Friday, July 20, 2012

Keeping It Versus Cancelling It

This isn't really the place for this, but I'm on vacation right now and after driving twelve hours I couldn't really provide a more official outlet for my thoughts. That said, here is my unfiltered, unedited take on the Versus rumor.

When the rumor hit Kotaku that there was a chance that Final Fantasy Versus XIII was quietly being cancelled, I cannot say I was shocked. In fact, I was more curious than anything. While I don't put a whole lot of stock in rumors, the way this one was phrased seemed almost strategic. According to Kotaku's source, Square Enix has not only cancelled Versus, but was also not planning to make an official announcement about it in hopes that the game would just be forgotten.

If you'll remember a few years back, EGM posted a rumor that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers had been canned. Square Enix was more than eager to make a statement to the contrary and the game eventually came out. I've recently heard talk that the game was actually cancelled, but was then revived. Whether or not that actually happened doesn't really matter, what does is that Square Enix needed to manage that rumor, especially if it was true. If Versus is truly dead, making an announcement would clearly hurt stock prices as was stated in the Kotaku post. Now that this possible leak has happened, Square Enix has a few options.

1) SE stays quiet and ignores the rumor. This will lead more credence to the rumor, since it specifically stated that the company didn't want to let people know the game was dead. Some would say that they are simply not wanting to feed the fire of the rumor, but the last time this happened with Crystal Bearers, they jumped in to squash the rumor, so why ignore it this time if it's not true.

2) SE denies the rumor and confirms the game is still in development. If the decision to kill off Versus had actually been made, then the company will reverse course and try to salvage the situation somehow. If the rumor was not accurate, the game's fate would be unchanged.

3) SE shoots down the rumor, but still cancels the game without saying a word about it. This would be the dishonest route, but it might still happen. If the company is truly scared of stock prices plummeting, then giving Versus a verbal stay of execution while slowly starving it to death behind closed doors only to really kill it off down the road wouldn't be too far out of the realm of possibility.

Regardless of what the game's true fate is, there is no path where Square Enix remaining quiet on this situation is a good thing. The longer the company remains silent, the more damage will be done.

All that aside, I can absolutely see this being true. Versus has cost the company a ton of money so far with nothing to show for it and if it's going to cost more to finish than could possibly be made back, then it makes perfect financial sense to can it before even more damage is done. If this does happen, this will likely be the first time in forever that there is no active development known about for a new Final Fantasy title (not counting the repairing of Final Fantasy XIV).

And there is also the rumor of more Final Fantasy XIII-2 content coming. I cannot believe that would actually be XIII-3 or even a full game, but I could easily see this being a major expansion pack for XIII-2. What happens with the series will be interesting to watch over the next few months. Is Final Fantasy XV in development? Is Agni's Philosophy a prototype for what will become the next Final Fantasy? Only time will tell.

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