My good friend Ricky is writing a series of posts about Final Fantasy. They’re really good ones, too. Coincidentally, I have just acquired Final Fantasy XIII by means of gift the other day. I put it in my Xbox and was immediately blown away by the awesome-looking intro cinematic. I then started playing the game… and there was no prelude. That kind of put me off. There’s a victory fanfare after I win a battle, but it doesn’t have that familiar trumpet “da na na da na da na na!” Sure, there’s a Frocobo, but a Final Fantasy without a prelude? I’m not sure if I know this game anymore. They still know how to push the right buttons, though – the first enemy you fight is a Warmech.
I love the auto battling and command queuing and all of those other changes. But if you went straight from any of the origins of the Final Fantasy series to this, you would probably be scratching your head a bit. Yes, twenty some-odd years of game design and evolution changes the game a bit, and I wonder if it’s left me behind. Does this mean I’m getting old? Do those kids need to get off my lawn? Even then, the vast majority of people involved in making Final Fantasy “back then” has moved on to other companies and projects. Is it still Final Fantasy when the guys who conceived and built it aren’t doing it anymore?
The answer is obviously yes, as Final Fantasy’s spirit has grown beyond that of its original creators. It’s now a living, changing thing; a universe that could be built upon by those willing to take up its mantle. Disregarding the fact that the game is essentially a license to print money, the series continues on mainly as a way to push boundaries in gaming. It’s come a long way since being a rip of Dungeons and Dragons.