Final Fantasy XV’s rumoured open world could just save the series

4 mins read

This was inevitable, but the rumours behind the development of a new numbered Final Fantasy game have begun. According to this source, FFXV has already been in development for four years and will release on current-gen consoles.

What’s more interesting, though, is some of the rumoured gameplay details – specifically the bit about Yoichi Wada wanting the game to directly take on Skyrim. That means an open world and non-linear approach to storytelling.

This makes sense – the Japanese development community longs for the kind of lucrative support western RPGs currently enjoy, and Skyrim is the king of that hill. Given how many Final Fantasy fans threw a tantrum over the linear nature of XIII, the move to make a game the complete opposite to XIII also makes sense in terms of rebuilding brand value. When you also consider the popularity and faithful community that has formed around of the last few “open” JRPGs – Dark Souls and Dragon’s Dogma, it makes even more sense again.

The director is rumoured to be Hiroyuki Ito, the man behind the most open Final Fantasy game to date (and the most underappreciated) FFXII.

So all up I consider this rumour plausible, though naturally I’m taking it with a big grain of salt.

While I’ve observed some concerned reactions to this news, I personally think this is the best thing that could happen to the Final Fantasy series. I was a big fan of Final Fantasy XII, though that was a game somewhat hampered by the limitations of the PlayStation 2. An open-world RPG was very difficult for that console. With the PS3, those limitations are removed, and those brief moments in FFXIII and XIII-2 where the game really opened up shows that Square Enix knows how to make things epic.

It’s also a concession to the simple fact that the JRPG has grown up. As much as I’m a fan of the genre, it’s a genre that grew out of limitations – the early JRPGs were attempts to emulate pen-and-paper RPGs, but where a pen-and-paper RPG is an open experience, the technology hardware running early JRPGs was too limited to really give the developers the ability to create open worlds.

That limitation is no longer there, so it seems logical to me that the JRPG developers would start to realise the ambition that drove the genre in the first place.

Of course, with no details on plot, we have no idea how this game will really turn out. Final Fantasy games have always been about story and character first, and “gameplay” second, so it’s too early to form real opinions about where this game is going.

I will say this though – after a generation of futuristic Final Fantasy games (XIII and XIII-2), it would be really nice to see the series come back to classic fantasy.

What are your hopes/ expectations for the next Final Fantasy game? What do you think of the idea to make it an “open world” game? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • i believe they should make it an open world game like skyrim, and also make it where you can go in many different directions story and development of your characters. also take out the modern day guns and vehicles that we saw in the real time demo. i really hope they make an amazing comeback

  • Yes, I would like a return to form like Final Fantasy IX felt back in the day. Classic setting instead of the cyberpunk, futuristic stuff that was the previous entries.

  • Square Enix seems to jump back and forth – they'll do one or two relatively classical RPGs (FFIX, FFX, FFXII), and then they'll jump over to a more futuristic setting for a game or two (FFXIII, and FFVII/ FFVIII before that).

    If I was a betting man, I would bet on this game returning to the classical fantasy setting.

  • Mind you – that real-time demo was absolutely spectacular. I assume the next Final Fantasy game will use that engine, and this doesn't disappoint me in the slightest.

  • Hi Youfan,

    Completely agree with you – I loved FFXIII and FFXIII-2 as well. Unfortunately there were a lot of people who didn't. An open world game would hopefully give those people what they want, while also making us happy 🙂

  • I say no to open world. Yes non linear would great… on a world map. You know, that thing that VII, VIII, and IX had? You could go all over the place and do the story pretty much when you wanted.

  • Square enix is really starting to piss me off. I love the Final Fantasy games with all my heart, but they've been making a lot of decisions lately that are honestly very stupid. To me there are four main things they need to do.

    -Disclaimer- I am an average FF fan. I know about as much about it as the next fan. I speak on the facts that i know. Some of my opinions may be ill formed. However, this is how i see it and i'm sure this is how most other people see it. Please feel free to correct me if there are spots that can be filled in.

    1. Put the side games ON THE SIDE. I have had it with all these Kingdom Hearts side stories and sequels/prequels to Final Fantasy VII. Just make Kingdom hearts 3 and Final Fantasy XV. It's OK to have side games, but if it's interfering with the main games that are making you the most money, well, i don't really have to explain that do I?

    2. Look at reactions from the fans. Final Fantasy has been a growing franchise ever since the first game, they have improved greatly since the first game with the ATB system, new spells, etc. Yet, they still know what to keep, with names like Bahamut generally taking the form of a great dragon, and Shiva taking the form of an ice deity. I personally love Final Fantasy XIII. My favorite of the whole series. However it had its flaws like every other game ever made. My problem is the wrong people are directing square. To me, Final Fantasy XII wasn't the most appealing game in the world, but it was playable. I of course am not some sort of video game judge so this is solely opinion. If you disagree, great, looks like you will enjoy FFXV. My point is, if creating games that 90% of the time had a battling form similar if not the same as the original final fantasy has gotten you 14 games in, then why the hell would you change that?

    3. The online games have to stop. I personally have no problems with the online games, but im sure that if you are anticipating a new final fantasy for your console, and you soon realize that it would be released as an online game, then disappointment takes over. I'm perfectly fine with square making online games, but if you're really putting them in the final fantasy series, you better be damn sure it's good. FFXIV was a failure in an economic sense. Not to mention that only PCs can play it. At least make the games Mac compatible.

    4. Why is Square acting more like a follower? Honestly, if FFXV is going to be made just to compete with skyrim, then Square is making the game for the wrong reasons. Just because a popular game takes a specific format, doesn't mean every other video game company has to follow suit. Sure, FF was more or less taken from a previous game, but Square made it their own. They now have some independence from the video game world and they are willing to give that up so easily?

  • "limitations of the PlayStation 2. An open-world RPG was very difficult for that console"
    CLEARLY you did not enjoy EQOA the nine years it ran. It was easily twice the size of 11 with ZERO loading from the deepest dungeons in the southern swamps to the highest hills in the frozen north. It was done with no HDD. Sales were not as good as FF by any means but it WAS done and quite a few of us worshiped it and long for ANYTHING like it!

  • Yeah, I agree with you too!, the concept of gameplay is new! combination role called paradigm and 5-6 ATB in one turn, I don't care if it's open world or not. I hope FFXV will be great for everyone for casual / hardcore gamer in the world. My hope for FFXV is gameplay like XIII with open world like XII. So do action in the field not in the battle ground (or not change the stage)

  • I think Square should return to the roots of the earlier final fantasy games. Im talking FF 9 and under to re-incorporate world traveling. That is one thing that I truly loved about the FF series and we haven't seen it in a long time!

  • BS. When there are limitations, creativity rises. When there are none, we end up with cookie-cutter dumb games. Limitations are the reason the NES/SNES/PSX FF games were so good.

    Also, how is it going to save a series if you completely change the genre? It doesn't matter that all these games are called RPGs, they're very, very different. It'd be like trying to save the turn-based strategy genre by turning it into a shooter… Oh, wait…

  • Why are you people trying so hard to compete with other games style of playing. Final Fantasy in its on way is a dominant game to be known without the need to worry about its competitors. No matter what game it is when it comes to Final Fantasy. It will most likely never fall under a 8 rating on the game of the year book.. I believe it truly has the potential to go further than that without resorting to competition. The older games of FF was so enriched with worlds, stories, battling, and such..that I think the newer ones are starting to lose that feel. Despite the excellent graphics and now seeming movie like feel. You don't really build that connection to the characters, the villains, or ultimately what they are really trying to gain or fight for anymore. Also I think its stupid to limit such a powerful game to just one console. My personal favorite was FF8, I was amazed to see Squall sound exactly as I imagined him in vocal and attitude on KH, but thats saying something..these are characters that leave a mark on you and you are losing it people. Really take some time to build upon these people rather than competition to be so about big worlds and such..the older models kinda touched on that and were still yet amazing!!
    They didn't even have HD yet.

  • Dude, you're an idiot. That is fucking open world. The perspective is just different in a world map. Almost all RPGs have this. Not just fucking FF7, 8, and 9. Ever heard of Breath of Fire, Phantasy Star (not online or universe), Lufia, Tales series… I could continue the list, but I'm not wasting anymore time on a young fanboy.

  • [Debunked!]

    It appears Gamefaqs user Galvanization has quite the active imagination. A GameMasters UK Editor has confirmed that this rumor is fake.

    As GamesMaster’s Dep Ed I can safely say this is utter BS. Tracked down the source – a forum user on GameFAQS and Gamespot – who claims to have read this in our latest issue at the supermarket. There’s no such thing in there at all.

    Note to self: If it sounds to good to be true then it’s not.

  • It would be great to wrap the open world of FFXII with the story style of FFIV. I always like a more classic, magical, midevil style Final Fantasy. One and Four were the best!!! 🙂

  • It wants to compete with Skyrim and the Elder Scrolls Series? That's a huge goal to aim for.

    Open World Final Fantasy will be interesting but It won't feel right. Especially going up against the biggest one of that type of gameplay… Skyrim.

  • What, might I ask, does the author think is wrong with futuristic style fantasy? Or "Future Fantasy"?

    … I'd go look at Star Ocean (made by the same guys) for my urge for Future Fantasy, but, it kind of… Ended? I think? So Final Fantasy it is!

  • Howdy Zevion!

    You'll actually find that the Star Ocean games are actually made by Tri-Ace, not Square Enix 🙂

    I'm sure there will be more of those in the future!

  • You do know that skyrim and elder scrolls are the same series right? Skyrim is a game from the elder scrolls series… It's the elder scrolls 5: skyrim…

  • I loved final fantasy 13. The story on that game was superb and character development was also great. Many people say it's not good just because they don't play it. Past the first four chapters the game is as great as any other ff if not better… Many people(not all) just got influenced by what others say, for example ign said it was linear so many people, without playing, automatically say they don't like the game… Even ign scored it a 8,3 or something like that (good score). If this game was not called final fantasy than it would have been praised as a great rpg, but many fail to understand this and that is very sad…

    If final fantasy turns out like an open world game than I will be disappointed. When I play open world games I want a western rpg, but when I play final fantasy I Want a classic jrpg so if this happens please don't call it final fantasy because people wont like it…

  • What makes you think we are that stupid to believe on this nonsense? What makes you think it's Fun to say such things? No company would ask anyone to go on random forums and say these things you are saying, they also wouldn't attack someone in public like you ataked that gamefaqs user and if they did it it wouldn't be with a visitor message… Your message is offensive and should be deleted. I don't see the purpose behind your foolish words. This is a place to discuss something not to try standing out by saying that you are some other person and giving your opinion as something certain. I'm glad everyone ignored you but sad that no one criticized you yet… If you have some pride apologize or else i will see that you really are just some helpful random fool starving for attention… Grow up.

  • Perhaps you should know that skyrim is not agreed to be the best on the elder scrolls series… I bet you only say that because it is the most recent… Many say that skyrim is better but much more say that morrowind and oblivion are better. Personally I prefer oblivion, skyrim was great but in 85 hours only, I was able to earn every trophy and do almost everything possible while oblivion took much more time to see all of the amazing side quests. On oblivion every side quest was a story itself, on skyrim many of those stories were lame and the werewolf quest line was just lame, not to mention that the game was so broken up that if you played more than 60 hours during the first months of release there was a probability that the game save would get corrupted… They had to patch it so that people could play. There even was a trophy on the european release that was impossible to achieve until a very late patch and almost every side quest was haunted by a probable game breaking glitch were the player gets stuck on houses or other places and is not able to continue with the game…

  • This article is nonsense. The probability of this happening is completely 0. We already know that ff versus was cancelled and that it's gameplay and remastered story is going to be ff 15. Search a little before posting random coments just to say that you have opinions. Everyone does so if it's just to say random things that everyone knows already than don't bother posting at all…

  • Um no I've played FFXIII its story and character development is terrible period and this is coming from someone who's pretty much played the entire series its just not good. Played XIII and went back to play greats like 4 , 6 and 7 and the story and character development is night and day XIII just doesn't match in that department and its more so on the terrible choice for a director in Toriyama who barely had any experience on Final Fantasy and was given the director role because Square-Enix as a whole doesn't have a clue anymore how to run that series right and who internally is good and who isn't good. Fact of the matter is Kitase shouldn't be producing the games he should be directing them as he was the guy Sakaguchi left to lead the series forward (and Nomura to a smaller extent but he has his own team). Xenoblade is a JRPG title that is far superior in every way to any of these FFXIII titles and the funny thing the Xenobalde team did far more on the Wii then Square did with FFXIII on the PS3/X360 which only makes Square look even worse right now.

  • XV Wants to take on Skyrim, eh? I guess "Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII" will be a preview of what they plan on doing with XV then.

  • Why would you make another game even remotely like FF12? In my eyes and a lot of others as well, 12 was the worst game in the series. It was basically an offline single player copy of FF11 with a new skin and storyline that didn't do anything right. The problem is that they try to be like other kinds of games when they really should just focus on being its own type of game. It's really the same reason why all these hordes of new MMOs fail that try to copy the WoW formula. It's ok to take ideas from other games, but it's not ok to take the entire game slap a different skin on it and call it something else.

  • More of a 'linear' open world like Dark Souls and such would be great. And yes, as FFIX is my favorite FF game, I'd love to see a return of the high fantasy setting. Realtime combat might also be interesting. On another note, all these rumors make me wonder if FFXV will even be on the PS3. Every console that has had a main series FF game so far had three released for it–not sure if that's a tradition or just how things worked out but considering how late we are in the PS3's life (and of course that there's no way the realtime tech demo SE showed off could run on a PS3), it makes me wonder…

  • Square Enix has focused on the FFXIII trilogy this time around, and there's FIV coming too supposedly. The longer development times for new Final Fantasy games means, I suspect, that we won't see three "new" FF games released on a single console ever again.

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