Few videogame franchises have as rabid a fanbase as Final Fantasy. Stretching all the way back to the series’ NES debut, the intense love FF fans have shown the series has made its title increasingly oxymoronic over the years. But you know what? We’re not here to love your favorite game. And as 2010’s Week of Hate officially draws to a close, we offer…
1. Giant novelty swords, hair
After Final Fantasy VII, the series became the standard-bearer for ridiculous weapons and fantastically stupid hair. What started with Cloud’s ginormous Buster Sword and emo spike-top would later give us such laughable implements of destruction as Squall’s Gunblade, Lulu’s stuffed-animal sidekicks (and belts masquerading as a dress), the folding weapons of FFXIII and whatever that blue thing is that Tidus fights with. That's to say nothing of Wakka's towering red cowlick or Kuja's shaggy blue plumage. Does all that stuff make Final Fantasy’s designs memorable? Yes. But it also makes them impossible to be taken seriously by grown humans.
Breathtakingly accurate art by Tyler Wilde
What are Final Fantasy fans’ two favorite things? If you said “sports and minigames,” not only are you wrong, but you probably had a hand in designing Final Fantasy X’s most excruciatingly dull time-sink, you horrible bastard.
Above: AGGGGHHH MAKE IT STOP
3. It tries to pass off MMOs as numbered entries
Can you imagine if Final Fantasy Tactics had simply been called Final Fantasy VIII? Or if Mega Man Battle Network had been Mega Man 9? Probably not, because that would be weird. Most creators don't really like it when their fanbase quits in a rage, so when a series radically shifts its genre, those games tend to happen as spinoffs. So why, then, is it acceptable that two numbered entries in Final Fantasy’s core lineup (XI and XIV) are MMOs? Games like Final Fantasy tend to concentrate on story, visuals and single-player combat. MMOs are endless, decidedly un-cinematic grindfests that cost $15 a month just to play. Final Fantasy forces you to watch as your giant, elaborate summoned-monster attacks demolish your foes; FInal Fantasy XI forces you to fight hundreds of rabbits until you're powerful enough to kill a goblin. Final Fantasy XI is not Final Fantasy, no matter how many Chocobos and Blue Mages they cram in there.
Above: GET THIS THROUGH YOUR HEADS
4. Spinoffs dramatically outnumber the core games
In the past 10 years, there have been more than 30 games released bearing the Final Fantasy name. Of those, exactly five have been new, numbered entries (one of which was XI, which again, arguably doesn’t count). The rest have been remakes, offshoots or sequels that always fall short of the originals. It was a huge deal when the first true sequel - X-2 - happened, but since then, seemingly every core game has been an excuse to squeeze out a couple of tangentially related follow-ups. XII got strategy-RPG Revenant Wings, VII got Crisis Core and Dirge of Cerberus, and they all got Dissidia Final Fantasy. And none have been as disappointing as the overpriced mess that is Final Fantasy IV: The After Years.
Above: Throw an "F" in there, and suddenly it's almost funny
5. They still haven’t remade FFVII, even though there’s a huge market for it
Yes, yes, we’re familiar with all the arguments Square Enix has made against this. We know it would take the company an unreasonable amount of time and resources to update a 13-year-old game to the point where it would look on par with something like Final Fantasy XIII.
But you know what? We don’t care. If the company can pump out Crisis Core, Dirge of Cerberus, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Advent Children and all the rest of its endless spinoffs and unrelated games, it can damn well make an acceptably pretty Final Fantasy VII for the current-gen market. Not only would it fly off store shelves if it ever hit, but people would finally stop asking us if we know when it’s going to come out.
Above: NOT ANYTIME SOON, OK?
March 26, 2010