No, I don't mean Final Fantasy should adopt the sci-fi theme or the blend of first-person action and role-playing elements. I'm speaking on a bigger, more general scale.
Look, Square Enix has taken a ton of flak from long-time hardcore FF fans, and it's mostly because their beloved franchise has changed significantly. FFXIII just didn't feel like a normal progression for the exalted series, and many complained that it was closer to an action/adventure quest. And while many will attack the game's combat mechanic, lack of exploration, character design, etc., the bottom line is that most complaints stemmed from one problem: FFXIII just didn't feel like Final Fantasy .
Ask most any disappointed FF fan. All they really want is a next-gen, modernized version of the revered titles they've known and loved. Well, this is exactly what you get when you play Deus Ex: Human Revolution . Know why? Because it's Deus Ex through and through. The instant I started playing, I was reminded of all my hours with the other installments. Granted, the game can feel a little dated because of this, but not to the point where it hinders our enjoyment, and not to the point where it significantly impacts the production's quality. It's the epitome of what FF fans wish they had received: a newer, sharper, updated version of a game – or set of games – they've always adored.
So you can do it, Square Enix. Eidos made you exactly what the fans wanted. And those fans will respond; I can almost guarantee it. Maybe, just maybe this is the wake-up call S-E needed. You can't lag behind and you always have to keep pushing from a technological standpoint. You have to adapt to changing trends in the market. I understand all that. But you can do that and still retain the core structure of a franchise that made it so damn popular in the first place!
Related Game(s): Deus Ex: Human Revolution