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Old 09-19-2014, 08:12 AM
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Bongo Bongo is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
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You'd want to blame the producer more than the director, traditionally.

Hironobu Sakaguchi was skilled at both direction and production, and his departure left a big void that they've struggled to fill. Nearly all of their major (internal) productions since Final Fantasy X have been troubled, because they've still been following the art-first development strategy that they pioneered in the 90s. They basically make an enormous amount of high-quality assets, far more than they'd ever need, and assemble the finished game out of them. This resulted in some of the best-looking games in the world back in the SNES and PS1 days, as well as a whole lot of expensive stuff left on the cutting room floor. (Incidentally, this same approach is part of why The Spirits Within was such a boondoggle, proving even Sakaguchi wasn't above this kind of profligacy.)

With the shift to 3D, which is far more expensive, they needed more and more people creating assets. Disorganized small teams can capture a certain creative vitality that their earlier works noticeably benefited from. Disorganized large teams just bloat and drift. What's more, apart from needing more people, these 3D projects also needed more time, making the finished design even more of a moving target. This is the sort of approach that made FFXIII-2 necessary, cobbling it together out of surplus assets from FFXIII-1. With FFXII, they settled into the unhealthy pattern of an ambitious director losing control of the production, then switching in a more disciplined replacement to salvage the overdue, over-budget mess that resulted. With FFXIV, this was repeated on a grand scale, where the game was fixed after launch, and the process was an all-hands-on-deck emergency that resulted in disruptions and delays of nearly all their other projects. FFXV in particular slipped an entire console generation, which meant all the assets they had started with became obsolete and had to be redrawn (witness the difference in fidelity between the earlier trailers and the later ones).

They're depending on Eidos in the wrong way. The financial buoyancy that acquisition provided kept them from going bankrupt in the wake of FFXIV 1.0, but what they really need is to import their methods.
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