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- Final Fantasy XV
The age of a game disc containing a complete experience is long behind us. These days even small-budget indie titles receive post-launch support through free updates and DLC, improving their value over time.
More often than not post-launch updates transform games in dramatic ways, such as in the case of Final Fantasy XIV. Despite debuting in 2010 to harsh divisiveness, by 2013 it had become a top-performing MMORPG. The difference was night and day.
Final Fantasy XV released six weeks ago to a wide range of emotions in a way not to dissimilar to Final Fantasy XIV. As with many others, we found the game to have some great elements that provide hope for the future of Final Fantasy. However, its missteps in storytelling and quest formatting kept it from being the superb title that many hoped it would be during its 10 years of development.
Although many would be quick to cast judgment and move on, Square Enix isn't done with the game. As previously announced, it will be receiving a number of additions, some of which already debuted as part of December's Holiday Pack.
Three story DLC packages are among the items that will be introduced by the end of 2017. Although they have an opportunity to make the game better, it's the more general purpose and feature oriented additions that are anticipated to make the greatest impact. These include a Moogle Chocobo Carnival Event later this month, as well as a multiplayer expansion that will provide a social experience.
Although the season pass will add a substantial amount of content, there's much more coming in the future than originally confirmed. Speaking to Famitsu, director Hajime Tabata shared exciting details that included time-limited mob hunts, as well as new party characters.
Square Enix is particularly well-invested in post-launch support due to the title's great sales performance, which currently has it at six million units shipped. This puts it on trajectory to equal or surpass Final Fantasy XIII in sales, a title that is considered a financial success for the company.
These additions will provide a reason to return for players who have already completed the game. Though, there is something to be said about how some of these packages will improve the pre-endgame experience.
Final Fantasy XV in its current form has some major hiccups in terms of game flow, most notably during Chapter 13 where the game makes a huge gameplay shift that slows down pacing. A year from now the chapter is likely to be neutered, as confirmed by Square Enix. This is just one of many ways the company plans to reshape the game in response to fan feedback.
This has brought up a common question: should gamers have waited until late 2017 to play Final Fantasy XV? Following a series of updates it's expected to be a much better game, to a point where you could argue that its current form is as if it were a beta product. With this, players who have already beaten the game might have the option to replay the story or jump straight into the new content, but their impression of the title will forever be shaped by its original form.
This conundrum is something avoided by those who have made the decision to wait until the title is on sale before jumping in. There are even a number of players who have shared that they bought the game but are waiting until more patches before playing it.
Many of us are used to feeling rushed to play a game at launch thanks to marketing and discussion. But sometimes it's worth exercising patience and waiting a while before playing the game. RPGs are always the most extreme example of this, even when they launch with outstanding reception (i.e. The WItcher 3: Wild Hunt).
As someone who finished Final Fantasy XV but didn't enjoy it, I wish I could have waited. At this point I have no interest in playing through the story again, although I see the upcoming changes as potentially game-altering. This will be the case for a large portion of the six+ million people who picked up the game last year, and that's an unfortunate thing.
For those who haven't already begun the experience: wait. You're doing yourself no favors by playing the game now. You're going to get a lot more out of it if you start later this year.