Final Fantasy is a much-loved RPG game, one that most have grown up with over the years. I found an Edge online interview with Yoshinori Kitase(producer) on the reasons as to why FFXIII was badly received and what they have done within the sequel to regain the trust of the disappointed fans. This is a crucial part of a game’s success rate, you have to give the fans what they want.
Kitase recognised the linear issue with FFXIII and states that within FFXIII-2 they have rectified this by creating the Historia Crux system, a new interface which allows the player to travel between time periods seamlessly. He goes on to say that this element allows the player to ‘customise the story’ to create a more ‘individual experience’ of the game. This has always been an important factor within RPG games, as it is essential to the player feeling a connection with the game. You play an RPG to be able to experience a virtual reality that you have full control over. If the character you are playing is on a set path (within a linear game narrative) then you lose some of the connection to the game, because in a way you expect to be able to make the decisions for your character. I think this is where FFXIII was let down the most, as it featured a completely linear narrative.
Another area highlighted by Kitase is the use of side quests; in most RPG’s the side quests are found when you engage in conversation with a NPC, who then asks you to do something for them. FFXIII lacked this engagement of other in-game characters, the most you got was a random statement as you ran past the NPC. Now we have the live trigger, which allows you to respond to the NPC’s conversation in whichever way you find most appropriate (See the image to the left).
There is much more on the Edge online website here in this interview but for the sake of this analysis I am simply focusing on the two above areas.
As you can see within the video, they have really expanded the ideas of alternate things to do whilst in the game. This possibly stems from the critique, plus the fact that these were things that were done previously within the FF series.
Edge Staff, 2011, Yoshinori Kitase on Final Fantasy XIII-2. Edge Online, [article] 19 December. Available at:http://www.edge-online.com/features/final-fantasy-xiii-2-interview [Accessed 24 January 2012]
Fahey, M, 2012, There’s a Lot More to Do in Final Fantasy XIII-2 Than Save the World. Kotaku, [article] 25 January. Available at: http://kotaku.com/5879130/theres-a-lot-more-to-do-in-final-fantasy-xiii+2-than-save-the-world [Accessed 26 January 2012]