Am I the only one who hopes that this isn't true? Not that it would make a bad game, per say, but it totally swings the opposite direction of the recent games. I think that's FFs biggest problem these days, every game tries to re-construct the genre in a totally different direction, sort of apologizing for last installment. While none of the recent games have been perfect, I think it would be more constructive to slow down and improve on the ideas of the last, instead of completely switching paradigms. The FF series has been a crazy pendulum swinging wildly between extremes. And none of them get it "right". Curiously, each game falters in completely different ways from the others, which is actually kind of hopeful, because you could imagine them putting all the right elements together in one game... but it never happens, because by virtue of their development, they can never have a chance to really build on, and learn from their previous outtings.
- FFIX was a fun, open world romp with lots of fun characters
- FFX was a dark, melodramatic epic that was entirely linear, had a great story and boring characters and locales
- FFXII was an open world game of emotionless political intrigue, no emphasis on characters
- FFXIII was dark, linear, and melodramatic, with an idiotic story and pretty good characters
Jesus... I don't know a series with more extremes! It's bizarre, usually when a game series is flawed, the games make the same mistakes over and over again. Square doesn't, but they can never escape having some huge negatives that change each time.
As much as FFXIII got wrong, they got a lot right, and it would be really helpful if they fine tuned that style for a while. That's why FFXIII-2 is probably the best game since FFX, and my personal favorite since FFIX, it was able to learn from it's predecessor's mistakes.
FFXII seems like a dead-end. It was a good exercise in exorcising the melodrama from the series (which they didn't learn from, obviously). However, even with a strong cast, it de-emphasized them so much that the game was completely void of feeling. I'm concerned that if they try to build on that direction, it will be more of the same empty storytelling, another extreme in reaction to FFXIII. FF needs to stop going to extremes, but find some good solid middle ground.