It’s always great to see people enjoying a game, especially when the game is an entry in a series that’s been on something of a down curve. So, with the launch of FFXV, it’s safe to say that a lot of gamers are washing the taste of FFXIII out of their mouths. Good for them.
On top of this there’s plans to provide some serious support too. A season pass is on sale and there’s talk of all sorts of new content coming out. So, what’s the problem?
Sadly, the very first post-launch patch for the game looks to not just fix some bugs but it’ll also ‘patch’ the story itself. This doesn’t sit well with me.
I don’t want to go into details with regards to what’s being added and edited in the story, as that’d be a spoiler of sorts, but let’s just say that a certain character turns up and their actions don’t make much sense and aren’t well explained. This is being ‘fixed’.
For me there’s two issues with this fix. The fact that Square Enix have got all manner of cut scenes and story assets ready to go strongly suggests that this isn’t content being fixed but more content being added where it was meant to be in the first place. If this was genuinely ‘new’ and not part of what was originally planned, you’d imagine they’d charge for it.
Now I understand that sometimes games get launched and they’re ‘unfinished’ or that a bug appears and things require day one patches or fixes down the line. This isn’t a fix though, this is an admission that the game was incomplete and they’re trying to sort it after the fact.
This wouldn’t be so egregious if it weren’t for the second thing that really irks me about this story. Square Enix insist on making their Final Fantasy launches not just big game releases but turn them into ‘multimedia events’. Apparently, if you’d watched the movie and the anime that aired before FFXV’s launch, the character whose actions aren’t explained and the opening 3 hours of the game make a lot more sense.
So, now you start to question whether this is missing content at all or if it’s all part of Square’s multimedia plan, where it expects players not just to fork out £40 on their game, play it for 30+ hours but they also want you to watch a 90 minute CGI movie (which is terrible) and an entire season of an anime show beforehand. It comes across as arrogant that Square would think fans would want a TV show and a movie based on these characters before we even get to play the game.
It’s probably not arrogance as I’m sure there’s ‘business numbers’ out there that means spitting out a movie and a TV show makes ‘business sense’ but for anyone that ‘just’ wants to play the game, they’re given a far inferior experience. Until the story gets patched, that is, but what happens to those hardcore fans that have already completed the game? Can they skip to the newly added content or will they need to play through it again?
I appreciate that it’s not the first-time story elements have been patched either. Most of us will remember when Mass Effect 3’s ended got edited, but that was for different reasons. That patch was a response to public outcry that people weren’t happy with the ending of the game. I think that’s a pretty lame reason to go and change your story, but at least they had the ending in the game, at least the story was there. The fact you didn’t like it doesn’t matter when you consider that FFXV has story elements straight-up missing.
It’s one thing to have a product that’s not finished, like a table that needs another coat of varnish, compared to a product that’s incomplete, like a table missing a leg.
FFXV is missing a leg and it’s the fans most eager to play the game that have had to miss out and they’ve probably spilled gravy on their lap.