How FF7:R Might Impact Future Games

XxREUNIONxX

Rookie Adventurer
#1
First of all, FF7:R and it's multi-part structure will obviously take quite a bit of development time before we see it completed. Because of the massive amount of resources it will take, FF16 may be much further down the pipeline than it may have been without it. However, that's not really what I'd like to discuss here.

Ever since FF12, the mainline games have been met with increasingly mixed reception. Each individual player has thier own idea of what makes a good Final Fantasy. Many of us prioritize certain elements of the games and base certain perceptions around them. However, I believe that a good FF game is more a sum of it's parts.

Some base thier opinions on different games in the series in different ways: best battle system, best characters, best plot, etc.. However, I believe that the success of the best games in the franchise boil down to how all of these elements come together.

I feel that, with the more recent titles, there are multiple reasons they haven't been received as favorably. It seems, to me, that all of the elements aren't aligning to create a final package that is as satisfying. I enjoy many aspects of the more recent titles, but none of them have reached a top spot in my favorite list.

FF12 through 15 all went through some very troubled development cycles. I believe that many of the reasons they didn't come together as pleasingly were because of these issues. Based on statements from SE (and other industry insider statements, rumors, and speculation), many changes were made to these games over thier lengthy development cycles. It seems that, somewhere down the line, the core vision of these games were compromised in the process. That's not to mention all of the technological hurdles that they were dealing with.

To it's benefit, FF7:R is being developed with Unreal Engine. This will be the first FF game in ages not to be developed with SE's own, notoriously problematic, in house engines. KH3 is just around the corner, also developed with Unreal Engine. So far, it seems that they will be releasing a high quality title with it's release. By the time KH3 comes out, SE and it's developers should have a solid grasp on creating games with Unreal.

My hope us that, in re-visiting one of the most beloved and well received titles in the franchise, they will be able to re-capture what makes FF so special in the first place. Not only are they re-visiting the title, they are re-building the game from the ground up for a modern audience. With most of the technological hurdles out of the way, they should be able to focus more heavily on the core game experience.

If the developers are successful in this new endeavor, hopefully it will change thier approach for future games. Though there are many ways in which they can fail, they have the guideline of the original to help direct them. SE has stated that they intend to stay as close to the original framework as possible while simultaneously remaking it for the modern day (with additions, of course). The "bones" of the original game should give them some much needed guidance as to how the package comes together.

To sum things up, my hope is that thier experience in developing FF7:R will be a valuable lesson in moving forward for the franchise. Sometimes the best lessons we can learn are from the past. It seems SE is trying to tighten up thier strategy and I'm looking forward to how it will all turn out.
 
#2
Largely ignorant opinion here, on my behalf, but I don't understand why it takes upwards of 10 years to make a game now (FFVII:R going on 5 or something now?), when you had most of FFVII produced literally in a single year. I've also read speculation that FFVII:R is in development hell, whether that's true or not.

The length of time required to make these games must to come down to the visuals, but then there were huge changes to story with FFXV. I think developers should start with a story and battle system all hammered down, get the nuts and bolts of that sorted because that should take very little time, and build off that with the engine they have. They seem to do all three at the same time, making adjustments to each as they go along. If they can't do something with the visuals that they would like, they should change the visuals, not the story or the battle system. I think it is that which destroys direction (and thus quality of the game). FFVII itself is proof that complex visuals do not matter. People like the game more for the story and gameplay. Just as there are really old commodore 64 games that are still popular because of the story and gameplay, and certainly inspirational to their modern day clones.
 

XxREUNIONxX

Rookie Adventurer
#3
Ghost X, I do agree with you here. My understanding is that game development time keeps increasing for multiple reasons. The games of today require high quality assets. Things like high polyon models, high res textures, complex character animations, and large immersive environments are taking an increasing amount of time, effort, and staff to create. The older games required much simpler assets and were constrained by the technology at the time.

It does seem that FF7:R has had plenty of development issues along the way. The whole CC2 debacle is the prime example. Where I have hope, as opposed to the previous troubled titles, is that they are still drawing from the original game as the prime framework. Once they can get things ironed out on the development side, I don't believe FF7:R will be as prone to losing it's core appeal along the way.
 

ChipNoir

Internet Ghost
AKA
Mister Spooks.
#4
The jump in time really does seem to come down to when they started jumping into fully realized 3D visuals. That just takes more time, and Square is particular opulent with their details.

Plus you have to consider that nearly every game Square has done has taken longer than it's supposed to, right back to at least IV, which was a year overdue if I'm not mistaken. That took about two years to make, at a time when it normally took under a year to develop for the NES. They took so long they shoved it out on the SNES. And then they were so late in developing V they just didn't think it was worth trying to send it international markets.

This is just kinda how Square is. The 3D modeling has just multiplied a flaw that was easier to ignore when the projects were smaller in scale.

I choose to take Nomura's word, because its a little different. With Versus it was "Please be patient". With VII its been "Things are going smoothly, wait till next year."

If we hit April of next year, and we get NOTHING, then I'll start to worry.
 

KiwiPizza

Pro Adventurer
#5
Largely ignorant opinion here, on my behalf, but I don't understand why it takes upwards of 10 years to make a game now (FFVII:R going on 5 or something now?), when you had most of FFVII produced literally in a single year. I've also read speculation that FFVII:R is in development hell, whether that's true or not.
It doesn’t quite take upwards of ten years to make games, theres a few very rare high profile examples such as The Last Guardian.

7:R is going on 4 years and I read somewhere that it took about 4 or 5 years for the new God of War to be made, Horizon Zero Dawn and the Witcher 3 took similar time too I think. May need correcting on this though..

So if you think about it 2019/2020 will be 5-6 years in total for 7:R which is fairly standard with 6 edging on a touch too long.

As @ChipNoir has already mentioned, it just takes longer to make games like this now. I also have a question for Chip, as you seem very knowledgeable on this subject, but don’t Japanese developers tend to utilize smaller teams to develop their games than other developers and this could also create slight longer dev times?

Finally in regards to the development hell point. Unconfirmed

That was a rumour that popped up on Reddit from a random user who has since deleted their internet profiles (twitter, Reddit etc.) with no affiliation to the game. If the rumour came from a usually reliable source then there would be reason to be properly worried but it’s best to just see what comes out within the next 6 months.
 

ChipNoir

Internet Ghost
AKA
Mister Spooks.
#6
Ironically, small teams don't always lead to problems. FFXIII was a complete clusterfuck of a staff over over 200+ if I recall. The issue with that one was that nobody knew what the hell anyone else was doing, so you had a lot of content that didn't sync up with other things, and it was all a general mismanaged nightmare. If I'm not mistaken, they went with FFXIII-2 because they had so much unused content that it was easy to reuse those for a new game.

So you can have too many, or too few. But really it kinda comes down to how skilled your staff is on one end. But the other end of things is how worker-friendly your engine and development software is. We all know by now what a garbage fire Luminous was/is/willalwaysbe. Nintendo had a similar issue with the Wii-U, in that the damned system was quite capable, but they weren't telling anyone else how to develop for the damned thing.

Dev 1 is kind small, but I imagine they have as many people as they need working on it. The larger issue is most likely creating a shit ton of unique assets based on a world that was never intended to be fully realized. There's a reason why Advent Children avoided going to practically any area that wasn't just generic wilderness, generic stacked-together buildings, or junkyard wastelands. FFVII's locations are strange, unique, and probably very difficult to design in 3D.
 

KiwiPizza

Pro Adventurer
#7
Ironically, small teams don't always lead to problems. FFXIII was a complete clusterfuck of a staff over over 200+ if I recall. The issue with that one was that nobody knew what the hell anyone else was doing, so you had a lot of content that didn't sync up with other things, and it was all a general mismanaged nightmare. If I'm not mistaken, they went with FFXIII-2 because they had so much unused content that it was easy to reuse those for a new game.

So you can have too many, or too few. But really it kinda comes down to how skilled your staff is on one end. But the other end of things is how worker-friendly your engine and development software is. We all know by now what a garbage fire Luminous was/is/willalwaysbe. Nintendo had a similar issue with the Wii-U, in that the damned system was quite capable, but they weren't telling anyone else how to develop for the damned thing.

Dev 1 is kind small, but I imagine they have as many people as they need working on it. The larger issue is most likely creating a shit ton of unique assets based on a world that was never intended to be fully realized. There's a reason why Advent Children avoided going to practically any area that wasn't just generic wilderness, generic stacked-together buildings, or junkyard wastelands. FFVII's locations are strange, unique, and probably very difficult to design in 3D.
I wouldn’t say Luminous Engine is terrible. It’s just they tried to create a game at the same time but it’s finalized now so shouldn’t a problem in the future. Though with Tabata leaving, where does this leave Luminous Productions and the Engine? At least they can use it in future games without issue if they keep to what was said in using it for future projects. Be a waste otherwise.

Feel like your being a bit unfair about the engine.

However I do mostly agree with the dev team issue that too many staff can cause too much to go out of synch and cause breakdown in communication. Whereas with a smaller team you have better focus and are likely to be more in synch, you don’t necessarily have the resources to get it out within a length of time compared to other games however if you take slightly longer to get a game out but have a team on the same wavelength and focus, i’d sacrifice the speed for improved quality.

Need an extra few months for improved quality (smaller team) then just getting it out on shelves for quicker profit (because your teams larger but you aren’t all on the same wavelength and need to meet deadlines)? Not a problem for me.

At least Luminous Engine not being finished forced Squares hand at using a third party engine (Unreal Engine 4) for the Remake which speeds progress up. Greatly benefits the game

No more developing Engines concurrently with games now
 
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