Square-Enix: Past, Present & Future - Full Of Worries
Everyone remembers Final Fantasy X one of the most renowned and loved Final Fantasy title out there - at least on the PS2. The games that were released after that FFXI & FFXII were good, but many didn't consider FFXI to be even part of the series (I know I didn't), and FFX-2 & FFXII got mixed feelings (though I was one that loved and enjoyed both the games, albeit I didn't like the story of either too much, the gameplay was addictive enough for me). The one thing many people bring up and remember to this day is - FFX was Square-Soft, FFXII was Square-Enix. The merger of Square Soft and Enix seems to have been a "curse" of a sort for the two companies - at least many people think of it as such.
Square-Enix have since created a number of titles, none of which can be found on the PS2... but two of which can be found on the XBOX360, the next generation system. This is where my biggest worry is, and you'll see why...
So far Square-Enix have created two games for the Next-Gen system:- Infinite Undiscovery & The Last Remnant. With IU being released a couple of months back, and TLR a few weeks back, you'd have hoped that any issues with IU that came about would have been fixed for TLR. However if the reviews are anything to go by... TLR has gotten far lower review scores than IU did, with issues with the graphics being the greatest problem. It could be said that this was really due this game being developed on the Unreal Engine, however I can't help but worry that it's due to Square-Enix's inability to create good bug/issue-free games.
Infinite Undiscovery certainly had a lot less issues, though the storyline of the game was a major downer for many (and anyone that has played FFXII know that is also the case with that game). News has come from all those that have played The Last Remnant that the story is again an issue.
With Final Fantasy XIII in the works, two worries keep popping into my head.
Firstly, will they get the story right this time? If the past is anything to go by, FFX-2, FFXII, IU & TLR were certainly NOT the best that Square could offer, so will FFXIII break this trend or another to fall victim to the Square Soft - Enix merger?
Secondly, if the past two games on the current-gen consoles (XBOX360) have anything to go by, they were full of bugs, and with the most recent game having more bugs than the first, I think we can say that Square haven't learnt much from their mistakes, and went on to make a bigger mistake releasing a game that feels "rushed" and full of bugs. This could very well be the Unreal Engine, and their inability to use it, and one can only hope that they will do a lot better with their own Crystal Tools engine...
Though I'm going to reserve judgement on Square's capabilities till the PS3 version of The Last Remannt is released and is (hopefully) bug free, till that time I can't help but doubt Square's capabilities as a games developer, and as the developer of Final Fantasy XIII.
However I must say, that at the same time, I can't help but optimistic about Final Fantasy Versus XIII which is being worked on by Namura and his team, who have worked on the Kingdom Hearts series with excellent results.