I finally crossed the finish line for Final Fantasy XV this past weekend, and I have a world of post-game content ahead of me. While it’s one of my favorite games in recent memory, I can’t deny that the last little bit of it was quite a slog. I’m just happy to be back in Lucis with my mates, my car, and the road ahead to guide me.
As for chapter 13, it certainly lived up to its universally despised reputation. I can’t think of one happy memory I had from that segment of the game, and the constant teasing that this was “almost over” only to have the rug pulled out from under me was a little too much to take.
In response to everyone’s criticisms, Director Hajime Tabata defended the chapter in an interview with US Gamer, saying that it was not a last-minute addition to the game. The decisions behind it were his, and it stuck with the linear path that the game was always supposed to take.
The direction of chapter 13’s content was a deliberate decision made from the development team.
However, the response to the chapter has been so universally negative that Tabata agreed to go back and redo with chapter and make the updates available for free through a future patch. This set off a debate in the gaming world which questioned whether developers should retool their original visions based on how fans react to them.
Tabata has this to say in response to that line of thinking.
When it comes to the overall playability of the game and not the main plot, updating the game while receiving player feedback will not make the game inconsistent to the development team’s vision.
We do not intend on making this a completely different game from what was already delivered to the players. We are making changes in order to deliver a further enhanced gameplay experience for those who have purchased and played the game, but this is not necessarily limited to Chapter 13.
No different than re-balancing shooters and fighting games
My two cents? Think of it as nerfing a character in Overwatch. The developers created the character, the players found he or she was too powerful, and Blizzard went back to rebalance. Overwatch might not have wanted to create a powerful character, but it did, and it has to adapt. As a whole, Overwatch is still the same experience, and everybody wins, even those who need to relearn how to approach their favorite character.
Tabata and his team might not have wanted to create the worst video game level in recent memory, but they did, and they too have to go back and adapt.
RPGs don’t get special preference because they are seen as an overall experience rather than a match-to-match game. Chapter 13 sucks? Fix it and make it better! Just be sure you’re able to play it before it disappears forever.
And why don’t people talk about Chapter 12 more often? I mean, it’s a five-minute fight on an icy train platform, and then Shiva shows up out of the blue, claiming that Noctis has won her support. Why? Because he defended a rural train station from four level 30 monsters? Something tells me a dungeon got cut from that segment as well, but nobody talks about Shiva’s journey being equally underwhelming.
Maybe they just forgot about it after the two hours of abuse Chapter 13 punched into their brains.