Final Fantasy XV’s Delay Is Good And Bad

I’m sure you’ve already heard the news by now, but if you haven’t, Final Fantasy XV has been delayed to November 29. There was a Neogaf thread that appeared on Twitter over the weekend citing XV’s delay, which was corroborated by Kotaku. At that point there was speculation whether or not this game, which has already been in development for ten years, would really see a delay. Unfortunately, the delay was confirmed, but I think it’s a good thing, though it’s also a bad thing.

Let’s start with the positives of this two month delay. The most important thing about waiting two more months means the game will be more polished. Whether it be the frame rate or bugs, making sure XV is in tip-top shape is of the utmost importance. Final Fantasy has never seen a game of this scale so it would make sense for the developers at Square to have trouble creating an open world. Listening to podcasts (skip to 2:12:10) from outlets who had a chance to play the game, it sounded like XV wasn’t in the best shape. Heck, watching the E3 demo where Noctis and friends fight Titan looked rough, and it understandably turned people off from the game quite significantly. Perhaps the poor showing was factored by other things, but it looked like you weren’t quite in control of the fight and it was more about surviving long enough to rally up with your party.

In a message on Youtube that explains the reasoning behind the delay, director Hajime Tabata spoke about what goes into their day one patch, common in today’s industry, is something that should be in the game when it ships. It’s what will help Final Fantasy XV deliver as the best game it can be. He noted that gamers without an internet connection wouldn’t be able to download a day one patch and it wouldn’t be fair to them. It’s intended to contain “substantial content,” which could mean a number of things.

I don’t know anything about game development or what a day one patch typically consists of, but I respect their willingness to hold back on releasing an inferior version of this ambitious game. I can tell Tabata cares deeply about Final Fantasy, and he wants to do his best to deliver the game that will be worth the wait. I can’t imagine how he and his team are feeling right now with a difficult decision like this, but I appreciate them holding off for two months to deliver a higher quality game.

Two months is a huge amount of time, and it gives Square significantly more breathing room to make XV the best game it can be. It’s been repeated thousands of times, but delaying a game is never a bad thing, especially when it means that Tabata and his are able to ensure this is the best game they can possibly make. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would rather have Final Fantasy XV be a great JRPG with as few problems as possible, rather than it being an okay game because of the many technical problems it has. For reference, The Witcher 3 was delayed from late 2014 to February of the following year, and then again to May of 2015. That wasn’t so bad, considering it went on to win dozens of awards, including game of the year.

I’m personally at more ease with a delay because it allows other gamers and me to accomplish more for two months. For one thing, we’re able to clear out an extra game or two in our sizeable backlogs. The fewer games I have to play on November 29 the better, especially when so much of it consists of other JRPGs like Shin Megami Tensei, Ni No Kuni and more. I’ll always have a backlog, but I’d like it to be as small as possible. I’m not interested in as many games releasing this fall so I’ll be able to devote more time to the games I currently own.

Among the games I am most interested in, like the Dragon Quest VII remake on 3DS and Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse, the release date of September 30 for Final Fantasy would have forced me to wait on these titles until late October or early November. Also I would likely have only purchased one of Dragon Quest or SMT and felt an obligation to complete it in a week because XV’s release was right after these RPGs. I don’t think it would be fair to rush through games I’m quite excited for, so I’m more content with the larger release gap. This also holds true for games I’m moderately interested in like Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4 and Battlefield 1.

And on to the bad…

What was the whole point of the Final Fantasy Uncovered event? Sure, it got longtime fans like me excited for the game but it felt superfluous knowing the release date would be delayed. Square put together this event to generate hype for XV and it ends with this huge celebration announcing the release date, only for that to mean nothing as of today. Don’t get me wrong, I was giddy watching all the announcements like Florence + The Machines’ beautiful cover of Stand By Me, seeing the stars of Kingsglaive and Chocobo drifting. But it was just a huge backfire in retrospect and now they look silly.

The problem I have with waiting two more months is, well, having to wait two more months. When it comes to something I’m excited about I’m impatient, sometimes even impetuous. It’ll be weird to have September 30 hit and not being able to get my copy in the mail. Truthfully people have been anticipating this game for longer than I have, since 2006, so I can’t imagine how they feel.

I was devastated when the rumor of XV’s delay surfaced on Twitter, so much so that I was considering cancelling my preorder of the ultimate collector’s edition. A few days have passed and I’ve come to terms with the news. Yeah, it sucks I have to wait two more months for Final Fantasy XV, but I trust Tabata and his team. Hopefully this extra time will be what makes this game memorable, as opposed to being in the limelight for a few weeks and quickly burning out. I’m not expecting this to be the best Final Fantasy, but I anticipate a great game. Delays can turn a good game into a great one, and I understand the reasoning to delay XV. We’ll find out come November how it is. Are you excited for Final Fantasy XV? What do you think of the delay? Sound off in the comments!