Well now, this is interesting. Just when I was beginning to lose all faith in Square-Enix, the rumor mill churns out something to make me sit up and get my heart racing. Six years ago, at E3, Square-Enix revealed a trailer for a game called Final Fantasy Versus XIII. An utterly baffling title, the game was revealed to be a part of a compilation series called Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy. This series was supposed to be a companion to Final Fantasy XIII and its sequel, and also includes Final Fantasy Type-0, originally named “Agito.” Final Fantasy Versus XIII‘s development has been a long string of cock teases and broken promises, to the point where fans have declared the title to be vaporware.
That is until this morning…
In anticipation of E3 next week, I’ve been keeping a close eye on video game headlines, especially any related to Final Fantasy and the WiiU. Well, I hit the jackpot this morning when I came across this news story. The story contains a video (which I will include below) that appears to be the tail end of a Versus XIII trailer viewing, but at the end flashes the title Final Fantasy XV! Furthermore, the footage indicates that the game will be released for the Playstation 3 and Nintendo’s forthcoming Wii U console.
A lot of people are screaming “FAKE,” but I really don’t think so. Square has been teasing us about this for months, claiming that they were finally ready to show it off, but that undisclosed circumstances were preventing them from doing so. It goes without saying that the Final Fantasy brand has been severely damaged in recent years, first with the lackluster reaction to Final Fantasy XIII, the unmitigated disaster that was Final Fantasy XIV, and then the sequel nobody asked for to a game that few people actually liked–Final Fantasy XIII-2. Square-Enix needs to pull a rabbit out of their hat if they hope to stay afloat, and Versus XIII is the trick we’ve all been waiting for. We also have to consider that the timing for a new numbered installment is ripe, considering this year marks the 25th anniversary of the series. And lets not forget that this isn’t the first time Square has pulled this particular stunt. Final Fantasy IX started out its life as a spinoff title, so is it really outside the realm of possibility that they would do the exact same thing today?
Some of the naysayers are claiming the inclusion of the WiiU and the exclusion of the Xbox 360 are clear indicators of the video’s falseness. I disagree. Let’s face it… the Xbox 360 is no longer cutting edge technology. It’s on its way out. The WiiU is supposed to be the next big contender in the hardware wars, actually being a step up from the PS3′s graphical quality. If this is true, then Square-Enix would finally be justified in bringing the series back to Nintendo. With the series moving to the Playstation instead of the Nintendo 64 in 1997, Final Fantasy XV could mean a triumphant return to the series’ roots. It would be a homecoming, whereas XIII‘s release on the 360 can be chalked up to a failed experiment.
This would certainly explain why Square-Enix didn’t include “Final Fantasy Versus XIII” in their E3 lineup. Apparently they have something much bigger in mind. I’ll be watching the E3 streams with great interest this year.
(Please note: The title of this video was changed after Square-Enix exposed the hoax.)
What do you think? Real or fake? Leaked or intentionally released to create buzz? Let me know in the comments section.
UPDATE 6/1/2012 11:20 PM: Square-Enix has confirmed that this video is indeed a fake. I actually began to have doubts about the video this morning when I watched it in HD on my iPad and saw the “Crystal Tools” logo at the end of the video. Square-Enix already announced some time ago they were dropping the Crystal Tools engine and adopting a new game-specific engine.
Regardless, I think Square-Enix would do well to take the fan reaction to this video into account. From what I’ve seen, although the general fan consensus was that the video was fake, the idea of renaming the game Final Fantasy XV was generally well received. Please, Square-Enix, for once just listen to your fans and give them what they want. I promise that we will reward you handsomely for it.
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