Square Enix’s unveiling of the rebranded Final Fantasy versus XIII at E3 2013 as Final Fantasy XV, the next numbered installment in the legendary fantasy video game series, has touched off a bit of a controversy and sparked renewed debate about Final Fantasy’s relevance in the current gaming market.

Marked by their quality production and outlandish (some would say overwrought) styling, the Final Fantasy series is about showcasing new technology, especially since its breakout hit Final Fantasy VII. After Final Fantasy VII broke open the world market for Japanese style role-playing games, the world of video games has been quite different indeed. Many games now feature RPG elements first popularized and mainstreamed by the Final Fantasy series and the lines between what is a role-playing game and what is not have blurred substantially.

Final Fantasy XV’s gameplay demonstrates a new shift in direction for Square Enix, eschewing the traditional turn-based combat introduced in previous Final Fantasy games in favor of a more action-oriented style of gameplay. If you will recall, Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core for the Playstation Portable introduced a similar gameplay style that we found extremely fun and enjoyable. If Final Fantasy XV is a more in-depth, refined exploration of this concept then Demagaga looks forward to its release.

For many people, however, gameplay innovations and graphical flourish aside, the Final Fantasy series is about solid stories and memorable experiences. In this regard, the initial trailers from Final Fantasy XV have us as excited for a Final Fantasy game as we have been since Final Fantasy VII. These next two years will prove important for the legendary series as the remade Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn debuts on PC and PS3 and next year sees the release of Final Fantasy XV. If the series stumbles it does not mean the end, but it may mark the beginning of a new era one way or the other. The traditional JRPG may take a leave of absence, but it will likely linger around in one form or the other for years to come.

[The Guardian]