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FF & ratings, violence & target audiences

Discussion in 'Final Fantasy Discussion' started by APZonerunner, Dec 31, 2016.

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  1. APZonerunner

    APZonerunner Network Boss-man Staff Member Administrator Site Staff UFFSite Veteran

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    I'm splitting this out from a previous thread, again, 'cos I didn't want to derail something off-track, but...

    This is a different discussion, I guess, but I do think there's a problem which is that the market has shifted and that casual audience is either so young they're mostly based in Minecraft, or on phones, or both - or they're old enough that they're more interested in Call of Duty and things with blood, ratings be damned.

    That's a big difference, an enormous shift in the Western market in particular - when I was 13, Final Fantasy was one of the coolest games you could ask to own. Now 13-year-olds are playing Minecraft or COD, typically. The COD audience also has a surprising amount of cross-over with Bethesda's games, while things like Witcher and DA still sell very healthily to a mostly adult-only audience.

    I don't think on paper targeting that audience is a bad idea, but I also think that to be honest the market has changed in such a way where you can't be a broad 'little bit of everything' any more in the way FF7 was back in the day. (And that's the key template SE is trying to emulate). The Witcher stands as stark proof you can make an adult-targeted game in a heavy way (at least in the West) and have gross success with it - TW3 will when all's said and done sell twice as much as FF15, while TW2 sold like a third of what FF13 did. Part of that's down to what they did, it's an incredible game, but it's also down to the shift in the market, I think. The video game market is getting older; today's kids are still playing, of course, but they're playing in different ways - but more important is that older people aren't stopping. I'm 27, right - I've worked in video games in some weird way or another since I was 11, full time since the day I left university. Now I'm attached to games more deeply because of work, but all my friends that are my age - they have wives and kids and stuff but are still, crucially, playing.

    I think one of the things there is -- those types of people are broadly more likely to buy these adult leaning games, and I'd love to see an FF truly push into that and have a bash at it. Atlus is perfectly happy with M-rated Persona because it's mega niche; FF is not. You have less to lose when you're in the niche. This is why Versus, a spin-off, was okay to target M/PEGI 18 areas but 15 had to pull back to a T/PEGI 16. That's just part of the way they read the market, but I'd be properly up for them trying something new.

    In particular, with DQ growing in the West, if I were them I would position them at polar ends; DQ the E10+ lovely RPG for everyone, a game for Pokemon and Yokai Watch players to 'graduate' to. And I'd position FF as an M-rated RPG that offers a different cultural tone to The Witcher, Fallout, Mass Effect etc but is similarly positioned. This isn't to say FF would ever be as grim and as bloody as The Witcher, but I do also think... FF15's story in particular has a lot of scope for more darkness that it elects not to follow. I actually think it'd be a drastically more interesting game if they had.

    In a sense, one of the comparisons I'd make for FF is to, say, Harry Potter. What's interesting about that series - I mainly refer to the books, though this also applies to the films - is that it grew with its audience in an interesting way. The original few Potter books are a tremendously difficult, simplistic read for adults - but they're kids' books. But the series transitioned and grew with its fanbase (which I was a voracious fan of). It transitioned from a kids' series to a YA series and is now embracing in much of its fanbase being adults with things like the play. There is no doubt that later Potter is less kid-friendly than new Potter, and that's interesting.

    FF has done the opposite; it's maintained a consistent tone throughout its whole series, but I think that's where some of its older audience has gone. FF13 treads a lot of the same ground FF7 and FF10 did, for instance, but the difference is and the reason why a lot of the audience was less embracing of those themes is because they grew up, I think. But the problem also was with the shifting market and so on, new people weren't joining the fray. This is the same sort of dilemma posed by any long-running media empire... Star Wars, Doctor Who, James Bond, whatever.

    Basically what I'm saying is this: FF has tried with one path and it was moderately successful, but I'd love to see them try the other path.
     
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  2. Storm

    Storm AVALANCHE Warrior

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    that's my desire as well, i want them to do a darker FF; really curious to see how that would pan out.
     
  3. Ikkin

    Ikkin ShinRa SOLDIER

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    Can we move this thread to the spoiler section? I'm going to want to bring up FFXV spoilers, and I'd rather not have to tag everything.

    Anyway:

    The thing is, I'm pretty sure the Japanese publishers see this as a problem that needs to be rectified rather than something that's inevitable and just needs to be catered to. Look at Sony -- they've consistently sought to create T-rated franchises like Uncharted, Infamous, and Horizon within traditionally M-rated genres, likely in order to facilitate a transition to console gaming within the younger generation (which is, of course, critical to maintaining long-term growth or even stability, because aging audiences don't last forever).

    Targeting an aging hardcore is tempting in the short term, but it backfires horribly in the long term, often to the point of no return. Just look at the current state of anime and western comic books if you need evidence of that. Having companies like Sony and Squenix pushing back against that trend is almost certainly healthier for the industry as a whole.

    Is there any real evidence that Versus was targeting PEGI 18? Nomura had already pulled back most of the way to where XV ended up all the way back in 2011, two years before the name change was announced, and at a point where he'd only just gotten started making an actual game out of it.

    It's also unclear that "adult leaning games" actually benefit from their higher rating instead of simply not being hampered by them, particularly on Playstation. Sony's T-rated alternatives have often done very well for themselves, after all. Not to mention, it's possible to aim a game at adults in ways that don't necessarily require an increase in rating -- see Uncharted 4 being a game about work-life balance. =P

    Aren't you forgetting the "E10+ lovely RPG for everyone" that Squenix already has as a tentpole in the west? They've had proven mainstream success with Kingdom Hearts, in contrast to Dragon Quest, which they aren't even willing to localize themselves most of the time.

    And, of course, Kingdom Hearts presents a massive problem for M-rated mainline FF rather than a potential solution, because the corporate synergy required for that game to exist simply wouldn't work if FF didn't limit itself to the local equivalent of PG-13. As-is, Noct can be modified to fit KH's worldview pretty easily, but I don't think Disney would even let him in if his game were M-rated.

    It's also worth pointing out that thematic darkness rarely necessitates an increase in rating, depending on the execution. For instance:

    The Harry Potter books grew up over the course of the series, yes, but they remained decidedly PG/PG-13 throughout. This is how growing with one's audience is supposed to work -- you continue to target the same people by taking a more mature tone and exploring darker themes without completely alienating that initial audience's present-tense equivalents. A ten year old might not necessarily appreciate the later books the same way as someone who was ten when the first book released, but it's likely that no one would question their desire to read them.

    As for the play... I'm just going to chalk that up as an author going off-rails after the completion of the work they'd initially outlined, because seriously.

    I'd argue that part of FFXIII's problem is that it didn't maintain the same tone as FFs VII and X. VII was a game where you started as ecoterrorists in a slum fighting against a corporation whose power plants were destroying the planet and ended up engaging with psychological trauma, the unexpected death of a party member, and the possibility that saving the planet might have required the end of human civilization. X was a game that was primarily interested in stagnation and death, even if it ended with that spiral finally being broken.

    Meanwhile, XIII should have been a game about desperate resistance in the face of a Catch-22, but it never seemed to feel comfortable providing its scenario with the weight that it required and ended up mostly just feeling like, "Rah rah fight the powah" all the way through due to the narrative's consistent focus on the fighting back part (and the rather unfortunate decision to justify Snow instead of deconstructing the heck out of him).

    And, while XV might not have increased its age category, it definitely reflects a tonal shift from the series at large.

    I kind of like jokingly referring to it as "Final Fantasy Versus X," because it takes the initial setup of X -- hero must sacrifice self to obtain the power to wipe out the scourge on humanity -- but reverses the way this concept is handled and plays a rather different sort of trick. While FFX's twist makes the initial sacrifice counterproductive and provides an escape from the spiral of death, FFXV's transforms a story that seemed to be about accepting responsibility into a story about finding the courage to die.

    And that's... not how FFs tend to go. XIII might have let defiance of fate overwhelm its attempts at generating a sufficiently weighty setup, but FF's always at least ended optimistically (even if ambiguously so, as in VII). XV says, "You must die" and uses its more lighthearted earlier segments to make you feel that loss while stripping away any illusion that Noct's decision isn't tearing him apart.
     
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  4. APZonerunner

    APZonerunner Network Boss-man Staff Member Administrator Site Staff UFFSite Veteran

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    Ahh, this is about the broader series. We can live tagging 15 stuff.

    There's definitely a point where it stops, obviously, but Uncharted, and Horizon are interesting cases - because look what else their studio makes - Killzone and TLOU, hardcore, M-rated experiences. That's part of my point; they do both. They've tried both. Artistically, there's an advantage to doing both. The studio and the creative minds there have a greater breadth to play with, which I think is magnificent.

    RE Versus; there's some early interview stuff that points to that but also I will flat-out say that conversations I've had with people suggest that was the case, with the approach to it from a violence/rating perspective softening over time and flipping completely once it was decided it'd be turned into a numbered game - which, yes, of course, was pre-Tabata. But for a while Versus was, to my understanding, meant to be a hard M (where, say, Type-0 is a 'soft M'), at least thematically. People can believe this or not based on my past record, but whatever there.

    Well, I categorize KH separately simply because SE doesn't own it and nor do they have 100% creative control over the direction that series takes. It's sort of off to the side - it's vital to the company, but DQ and FF are the core properties that'll guarantee the company forever that do not rely on outside benefactors.

    It's interesting that you mention KH though, as I think KH is a series that has gone the wrong direction in another way. That series appealed to people I knew that didn't play video games (my mother, for one!) because it was a light-hearted, simple-minded romp with a relatively straight through-line. But the series has grown with its audience, who were 12, 14, whatever when they played the first on PS2, and now -- if you poll the KH fanbase, you'll see a significant shift in the average age as, yeah, the series has grown with them in a very Potter way. However, the way it's grown with them is to become less about the fun mash-up and more about its own winding, twisting plot - which is fascinating and exciting for those deep in the series but also off-putting for those more casual about the whole thing. Mind you, I'm told that KH3 will rectify great swathes of this.

    I don't see what 'corporate synergy' is needed for KH, honestly. First, the FF cameos have increasingly little significance - by Nomura's own admission they were added to KH1 to entice existing Square fans and to differentiate the game from other Disney tie-ins, but KH has its own identity now. Second - even if they made an adult FF, there's plenty of material in the rest of the series for KH to borrow from. I think that's a non-issue. (And chances are nobody from 15 will be in KH3 anyway 'cos Nomura is still salty about the whole ordeal). I'm sure Lightning'll be in, though.

    One of the things I think is key about FF - on your point of growing with the audience without alienating the initial touch - is that I think vast amounts of FF, especially 6, 7 and 9 - are incredibly dark but get away with it due to their format. The visuals and storytelling method hide the nastiness behind it all. (This is an interesting aside about FF7 remake: How do they work with the scene where Cloud repeatedly beats Aerith with modern visuals without it being awful?) As technology has tugged us along, I think the series has told the same stories but with a softened attitude, a dulled edge. It'd be interested to see the series be more 'gritty'.

    I mean, keep this in mind: I'm not talking about going 'full Witcher'. Witcher is game of thrones-esque, with naked bodies and constant swearing and all that. But Dragon Age is a lighter-hearted thing that I don't think is a million miles away from FF tonally - it's campy and cliche and fun - but they take a few more dips into the darker side in tone. This is a liberty I think they could take on the SNES and PS1 and get away with it, but now it's harder for them to do, and I actually rather miss it.

    One of the interesting things about FF13, I think, is that it's a young game told by old people, so to speak. Not ancient, but - old enough. I once compared FF to Green Day, of all things. Sakaguchi's FF in the early days was a punk rock video game. They started out as the outsiders and even after they were successful they still acted like outsiders. They were still kicking back, fighting back. FF7 is the culmination of that. It's American Idiot. Not just successful, suddenly the constant underdogs became a phenomenon.

    What followed was an explosive period of success and creativity. They put out another good album (and another couple of good games) with the same energy... and then they started meandering down different and interesting money-spinning pathways. A direct sequel. A Broadway musical. Etc etc. The question is, when you get past that... if you've written and starred in a broadway musical, can you really continue to be a punk? This is a question that can be applied to games, and it's similar soul-searching that's going on at CD Projekt right now, with that studio thinking hard about how to preserve their past culture as they explosively grow. Bioware definitely had the same transition after the EA purchase, and a couple of their games suffered for it (but they now appear to be back on track, and they explained that this is exactly the reason why the new Mass Effect is being made by an entirely different team to 1-3).

    Anyway, comparing FF13 to FF7 & 8 in particular, one of the things I find interesting is that the same stories work and fail in different games. In FF7, the fight the power narrative is strong because, well, that was them, then. Not enough resources, clueless about 3D games, it transferred into the game's raw energy. In FF13, made on a (deeply disorganized, but still massive) assembly line with tight creative control, that story falls flat. Y'know what story works, though? The stories of a father and son. The story of a character thrust into the role of 'big sister' unexpectedly. These are older stories, and I strongly suspect these are the stories that, circa FF13's development, resonated the most with Toriyama - at that point now a father himself. Incidentally, this is a story that might be even better told still in a darker, grittier game, and lo - Square actually did just that in Nier, which was rated M.

    I once spoke about this to FF boss-man Shinji Hashimoto - this was a few months after FF15 was reannounced - and he was saying that they're aware of this and that fresh, younger talent is key for them.

    Anyway, the reason for the tangeant about 'old stories' above is because I think to a point this can apply to 15 - I think the stories Tabata was most excited about were a little darker, and I wonder if the whole game could've been a little darker if the story might've had more gusto. I certainly don't like Type-0, but I appreciate its commitment to that tone - a tone he really seems to enjoy, apparently. This is shoulda-woulda-coulda stuff and hands were really tied with 15, but Agni, for instance, presents a great opportunity for a darker world if they really want. (Though while I believe Agni to be a project that will be revisited, I do not believe it will be FF16).
     
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  5. Ikkin

    Ikkin ShinRa SOLDIER

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    Fair enough.

    Killzone and TLoU are different franchises from Horizon and Uncharted, though, even if they're made by the same teams. The equivalent for Squenix would look more like Parasite Eve than an M-rated Final Fantasy (and I certainly wouldn't argue if they decided to do that, say, with Agni).

    Given that I've been arguing for years based on said early interview stuff that there was no reason to assume a hard M for Versus, it's going to take a bit more than "I've heard some stuff I can't tell you about" to convince me of that. Because this is the sort of stuff I remember Nomura saying when asked about the manner in which the game was intended to be dark:

    At the press conference you mentioned that a theme in the project was "pain", can you explain what that meant?

    Nomura: The current plot is truly very sad. It can be said that pain is from not having any bonds, but it is also the feeling that comes from a tragic story. There will likely not be a love relationship in the story, and it there is it is not what you will imagine. (laughs) You are probably thinking that instead of love it is friendship, but that is not to say there are no female characters. Simply that the main drive of the start is bonds and the pain that accompany them. That is the true nature of pain.

    Kitase: Just now you mentioned that "FFVersusXIII" faces the challenge of being identified with the numbering. It is adventurous isn't it. It is something that I've been wanting to do but has not been possible until now. With a game it is often thought to create a conclusion which can be continued. On the other hand we seldom think of how refreshing it can be to have a climax that will remain concluded.

    Nomura: After the announcement, there were many questions about the dark hero characteristic of the story, but it is not something so cool. It is not the case where the entire story and all the characters are completely dark. The story contains pain, but that is a realistic part of the expression between the characters and the hero as part of friendship. The story tells of companions who spend time together and the happiness they share each day as well as the heavy responsibilities they carry.

    Kitase: Even thought it is a tragedy, there should be some hope somewhere.

    Nomura: We'll talk about that next time.


    [Source]

    Nomura: "There's been times when I've wanted to take FF in a completely different direction than the game's producer has wanted. I'm not saying that his or mine opinions have been right or wrong, just different. One thing I've always wanted to explore deeper is human emotions. By going in that direction, you risk to make the target group for the game narrower, and FF is appreciated by a very large audience. But with Versus XIII, it feels like the right time to take that risk. Since the script isn't done yet, I still don't know exactly how far I dare to go, but I know I want to squeeze humanity out of these characters. I want Versus to feel in the entire body."

    Q: "You've also said that this is going to be the darkest FF game ever."

    A: "When I produced Kingdom Hearts, I was in a world so bright that I almost got blinded. So now I want to do something completely different. Maybe it has something to do with my love for extremes. FFvXIII is about man in the real world. In that sense, the game will contain less fantasy than usual We've created some dark environments and shown them in our trailers. But the entire game won't look like that; we've only just begun."

    Q: "When you talk about the real world, do you mean modern life on Earth?"

    A: "I don't want the characters in the game to feel fabricated, so my focus lies on designing them through their humanity. They have to be perceived as humans, as someone you and I could meet in reality. The world in Versus is reminiscent with the one we live in today. That doesn't mean I'm inspired by locations or persons that actually exist, it's more of a feeling that the characters and locations are believable, like something you'd be able to find in your daily life. I want to take this concept and make it into an FF experience. That's the challenge I've given myself, anyway."


    [Source]

    Is there anything thematically M rated about that? *shrugs* I'm not even convinced that "thematically M rated" is a concept that can even apply in the absence of sex, and Nomura certainly never showed any inclination to take the game in that direction.

    Violence is a bit of a separate issue, but Nomura didn't actually talk about that all too much from what I can remember. Fandom was mostly just going by the extended 2006 trailer and the blood effects from the 2010 teaser (which lasted a grand total of one showing) there. What we were shown is certainly a lot more consistent with experimentation on Nomura's part than any set plan to make a hard M rated game, though.

    Are DQ's western sales high enough for it to be a meaningful guarantee in any territory outside of Japan? I'd say KH is a better bet even in spite of the limitations on creative control the Disney connection imposes.

    KH has continuity lock issues, true. As of right now, though, KHIII seems like less of a solution than the existence of I.5 & II.5 and II.8 (at least until Nomura resets the world at the end of KHIII, as I highly suspect he will). I feel really bad for anyone with an XO who assumes that they can start with III.

    It's still a much bigger draw in the west than a highly-traditional turn-based game (that isn't called Pokemon).

    At the very least, they need Disney to be willing to associate themselves with Squenix's flagship franchise in order to keep KH going. Even if KH never included anything from a hypothetical M-rated FFXVI, I could see Disney being a bit uncomfortable with having their most kid-friendly properties associated with a franchise that included that sort of content.

    ...do you really think Nomura is so upset about what happened with XV that he'd refuse an opportunity to make Noct his again? I feel like that's what I'd do if I were given a second chance to work with a character who meant a lot to me.

    Archaic technology might have forced a particular presentation on FF games, but that doesn't mean that it isn't possible to choose a method of presentation that accomplishes the same thing when working with more advanced technology, even if the end result looks different.

    To use the Cloud and Aerith example -- broad physical strokes were required for that scenario to make any sense back when the characters looked like Lego men. The PS4 is capable of much greater subtlety. So, instead of having Cloud physically pummel Aerith in full detail (which was never what the game intended to convey in the first place, if we're being honest), he could try to choke her, which would evoke the same sort of tension without looking incredibly awkward.

    It's entirely possible to get back everything VI, VII, and IX had without increasing the age rating, as long as you're clever about it.

    This reminds me of what Tabata and Sakaguchi said about making Final Fantasy a "challenger" again, honestly. Though it's worth pointing out that being an outsider nowadays is a very different position to being an outsider in the '90s, because FFVII is in some ways the foundation on which modern AAA development has been built.

    So they're sort of in a double-bind where it's not only impossibly difficult to get back what they were before, but where even if they could, it wouldn't work. I think that's why Tabata cited influence from Fumito Ueda and the game itself made reference to Earthbound -- being an outsider nowadays is aligning oneself with pseudo-indie cult classics and demanding an acceptance of emotions that aren't, strictly speaking, fun. FFXV is a strange game, but it does seem like an attempt at solving the problem.

    Do either of those "older stories" actually require a darker and grittier facade to work effectively, though? Lilo and Stitch works fantastically as a story about a big sister trying (and essentially failing) to keep her little sister from being taken by child protective services in spite of being a G-rated Disney movie involving aliens.

    XIII would have been far better served by being allowed to scale back its ambitions to the stories its developers (presumably) wanted to tell than it would by being given free rein to add blood and gore.

    Well... I'm not sure I agree with your assessment of Tabata.

    Tabata's personality is a stark contrast from his first major game in the series, 2011’s Final Fantasy Type-0, which is easily one of the darkest we’ve ever seen. Within minutes of the opening credits we’ve seen a wounded woman scream as she burns alive, while a Chocobo is shot at point-blank range. That such an apparently well-adjusted and cheery man could come up with such a scenario seems incongruous… at first. After a few minutes of speaking with him, however, all becomes clear. This isn’t a man who celebrates darkness; this is one who’s keenly focused on the beauty of life.

    “I really wanted to do a Final Fantasy game that really depicted life and death – the value of life – in a much more mature, earnest way,” Tabata says with regards to Type-0’s bloody beginning. “That was part of the motivation for it. I think certainly in trying to depict that and figuring out how to show it in a serious way, the feeling of danger and the fragility of life, it requires you to depict characters in a very human way and make them believable as people. I think the game and combat system emphasized that fragility too, so after all of it came together it did wind up in the end being quite dark… but that was never the original plan!”


    [Source]

    The impression I get from that isn't that he enjoys making the tone dark as much as he sees violence and death as an effective means by which to show how fragile and important life can be. And, when understood in that context, his fingerprints are all over FFXV.

    Noct's arc, at the very least, is exactly the sort of story Tabata seems inclined to tell, with the more lighthearted open world portion of the game reflecting the normal ups and downs of life and the darker linear portion reflecting a rapid downward spiral towards death (which, in turn, relies on the investment one built in the "life" portion for its emotional payoff).

    It's the plot surrounding this arc and many of the secondary characters that suffer, narratively speaking, but that's mostly because Tabata did choose to focus on the story he was primarily interested in telling at the expense of other stuff. Luna, for instance, gets much more screen time after she dies than before because her primary thematic role is to mirror Noct's own response to the knowledge that his calling will inevitably demand his life, and that wouldn't really fit with the "life" theme of the open world portion. Niflheim's near-complete irrelevance to the life-and-death theme is probably why that portion of the cast was almost non-existent.

    As with XIII, the problem was an inability to remove the stuff that didn't matter to the core themes, not an inability to make everything else darker to match.
     
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  6. Storm

    Storm AVALANCHE Warrior

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    not doubting or anything, but is this conjecture or you were told that? salty at the point on not even allowing FFXV characters in KH3 would be kinda childish.
     
  7. Nova

    Nova AVALANCHE Warrior

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    Especially when he was still credited on XV proper as original base concept/character designer, along with Tabata going through lengths to preserve his vision while leaving ideas that didn't pan out like FNC stuff out. Mind you the end result has holes in it, but content that was kept there still exists.

    Kinda screams disrespectful much on his end?

    I destinctively remember in an interview in 2013(?) how Noctis (along with Sora) was like a son to him even.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  8. Ikkin

    Ikkin ShinRa SOLDIER

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    He also has a credit for Lyrics under the Recording section of the full credits, for what it's worth. And if Noct's insistence on wearing baseball caps in his casual outfits isn't related to Nomura's tendency to do the same, I'll eat my own figurative hat.

    I seriously doubt the situation with XV is as bitter as people make it out to be.
     
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  9. Fireryu

    Fireryu Yevonite

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    of course there are M rated games that are rated M just for the sake of shock value like Mortal Kombat and .Saint rows IV the M rated games that are rated M for the sake of shock value usually have over the top violence and also don't take themselves seriously. for games like Mortal Kombat and Saints row IV shock value is a selling point.
     
  10. Jenova

    Jenova ShinRa SOLDIER

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    It's projection and conjecture at best. There's no evidence to support the notion that Nomura is bitter or upset over the XV ordeal. Or that he directs this alleged anger at Tabata directly. Anyone saying as much with certainty is either projecting their own feelings onto Nomura and/or playing up the usual Internet ignorance spewed by the less than cordial gamer fanbase. It's the same as DC vs Marvel in some respects. Although the companies have quite cordial relations, their respective fanbases perpetuate a narrative that the companies are toxic rivals and each company has a clear superiority over the other. Yet it's all the fan's own perceptions and subjective views at play.
     
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  11. APZonerunner

    APZonerunner Network Boss-man Staff Member Administrator Site Staff UFFSite Veteran

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    Ha, it's always difficult in these situations, because, yeah... one can only go so far or say so much. I can say I don't really 'do' raw, unconsidered conjecture, though - I don't know anything specific about KH3 in that regard, but I wouldn't comment on that whole thing and make the connection I've made if I didn't have reason to be confident what I was saying was correct. (And I like to think my track record bears that out).

    What I will say is I've met Nomura a couple of times and he was a lovely, funny, quietly considered and thoughtful bloke. But I also have heard no end of stories about him being a very serious, mercurial artist type from both inside and outside SE. It comes part and parcel. People like Ken Levine (Bioshock) are similar - geniuses, but nightmares, haha. You can only hear so many first-hand stories about this stuff from so many different sources before you start to take them as read.

    I genuinely would be surprised to see Noctis in KH3 though. I'm sure time and distance will sort all that out, obviously, but I do genuinely believe things to be quite sore; I do truly believe that Nomura is still a little bit iffy on the whole 15 thing. This isn't dissimilar to how, while Sakaguchi's name is on the product's credits, Sakaguchi refused to play FF12 at all because he didn't approve of the SE management meddling in Matsuno's design/vision. I don't think it's particularly childish, either - this stuff happens. These guys are artists, they're serious about their art.

    FF15 has a lot in common with FF12 in that sense (I think there's a very strong parallel with both games featuring a story-driven director replaced with a design-driven director & the story suffering a chasm in the middle that seems to be a direct result) - and despite both being geniuses in some way or another Nomura was arguably more valuable to SE than Matsuno because of how prolific he's been for them - and so while he lost that project, he was given other things he wanted (like FF7R) to placate him.

    I don't for a second believe the FF15 transition was smooth or something Nomura wanted, nor do I believe he was particularly happy with it, but I also think the result was a good game delivered on a time frame that he couldn't have managed. Like, I don't say this to push some "Vs13 vs 15" narrative - as my distaste for the entire Versus concept is on the record as far back as 2006 and generally I'm sick of the fanbase's obsession with Versus (we need to fixate on what we got, which is flawed but great, and what we want for the future), but I don't think the management change was remotely smooth and have been told a lot of stories that back that up.

    Similarly, I don't attribute FF15's rescue from the jaws of failure entirely to Tabata but also directly to a few other names (who has been on press trips for the game but remained in the background?), and I think more on that will come out over time.

    ...But I realize that track record or no basically saying "trust me" isn't a very satisfying answer, so I should probably zip it. ;) I do try to provide insight as far as I can though. People share secret stuff with me so I have context for when I speak/write (and also because people like to gossip, ha), and as far as I can I try to share that context with the fans.

    Outside of that one passing point, some great responses to the rest of what I said above; will reply later.
     
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  12. Ikkin

    Ikkin ShinRa SOLDIER

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    See, I totally believe that Nomura is a serious, mercurial artist type. There's plenty of reason to believe that just from interviews and such -- the writer of one memorable Versus interview said that he was cautious around Nomura because he'd heard that Nomura had once told a journalist that his questions were garbage and refused to answer; more recently, there was that weird "burning anger" statement about KH where he compared himself to Xehanort. And if we limited ourselves to XV as a game, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if he refused to play the final product (though I think I've read that he doesn't play all too many games in the first place and is more of a movie guy).

    But Noct is... weird. I don't think Nomura could have put more of himself into Noct if he tried, at least prior to the changeover; it's kind of hard not to draw the comparison when Squenix releases candid video statements where Nomura's clad in a Roen jacket, wearing a baseball cap to hide his bedhead. XD; If Disney okayed a crossover costume, I suspect Noct would still go for Nomura's signature "dark Mickey Mouse" look. And, as mentioned above, Nomura has, in the past, declared Noct to be like a son to him.

    In other words, I think Noct is so personal that the opportunity to "fix" him might be irresistible for Nomura, especially since he has plenty of leeway in his interpretation of characters' KH variants. He's not required to implement XV!Noct, as far as I can tell -- he could throw Versus!Noct in there and just chalk it up to the AU nature of KH. I know that's what I'd want to do if I had the chance.

    This, I mostly agree with, though I liked the initial Versus concept and think that there's way more of it in XV than people give it credit for, and I'd argue that Tabata has a character-driven bent that Itou never did, which makes XV a much more palatable game to me than XII. (I've tried playing XII twice; the first time, I got stuck due to the game refusing to countenance my desire not to engage with the gambit system, and the second, I ended up ridiculously underleveled because there was no way I was going to go on story-less hunts when the main quest itself was refusing to provide me with anything more than an infodump that amounted to "we can't help you, go here instead." I'm hoping fast-forward will make the third time the charm, but I don't think I'll ever like it as much as XV.)

    I'd be interested to hear about the other names who were involved in the resuscitation of XV. Hopefully we get another postmortem like the XII and XIII ones to shine some light on stuff like that.

    Fair enough!

    Looking forward to it. ^_^
     
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  13. Storm

    Storm AVALANCHE Warrior

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    the fact that Nomura barely talked about FFXV, or made his way into one of the many events the game had speaks volumes (tho he is considered a shy person from what i read), dunno.
     
  14. Nova

    Nova AVALANCHE Warrior

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    Nomura's a generally recluse kind of guy who doesn't attend too many events or interviews, he barely even talked about VII Remake this entire year until he was allowed to give further info. Could be possible S.E. has him on a leash for commenting on anything XV related, or if he feels obligated to mention it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
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  15. Guitar (pseudo)God

    Guitar (pseudo)God Red Wings Commander

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    Wasn't it at TGS 2016 where Tabata was asked about Nomura and FF15? IIRC, his answer was something rather candid, like "there is no relationship" and "personal feelings were put aside", etc. I was always under the impression that neither man wanted Nomura off the project, but business considerations trumped all else. (Maybe that's why the CEO was a Lv. 99 boss fight?)
     
  16. Jenova

    Jenova ShinRa SOLDIER

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    Nothing that followed my post has inspired me to waver from my initial statement. At the end of the day it's all gossip, rumors and the like. Every creator or artist is labelled a monster, difficult or a diva eventually by some journalists. For whatever reason. While also the transition of leadership may not have been smooth, that isn't to say Nomura holds it against the BD 2 team or refuses to acknowledge the game. If it was so severe as people make it out to be, I'm sure he would have departed from the company or more signs of conflict would be present. This is again just all speculative from the fan's POV. Until Nomura himself outright says something or there is more solid evidence to look at, I'd say it's best to operate under the assumption that everything was amicable for the most part with a few bumps in the road. Bumps so small that they were easily smoothed over to keep the peace in the long run.
     
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