Fix an ailing game franchise in five "easy" steps

Just thought I’d throw this out there to see if anyone had opinions. If you could take a franchise that’s either fallen on hard times, you don’t like as much as you used to (and believe it’s in decline), or a franchise that’s simply been off the radar for several years, how would you do it?

What five steps would you take to ensure that the franchise came back strong in its next entry? If it’s less than five, so be it, but I figured five would be a nice limit so we didn’t have to go in to TOO much detail.

Anyways, here’s mine:


Step 1: Allow players to switch between real-time and turn-based battling formats. I’m sure this seems like a huge undertaking, but if they want Final Fantasy to follow in the footsteps of other, more westernized RPGs, it’d be great if they could also give this nod to its past, as I know some fans want turn-based instead. This would satisfy everyone, provided they could do both well enough.

Step 2: Bring in more writers that can create a compelling, unique story and know how to write characters believably; with depth, nuance and compelling personalities that don’t feel so tropey.

Step 3: Take the series back to its more fantastical roots in terms of settings. I’m not saying that everything has to look like graphically modernized versions of the old games, but something that feels more fun to explore and unique, interesting and varied. Also, ya know, fantastical.

Step 4: Make any and all actions streamlined, easy to use and rewarding, including leveling, jobs, fighting, using magic, summons, etc. Stop making everything so intricate, complicated, contextual or just flat out boring. Is it fun to have characters auto-fighting? Is it fun to make magic such a finite resource? Is is fun to only get to use summons rarely?

Step 5: Stop taking so freaking long to put out games. Announce a game, release it within a calendar year of that announcement.

So that’s my five “easy” steps. What franchise would you fix and how would you do it?

Considering how huge the games like one in the FF series are, they would have to wait to announce it for a loooong time after they started developing it. Because making a game takes a long time. It takes years to make a great big game.


I think Jim Sterling pointed it out one time, but the overuse of belts and straps for character outfits for FF characters needs to stop.

Second, start using Unreal Engine 4 and don’t go back to making some dumb, proprietary engine just to run every new FF game you make. You are using it for the next iteration of Final Fantasy, and you scrapped a portion of Kingdom Hearts 3 so you could go back and re do it in Unreal Engine 4, which really showed how well you did when the Toy Story trailer aired.

Seriously, it’s a standard now. You will benefit from using UE4 and beyond in spades because almost everyone is trained to use it or CryEngine, and it’s way more compatible for console development, as well as making it easier to continue development from one game to the next, rather than coming up with something proprietary every time you want to make something new, and have to retrain lots of staff across multiple contracted studios to use it, for what is most likely going to be a single game.

Step 1. I don’t mind changing the rules of combat and gameplay from game to game as long as the make it fun and intuitive.

Step 2. I agree.

Step 3. I don’t mind the science fiction settings, but most modern FF games seem to try to blend the Sci Fi stuff with the old fantastical, magical stuff. This has not worked well, either lean one way or the next, the middle ground is not playing it safe and is poor design.

Step 4. I’m not a fan of super deep, lengthy style RPGs. Not anymore. So these aspects depending on the game’s breadth of scope and have to be adjusted accordingly to suit a particular style.

Step 5. Maybe, but don’t rush out an incomplete product that’s buggy. If you need time to polish, then take it, but keep to a schedule. And don’t do preorder bonuses, it’s a terrible practice now in modern game sales.

1 Like

That’s true. But if you look at what Bethesda’s been doing lately, it seems as though they’re releasing games in the same year that they’re announcing them, and we’re not talking about small titles either. Do you think there’s some type of disincentive for other companies to do this?

Also, and maybe this is a bit more anecdotal since Square Enix doesn’t have a massive list of games that do this, but they’ve been taking an abnormally long time between some of their sequels. By comparison, CD Project Red brought Witcher 3 out four years after Witcher 2. Meanwhile, Kingdom Hearts 2 came out 12 years ago and Final Fantasy XIV came out seven years ago.

I know, Kingdom Hearts was on hold, they did other stuff with it, and FF Versus XIII had a long and troubled path to release as FF XV, but this is how things played out, and while it might be presumptive on my part, would it really shock anyone if FF VII Remake followed a similar path given the news around that game?

I just want them to announce one of their RPGs and release it within a reasonable time frame. I’d love the Bethesda model, but if they can’t do that, then make it a year or two from announcement. No more of these exceedingly long dev cycles. That’s all I ask. :slight_smile:

Personally, I prefer turn-based. Now, I think that FF was able to innovate a lot within this format during the first ten games. But now they’ve more or less switched to a more real-time battle and I honestly haven’t liked what they’ve done in any of the games since (in terms of actual fighting).

I wouldn’t have a huge problem if the fighting was good or fun or whatever. I love Dragon Age Inquisition and think that would be a great model for Square Enix to utilize and expand upon in terms of real-time battling. But I also think that turn-based battling has more room to grow, and at the very least, I think it still has its fans. I think it’s why Square Enix is trying to cater to that audience more because they finally seem to realize that this audience still exists and never really went away.

So yeah, keep doing more on both sides of the coin, but it’d be great if they could give players the option to choose how they want to interface with the enemies.

I personally love these though. Would prefer if they kept the trend. ^^

i agree with all except 5… you want them to take their time and get things right the first time around… nothing wrong with dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s… just do a good job!!


Duke Nukem:

1:Lay off the sophomoric humor, or at least tone it down…waaaay down.

2: Replace it with fast-paced over-the-top action. Basically make him the Doomslayer but with a flat-top and a cigar.

This comes from recently picking up and playing Duken Numkem Zero Hour a bit lately. If you’re unaware it was a N64 game where they did exactly what I mentioned above, and it turned out to be a rather fun game for the time…I’d say it was comparable to Goldeneye in terms of action and play style.

I think if Final Fantasy released a title that was basically an upscaled version of the original game is be totally down for it. An old-school turn based Western Fantasy inspired RPG but with a huge open world and really pretty gwaphics would be swell.

I’m going to also go off of @WrathOfFulgore 's suggestion for Duke Nukem and say that a new Duke game should probably almost be a parody of itself. Have Duke start off fat and retired with nothing to do, wallowing in boredom after his fame had gone hollow. And of course make it a throwback shooter with good levels and cool weapons rather than an amalgamation of modern tropes like Forever was.

I might come back later with an original idea for improvement. Maybe…Brink

I dunno…I mean maybe throw in a few well-placed parody-esque jokes referencing how bad Forever was, but if you ask me they would be better off just acting like it never happened.