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Wow, what an incredibly in-depth article. I loved the references and comparisons to past AAA titles like MGS & previous FF entries. I agreed with a lot of what you wrote about, specifically the “State of The Union”, as it were, in the gaming industry and how it feels like they think they can “get away” with making the consumer wait, wait, and wait for “new content” that should’ve been part of the original release. The game was promoted for a decade and they had plenty of time to establish a solid story without making it seem like a [mechanical 3D puzzle with alternate yet parallel time lines].

I just feel like they made this awesome world with an awesome backstory, but then when it came to the main story, they said “let’s just put something out and then see how people react and then change EVERYTHING based on how they react”… Isn’t that what Focus Groups, Sample Surveys, & GameShow Demo’s for? After 10 years, the Main Story should be SOLID and the DLC’s should be for making the story DEEPER, not for adding chunks that should’ve been, at the very least, touched on during the Original unedited release.

Noctis goes missing for YEARS after being taken in by Bahamut and the story literally goes “black”… Now, cut to a World of Ruin, you’re immediately picked up by car and transported to Hammerhead where you’re caged in and can’t even explore (Isn’t Exploration the primary aspect they’re trying to immerse you in with the game?), and then you’re once again transported (like a prisoner) to Insomnia with your friends who won’t even go into depth about where they’ve been and don’t seem to be surprised that you’re back after years or “being missing” or “training” or whatever the hell really happened. You’re sent through a TINY version of what Insomnia should’ve been and then rushed in ONE direction to fight Ardyn so you can finish the story… Your prize? A long unimaginative and pot-holed sequence of CGI scenes that end with Noctis caressing Lunafreya on his throne (Even though we just saw her hanging DEAD on the throne where Noctis was apparently supposed to die according to the deal with Bahamut about purging the darkness from the realm) and a bromance speech from Noctis that sounds more like a death omen or a sad goodbye. Then you’re sent back to the Title Screen to either start New Game+ or explore the Post-Game file that let’s you travel back n forth… UGH… lemme break this down…

EVERYTHING AFTER LEAVING TO ALTISSIA is a Sandboxed version of the game, very linear, and offers AMAZING environments with ZERO exploration. It is rushed, it is unexplained, and full of holes story-wise.

Overall, someone who hasn’t played it, but is still a fan should do themselves a favor. Buy the Digital Premium Edition (Game + Season Pass) and then DON’T TOUCH THE GAME for at least a YEAR until they figure out “how the game should end” and “how to implement the HUGE gaping holes of story missing”…

I love you Final Fantasy… I love you Square Enix… I have respect for Tabata and his work in Dirge of Cerberus… (A perfect example of what DLC content SHOULD be like, even though it was considered it’s own title)… But… WTF? Don’t ever do this again… take 10 years, take 15… But make sure that what you release on Day One isn’t HALF of what it should be.