Well, either they've changed or I have.
In looking back at the year in review, I suddenly noticed something; it was quite the revelation, actually: in every generation since the 16-bit days, Final Fantasy ended up being my favorite franchise of that period. Three generations in a row, starting with FFIV. It always seemed inevitable. Granted, Grand Theft Auto , Metal Gear Solid and God of War gave it a solid run for its money in the PS2 generation, but in the end, I treasured FFX, FFX-2 (yes, even that one) and FFXII more than anything else. At least, in terms of a series vs. series comparison. Now, I'm quite aware this is a very subjective point of view but my point remains: when this generation ends, FF will not be my favorite franchise of the generation. Most likely, it'll be Uncharted .
We can't make the argument that Square-Enix just changed things up too much with FFXIII, and FFXIV was a failed experiment. The latter can't really be considered an "experiment" because they already dabbled in the MMORPG realm with FFXI, and I hear that turned out pretty damn well. Furthermore, I think we can all acknowledge the vast differences between FFIV and FFXII. FFXII was quite the drastic departure from any recent installment and although it's not my favorite, it was still awesome. It was still memorable. It was still head-and-shoulders above most anything else available. So it's not that FFXIII is different…it must be that it's just not as phenomenal. And FFXIV was just plain broken. We don't even get a FF spin-off of some kind to cling to – like Final Fantasy Tactics – and God only knows when Final Fantasy Versus XIII will arrive.
But I have my reservations about the latter, anyway. Not only will FF not be my favorite series of the PS3/360/Wii generation, it's unlikely to rank in the top 5. Isn't that quite the significant fall from grace? While I do play more genres now than ever before, I still believe RPGs are my bread and butter…even if there aren't a heck of a lot them, anymore. I have to believe that if Square-Enix made something memorable, as Squaresoft always used to do, I'd know it. I'd feel it. I loved FFXIII. I really did. But in any other generation, it would be sitting at the top of my list right now…and it's not. And in truth, that's a little depressing. 🙁