I think I may have stumbled upon the reason, the catalyst. It seems Square Enix has been living a lie.
After reading what Capcom said about Resident Evil , concerning the "two different sets of fans," it suddenly struck me: Square Enix thinks the same thing. They believe they have two sets of Final Fantasy followers, the old-school fans who have been around since the beginning of the franchise, and the new fans who jumped on board the bandwagon when Final Fantasy XIII came out. Obviously, it's this new set of followers Square Enix hopes to cater to with the upcoming Lightning Returns , which may not even qualify as an RPG anymore. Action/RPG at the outside.
But one critical thing, S-E: Those new fans don't exist .
You never got any. Those who weren't interested in FF before aren't interested now. You didn't garner any newcomers this generation; you really didn't. You didn't manage to tap the Call of Duty and general action fan base because in truth, FF still isn't anything like those games. You didn't bastardize the franchise enough; you didn't quite make them games the casual mainstream gamer – or the stereotypical Western gamer who only wants to play shooters – actually want to play. All you did is piss off the only group of fans you ever had, and you continue to ignore them will trying to satisfy this phantom new set of followers who, based on declining franchise sales, obviously don't exist.
The die-hard fans, like myself, bought FFXIII and FFXIII-2. There are still plenty of FF lovers out there who bought those titles because they adore the franchise and they still hold out hope. Very, very few people who didn't play FF before became fans of the series post-FFXIII. Or even post-FFXII, when the big changes started to happen. So essentially, Square Enix is trying to make a bunch of ghosts happy. While the only real fans get increasingly bitter. That's gotta be it. I figured it out. Not that S-E is going to do anything about it or recognize the error of their ways. I just wanted to say it.