Final Fantasy 13 Could Mark the End of an Era for Traditional Square Enix JRPG's

by Jeff Mattas, Jan 06, 2010 4:20pm PST

Square Enix president Yoichi Wada dropped a bit of a bomb today in an interview with Edge (via Destructoid) when he announced that Final Fantasy XIII could very well be Square Enix's last traditional entry in the long-running series.

Despite his confidence that Final Fantasy XIII will be well-received by fans, Wada said "whether we are going to continue to internally create this type of game remains to be seen." He further qualified that he believes the FFXIII development team "should next move on to create and generate some 'next generation' forms of play," instead of focusing only on their established audience.

Sure, "next generation forms of play" is a nebulous allusion, and it's true that Final Fantasy games have experimented with different types of gameplay in the past while still staying true to the established JRPG conventions. That said, Square Enix potentially letting go of the JRPG formula it not only pioneered, but used to build a massive worldwide fan-base, seems like a risky move that is sure to alienate some long-term fans.

Final Fantasy XIII has already been released in Japan, and comes out March in North America and Europe on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


23 Threads | 80 Comments

  • As an insane traditional JRPG nut, it would be kinda sad to see the classic-style JRPGs fade into the past. However, it's a necessary step in the evolution of the genre's design, and I hope the games get better as a result.

    The biggest flaw in many of the JRPGs I've played since the late Playstation/PS2 era is the superfluous crud that's been built atop the stale foundation. Unnecessarily convoluted magic/skill systems, collectibles on top of collectibles, a shitload of different ways to mix and make items/weapons... all while grinding the same random battles. JRPGs lately have taken too much from the MMO grind, which I personally cannot stand. In my opinion, the best JRPG ever released was Suikoden 2. It had a lot of side-quests and collectibles, but its grind was so simple, quick, and streamlined that it never felt like a chore, and it was actually fun going from place to place looking for cool new stuff to do or collect.

    As for gameplay changes, I think JRPGs can take a cue or two from some of the stuff singleplayer PC RPGs have been doing: multiple paths, non-combat ways to gain experience points, and more fleshed-out worlds. JRPG environments look fantastic and are often quite original (which, sadly, I can't say for most PC RPGs), but in most of the ones I've played recently there are few ways to interact with these worlds. JRPG characters are also way too trite these days, but I haven't seen that much originality on the PC side of things either.

    In short, I'd love to see a blend of the fantastically over-the-top worlds/stories of JRPGs and the depth/interactivity of good singleplayer PC RPGs.

  • I kinda wondered when this would happen. I mean really, there's just no way something like "Final Fantasy 16" wouldn't sound insane (hell, 10-14 is pretty crazy).

    That said, I really enjoyed (and am still enjoying the post-game) FFXIII, and I would be sad to never see something of that sort again. Square (and Square Enix) have done a lot of pretty awesome stuff over the years though, so I'm perfectly willing to trust that wherever they go from here will likely be awesome.

    Hell, some of my favorite games of theirs fall outside the traditional JRPG formula anyway (like FFT and VS)