OPINION: Final Fantasy XIII Producer Explains Declining Sales

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

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Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy XIII-2 sold a total of about 3 million units across all platforms. This is half as much as the original Final Fantasy XIII. Yoshinori Kitsuke, a producer for the upcoming Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, seemed a bit confused as to why Final Fantasy XIII-2 sold less than the original. He came to the conclusion that players didn’t know that you didn’t need to understand the plot of the first game to enjoy the second.

“The reason for the drop may have been due to the fact that not many players knew you didn’t have to have played Final Fantasy XIII to understand the plot in its sequel. We’re hoping that we can get that message across for Lightning Returns, because the same is true here.”

The logic would probably apply to people who didn’t play Final Fantasy XIII, but what about the 6 million that did play it? If 6 million people bought the first game and played it, wouldn’t that mean that the same amount of people would buy the second game? Also, it’s worth pointing out that Kingdom Hearts II sold more copies in Japan than the first Kingdom Hearts game. And that game assumed that those who played it had already played the first Kingdom Hearts, as well as Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.

Given the rather mixed fan response to Final Fantasy XIII, a more likely explanation is that half of the people who bought the game thought it was awful, and decided not to touch anything else related to it. Meanwhile, the other half either enjoyed the game enough to purchase Final Fantasy XIII-2 or thought the sequel would be better. Of course, we’re not taking into account all the used sales or rentals, so that number might be a good bit higher.

Or maybe people just want to play Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII already. But hey, what do I know?


About Kyle Emch

Kyle has been studying music at college for about three years now. He's played the piano since he was 6 years old and has been recently been learning how to write music. He has followed the Operation Rainfall movement on Facebook since it started and was happy to volunteer for the website. Just don't mention Earthbound or the Mother franchise around him.

  • Or could it be that the games feel so inconsequential that nobody really cares anymore?

  • Is that… really true? Do I NOT have to know ANYTHING about FFXIII to be able to enjoy FFXIII-2?

    • Lilly

      “you didn’t have to have played Final Fantasy XIII to understand the plot in its sequel” Technically what they said is true, because the menu for XIII-2 had a whole game summary for the first game.

    • Knowing a plot that gets retconned is a little bit pointless. : I would like Square Enix to wake up and smell the Coffee. It won’t happen, but I can still say it.

    • Make the story more nonsense!

      The plot doesn’t make any sense whether you’ve played FF13 or not.

  • THAT’S there excuse for low sales? Really!?

  • Hec4Mets

    Square is so out of touch with the market right now its honestly sad how this company is falling right now…

  • or could it be that people didn’t really ask for part 2 nor 3 and that we are still waiting on Versus? Though I really liked the game I’ll be honest, I didn’t truly care at first

    • Ziggy

      There is so much truth to this its not even funny… Seriously

    • Rohzek

      Is Versus vaporware now with the PS4 announced for the end of this year, and a new engine for Square? Or is Versus gonna be on PS4? Would love to know more info about it.

  • FrancisUnderwood0482

    ignorant or arrogant: you decide!

  • Lilly

    Maybe people liked how the first one was on it’s own and weren’t looking for a sequel? Add in people who didn’t like the first one, and people who wait to buy a game till they’ve read reviews and were warned beforehand that the plot was screwy. And there’s the obvious drop in quality (not in the major cutscenes, but in the overall parts you play). I honestly wouldn’t have bought it without that special edition, I looove soundtracks. Actually it was a gift, so it wasn’t even me buying it for that.

  • Oooooorrrr.. No one wanted FF13-2 because the story was left off perfectly, and FF13-2 added a crappy “oh and this suddenly happen out of nowhere, and now the world is fuck.”
    I bought the game at full price, worst mistake in my life. :/ I still enjoyed the game though, and I played through the game twice with 60 hours on both games. So I guess that isn’t too bad.

    • Nomado

      I think you are right. Lets take an example on FF X-2. It didn’t receive quite good like FFX cause for me FFX ending was perfect i didn’t expect or wanted anything from FFX ending. But then FF X-2 came i played it and in first hour i knew this Yuna wasn’t yuna what i came to love as a character and this game just didn’t needed. On the other hand i think FF13 should have ended without sequel. It just i didn’t or never wanted sequels.

  • Dakota

    It could be, you know, the fact that everyone has been complaining about how Square and Final Fantasy have completely gone away from their roots. Hey, I’m not a business expert or anything, but when there’s a demand for classic Final Fantasy and people aren’t getting it, it’s frustrating to the majority fan-base and they’ll begin to pull away and find a developer that will create games in that vain.

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      Exactly,,, I give you credit for saying it much more politely than I would have though.

    • Isn’t there an iOS game that is an exact copy of old Final Fantasy? I forgot the name but it came out recently here in america

    • smacd

      Right, because what we want is a cell phone game and not an epic Final Fantasy on our consoles. And it was called Final Fantasy Dimensions.

    • ChrisWalbrun

      And it was awesome.

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      I really wanted to get that one… but It blows my mind that they didn’t adapt it for 3DS or PSP as well… I really want to play it but don’t have an IOS… and honestly am extremely skeptical about shelling out $50 for a damn phone on my game or ipod

    • Dogi

      It’s $20 on android, and that gets you every chapter.

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      o.o no shit really!? I am So there! (once I get an android device x.x)

    • I’d buy it on PSV, or 3DS, or even PSP…

      Why companies do this to us is beyond me. A LOT of mobile games would make perfect sense (and be better) on handhelds. So at the very least, toss out a port.

      How hard is that?

  • Carlos Vigilante

    I mean you spent one generation on ONE FF game where as the other generations before us had 3 or 4 different installments, how’s that for why it flopped.

    • We’ll have two on consoles when XIV comes out again. If they can squeeze out VS XIII as XV on PS3 and PS4 they can manage to keep up with that.

  • Make the jump back to a Nintendo console and watch those sales rise. The Wii U could easily get 3 million sold on that system alone…

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      The system has nothing to do with it… it’s the quality of the product itself that’s making the sales fall x.x

  • This is the kind of statement that confirm that the people in charge of Squenix are really blind.

  • well the first one, gameplay is boring, but the story is good. the second one the gameplay (exploration) is okay, the story is rushed (bad). But in the second one i like the concept

  • That doesnt make a whole lot of sense….that is like saying, you dont need to know what happened in Metal Gear Solid 1 to play Metal Gear Solid 2….with a plot like FF13, and then adding the time traveling mechanic of FF13-2, you will need to know what happened…this isnt like playing FF6 then playing FF7 since those two stories dont take place in the same universe at all. this is FF13 and FF 13-2…..the story takes place in the same universe….

  • An Tran

    Or you know, people don’t really give a damn about your FF13 “main series” and want the “spin-off” known as Versus 13.
    You know what? Stop labeling it as “Versus 13”, it’s pretty much a spin-off of the main series so why not name it as a spin-off?

    • It’s a main game, so it should be a main game. XV.

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      No Versus XIII is not a main game, it doesn’t fit within the confines of the series at all, then again, neither did FFXIII, FFXI, or FFXIV, so take that as you will.

    • It is a main game…

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      It has an entirely new combat system (more akin to Kingdom Hearts) it is set in the FFXIII Mythos (though not directly Correlated) and most importantly it’s no where near done. Even if they called it FFXV I wouldn’t consider it a main game because it’s so far removed from everything else in the series, and the fact that we’ve seen nothing but a trailer means at this point it’s still not a game at all. Even if it DOES get released and it’s amazing I would be insulted to have this long running rpg series (that’s already made itself a joke thanks to FFXIII and FFXIV) turn into another mindless action game like pretty much every other AAA title on the market. I would love to hear your reasoning for why you think it’s a main game though.

    • Budgiecat

      Because it is

    • Budgiecat

      Now it is

    • Budgiecat

      It is FF XV!

      ta da!

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      Yep, it sure is. The last nail in the coffin to truly seal the series’ fate. We will never see a true Final Fantasy game again. I shall fly my flag at half mast and play some bagpipes because final fantasy will never again exist as a REAL RPG.

  • madmofo145

    Come on SquareEnix, first you say you can’t make games because this console generations been too long, despite the fact that you barely managed to produce any games to begin with, and now those games aren’t selling because consumers don’t understand that the games can stand on their own? It’s our fault for misunderstanding your games, and has nothing to do with you bringing out games no one wants, and making direct sequels (games that would normally require a knowledge of the first games events) to games that were almost universally derided, and then ensuring that those sequels felt incomplete without another $30 in DLC?

    I really want to love you Square, but you’ve got to stop slapping me in the face at every corner. Don’t tell us the markets wrong for not buying your games, listen to the market tell you that we don’t want mobile games and an endless stream of Final Fantasy XIII’s. How about instead of working on a second sequel to a XIII, when you admit that the first one failed to sell, you instead work on localizing things like Final Fantasy Type 0, you know games people want that were well received by your fan base? Maybe convert it into a Vita or 3DS game since last gen hardware was “holding you back”. Or maybe ignore me and start work on FFXIII – 4, but make sure that it’s sold incrementally and has a strong emphasis on social gaming, with an iOS tie in that’s key to the story, but which to beat requires $50 in micro-transactions to actually complete. That will make you lots of money right?

  • If they want to bring Final Fantasy back to its glory days they have to
    bring back turn-based combat. That is what old school RPG fans want!

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      They’ve all had turn based combat… FFXII and FFXIII were very different but still turn based, what point are you trying to make here?

  • i dont care about the plot, i care about the game & if the first one was awful, i dont see people buying the second one…

  • Truthbot

    The third one will sell half as much as XII-2

  • Dai10zin

    Don’t forget the DLC that adds an additional $20+ to the cost of the game if you want “everything.”

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      $20? I had to pay over $60 for all the FFXIII-2 dlc

  • FrancisUnderwood0482

    Haven’t played an FF game since X, haven’t enjoyed one since IX, doesn’t seem like I’m missing much.

  • Square simply does not understand the basics of running a business based on artistic entertainment. Their stock has dropped from a high of about 3,800 yen/share to about 1,100 yen/share over the 5-year picture. Their market capital has dropped as well, despite acquiring Eidos and having some of the most high-profile titles in the industry. Honestly, I cannot see them surviving the next generation as-is, especially if development costs for their Luminous Engine are high. Though, I guess the same can be said for many other publishers, including the big three.

  • Ari

    Nah I definitely don’t want to play Type-0 or Versus.

    • Monkeythatwasflamed

      Exacltly eveyone wants these games and not sequels to XIII… but some how here were are with XIII-3

  • J.R

    Well I know now why the final fantasy series has fallen from grace so badly, Its because the producer of Square Enix is OUT OF HIS FUCKING MIND!

  • Massacred

    Release Versus XIII, then see what happens. Maybe, just maybe fans will flock back to series ( you better not let me down

    Tetsuya Nomura )

  • XanderCLint

    Or you know release Versus XIII…. justsayin

  • Make the story more nonsense!

    Here’s the truth – FF13 blew. It blew hard, in every aspect of the game except the graphics. FF13-2 also sucked, but it sucked much less, and in different ways. That’s why less people bought it.

    God knows why they’re making a third one instead of making a new better game.

    • Majin

      It’s easy to explain; they had so manny things planned for FFXIII that they went over budget in the art deparment(2/3 people working on the game where artists) that they wanted to use everything that would otherwise be wasted.

      Ofcourse, if they planned it better they would not be in this situation, and I can’t see how it could not be used in other games.

    • Rohzek

      I really enjoyed FF13. 2 just didn’t catch me, and I hate how they implemented random battles agains. Somehow they thought that would remedy problems with the first one. imo: FF13 > FF8 (except FF8 ending was amazing with its difficult boss fight).

  • Can someone please tell me why, exactly, people want Versus XIII so badly? From what I’ve read in the past few years, I don’t want anything from SqEx, so why are people clamoring for it?

  • LordKaizer

    didn’t they ever thought maybe people hated XIII they don’t want another? just a thought.

  • maybe instead of making 2 sequels to Final Fantasy XIII….we could at least get ONE for FInal Fantasy VII. Been waiting for over 15 years for this to happen! Every other mediocre Final Fantasy game gets a remake, why not one of the best ones?!

  • Budgiecat

    Kitase is clueless and delusional