Father of Final Fantasy: “Stop Rehashing Final Fantasy!”

serah-farron-ffxiii

Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series, recently took part in a candid exchange with a Square Enix employee in which he told the company to stop endlessly rehashing the same game.

Hironobu Sakaguchi, generally credited with creating the Final Fantasy series, left his executive vice president position at Square in 2004 to start his own studio, Mistwalker, responsible for Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey.

In a (light-hearted and friendly) Twitter based exchange with game designer Takashi Tokita, current head of one of Square Enix’s development divisions, he was surprisingly frank:

Sakaguchi : “What about if you stopped all the rehashing of Final Fantasy?”

Tokita : “We’re planning to!”

Sakaguchi fields scepticism about his own current project, “The Last Story”:

Ahiru0026: “Last Story sounds just like a Final Fantasy rehash from its title alone, what’s up with that then?”

Sakaguchi : “If you tried it, I think you’d see it’s not in any way a rehash.”

Few could help but sympathise with Sakaguchi’s comments – Japan’s gaming industry, and in particular its RPG segment, have become stultifyingly unoriginal in recent years, failing to innovate in any significant fashion save moderate improvements in graphics.

Even Square Enix boss Wada, known to be a fan of western games, has given hints that the franchise may finally move on – might change finally be in the air?

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169 Comments

  • Anyone remember the Final Fantasy series for the original GameBoy- Final Fantasy Legends I II III and Adventure… For those of you who are Poke’mon fans – talk about rehashing… Poke’mon games simply copied the Battle system from Final Fantasy Legends.

    • Have you even played XII? Hardly a love story. It’s more of a political storyline rather than a ‘save the world’ trope since the ‘villains’ are actually doing the same but through more violent methods. It’s open-world real time combat system was a huge breath of fresh air after dealing with 10’s poke’mon like, ‘surprise Malboro butt raping’ hassle. I wish they’d bring XII’s fighting system back.

  • Anonymous says:

    They’re doing it wrong.(square-enix that is…) Each story is suppose to be a Final story in its own Fantasy right. No sequel. No spin-off. Nada. Make one and move on whether it sinks or float.

  • Anonymous says:

    Final fantasy has become less and less original and more of a ran-down “westernized” game in the years gone by.

    It’s lost it’s innovation to be different and constantly tries to butt-kiss retardation as much as possible.

    The stories are a bore, the combat is the old turn-attack table crap, and the male characters are always angsty or ditzy.

    It’s like no one tries to be different anymore and if they do their too afraid. So their never released or their butchered down.

    *Sigh* I’ll be glad when America stops being such asshat on video-games and allows some creativity to happen.

  • I wonder if Final Fantasy XV will still come out for WiiU. If not, well it’s not like they don’t speak the truth, except for one little detail: Square Enix currently depends economically on names such as “Final Fantasy” “Kingdom Hearts” and “Dragon Quest” how are they gonna emancipate from such franchises when the time comes while keeping the company strong is beyond me.

  • ChaosAngelZero says:

    lol, “Father of Final Fantasy: ‘Stop Rehashing Final Fantasy!'”

    Kitase, on Lost Odyssey: “What about if you stopped all the rehashing of Final Fantasy and simmonising Shadow Hearts‘ judgement ring bullshit, eventually outputting a game that’s even worse than its already rock-bottom-hitting inspirations?”

    Sakaguchi: “It’s the only kind of shit game I know how to design, don’t be so mean. 🙁 ”

    Haha. And I can’t believe that Last Story bit, the guy deserves the Epic Hack award, rofl.

  • Anonymous says:

    i mean, if they want to lose out in all that money, let them go ahead. I’d take the profits over feelings. Which is why should they remake FFVII, they’ll be beyond all the riches they could imagine.

  • Anonymous says:

    Game company’s are too pussy to try anything new, follow the trends will earn them more money… look at all the RPG games that came out before, how they were different.

    Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure

    Azure Dreams

    Star Ocean

    Valkyrie Profile

    Persona

    Breath of Fire

    Earthbound

    Shadowrun

    Chrono Trigger

    Act Raiser

    And many more.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you really blame them? Making a game today is a lot more costly than it was say back when Earthbound came out. Taking a chance in today’s industry could mean risking everything. The most recent example I know of is Psychonauts. Psychonauts was a really good game, in my opinion, but a huge financial loss for Majesco, its publisher. Even if a development team is will and able to work outside the box, a publisher might not be so willing to sign on.

  • Anonymous says:

    “Japan’s gaming industry, and in particular its RPG segment, have become stultifyingly unoriginal in recent years, failing to innovate in any significant fashion save moderate improvements in graphics.”

    Valkyria Chronicles says fuck you buddy

      • Don’t you mean how America is full of retards (oh wait, redundant lolol)? They SHOULD just stick to fucking their greasy fuckass cheeseburgers or whatnot, taking a bath in the grease of the burgers, getting fat to the point that they die like how that fat piece of shit died in Se7en. Yeah. That’s “The American Dream.” Toss in some niggers, and lack of quality in everything, there, that’s America.

      • “You mean like how America has rehashed the same games for years?”

        Well there’s only so much you can do with the FPS genre. There’s way more originality in our indie games and RPGs.

        I think it’s beyond pathetic that the RPG genre, which has so much room for creativity, is so uncreative in Japan given their undying love for them. Same can be said for anime and manga.

  • The Final and the last, I wonder if any of em live up to their name, being final and last I mean.
    Oh wait, we had have a lot of “final” here, so I guess the “final” is out.

  • RunttheCosmic says:

    What’s Sakaguchi talking about? FFXIII was fantastic! It had an original story I’ve never seen in any other game or movie or anime ever. The gameplay was refreshing (especially after a railroading game like FFX where you couldn’t do ANYTHING outside the main path of the quest) and dynamic. I mean, come on, FFXIII is a totally original game. Sakaguchi is just butthurt he didn’t come up with it.

    • You’re not very smart are you. While I’m not a big X fan, you seem to realize you couldn’t do anything in XIII. You couldn’t even do something as simple as visit a shop. The game was a straight line. Just because a story is refreshing doesn’t mean it’s good. Here’s a sample of the majority of dialogue in FF XIII. Oh no I can’t do this, I give up. Then Lightning would come in and say they could. XIII is the worst FF thus far.

    • whoa, wait, wait, wait. XIII didn’t railroad you? you /are/ kidding, right?

      X had MUCH more little things to do than XIII. XIII has a few chocobo treasures, and 84937503984 hunts. that’s it. at least in X you could access a few more secret areas (ON A MAP, thank the gods), quest for other summons, ultimate weapons (on top of synthesizing them), and actually explore some inhabited areas (getting rid of towns in a RPG, wtf?).

      just sayin’.

      for the record, i like XIII a lot, but it railroads you more than any other FF, imo.

  • Anonymous says:

    I liked XIII but didn’t like XII. Liked X but didn’t like IX.
    And the legions that like VI say VII is a ripoff.

    We fans are always complaining, it appears some of us are never happy with Final Fantasy while others are loving the some title we dislike.

    I think SE should do whatever it’s been doing that alternating games they’ll please us.

    Too bad for me, ’cause this way I’ll probably not like FFXV, but I have good hopes for FFXVI.

  • Anonymous says:

    The cached version of twitter:

    Sakaguchi : “What about if you stopped all the rehashing of Final Fantasy?”

    Tokita : “We’re planning to!”

    Sakaguchi : “I don’t believe you tell me everything stops the damned lies”

    Tokita : “we are planning to rehash it from the viewpoint of Western games”

    Sakaguchi : “DAMN YOU I TOLD YOU TO STOP!”

    Tokita : “WE’LL KEEP REHASHING THE SAME DAMN GAME AS WE HAVE STUPID FANS WHO LOVE THIS SHIT!”

  • Anonymous says:

    They should keep making final fantasy games…I enjoy playing them. Why is it that those who didn’t like final fantasy 13 say it failed….it didn’t fail. If you don’t like any of the recent final fantasy games then maybe you should leave the franchise and quit talking about it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I liked XIII… it had a decent(ish) story, okay characters mostly, the usual epic art and graphics… and I have to say personally that I barely noticed this ‘omg linear game is linear’… It has probably been said before, but EVERY Final Fantasy game has been ‘linear’… do you see any alternate endings?(Don’t quote me on this, I am just going off the top of my head here)

    And don’t come back to me with any shit about world maps or anything, because who the fuck wants to be running all over the place not knowing where the fuck to go … like finding that fucking boat in FFVIII… Nerdrage!

    So maybe I enjoy it because I haven’t played a FF game since 10, and anything could be better than that… though I still enjoyed playing it at the time, it just wasn’t ‘awesome’.

    I guess I’m just not a butthurt fanboy like the rest of the people complaining about Final Fantasy XIII, since I simply play games for fun and don’t somehow make it my current obsession. (OMG I WANZ CLOUD BAK HE PWNZ TEH MANZ FO SHIZZLE)

    PS: Wall of text crits you for over 9000 damage.

    • there’s also a couple different endings to X-2.

      some people want to be able to explore the world a little, thanks much. i like XIII a lot, actually, but it’s sooooo linear. there’s one single part of the game that gives you any exploration options, and all you can do are the hunts. and a tiny bit of treasure hunting.

      most of which has no benefit during the main story. i’d like to be able to run around and explore DURING the main story, and not in a single area that’s nearly to the end of the game.

      so, linear story and somewhat linear gameplay is fine, but no other final fantasy (except maybe, i dunno, mystic freaking quest) has laid out your path for you in such a way. not just, “hey, dumbass, you’re going the wrong way, just sayin’,”, but “YOU WILL NOT DEVIATE FROM THIS PATH”, the end, sayonara, that’s it.

      … long post is long. XD

    • RunttheCosmic says:

      Didja play FFVI? Many endings to that little masterpiece.

      Also, non-linear does not necessarily apply just to the story, it applies to a lot of things. Once you are done with aspects of the main quest in previous games, and even while you are on the main quest, most of the time you have had the option to complete all sorts of other things ingame. FFXII is a clear example of this with the hunting system, which I actually enjoyed a lot. Where FFXII would grant you freedom, FFXIII keeps you on a path through most of the game of which you cannot deviate even a little bit. That is the problem.

      And I liked FFX quite a bit. It tended to railroad the same way FFXIII at times, but not nearly to the extent that XIII does. Again, it comes down to the simple fact that you’re given more options in terms of gameplay in previous installments. In fact I dare to even think of a single FF game that railroads as badly as XIII does…

  • Anonymous says:

    Is Sakaguchi shrooming? His games have all been rehashing the old school FFs, especially since he left Square. FFXIII may rub people the wrong way, but it’s definitely not just rehashing the same formula (in fact most people’s complaints are that it’s too different). I’m with X-play on this one, FFXIII may not have been the game you wanted but it was the game the genre needed, something new and different instead of the same FF1-6/9 boring ATB system that the industry moved on from 10 years ago.

  • Anonymous says:

    you can’t win when you are as big and as famous as square. sooo many people play your games and in the end you get a ton of good/bad reviews.

    not to mention most people who even like their games just talk about their wish list.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just make remakes of all the games from I to IX.

    Except VII, I’m sick of how they had milked Cloud and co. over the years.

    Then let the Final Fantasy franchise die in a blaze of glory.

    For my part I promise I will forgive the existence of XIII

  • The Final Fantasy franchise has a place in the Annals of Gaming. It gave us some of our very best (and in many cases, very first) taste of what’s possible if you push the console RPG envelope. But [Square-Enix] has milked it dry. That cash cow is now better off going to the Pokemon food packing plant rather than being subject to the hate it is presently.

    I still play the old titles for the Nintendo, SNES, and PSOne…. if for nothing but to rehash old memories of that one boss battle, or some spoony bard fun. XD

    This Fantasy is Finally done! A new beginning beckons. Are the rest of you along with me for the ride?

  • Anonymous says:

    Rehashing the series? If there is any rehashing, it’s because of stupid fanboys who think FF7 is the best game ever, and wanting to see FF7 again, and again, and again, and so on so forth.

    FFXII was new and innovative. Developers actually took risks with that game, and it was executed well. There were some problems with the gameplay, but all-in-all the game was technically better than the games before it.

    And it was great to see the gambit-esque system implemented into the FFXIII’s Paradigm System, which works very well. The gameplay overall was well done.

    But what did FF fans do? Instead of wanting innovation, they want the same thing over again, non-stop. The developers are not at fault, at all.

    So tell me, please: what the hell is he complaining about? If anything, he should complain to the fans who complain about FFXIII not being another FFVII, not to the developers who are actually doing different things.

    • Anonymous says:

      problem is you just use fucking auto-attack all the time beacuse doing anything else is to time consuming. also not being able to control your other characters is to me a hassle sometimes when i want to buff and shit.

      The “sparkle” of RPG’s like Final fantasy is that you level up, get new attacks that you can actually have use of, in FFXIII you just use auto-attack, so leveling becomes da poop very quickly.

      FFXIII has really cool graphics and the story is pretty good, but after having watched 10hours of cut-scenes and just having auto-attacked like 5 enemies to death in that time, it becomes dull. I dont want a fucking movie, i want a game.

      tl;dr 1. paradigm suck cus you just auto-attack anywayz, and get away with it.

      2. leveling sucks, cus you dont get to actually use any abilitys you get.

      3. to many cut-scenes makes the game feel like a goddamn movie.

  • Anonymous says:

    Perhaps Sakaguchi was talking about the storyline? XIII is pretty different from the conventional FF games, at least the ones Sakaguchi was part of. Actually, XII broke away from the norms, so it wasn’t really a “rehash” in a sense of gameplay and presentation.

    The only same thing FF games share are the similarities in the storylines. Even though Sakaguchi sticks to the traditional turn-based system, games like Lost Odyssey is unique in the way the story is told.

    Last Story might play like Final Fantasy, but I do believe that it won’t feel like a Final Fantasy game, if that makes any sense.

  • “the franchise may finally move on”
    to creating FF7 in HD graphics and milk the fans in even more original ways!
    and don’t forget the limited edition game, special edition soundtrack and limited edition guide book we will release with it!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Is it me, or the only changes that have been added to RPGs are the attempts to make them NOT RPGs?

    like Mass Effect 2 and FFXIII

    rather than building upon what RPGs do right, it seems like companies want to get rid of the genre entirely

    why?

    is it too hard fro them?

    pussies

  • Blue Dragon’s dub was atrocious, and a few elements in the game, coupled with a few bugs, made it unenjoyable to say the least. On the other hand, Lost Odyssey is one of the best RPGs coming out in the latest years, and it’s surely true that final fantasy is becoming less and less attractive, not to mention the lazyness of square enix’ employees..
    I totally support the good old father :3

    • a-freaking-men. lost odyssey is completely underappreciated. definitely one of my favorite RPGs this generation, and the best game on the 360, period. \o/

      i have to admit that i enjoyed XIII a great deal, though…

    • Anonymous says:

      How? By filling the game with porcelain dolls and bishounen, and no story to speak of?
      They keep trying to rely more on the (frankly uninspired and way too “pretty”) looks than on putting some effort in coming up with a decent story which isn’t the same tripe over and over again.

  • The Last Story sounds like an FF title, huh? Hmm, so does every other game title in the genre~
    Seriously, I think they should’ve ended the series after 10. I thought XIII was pretty good story-wise, but it just isn’t the same anymore.

  • Anonymous says:

    “Japan’s gaming industry, and in particular its RPG segment, have become stultifyingly unoriginal in recent years, failing to innovate in any significant fashion save moderate improvements in graphics.”

    As opposed to western games that are all fun and innovation?

  • Anonymous says:

    What is Square-Enix?

    Since Uematsu and Sakaguchi left, a bunch of scavengers who use their past glory to keep in releasing their fanservice crap…

    It would be good if they remade their older games with the newer tecnology, but JRPG needs to innovate or else American RPGs will take over the entire market.

    by the way, Lost Odisey was a masterpiece

  • Anonymous says:

    ryu ga gotoku is the best franchise left in japan. Its cinematically better than FF and more manly, it not filled with girlie boys and teen drama, it’s fucking adult!

    Make FF adult, I want to see cloud cut of sepiroth’s head than celebrate by raping tifa, fuck the teenie shit!

  • Anonymous says:

    I’d rather square work on making a new FF every 2 years rather than take 4 years and give us a bunch of shitty spin offs inbetween that nobody cares about, who the fuck asked for dirge of cerebus and shit like that?

    Just give us a ff7 remake, thats all we want. FF10 was the last decent FF game, the franchise has gone down the shitter.

  • Anonymous says:

    ah yes, the plight of the Gooch.
    he only produced a game that was a step 15 years back (Blue Dragon), a game that even his most ardent fanboys describe as being the best “‘real’ Final Fantasy” this gen (Lost Odyssey), and a handful of DS rpgs that weren’t exactly innovative (or actually good) and whose collective receptions made FFXIII’s reception look like the second coming of Jesus Christ.

    yet at every step he’s told us he was going to be doing something different and redefining rpgs.
    and he fully expects people to take his word now. it more than a matter of Last Story’s name.
    its a matter of the Goosh’s actual track record with Mistwalker and doing anything other than rehashing the past.

    if his plight is stagnation, unoriginality, and the lack of any significant innovation, then i think Sakaguchi has his own problems to worry about than trying to perfect his Itagaki impression that he’s been whipping around this gen.

  • celcius_01 says:

    Truth be told, the only FF that really blew me is VII. Probably coz the transition from sprites to polygons, but hey the gameplay’s a win too. But of course, that’s just me.

    Btw i haven’t played XIII, so who’s that chick?! Hawt! *Kweeeeeeeh*

    • Anonymous says:

      pretty much, its the plight of JRPGs in general atm

      caught between a new breed of WRPG fanboys that want JRPGs to be anything but JRPGs and nostalgia-deluded JRPGs traditionalists that want to paralyze the genre into extinction.

      FFXIII decided to try a shift to direction, and people hate S-E for it.

      the irony is Sakaguchi has already “rehashed” Final Fantasy far more than S-E has this gen.

  • Anonymous says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that the implied pantsu flashing picture crosses the line between “somewhat-related” and “totally unrelated”? Really, you could pick a much, much better picture for it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Actually I’m one of those idiots that bash it even though I haven’t actually played it.
    And since I enjoyed FFX it even makes me a bigger idiot.

    But we are sorry that we simply can’t ignore that the game is most famous for being linear.

    • Nothing wrong with FFX; I really liked it too. It doesn’t have the insane fanbase other FF have (like FFVII) but as an RPG it’s great.

      I for one am glad I didn’t buy it as soon as it came out. I’m all for linear stories as long as they’re awesome, but to make it literal? I don’t understand who the hell came up with that (and even less the guys who gave it green light)

    • TehBoringOne says:

      As someone who grew up with the series and as a critic of how XIII came out, I’d honestly be sad to see the series die in the miserable state XIII left it. I honestly would like a game that develops into something new and exciting, even if they kept the turn based battle system and rehashes of the name Cid and summons. It’s not like Japanese aren’t creative. The problem is that the market has grown and the machines now can do more, and producing also costs more. Still, seeing the time they took to develop XIII, half a fucking decade, I think that they could have done way better, even with an overused formula.

      Square Enix has to look OUTSIDE of Japan, see what good things the west has and incorporate them, while adding new things of their own.

      That, and remove completely people like Motomu Toriyama and the guy who directed (forgot his name) from the franchise. They seem to me like two of the reasons XIII came out the way it did.

      Somehow, I don’t think the development was smooth at all…

      • Anonymous says:

        I’d be happy if they stopped allowing Tetsuya Nomura to direct stuff. His direction of the camerawork is so hyperactive you can barely follow anything of what’s going on at one time. It’s like he has an extreme form of directorial ADHD, although maybe he’s just a by-product of the way overused and annoying as hell jump-cut action sequences many movies seem to be employing these days (Quantum of Solace, anyone?)

        • Nomura is only the character designer for FFXIII.

          Versus XIII, on the other hand, is directed by him; it’s already sounding much much better than the way FFXIII turned out.

          airships ftw

      • Anonymous says:

        Do not bring up “look the west” bullshit. Seriously. That’s what’s fucking up the Japanese market. They aren’t looking at what they can do sell things, they’re just make really bad clones of already tired Western games. New things from Japan really need to come from actual good things from Japan. Not some “let’s make a Japanese Gears!” or some bullshit like that.

  • They have a winning recipe though, so the rehashing isn’t bad, and changing too much could alienate fans. In fact they do something completely different every new installment, so I don’t get wth he is on about. The only real rehashing is one with the game’s staples like summons, certain items, certain character names. But that’s what we love about the game.

    • Anonymous says:

      They used to have a winning recipe you mean, now all FF is is a bunch of FMV. They’ve dumbed down the battle mechanics and item system so much since FF6 the series is just a graphics whorefest.

      FF has been going downhill since around FF 7/8. Anyone who disagree’s clearly never grew up fighting badasses in Final fantasy 1 which would kill your party.

      Does anyone not remember getting rubbed or XXX’d, or fighting monsters too powerful for you to take on in some place you weren’t supposed to be yet?

      I miss the old FF.

      • THAT is something i miss. going to an area i knew i wasn’t supposed to be in to fight something insanely powerful.

        and real sidequests. a lot of them. not these hunts and chocobo hunting with nothing else to do.

        i like some of the newer FFs plenty (yes, i grew up playing old school FFs, too), and i’m even enjoying XIII quite a bit – it really is a graphical orgasm – but i do miss the old FFs. T__T

        the music from the past, too… sigh…