By releasing its landmark action RPG onto as many devices as possible, Square Enix takes a page out of Bethesda's playbook.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim needs no introduction. The game, which was originally launched in 2012, has enjoyed a long lifespan: five years after its release Bethesda continues breathing new life into the RPG and re-releasing it out into the wild for a cool $59.99. Skyrim has become the butt of many jokes and stands as an elder dragon that's yet to be slain. Final Fantasy XV is following in Skyrim's footsteps, but Square Enix is taking a different tact: instead of simply re-releasing the game like Bethesda did/continues to do, the Japanese publisher has made it the center of a universe. This "Final Fantasy XV Universe" sees trans-media cross-platform interactive content orbiting the core sun that is the Final Fantasy XV world, essentially making a franchise within a franchise. But it's not just about games: the orbiting celestial bodies include an anime series and a feature-length CGI film.
This "Final Fantasy XV Universe" sees trans-media cross-platform interactive content orbiting the core sun that is the Final Fantasy XV world, essentially making a franchise within a franchise. But it's not just about games: the orbiting celestial bodies include an anime series and a feature-length CGI film.
Gaming is undoubtedly the core of the Final Fantasy XV galaxy, however. The demanding ARPG is coming to all platforms: it's already available for PS4 and Xbox One family of consoles, and will launch on iOS and Android in 2017. The game will see a massively powerful high-end PC version that'll put NVIDIA's beastly GeForce GTX 1080 Ti through its paces. FFXV will have a VR component as well as some sort of Switch release, too--Square Enix is covering all the bases.
But it's not just about re-releases (or remasters, as in the case of the FFXV Windows Edition): Final Fantasy XV is something more.
The series-within-a-series is essentially Square Enix's own spin on the growing Games-As-A-Service platform (GaaS) which sees publishers monetizing their games with live services and content in exchange for lengthy new in-game updates. Final Fantasy XV's core console game has long since been a "live game" that's been updated countless times with new content and tweaks, borrowing key tenants of the MMO segment of video games.
But Square Enix has that market covered with its Comrades update that adds online multiplayer, adding an interactive MO style to the game.
In a way, Square Enix is mixing up core genre and segment-based strategies instead of adhering to the traditional pathway. For instance, Final Fantasy XV's mini-franchise has a number of games and experiences that borrow from other genres or platforms--look at the Comrades online multiplayer component, or the general live-based service updates that are traditionally embraced by online-based multiplayer games, not primarily singleplayer games. This mashup could have a snowball affect on engagement and revenues, and Square Enix is determined to cast the widest net possible to pull more players and consumers into its game-driven ecosystem.
Square Enix will continue adding celestial bodies to swirl in the galactic Final Fantasy XV universe, and the base games will continue to evolve across all platforms.
The Japanese games-maker has been experimenting with monetization opportunities and strategies for a while now--look at Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's microtransactions, for instance, or Hitman's staggered episodic release schedule--and now the company is trying something new.
It'll be interesting to see how well this works out, but it's great to see a big-name publisher embracing all platforms for one of its biggest franchises.
Skyrim Release Timeline vs Final Fantasy XV
TES V: Skyrim
- Skyrim - 2012
- Skyrim Legendary Edition - 2013
- Skyrim Special Edition - 2016
- Skyrim Switch - 2017
- Skyrim PSVR - 2017
Final Fantasy XV
- Final Fantasy XV - 2016
- A King's Tale - Final Fantasy XV - 2016
- Final Fantasy XV Comrades - 2017
- Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition - 2017
- Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV - 2017
- Final Fantasy XV - King's Knight, Wrath of the Dark Dragon - 2017
- Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition - Early 2018
- Final Fantasy XV Switch version - ??