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- Final Fantasy XV
If Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata is to be believed, then the next main entry in the JRPG franchise will finally come out in 2016. I'm sure many fans will rejoice at the news, but it's been a long road for the game once known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. In the nine years since the game's initial reveal, my interest in the entire franchise has waned considerably. At this point, I don't think I care about Final Fantasy XV.
I didn't feel that way back in 2006 when the game was officially announced. Final Fantasy XII came out in the same year, and though it's a divisive entry in the famed JRPG series, I enjoyed its more political narrative and real-time combat system. The prospect of yet another Final Fantasy game sounded great to me, as the Final Fantasy name had a stellar track record up to that point.
In fact, I grew up on the Final Fantasy franchise. I still remember my first time playing Final Fantasy VI at a friend's house on his SNES. We'd pass the controller back and forth as we lost ourselves in a huge, expansive world full of memorable characters (and one particularly memorable villain). Then my brother and I played Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation, and my love of the JRPG genre grew even more. I was hooked.
To this day I've played every main entry in the Final Fantasy franchise except for Final Fantasy XI, but I imagine I get a pass on that particular game. The childlike wonder I felt with every release in the series disappeared with Final Fantasy XIII though. I thought the new combat system was inventive and engaging, but I missed the memorable characters and awe-inspiring world. Instead, I was treated to a tangled narrative and annoying child characters. Seriously, Hope is the worst.
Then came Final Fantasy XIII-2, which I didn't enjoy at all. I started to wonder if I'm even a Final Fantasy fan anymore. The rush of excitement with every Final Fantasy-related announcement and release slowly dissipated. That leads us to today, with the news of the 2016 release window for Final Fantasy XV. I read the news this morning and it didn't register any kind of tangible reaction from me. I felt apathy more so than anything else.
I don't even particularly mind the long development cycle, though I know that's a key reason why others aren't quite as excited about Final Fantasy XV. It's difficult to hold a fanbase's attention for nearly 10 years, but that's what Square Enix is trying to do with Final Fantasy XV. It seems they haven't been particularly successful, as I still know diehard Final Fantasy fans who admit the long wait for Final Fantasy XV has reached ridiculous levels.
But my apathy for Final Fantasy XV brings with it a certain relief. I don't hold any expectations or per-conceived notions of how the game should play. I just know the demo looked decent, there's a car, and that's about it. Perhaps Final Fantasy XV will be a pleasant surprise. There are enough huge disappointments in the video game world on a year-to-year basis, so being caught off guard by a great game always stands out as a refreshing change of pace. I suppose we'll all find out next year.