Final Fantasy’s Latest DLC has Outraged Fans – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Final Fantasy is known for being loaded with traditions. Nearly every mainline game has a Chocobo, a moogle, and a person named Cid. The franchise strives to reinvent itself with every major entry all while never forgetting its past. Staples like cactuars and Phoenix Downs serve as a constant reminder to fans that they are playing a Final Fantasy game no matter how much the franchise may deviate from other traditions like turn-based combat.

One of Final Fantasy’s oldest traditions is never accepting a mainline is truly in a finished state. Each mainline Final Fantasy has continued to receive updates and changes long after its original release whether it’s through a patch, DLC, port, remaster, or remake. The most recent re-release of a mainline is often vastly different from its original release, and more changes will inevitably come. Final Fantasy XVI is following suit through its recent free update that includes new skins as well as two upcoming DLC expansions. So why is additional content such a controversial topic in the Final Fantasy fandom?

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Why Are Some Fans Against DLC?

It’s not just Final Fantasy fans that shutter at the sound of DLC. Most video game players do. In modern gaming, players often feel like they’re being nickeled and dimed for every minor thing such as the infamous Horse Armor in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or frame data in Tekken 7. For many, there’s already a baked-in negative connotation to DLC thanks to the gaming industry as a whole.

Within the Final Fantasy fandom, much of the pain from DLC stems from the previous mainline in Final Fantasy XV. This game embraced an expanded universe through a movie, a web anime, promotional mobile spinoffs, and DLC. Thanks to a hectic and complicated development, FFXV was released in a state that many fans felt was incomplete. Functionally, FFXV was complete at launch. Its story had a clear beginning, middle, and end that was simple enough to understand without having noteworthy bugs. Players still felt there were story details that required more depth. With DLC announced before FFXV’s release clarifying some of those details, fans questioned whether Square Enix cut out story and repurposed them into DLC. Other additions, story and otherwise, were added through frequent free updates. FFXV is a great game now, but its approach to its evolution scarred many fans who were hoping FFXVI would be a true one-off game and that Square Enix would move on to Final Fantasy XVII.

Before FFXVI’s release, producer Naoki Yoshida, affectionately referred to as Yoshi-P, was adamant that FFXVI wasn’t going to suffer from the same narrative failings as FFXV. Yoshi-P told Game Informer a month before FFXVI’s release was that there were no plans at the time for FFXVI DLC. This ensured that fans received a full and complete experience at launch while the development team approached the future of FFXVI based on reception. FFXVI was well received and DLC and updates were quickly announced. However, players have pointed out a few areas within FFXVI that seemed to be set up for DLC, including a large locked door in The Dim and a reference to a “lost” Eikon. This has left some to believe DLC was always on the schedule and that FFXVI, too, may also have meaningful story and character moments relegated to DLC.

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History Of Quality-Of-Life Changes

The Lich battle from Final Fantasy I Pixel Remaster with Auto-Battle activated

Evolution is nothing new to a Final Fantasy mainline. These updates are necessary to modernize old games for a new audience. The recent Pixel Remasters gave the first six Final Fantasys a fresh coat of paint along with new animations, a cleaner user interface, and gameplay improvements. For the Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster, the Opera House scene was done in HD-2D with a voiced music number, making an already iconic scene better than ever.

One of the most prevalent additions to past mainline Final Fantasys are boosters. Boosters are enhancements that help ensure no section is too tough or too slow. These tend to come in the form of things like auto-battle or a fast-forward mode. Auto-battle helps out with the monotony of spamming a single button to battle while fast-forward was a huge boon for slow-paced games and battle systems like Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy XII. Quality-of-life updates have allowed games like Final Fantasy VIII to receive a second look, with some fans growing to love the somewhat divisive entry.

Final Fantasy XIII, one of the more controversial mainline entries, has actually had one of the fewest post-release updates among mainlines. This is in part due to the fact it’s still stranded on seventh-generation consoles with the exception of a PC release. But even so, FFXIII did receive an Easy difficulty setting as well as support for 60fps on PC. The Xbox 360 version can also be upscaled to 4K through backward compatibility on the Xbox Series X. A remaster would likely add even more if it ever happens, which could bring FFXIII the love its fans feel is long deserved.

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History Of Major Content Additions

Shinra soldiers durround a downed Zack in Zack's Final Stand in the PlayStation 1 version of Final Fantasy VII

It’s not just minor quality-of-life changes that get added over time. Some mainlines receive content it’s now tough to imagine them without. Final Fantasy X and FFXII, for example, had significant additions through their International versions, both of which never reached North America until each respective game received a remaster. These additions included new ways to build up party members, new difficult bosses, summons, postgame content, and much more.

FFX and FFXII aren’t the only mainlines with an “International” version. The Final Fantasy VII most experienced in the late 1990s was also the International version. The original Japanese release lacked content most FFVII players take for granted today. This includes fights against super bosses such as Ruby and Emerald Weapons. It was also missing a few story cutscenes, namely Zack-related flashbacks such as his heartbreaking last stand, which is fascinating considering Zack later received his own full-fledged prequel in part due to those added cutscenes.

Of course, Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV have received substantial additions after their release due to the nature of them being MMORPGs. The road wasn’t easy for FFXIV, in particular, as it required a complete overhaul to become the MMO juggernaut it’s become today. This is something Final Fantasy III can also attest to as the long “missing” mainline was finally introduced to NA in 2006 through a remake that enhanced its story by giving its main cast names and deeper personalities. FFIII also added new dungeons, which many of the first six Final Fantasys received through their Game Boy Advance releases that are sadly missing from the Pixel Remasters.

RELATED: What Is the Correct Chronological Order to Play Every Final Fantasy VII Game?

How Final Fantasy XVI’s Updates Can Improve An Already Great Game

Cid, Torgal, Clive, and Jill are prepared to fight in Final Fantasy XVI

FFXVI is an already great game. Much of Yoshi-P’s promise of a game with a satisfying release was realized, leaving many fans to declare it the best single-player mainline since FFX. FFXVI is not perfect, though, as it has its share of flaws that could be touched up through post-release updates and content.

One sore spot among many Final Fantasy fans is FFXVI’s party system. Players only control Clive while having a few commands for Torgal. Party members like Jill and Cid aren’t playable and can’t be commanded. This has resulted in those characters having little presence in FFXVI’s gameplay. There’s little banter and conversations outside of story moments. No non-scripted tag team combo moves. It’s easy to forget Clive isn’t alone. This is an area where FFXVI should look into taking a page from FFXV’s book by building toward other characters having a greater role in gameplay. FFXV now has party swapping as well as Cross Chain combination moves, both of which could be great additions to FFXVI.

Another area FFXVI stands to gain from is through optional content. Outside of story, there isn’t much to do beyond side quests, giving players no reason to explore the beautiful Valisthea. It doesn’t help that hunts felt like an afterthought with palette-swapped enemies that were fought many times previously with minor differences. Hunts with more variety would help, especially if those bosses were inspired by past Final Fantasy enemies like Omega Weapon and a cactuar. Beyond that, a Hideaway micromanagement system would be amazing.

How DLC will shape FFXVI is to be determined. If past history indicates anything, FFXVI will be an even stronger game because of it, which is incredibly exciting.

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