RPG Grind Time – My Conflicted Feelings About The Final Fantasy XV Delay

The longer
something remains out of reach, do you start to lose interest? I’ve never been
more conflicted about a game than I am about Final Fantasy XV. It’s put us on
quite the journey, especially since the Final Fantasy XIII Versus days. If
you’re keeping track, it’s been now over a decade that the project has lingered
in our minds, every so often popping up and tantalizing us with how great it
could be, while also making us skeptical about the actual experience. The past
E3 presentation at Microsoft’s press conference had some technological hiccups,
which didn’t instill any confidence, but at least it played better on the E3 show floor. At this point, I feel
like I’ve been on a constant loop of excitement and disappointment with this
game, which might be why I’ve been tackling myriad feelings over the
recent delay
.

Part of me
feels like I should be angry. If there was one milestone not to miss on this
project after all its trials, it was the final release date, which had a whole
event centered on it
. At the same time, I don’t want to play an unpolished
game. I always prefer a developer take the extra time to make sure a game is
stable. Nothing is worse than having glitches, especially when a game crashes
on you, causing you to lose progress. I don’t want to feel frustration while
playing games or be taken out of the experience because of issues that should
have been ironed out during development. As games continue to get more
ambitious and complex, I suspect it will become harder for developers and
publishers to nail down release dates. It’s one of the first questions that
comes up when a game is announced, but how can you factor in unknown obstacles
until you’re in the nitty gritty? Announcing a project too early can be a
recipe for disaster, and we’ve seen that firsthand with Final Fantasy XV. Since
its announcement, things have been poorly planned, which makes me all the more
nervous when there’s another bump in the road.

Still,
there’s nothing I want more than this game to be wonderful after I’ve waited so
long for it. The Final Fantasy series is so ingrained with my love for the
genre that I want to see it thrive again, and Final Fantasy XV has more riding
on it than any other entry in the series. It’s Square Enix’s chance to show it
can still compete in the triple-A RPG market and captivate a new generation of
gamers who didn’t grow up with the franchise like I did. Can it handle a more
open world? Can it deliver on action combat? The stakes have been raised; the
genre has evolved a lot since Final Fantasy XIII with games like The Witcher 3:
Wild Hunt and Fallout 4.

I like how director Hajime Tabata has the
handled the project since he stepped in, taking over for Tetsuya Nomura, so he
can focus on Kingdom Hearts III. Tabata inherited a game that was steeped in
controversy and high expectations. He’s interacted with the fans more than I’ve
seen any other Final Fantasy director outside of XIV’s Naoki Yoshida. He’s
delivered two demos just to ensure the game is living up to expectations and so
he can correct any glaring issues and improve the project. I feel like Tabata
has been very open and upfront about what’s going on with his Active Time
reports. I feel like he’s been a fresh change for the series, and that’s
exactly what this high-stakes entry needed.

When we went
on our cover story for the game, I was impressed and optimistic by what
I saw. During my hands-on time, the awe and wonder I hadn’t experienced with
the series in some time was there. Every time I see a new summon I get excited
by how badass they look; the larger-than-life Titan is all kinds of amazing.
When I see a new town, I can’t wait until I’m able to explore it. I dig the
action combat, which I think is a change the series at least needed to try. I
like the idea of just a group of old friends coming together to save the world.
The characters all seem to have their own roles; Prompto tries so hard to pick
the group up and Ignis is so protective over Noctis that he makes sure he’s
eating right. Noctis always has the weight of the future on his shoulders, and
I’m curious how the game tackles this dilemma and makes him into the king he
needs to be. I keep getting surprised by how much I see that’s actually in the
game, from the side quests to various locales whenever a new trailer debuts.

Right now,
there’s promise, but I’m a little over just possibilities at this point. I need
to actually be in the world. I’m done with hopes. I need reality, and the
reality is that the game needed to be pushed back. I accept that, but it
doesn’t mean after all that’s been said and done that I’m thrilled about it. My
biggest hope is that Square Enix has learned a lot of lessons to apply to
future projects. Because I can’t handle another entry that’s like Final Fantasy
XV’s development – and don’t even get me started on Kingdom Hearts III. Now all
I can do is wait until November 29 to experience the end result of this long,
long journey for another entry in an RPG series that’s meant a hell of a lot to
me through the years.

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