The first huge piece of news for 2011 has already arrived: Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a reality.
We don't know much about it but there are two details from Square-Enix's announcement that stand out in my mind:
The first is the fact that boss Toriyama specifically said they would take fan feedback into account. The second is the statement that combat in FFXIII-2 will have "evolved" from FFXIII. The brief teaser trailer they released also has me a little concerned but that's a separate subject; for the moment, I want to focus on that "evolved" term. Given the direction Square-Enix has taken this generation, a word like "evolves" – in relation to combat – absolutely terrifies me. What we consider to be an advancement in terms of an evolving mechanic might not factor in; the question is, how does Square-Enix define the word?
And that's the reason I'm scared. At this point, it seems like "evolved" means faster and dumber rather than slower and smarter. It seems that way because that's the apparent direction of the entire industry, and with S-E desperately trying to cater to the Western audience with every new project they create, it almost appears inevitable: faster and dumber is on the horizon. But wait. There's that bit about "listening to fan feedback." I don't know about you, but I never once saw any piece of feedback that said FFXIII is exactly what they wanted, and I saw a lot of people sorely missing the role-playing elements, like towns. So maybe they'll make it appear more RPG-ish but they'll erase any semblance of role-playing on the battlefield and it'll play like Versus XIII .
If they would only implement a way to pause battle so we could input commands, and if we could only control the other characters in our party, maybe it would actually feel like an RPG. If they adopted the same mechanic found in FFXII or Dragon Age , and gave us our towns and a slightly more traditional RPG format, the fans would be overjoyed. It seems ridiculously simple. But "evolved" in the eyes of Square-Enix may indeed translate to "faster and dumber," despite their claim of listening to feedback. …and if that happens, count me out. For the time being, though, I'll be optimistic and remain at least partially excited.
Related Game(s): Final Fantasy XIII-2