Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Final Fantasy vs Halo: The Most Milked Franchises on Planet Earth?

Go ahead. Show this picture to someone who knows nothing about 
FInal Fantasy and ask them what gender this is.

There are plenty of milked franchises in the gaming industry. Call of Duty and Mario come to mind almost immediately, but I have a particular vendetta against Final Fantasy. Something about the cliched attitude about the story-lines, the gender neutral character designs, the stereotypical character archetypes, the lack of gameplay versatility; I can go on for years.

But as I was making my argument about how over saturated and milked the FInal Fantasy franchise is, I've been met time and time again with the counterpoint: Well, you're a Halo fan. I've already written an article about why I love Halo, and I'll get back to it at the end of this article. The immediate argument being made against me here is that Halo is as milked or even more so than Final Fantasy.

Okay, here we go.

Let's divide the games up by year and then attribute them to developers.

Halo: Combat Evolved - 2001
Halo 2 - 2004
Halo 3 - 2007
Halo Wars - 2008
Halo 3: ODST - 2009
Halo Reach - 2010
Halo Anniversary - 2011
Halo 4 - 2012
Halo: Spartan Assault - 2013

Bungie, the studio that created Halo only released 4 Halo games in 9 years. Halo Wars (Ensemble Studios) was released in 2008 and Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary (Remake by 343) was released in 2011. Halo 4 (343) was released in 2012. So overall in the last 12 years there have been a total of 9 Halo games all spread among different developers including remakes (Anniversary) and expansions (ODST.) Also Spartan Assault, a game for tablet computers.

Now let's take a look at Final Fantasy divided by year and developers.

After the research I've done, this looks like an exercise in restraint.

Final Fantasy - 1987
Final Fantasy II - 1988
Final Fantasy III - 1990
FInal Fantasy IV - 1991
Final Fantasy V - 1992
Final Fantasy VI - 1994
FInal Fantasy VII - 1997
Final Fantasy Tactics - 1997
- Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon - 1997
- Chocobo's Dungeon 2 - 1999
- Chocobo Racing - 1999
Final Fantasy VIII - 1999
Final Fantasy IX - 2000
Final Fantasy X - 2001
Final Fantasy XI Online - 2002
- Chocobo Land: A Game of Dice - 2002
Final Fantasy X-2 -2003
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance - 2003
- Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII - 2004
Final Fantasy XII - 2006
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales - 2006
- Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII - 2006
Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings - 2007
- Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII - 2007
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift - 2007
- Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon - 2007
Final Fantasy IV The After Years - 2008
- Dissidia FInal Fantasy - 2008
Cid and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: The Labyrinth of Forgotten Time - 2008
- Chocobo and the Magic Picture Book - 2008
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light - 2009
-Final Fantasy XIII - 2009
FInal Fantasy XIV - 2010
-Chocobo Panic - 2010
Chocobo Crystal Tower - 2010
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy - 2011
Final Fantasy: Type O - 2011
-Final Fantasy XIII-2 - 2011
Chocobo's Chocotto Farm - 2012
-Final Fantasy Tactics S - 2013
Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn - 2013
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII - 2013

Keep in mind, I left out PLENTY of FF games like the Crystal Chronicle series
because I was starting to feel mean.

There have been 42 Final Fantasy games MINIMUM in the last 26 years. While I was listing them I was literally in disbelief. I already had the idea that they had released a ton of games, but I was in the ball park of 15 or 18. I was under the impression that I would have some serious trouble making a case for Halo because I thought that maybe I was wrong and that FInal Fantasy just seems like it's a frequent series, but WOW. What really takes the cake here is that each and every one of these games were developed in house by Square Enix. So, not only has the same developer been making the same game for 26 years, they've done so at an alarming rate.

In the last 12 years Square Enix has created 30 games. In the same amount of time, there have only been 9 Halo games, and those are separated between developers. From an original dev standpoint, that's  one Halo game for every 11 Final Fantasies. Even Call of Duty releases annually, but even they switch projects with different developers.

I'm honestly surprised ... I'm not sure what to say. I didn't even count all of them, just because I was starting to feel bad about it. Is Final Fantasy the most milked Franchise in the game industry? Mario might have him beat, but in comparison to Halo? Please. It's not even remotely close.

No, no. We're a game developer, not a marketing department. 

"Well, you're a Halo fan. I've already written an article about why I love Halo, and I'll get back to it at the end of this article."

The reason I can stick with Halo for as long as I have is because the story actually continues. It's a story in a universe I love with character's I know and with each game, the characters grow as do the events and relationships in the universe. Imagine if the Star Wars sequels had nothing to do with eachother aside from the fact that they took place in space. From what I've heard from avid Final Fantasy fans, the games don't actually mend together. Apparently it's a different game every time and only certain elements from previous games continue to the next. The stories are self contained within each game, which is why there are sequels to numbered titles like 13-2. Well, that's great. If they're new stories every damn time, then why keep the Final Fantasy label. You could have made 42 new IPs instead of 42 not-sequels? What bothers me here is that it's lazy. They can't possibly still want to make Final Fantasy anymore, it's just a game that is guaranteed to sell.

Halo has elements of Marathon in it, but the two are separate universes and have nothing to do with each other. I'm sure even Destiny will have some Halo style elements, but it's the risk of taking what you've learned and moving on to new things that makes a good developer great.

And this game still has yet to be continued. WHY?

It should be noted, I don't have a problem with Final Fantasy. I'd prefer if they slowed down a bit with production, but if the fans want it, have at it. I just want people to realize the difference between a franchise being milked and a franchise being sustained. Also, Square Enix is also a publisher where Bungie is not. Regardless, no one can deny, Final Fantasy should slow down a bit.

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