Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary: The Worst of Final Fantasy - Part 6: CCFFVII, XIV, XV

By Az Elias 02.01.2018

There is a lot to forget about the three titles front and centre in this article. Each one did some strange and almost unbelievable things. Thankfully, there is a lot of good to try to wash that dirt off with, with the two numbered games featured here improving a lot on past mistakes as time and updates have gone by. As a reminder of what we were penalised with, though, read on…

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Crisis Core was an emotionally-charged and nostalgia-driven prequel that told the overlooked hero Zack's story during events that led up to what took place in Final Fantasy VII. Bypassing its repetitive gameplay, however, it was its characters and writing that made this PSP title difficult to get through.

Square Enix went through a phase of building what it dubbed as the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, producing a movie sequel, a third-person shooter sequel, a mobile prequel, an anime prequel…and this PSP prequel. Although perhaps not needed, some of the narrative details in these prequels were welcome, adding a little extra depth to the origins of eco-terrorism group AVALANCHE, the Shinra spy organisation Turks, as well as major characters like Cloud, Aerith, and, of course, Zack.

It was the new characters the staff tried to work into the story that made Crisis Core a cringe-inducing pain, though. Specifically, Genesis Rhapsodos - a SOLDIER First Class member ranked alongside the legendary Sephiroth and fellow fresh face Angeal Hewley. While Crisis Core gets more and more ridiculous with each original character that is never seen or heard about again in the continuation of the story in the PS1 game, apparently doing its best to kill off just about all of them and attempting to erase their existence, it is Genesis who ends up as one of the worst characters Square Enix has put together.

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Genesis is the combined creation of producer Hideki Imaizumi and Japanese rock star Gakuto Oshiro, better known by his stage name Gackt. Having already been involved in creating music for Dirge of Cerberus: FFVII, this bizarre collaboration saw Gackt voicing Genesis, with the character's design being based on the singer, resulting in Gackt becoming a creative partner in the whole process.

Although so much of what Square added to the story felt forced, trying to provide more depth and a reason for Crisis Core to exist as a fuller game, things were worsened by Genesis' awful dialogue, constantly reciting poetic lines from the book "LOVELESS," which was adapted into a play in the FFVII universe. Grating doesn't begin to describe the man.

It isn't confirmed, but due to this unusual collaboration between Square and Gackt, it's possible it has resulted in difficulties in reusing the Genesis character, and as a result, halts any potential remaster of Crisis Core or continuation of the FFVII series post-Dirge of Cerberus. Not that many people would complain about that — well, the latter, at least (Crisis Core still has its moments when ignoring the Genesis dross).

With the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake, however, it has been confirmed that it will be a complete overhaul, and that nothing is off the table when it comes to what they do with it. Potentially, it is a chance to retcon the likes of Genesis and so much of the Crisis Core storyline out of existence entirely. On the other hand, it is a chance to ensure as much of it as possible is worked into the FFVII canon… Please, no.
- Az

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Final Fantasy XIV

It seems so long ago since Square Enix's infamous original launch of Final Fantasy XIV severely damaged the franchise brand name. The developer's obsession with visual fidelity in favour of the quality of the games themselves has always been a huge risk, and many could already point to the likes of FFXIII as evidence of where SE's priorities lay at the time, or even at FFXV for proof of them not having learned all of their lessons since then.

An inexperienced MMORPG team focused efforts in all the wrong places in the creation of FFXIV, placing as many polygons and shader code in flower pots as actual player characters, with this fixation on visuals resulting in extreme reuse of environment features and textures to reduce memory space, and limiting the number of characters on screen at one time to twenty. Given the nature of a community-focused MMO, this latter point, in particular, was absurd.

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A terrible user interface, performance issues, broken foundations for the building of the game, an engine not designed for it, the lack of help and direction for players, along with an incredible mind-set that problems could just be patched out with future updates, quite clearly showed how backwards and incapable the development team was.

It took the swallowing of huge amounts of pride to admit they screwed up, but the decision to reshuffle the team and rebuild the game from the ground up, incurring the losses of huge sums of money, proved to be one of the best Square Enix has made. What Final Fantasy XIV has become today is remarkable. The fact many people forget all about how it used to be indicates the exceptional job its new-look staff has accomplished.

A number of lessons will have been learned from FFXIV's long history, but hopefully Square Enix uses this for the good of the future of the series. Let's overlook FFXV for now, given its extraordinary circumstance, having been in development hell during the time both FFXIII and vanilla XIV were putting visuals at the forefront. With any luck, what follows now will be a game made by a team that has worked very closely with the one that successfully rebuilt FFXIV.
- Az

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Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV feels like a haphazard mess that was thrown together from existing assets lying around from the troubled FF Versus XIII project...probably because it was thrown together from left over assets from the FF Versus XIII project. FFXV has the dubious honour of being a single-player game that came out and is still in development hell.

Over a year since it was released, it is still getting patches, updates and story content added just so things can make sense. Very basic QOL features like a post-game chapter select that should have been in from launch had to be patched in months after release. Every fan who wanted to play FFXV basically got to be a beta tester and had to play the game in a such a shoddy state. Maybe after all the updates, it became a much more enjoyable game, but it was too late... The first impression is the most important one.
- Albert

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