Krystallina gives her opinion on the launch cycle of this next Final Fantasy installment.

November had the launch of two major games: Pokemon Sun and Moon and Final Faantasy XV. The latter has taken 10 years to land in players’ hands and has suffered several setbacks. Well, here are some of my thoughts on trends I hope won’t continue. Please note that these opinions are about the actual release, not the game itself and whether you like ARPGS or turn-based, an all-male party or not, etc.

Don’t announce games very early in development.

Anyone buy a PS3 for this game and Final Fantasy XIII? Well, the latter turned out to also be available on the Xbox 360, and this game was pushed to the PS4. Plus it was released long enough in the PS4’s life cycle that it received a small revision and a larger revision. I’m sure there’s betting pools out there for the Final Fantasy VII remake to be released on the PS5. I actually had Final Fantasy Versus XIII preordered on Amazon and had used a coupon on it and everything. Sad face. At least all those “we still don’t have a release date” emails stopped…

Don’t make limited special editions that are a pain to produce and to buy.

Final Fantasy XV Ultimate Collector's Edition

This is the Ultimate Collector’s Edition that retailed for $269.99. It’s the Noctis Play Arts figure that both increases the price and limits the number of copies to be produced. Don’t include something that costs a whole bunch to make and requires a lot of time to produce. Was a $100+ figure really needed in a game? Why not a cheaper, less detailed figure or something that isn’t often sold separately? Tempt more fans into buying the most expensive version, and make it easier for them to purchase it. Announce the collector’s version and give people a little time to know when the exclusive is going to be up at the store. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition was sold out extremely fast, well before many people even knew about it. Having only 30,000 to 40,000 copies worldwide of a flagship game doesn’t go very far and just feeds into the scalpers’ pockets.

Don’t set hard limits on copies.

While many Final Fantasy fans were upset they never had the opportunity to buy the Ultimate Collector’s Edition, the ones that did felt slighted when they announced their 1 out of 30,000 Ultimate Collector’s Edition turned out to be 1 in 40,000, and there was no guarantee Square Enix wouldn’t bump it up to 50,000 or more in the future. This also just happened with the anniversary edition of Spice & Wolf. The initial allotment sold out fast, but then Yen Press did another printing. The first press is numbered, but still people felt like their exclusive item wasn’t so exclusive anymore. Don’t try to pit the collectors against the general audience. It just makes both groups mad. Either let people order until a date or come up with a figure and stick to it. (But you’re probably missing out on a lot of profit if you go with option #2.)

Make a better bonus edition.

Final Fantasy XV Deluxe

This is what you get in the Deluxe version over the Day One edition:

  • Steelbook
  • Kingslaive: Final Fantasy movie Blu-ray
  • Royal Raiment DLC costume
  • Leviathan Regalia Skin

OK, it doesn’t sound too bad for $30 more. Except that Kingsglaive was sold separately with the Brotherhood anime. Plus it also had a steelbook edition. Although it retailed for $24.99, it was available for preorder for Gamers’ Club Unlocked members for $15.99, and it was $14.99 for a short time at both Best Buy and Amazon. The non-steelbook version is $9.99 with a $5 gift card at Best Buy as of this writing. If you preordered the game at Amazon, you already received one skin for the Regalia, so having two versions becomes less exciting. (Not like you can pick which skin you would rather have like the 8-bit or the Cid version.)

So if you got the Kingsglaive steelbook for $16 and preordered from Amazon, you pay $14 ($8 or so if you have Prime or GCU) more for a different steelbook and an outfit but lose Brotherhood. If you don’t care about steelbooks, that savings could be even higher. A hard decision, but someone like me — who originally preordered the Deluxe edition — ended up passing thanks to better deals and/or lower price on the standard edition. And I’m someone who tends to be suckered into buying premium editions over the standards more often than not, let alone for a series I have been playing for years and got me hooked into JRPGs.

Stop making the PlayStation version a premium.

This past Black Friday, the Xbox One version of Final Fantasy XV went down to $35 at one store and then $30 from Microsoft directly. Fifty percent off a AAA title preorder? Holy cow! The PS4 version? No discount anywhere near this. I’m guessing the Xbox One version preorders were lagging behind the PS4 (or Microsoft really, really wants to boost console sales any way they can), but surely Sony could do better than a theme and a couple more DLC. And it’s not just this game either. How many games launch on Steam the same time as a PlayStation version and end up cheaper on release? I know Idea Factory games often do this. Amnesia: Memories launched for the full MSRP for $29.99, but it was 50% off when it debuted the same day on Steam. It was originally a Vita game for heaven’s sake! I know Sony is probably at least partially to blame, but it does feel like PlayStation gets the short expensive end of the stick.

Don’t make me work for my free preorder content.

Amazon’s Road Trip promotion was silly. Why should I have to work to get my rewards for buying from you? At least make it a contest where you can win something really special, especially since the controls and instructions were pretty bad. I also got multiple codes, but only one worked. Couldn’t you iron out the bugs before spamming my inbox with codes I wasted time trying to use?

Final Thoughts

With Final Fantasy XV finally released, Square Enix has several other AAA titles that they will now be turning their attention to. Let’s hope that games like Kingdom Hearts III don’t have some super special edition limited to 25,000 copies across the globe with a $300 Sora statue or something that goes up at 3 in the morning for many parts of the world.