Everyone at Square Enix knows that the Final Fantasy franchise has touched its age of maturity, and that would mean at least a no growth period for some time, unless Final Fantasy XV changes things massively.
Square Enix agrees that the new HD age has stopped the growth of the franchise and that the need for major changes has been clearly seen throughout the long and tiring development period of the game.
Hajime Tabata, the game director at Square Enix has been commenting on how they are going about changing things that would keep the franchise relevant in today’s competitive market and the western market in general.
I’m aware of the many people who comment that Final Fantasy has reached its peak — it’s sort of over-the-hill. Once we entered this HD phase of gaming, there are many Western [intellectual properties] that have become the torch-bearers [for RPGs]. We can’t necessarily mimic a Western approach to creating and developing a Final Fantasy.
He has also said that they have taken cues from a the western AAA industry in general as well as how other key names in the RPG genre have taken the lead in the “new HD phase of gaming.”
Tabata says that they have “done a lot of research seeing how other Western IP brands have [performed] on a global scale, and what they’ve taken into their games,” and incorporated some of that stuff in Final Fantasy XV.
Specific areas where Tabata-san says they have taken influence from western RPG makers are things like the target markets, the market sizes, the marketing campaigns, localizations and so on.
To be specific, the Final Fantasy XV developers have been inspired by The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt’s campaign and the short period between announcement and release of Fallout 4.
We are just hoping that Square Enix takes only the good things from western releases, and builds on what has always made Final Fantasy games worth the while, to ensure that FFXV really is the best game in the franchise so far.