In perhaps one of the finest examples of corporate greed in gaming (well, outside of everything Konami has been doing,) it was just revealed that the highly-anticipated Final Fantasy VII remake will not be shipped as a whole product, but instead in bite-sized chunks, because of course the most popular title in Square’s library needed to make more money than was already anticipated. If you’ll excuse the harsh tone, from a consumer standpoint, this news is absolutely wretched. This is perhaps the final boss of disgusting business practices in gaming, carving up something that was guaranteed to make a massive profit, because let’s face it, who wasn’t going to buy the Final Fantasy VII remake, and serving it up as a ‘more digestible’ experience to players in order to shill for those sweet, sweet Season Pass dollars.
Final Fantasy VII is one of the crown jewels of gaming, a title that has stood out in the hearts of gamers for decades, the very definition of a classic RPG title. I can’t think of a single gamer in my social circles that hasn’t at least recognized how groundbreaking the game was, even if they didn’t play it themselves. It remains a hallmark of the gaming world, next to Tomb Raider, Earthbound, and the rest, and people have been clamoring for years to have the fantastic sci-fi story and compelling characters brought to modern consoles in order to play one of their favorite gaming experiences with the graphical and musical enhancements that technology has brought us. It seemed like the time for celebration was nigh these past few days, as news of a remake finally broke past Square’s lips and was revealed to the world, with first impressions appearing almost exactly as people expected them to. The hype was real, and even as I sat at my computer at the press reveal I could feel the money in my wallet slowly creeping towards my computer screen, eager to feed the creation I had waited so long for.
Then they messed it up. They messed up bad. In one fell swoop, Square has ruined a major portion of the hype with the announcement of this long-awaited remake becoming episodic content. The reasons are clear: profit. They knew they would make a lot of money off of Final Fantasy VII being released again, hell, it was a good amount of what the internet’s been talking about for the past two decades. There was no chance for failure, no chance for the money to not be made back. But it wasn’t enough, apparently. Projected sales be damned, they need to piggyback off of both the love of fans and the curiosity of newcomers alike.
Allow me to explain. If the game was released as a true-to-life remake, the same FFVII that we all know and love but given a beautiful coat of paint on top, the majority of gamers would still probably buy it. I’m not even really a Final Fantasy fan any more, especially considering the quality of some of the more recent entries in the series, but I would still have bought the remake on release day, no questions asked. The game was a huge part of my childhood, and I would have picked it up for nostalgia value alone, along with many others for the same reasons, I’d wager. Some curious young souls who didn’t have the chance to play it in the past would probably get it as well to see what all the fuss was about, but that would be a small minority of sales made. Episodic content is in a different league altogether, however.
Episodic content makes it easier to advertise to those who aren’t willing to fully commit to the full $60 purchase most games entail. That small minority of purchasers who bought simply out of curiosity will now balloon into a large percentage of sales the game has. It may seem an intimidating prospect to some to jump into a purchase that you might not be interested in, no matter the scores it might receive in reviews, but hey, you can give it a ‘test drive’ for sixteen dollars and just buy the rest later if you like it. This means that plenty of gamers will probably buy a portion of a game that they might not enjoy, and while it might simply be a twenty dollar loss for them, Square will be sitting back and cackling as they turn all of your wasted twenties into sheer profit. This also presents an issue to those who will buy the inevitable Season Pass outright because they’re excited for the chance to play FFVII again, giving Square a hefty amount of money (likely comparable to the price of a full game) for something that’s already been shown Square isn’t willing to put in its full effort for. The first episode could turn out to be absolute garbage, but hey, you’re guaranteed to four or five months of the same because you already wasted your money on it!
Now, you might think I’m being presumptuous. The game could very well be great, even in episodic form, but the greed exhibited by Square here is absolutely unforgivable. They’re cashing in on the hype and the good faith of the fans to make a frankly unnecessary amount of money, while able to sit back and carve up content because they know full well you’ll buy it anyways. They want the gullible ones, the naive, to think of this move as a good thing, as a way to spread the word of the game to a new audience, while in actuality they’re looking to suck up your money in the absolute laziest way possible. You’re not being clever, Square, I see right through this move of yours, and I disapprove. As much as I love Final Fantasy VII, I won’t be taking part in this remake until you’ve proven that you care more about your customers than you do about their wallets. In the past few years, Square hasn’t exactly been the poster child of good companies, with many of their games incorporating rather poor DLC practices, but this is by far the worst move they’ve made yet. You’ve shot yourselves in the foot here, mates, and you’ve lost yourself a customer.
Source: Square Enix Press Center