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Follow-Up Kliskpinion: What If It Isn't A Kingdom Hearts MMO?

9 Jul 2011

The main thing that makes a KH MMO a difficult sell is the fact that, well, let me sum it up: Disney. They’re not going to particularly want their characters on an ever evolving online world where their franchise(s) could, arguably, be slandered and graffiti’d by online hooligans. The ‘Disney Factor’ cannot be forgotten, and while Square-Enix has a lot of leniency for the offline Kingdom Hearts games, don’t think for a  moment that there aren’t a ton of hurdles and pre-screening each title ultimately has to go through. Something that won’t fly on a fluid MMO.

But if not KH, then what?

Now, let me explain: I agree 100% with Fusion that a KH MMO would be an absolutely stellar idea. It would work oh so well. On the other hand, I tend to have gut feelings about things, and that is why this editorial is just that – My perception of the gaming industry from my experience from not only as a fan, but as someone whom has worked in it in the past. While all of Fusion’s points are dead on, the only issue I see is the fact that the game could arguably become something of an amusement park ride, where you’re barely playing the game so much as going along with it until you hit the end to celebrate with the rest of your level capped buddies. Most MMO’s are like this, aren’t they? Okay, not most… But Cataclysm sure took that route. Ooooh, burn. Wait, get it? Burn? Oh, never–

What are the other options that SE could have under their belt? First of all, I would rule out Dragon Quest because it lacks global appeal. It’s unfortunate, but unless the MMO is aimed exclusively for the Eastern market, a Dragon Quest MMO will not gander much excitement in the West.

Is it an apology MMO? As in, an apology for FFXIV? If so, then I could see one of two things: FFXI-2, or FFTA: Online. We are all forgetting that this MMO may not even be for PC, or consoles, but rather handhelds. The 3DS, despite it’s drawbacks, could most certainly handle an MMO (especially if it runs on mini-instances, such as the original Phantasy Star Online series.)

Or, surprise option: PS Vita, anyone? It would perfectly coincide with their announcement of Final Fantasy sackboy outfits appearing in Little Big Planet 2. Even the Wii-U can not be ruled out at this point (but I imagine this would coincide with 3DS compatibility.)

FFTA: Online works for many reasons, of course. It can be a portable MMO. It could also be a console/PC MMO set in Ivalice, giving you the chance to play a variety of already well established races (Bangaa, Nu’mou, Veira, Gria…) while not overwhelming you with hardcore game play. (Something both FFXI and FFXIV have covered.) Well, FFXIV may eventually have covered. It’s tough for me to bash FFXIV. It tears at my heart strings, because I wanted so badly for it to be everything FFXI was, and more. Unfortunately, it’s just a mess. It’s also improving at such an embarrassingly slow rate, that I wouldn’t be surprised if SE prematurely pulls the servers for the new MMO or keep it eternally F2P.

Anything else, Klisk? It’s almost time for my manicure appointment.

Namely, FFXI-2 comes to mind as a legitimate possibility now. This idea has been floating around for a while. Arguably, FFXIV is FFXI-2, right? That was the original intention of “Rapture”. But this time they could do it right without ostracizing new or old players.

Imagine FFXI – But on the FFXIV engine. They could do it right this time by not reinventing the wheel. Just adding some new flavor. An easy second chance. That’s basically it. Mostly a straight port. The same playable characters, but this time around they add a few more races to choose from because how could they possibly make the same mistake thrice? It will also give new players incentive to play if there is a larger variety of races to play as. Aesthetics are huge in MMO, ignore the naysayers. We need new races.

Yes; The same world, and your old characters can be carried over – However, with limitations. Much like they had originally planned many years ago, your FFXI character might take a portal to this new world, which while retaining most of their physical elements and gaining some new perks, would otherwise start over with the basics the game provides. Meanwhile this action would also reset your character to level 1 since they are (in canon) entering a reality where they are no longer proven to be fierce. Perhaps it could be the penalty of time travel. Better yet, they may even appear slightly different now due to the shift, allowing you to recreate your characters appearance should you choose to transfer him/her. (Although they would retain the same race, naturally.) Basically, the “travel” would take into consideration racial evolution. It would be time travel. Your original FFXI character would even continue to co-exist with their future self, so both games can continue running. Scratch that! The time traveling process may even allow your character to possibly make a racial leap, allowing you to entirely re-roll your appearance if you so choose.

If you’re uninterested in this, then you could just start a new character from scratch with little to no penalties.

Oh, and remember the report that SE is finally discontinuing PlayOnline, even for FFXI? The fact that they are removing it for FFXI makes me wonder what plans they do have for FFXI in the future. It will likely interface with a mini-launcher/updater like XIV does, but these changes could also be the start of some type of integration. Never mind how they’re testing the waters of making FFXI an easier game for newbies. This could all be for the next rapture. After all, a new MMO will have to be scaled down in difficulty considerably if they want to bring in new players. It doesn’t have to be a WoW clone (and I sure hope it isn’t), but if they take some inspiration from there…

Considering how close this announcement is to the release of FFXIV (and the fact that trying to do anything OTHER than apologize for FFXIV right now) may make people dubious of a new franchise; Well, something akin to FFXI-2 actually makes sense. It’s a proven brand. The world is proven. The framework is already there. It could be the same game, but enhanced, and made easier for newbies. Taking inspiration from Western MMO’s may not be a bad idea at all, so long as the game isn’t a clone. It’s all there and ready for the taking. It just needs to be upgraded into the new engine, and of course redesigned for the new lore/theme of the game. I’m not alone here, I hope, but say the game occurs 2000 years in the future, where there’s more of a steam-punk, if not straight out sci-fi element going on. Perhaps even rivet. Easiest route for SE would be to have the players start off in the Vana’diel wastelands, and further expansions allow you to travel to new planets that many citizens have settled upon in the psuedo-magic-technological age. Mithra in space, anyone? Or am I getting just a bit too Blade Runner? I still argue that Blade Runner would make a fantastic MMO, just so long as you don’t “replicant check” every NPC/player.

Okay, maybe I’m being just a tad eccentric now. That’s the point, however – Sudden announcements like this don’t happen out of coincidence, and it’s either going to be something huge to make up for FFXIV, or something small to supplement it. (A handheld MMO, as previously described, likely PS Vita or 3DS related.)

“Well, my argument is-“

Yes, I know. Similar counter-argument, it’s too soon for a new Final Fantasy MMO. Of course, considering SE’s track record, I would say that they have very little problem with over saturating the franchise. In their mind, and as Japanese developers, they still feel each Final Fantasy experience is a unique, isolated game. For the most part, at least. They are in sequel mode right now. Likewise, despite now acknowledging the power of the West in the financial marketplace of gaming, they are still predominately making games for Japanese gamers.

Now, my speculation has very little to do with reality, and I figure this may be good conversation. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is an entirely new IP in general, something unique, or something that we wouldn’t initially even qualify as an MMO. Something out of left field may just be what we need.

What will happen to FFXIV in the meanwhile?

We have heard very little about the PS3 release in recent months, and it looks like may never happen. The game is still F2P. So it’s easy to see how this new MMO is a “replacement” job. Still, they are not going to pull FFXIV so soon. Has anyone here played Recettear? It, very much so, reminds me of the elements implemented in FFXIV’s Market Ward system. I could easily see FFXIV remaining F2P while introducing micro-transactions, and keeping the game simplistic in the light of series like Recettear, and even Wakfu itself. “Profiteer and play dress up” style, so to speak.

Oh, and FFXI? It would continue to run as normal, of course. I can never see that game ever hitting the F2P model. After all, it really is Japan’s Everquest. It will never end. It even followed in the footsteps of having a sub-par followup. (Damn! It still pains me to say that, but screw it – They (allegedly) left out Male Miqo’te due to time restraints, and such sins cannot be go without punishme–)

My apologies. I didn’t mean to possibly lose my composure again. After all, I am a professional.

Besides, it’s not the developers’ fault. The upper heads in any company aren’t known for making the best decisions, and that goes especially in the gaming industry.

If the PS3 version never ships, then I will be even more convinced of this being the case. As a PC owner who has purchased FFXIV not only once, but twice (I honestly had to have the useless Tumbler offered in the overseas packages), I can only hope that they’ll offer some sort of compensation for those of us that transition over to this supposed “new” MMO. Should my predictions, of course, be even remotely accurate.

It is looking hopeful that we will find out soon, and once we do rest assure that we will have all the juicy details ready for you.

In a future post I’ll go over what I feel makes a successful MMO, and what would make a new unique MMO successful.

Also, no, I refuse to even humor the idea that it may be a Chrono Trigger MMO. It’s just too risky considering the situation they are in. It’s not happening. Feel free to make fun of me if it does, but I’m calling it now: Just no.