It was March 30th 2016. I was about to go to a writer’s conference, but there was an event happening in L.A. (which is where I was headed) that I watched at home. It was called Final Fantasy XV Uncovered, an event created for the sake of hyping up FFXV and giving us a release date. I watched through wonderfully corny hosting, hype cutscenes, long segments about features for the game, and then I reached the end. The director of the game stood in front of the audience and in front of our screens to tell us the release date of a game we had thought would not see the night of day. Director Hajime Tabata proudly professed that Final Fantasy XV would release on September 30th, 2016–a date we all knew, because it had been spoiled only two days prior, but still we cheered, we clapped, we gallivanted the streets, and I stayed up until three in the morning to pack and play the demo that was released.
As time continued, more features and more videos were released, and my body was ready for the game and I was ready to skip a week of school to hunker down and game. At certain moments I was worried about whether I’d have the money to pay for the game (since I had already preordered via Amazon–the Deluxe Edition) since I’d probably be broke, and then I budgeted for the game, because I love games more than the people around me (though love is a strong word for the people in my life and I would rather say I tolerate them rather than have emotions of sincerity or care). But…then on August 15th, we received this video from Director Tabata:
The game is being delayed, and though I was crushed on that day, and am still crushed right now, and shall probably stay hurt, I understand. Writers, musicians, film makers, youtubers, vloggers, bloggers, and sandwich makers all have this feeling. They have this feeling that sometimes their work is not complete, and that they must continue working on them before releasing them to the world. I feel this all the time. That’s why I’m in editing hell for six stories (I write them and then yell and then rewrite and then outline and then rewrite again and then they can be sent out to the world–I’m on stage four for most of these stories, so yay me?). And sometimes teachers and peers will say that that’s not the right way to go about it and that you should allow the world to judge your work–not yourself, but my situation and Director Tabata’s situation are completely different. There’s an unfortunate situation for Director Tabata and the company he works for, Square Enix. After the trilogy of the game that no one asked for, Final Fantasy XIII–essentially a game that eats floor candy, people have given up on Square Enix. General opinion is that FFXV is the last hope for Square Enix’s reputation. Do I agree with that? No. But this game failing would be another count against their track record, and that’s no bueno.
So in that video, Director Tabata (in case you didn’t know this is a drinking game now. How many times will I type “Director Tabata” and in this case, that’ll be four shots for you.) talked about finished product not feeling finished, and that they were going to add a patch to make the game more complete, but simply adding a patch wouldn’t help. There are people who don’t have access to the internet, and those people wouldn’t be able to download the patch. Director Tabata wanted to make everything fair, so the game was delayed. And though that hurts, for the sake of the company and for the sake of the product’s integrity, we’ll have to suffer through it. I as a creator and we as consumers should understand. I want a great game and if it’ll be better after a two month delay it’s worth the wait, and it’s not fair for me to say, “Well sucks for internet-less people for being poor! Just give me the fucking game!”, as I’ve at times been wanting to say. These are the sacrifices we make. Also just for a side note: Look at Director Tabata’s eyes!
This man is pouring his heart into this game and wants to entertain us with his vision and his heart. And isn’t that admirable? Even more so for the point that he’s willing to talk directly to us via our screens to break this news to us? We live in a world where a good amount of developers and directors just want to rush the product out the door and let consumers consume, but he wants to make sure it’s the best it can be. And isn’t that all we want out our creators? I don’t actually know–which is why I’m asking. So though there may be people who are hurt or angry, just know that this is happening for the sake of our own enjoyment. And who knows, when we’re faced with that same predicament, we might want to choose the same option. So look forward to this game. It’ll be fun. We’ll all laugh, cry, clap, and order pizza during the long cutscenes. Hopefully it won’t be Duke Nukem Forever, but nothing will ever be Duke Nukem Forever.
I leave you with a wonderful song by Ben E. King that’s been repurposed for Final Fantasy XV and sung by Florence Welch (of Florence + the Machine).