I'm not the biggest fan of the old ways of doing things, but I don't see how reducing variety in the industry is ever a good thing.

I don't see this as a reduction in variety, necessarily. I see it as a potential for the series to continue to evolve, which is something that the series has always strived to do, for better or worse. This is just another turn of the wheel, one which has been a long time coming.

It's getting on a bit now, but Lost Odyssey was the perfect example of a traditional RPG birthed on next-gen hardware which didn't resort to dumbing down its story with explosive melodrama for the attention-deficit CoD generation. In fact it had the best story-telling I've seen in a game, ever, told in pages and pages of simple prose. I don't think games like that are gone, but they are an increasingly hard sell.

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The reason FFIV is doing shitty business isn't because there's a trend towards action RPGs, it's because it was (is?) a crappy game. The 'trend' is because many JRPG games now seem to be made for handhelds, with very few big budget JRPG releases, while Western stuff like Mass Effect and Bethesda games have exploited multiple platforms to get the sales numbers they need. More importantly they've been excellent.

I can't help but fear that this obsession Japanese developers currently have with 'Westernising' their products ignores the fact that it was the uniqueness of their titles that we liked in the first place.

Having said that, if you can get a battle system as intricate as FFXII into an action rpg then why not? Although I don't see why pressing X to hit something and Y to cast a spell is any more fun than planning a unique attack strategically with a menu based system. A mix of the two could work well. And much as I love Mass Effect 2 and Skyrim, neither has integrated a combat system as intricate and deep as the finest JRPG. Not that that's a negative comment as they do their own thing extremely well, but I'd like the choice! If it's a choice between Japanese sushi and sushi dipped in ketchup, well...yuck.

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My main problem with final fantasy games isn't the turn based battles, it's the unnecessary padding and random encounters. MMOs exist for gamers who enjoy grinding to make their avatars more powerful, it has no place in a single player game.

Same with random encounters, they are just dated. Companies don't need to put "60 hours gameplay" as a selling point on the back of the box anymore, that puts a lot of customers off, if anything. I'd rather have a tighter game with the filler removed, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

I for one enjoy grinding in JRPG's but don't haven't enjoyed the gameplay nor the environment in any of the (free to play) MMO's I've tried and am put off by subscription based services. I know I'm not the only one and in a market that should be as diverse as the entertainment business, such mechanics do have a place in a single player game.

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I find that the sweet spot for an action RPG is around the 30 hour mark (for the main story and a decent smattering of side-quests); more than that and padding is far too prevalent, less than that doesn't give time to really get into playing around with your team's stats and gear and stuff (which is all good fun). I struggle to imagine a Square-Enix action RPG being that short - almost as if they have to extend the playtime to about 70 hours because their audience would expect that.

That said, I do miss a good turn-based RPG where the time allows me to really enjoy the more epic battles whilst I plan my moves - something that is lost in an action RPG where not only do I lose elements of control over my team, but I don't get to appreciate what's going on as I have to keep an eye on my enemy, my team's health and position, all the while spamming an attack button.

Both have their place and I enjoy them all in different ways (I've enjoyed Lost Odyssey, The Last Remnant, Mass Effect, Infinite Undiscovery, Eternal Sonata this gen (and even Blue Dragon and Star Ocean were ok), but I would like to see some more turn based titles appear (I don't own or intend to own a handheld) - I don't even know if there are any more on the immediate horizon?

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