Final Fantasy is arguably Square Enix’s biggest, global franchise and with it, things have taken a big longer in the development of Final Fantasy 15 than some fans may have hoped for. Square Enix is being very careful and methodical with the series’ next installment.
While some are expecting to hear details regarding a release date for Final Fantasy 15 very soon, we still have yet to hear official confirmation from Square Enix. Gamescom 2015 could very well be the time when we hear about a date, especially since Square held the game back from appearing at E3 2015.
Release dates and what if’s aside though, Square Enix and its developers seem to be aiming as high as possible with this next iteration in the Final Fantasy franchise. Phil Rogers, Square Enix CEO of the Americas and Europe, echoed the sentiment and mindset that Final Fantasy 15 Director Hajime Tabata has had with the upcoming game.
“I mean Final Fantasy 15 has been a really great project for us and when you talk to Tabata-san, he really wants to embrace the Western gamers. He knows how important they are and the feedback he’s soliciting is from fan events and group discussions,” Rogers told atombash.com.
As we’ve seen with some of the best games that have come out of this generation, gaining feedback from those who are going to consume your game can be one of the most effective research tools. Sony sought out the feedback of developers for how the PS4 should ultimately be structured and that turned out well for them.
It isn’t just logging into forums or exchanging emails that Tabata-san has been involved with. They’ve also been bringing people into the studio to get their feedback. “It’s amazing when people come to [the] office and talk to him and he’s really listening. The demo we put out and retuned based on feedback is really important for us. Again, we take our IP very [seriously], we want to build its value,” Rogers said.
Many still have the sounds and images of the Final Fantasy 7 remake announcement stirring in their minds, and when we spoke to Phil, he was still thinking about it. As someone who attended Sony’s briefing, when that announcement was made, it was one of the loudest ovations I’ve heard, and it was hard not to be caught up in the splendor of it all.
“It’s wonderful when we can announce things like Final Fantasy 7 and when you get the biggest round of applause in the show, it’s really humbling. It’s the humbling moment when you know it’s coming and you can hear people around you anticipating it, that’s when you know you’ve listened and you’re doing something very right,” Rogers said.
The value of IP and how brands are treated is handled in different ways at every publisher. If you look across the industry at companies like EA, Ubisoft, Capcom, Square and others, it’s very easy to see that each firm handles their brands differently.
It can be difficult to strike an effective balance between utilizing IP frequently enough, while still ensuring people do not feel overwhelmed by it. For Square Enix, they are quite careful with how often they bring a new installment onto the market, and the games that are launching this year are all proof of that.
“We take our IP really seriously, we really want to stand back in 10 years time and see our IP being played by more people, enjoyed by more people and a new audience coming to the IP. That’s how we plot our IP and then when you break it down, you sort of see what the right cadence is with a certain IP or project,” Rogers said.
Final Fantasy 15 doesn’t yet have a release date but we do expect the game to launch sometime next year. Whenever it does launch, the game will be available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.