Final Fantasy XV - Missing the Hype
There was a time, not that long ago, when I'd get very excited about a new Final Fantasy.
I remember reading FFIX import reviews and counting down the days until the UK release, flunking a university exam because FFX came out the day before, and queueing up at 6am one frosty December morning to get my hands on XIII. I've bought hardware for the sole purpose of playing FF (GBA for Tactics Advance), paid through the teeth for US imports (IV, V, VI and Tactics before they got a PAL release) and even attempting to understand PCs for a couple of months so I could lose myself in XI.
Despite my history with the series, I have little interest in Final Fantasy XV, and that feels a little weird.
My interest peaked during the PS1-era, but I remained an avid fan throughout the 2000s and into the teens. Things began to change with the release of XIII, a terribly flawed game that I nevertheless poured over a hundred hours into. The characters were wanky and the story nonsensical, though you could say the same of most Final Fantasies, or even JRPGs for that matter. My tolerance for JRPG melodrama was approaching its limit and XIII tipped me over the edge; I no longer have any interest in following the emotional development of cools kids with magnificent hair. Final Fantasy XIII-2 put me off video games for an entire summer, I ignored Lightning Returns entirely and barely touched XIV.
I'm still open to giving XV a chance, but it has been nothing but a disappointment thus far. I disliked the demos and have been turned off by almost every story or character tidbit I've read. Nomura's character designs are stale and unappealing, and I'm not sure that I could spend a hundred hours with this group of boy band rejects with silly names. The demos have looked the part but the gameplay has been unimpressive. This far into the PS4's lifecycle, I'm not going to be wowed by visuals alone.
However, the draw of FF is still very real. At the weekend, I downloaded the latest demo from the Japanese store because, you know, it's Final Fantasy. I wanted to be encouraged, to have my interest rekindled, but that didn't happen. I quickly turned it off, once I realised that it's just the TGS demo that I already played and thoroughly disliked. There was no way I was going to press R2 to push a car again, while listening to Florence and the bloody Machine. Cringe worthy bollocks.
In spite of my overwhelming negativity, I'd love to get swept up in the hype. This is a new Final Fantasy after all, and I'm only ever a handful of encouraging reviews or friend recommendations away from taking the plunge. So many friends and co-workers are excited about it, but I fear the series has passed me by, even if I'm not quite ready to let go.
We are only two weeks away from a new Final Fantasy and I'm not even remotely interested. There's no pre-order and I have no plans to buy. This makes me very sad indeed.