Never-ending Fantasy

Never-ending Fantasy

Even after a decade in development, Final Fantasy XV is seemingly still unfinished. Square Enix recently announced their intention to patch additional story content into Final Fantasy XV (FFXV) in a blog post by game director Hajime Tabata. While it can be easy to feel cynical about the idea of a videogame company meddling with what is supposed to be a completed narrative, I can only see positives with what Square is attempting in creating an extended edition of the game.

I unabashedly love the story of FFXV. As I stated in my review, I see it as a mature tale told with a wonderful level of restraint. It lacks the heavy-handed exposition that bogs down so many contemporary stories, and allows for different conclusions to be drawn by individual players. The game’s core group of protagonists all have fully realised personalities, making the bond between them and the game’s conclusion something incredibly special.

With that being said, there are undoubtedly some shortcomings that left many fans wanting more. While main characters are developed incredibly well, this comes at the expense of many secondary characters who unfortunately get shortchanged.This is the case for the vast majority of antagonists in the game, as well as a number of the supporting cast.

Tabata specifically mentions Ravus as a character whose motivations need to be explored in greater depth. He also makes mention of adding content to the now infamous Chapter 13, which many fans have expressed their displeasure with. These candid remarks from Tabata mark a refreshing moment of honesty in contrast to the industry norm, and display the dedication the team at Square have to addressing fan complaints in a positive way.

Of course, this is not the first time a developer has been empathetic to fan grievances to the extent that they release brand new content. Bioware famously made a similar move in 2012 in seeking to satiate fan displeasure in the ending to Mass Effect 3 (ME3). While negative fan reactions to ME3 were far more heated,the positive reaction to criticism by working on a remedy is something I look back on fondly and can see the same intent in Square’s decision.

While the addition to ME3 was isolated to changing the ending, Square Enix intends something of a larger scale with extra scenes spread throughout FFXV’s already lengthy story. So what could be the overall effect of these additional scenes be? While I can only speculate, film studios have been producing revised versions of films for decades to varying degrees of success.

While many are of little consequence, those that make substantive changes can dramatically improve the quality of the story being told. Some, like The Lord of the Rings Extended Editions, take an already great theatrical release and restore cut scenes to their rightful place. Others like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner Final Cut rearrange a flawed film into one of the best films of all time.

Another Scott film, Kingdom of Heaven, is one with which I see parallels to FFXV. The theatrical cut of this film was significantly truncated by the studio, with many crucial story moments and pieces of character development hitting the cutting room floor. While the original version is a decent film in it’s own right, the restoration of a number of crucial scenes leaves no doubt that Scott’s version tells an immensely superior story.

This isn’t to suggest that FFXV is as flawed as Kingdom of Heaven. I do believe, however, that the potential benefit of exploring certain elements in greater depth will similarly yield great benefits where the wider cast of characters and a number of story moments are concerned. Ultimately, releasing additional content at no extra cost and continuing to support the game is a wonderful piece of fan appreciation that I would love to see more developers adopt going forward.

There is also a feeling inherent in this move that Square is attempting to rebuild the trust of consumers who felt betrayed by the lacking quality of recent entries in the fabled series, particularly Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels. For years Square could do no wrong with the Final Fantasy series, only to take numerous hits over the better part of the last decade. This free DLC is also reminiscent of the significant upgrades the company made to FFXIV in response to it’s critically panned original version, offering evidence of the lengths to which the company will go to in order to deliver a quality product.

Provided that this move is a success, there is great potential for this kind of DLC. The idea of completing a game and being able to replay it with new (and crucially, free) content months later is an incredibly intriguing one. It is, however, an idea that needs to retain an overall positive intention.

The idea that the company will be diverting staff away from producing paid DLC to work on free story and gameplay improvements, shows that Square Enix truly are going the distance to ensure fan satisfaction. There is inherent good in how Square Enix are working at present, with a positive approach taken to making an already great story better. While we don’t yet know what exactly we will be getting (or even when it will be available), at the very least the intention is deserving of commendation.


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Comments Comments (8)

Posted by AdamC
On Friday 27 Jan 2017 3:21 PM
I really enjoy the game, but I was really surprised when I entered the first tomb for "something" an there was no info about who it was from and what it had accomplished.
Posted by Savarius
On Friday 27 Jan 2017 3:23 PM
As long as this additional content is free then I have no problem with it. Even with FFXV being in development for 10 plus years if this content is so important then the game probably should have been delayed until it was all ready.

At least for me the story doesn't feel cohesive as it is now, there are a few too many missing pieces. But with New Game Plus having been implemented once all the story is there I will probably do a run through of just the story and see how it plays out.
Posted by Savarius
On Friday 27 Jan 2017 3:26 PM
27 January 2017, 03:21 PM Reply to AdamC
I really enjoy the game, but I was really surprised when I entered the first tomb for "something" an there was no info about who it was from and what it had accomplished.
I had a similar feeling with the dungeons and ruins around the world. Sure Lucis has been at war with Nifelheim for years, but that doesn't explain where all these ancient ruins came from.
Posted by drunk_monk
On Friday 27 Jan 2017 6:08 PM
Really good article Mark.

I'm torn on it. If the game is short then replays aren't a major but with a large title like FFXV I can understand fans frustration as they may not be willing to play the entire game again due to time constraints, and may feel like they missed out by buying the game and only getting part of the standard games story.

On the flip side, they acknowledge their mistakes, are fixing them, and providing extra content for free, so you know, cant punish them for that. After all its not paid DLC.

If they did a version where you could play or see the cut pieces with a "this is where it happened in the game" then that would be cool as it would appease all fans.

The whole historical aspect of games though, returning to the one on the 10-20 years, its not going to be the complete version of the game. So I think there is validity to that, and the whole internet issue, where many of us have great internet, many don't. After Square came out saying they delayed it to make sure the whole game was functional on the disc after the no mans sky debacle it's a little contradictory.

But again the flip side is not making the game better for free. So I see both sides and don't have a clue to the right answer. Good article anyway.
Posted by piratemonkey
On Saturday 28 Jan 2017 9:04 AM
I guess it's great for people late to the party but if game companies too much of a habit of it, the result would likely be many more people waiting 6-12 months before purchasing games often from the pre-owned bargain bin which isn't going to do the developers any favors
Posted by 163Battery
On Saturday 28 Jan 2017 7:37 PM
I still think it says that the game was not finished when they put it out. Considering how long fans waited for the game, I don't think it's good enough.
Posted by ammythomas16
On Sunday 29 Jan 2017 11:55 AM
27 January 2017, 03:21 PM Reply to AdamC
I really enjoy the game, but I was really surprised when I entered the first tomb for "something" an there was no info about who it was from and what it had accomplished.
I get paid £82 every hour from online joobs. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my friend AB is earning £9k monthly by doing this job and she showed me how. Try it out on following website..

This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
Posted by Relmed
On Monday 30 Jan 2017 9:10 PM
Depends on delivery method and of course cost. If it's released as if it was an expansion to the original game, continuing the story or exploring different paths but allowing a player to continue from where they are currently, then I'm all for it; breathing life into a game after it's dead. If it is added to a game that feels incomplete, however and they throw a cost at it or extensive delays then... I don't think we're going to work out.