Final Fantasy XV's Story Patch Ignites an Old Flame
Last week, Square Enix announced that Final Fantasy XV would receive a patch this month, news that has caused quite an uproar in the video game community. This update, which offers a fix for the title's 13th chapter, and has created a divide among the player base. However, there is a much more significant effect the patch has had on people. The split between people who feel it’s a free update to a new game and those who feel it is a fix for an unfinished section/game is the real interesting part, though.
Now before I start this piece, I would like to make one clear. This game, at least the single player, is, of course, a finished game, or at least extremely close. So the argument that this is just Square Enix finishing the game post-release seems very far-fetched. Unlike other games this year, like Street Fighter V, which obviously shipped unfished, Final Fantasy XV feels finished pre-patch and DLC.
Now the reason the split is so interesting is that it’s brought a mindset that’s been in the video game world for a while to the forefront. The idea of “why should I pre-order or buy the game at launch if the company is just going use patches or DLC to fix the game later.” This idea has slowly been growing stronger and stronger in the community thanks to games like Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Street Fighter V, Destiny, etc. In 2014, Polygon did an article on how broken games being released is a new norm.
This mindset puts gamers in a hard spot. We can stop pre-ordering and buying games when they launch as a revolt. A way to get our point of “don’t release an unfinished game,” across. This works. Plain and simple. As far as video game sales go, pre-orders, first day sales, first week sales and first month sales are the most important figures for the investors, publishers, etc. These sales usually determine whether a game is successful in the eyes of the industry.
Final Fantasy XV has just been the latest game to show this dissonance in the gaming community in the form of this patch. It will be interesting to see whether this mindset grows or dwindles from here on out. Either this will come to a head as a clash of industry and consumer ideals, or it will just die out, leaving only embers until the flame is sparked again by the next unfinished release.