For 18 years, Square Enix had steadily released Final Fantasy titles, each with unrelated stories and characters, more so sticking to the Final Fantasy name in at least a story line sense, while obviously ignoring it when referring to their own titles.
In 2003 this ended, as for the first time in the series long tenure, Square Enix developed an extension to Final Fantasy X, with Final Fantasy X-2.
The game, despite series' fans and critics calling out the game for it's dress sense, received good reviews and had extremely healthy sales all around the world. Square Enix seemed to have done a successful job creating a sequel to a single Final Fantasy, and since that time, the games developer has decide to continue another Final Fantasy beyond its original release. That game is Final Fantasy VII.
Square Enix Eyes Cash
When originally announced to the world, fans response to word of a Final Fantasy VII sequel could be summed up as "Hysteria". A multitude of new fansites sprung up around the web, the overall excitement shown though these sites activity was off the chart.
The sequel, Advent Children, arrived in 2005/2006, in the form of a movie, rather than a full fledged game, but it didn't stop eager fans from enjoying it one bit. It was from here though, that this started to go down hill for Square Enix with their plan of more Final Fantasy sequels.
Final Fantasy VII, declared a franchise of its own, saw the development of its next instalment in 2006. A sequel to the sequel, Dirge of Cerberus attempted to keep the fanbase vitalised, following Advent Children's mix-it-up strategy of producing a movie, Dirge of Cerberus ended up going the route of third-person shooter.
This newest installment featured Vincent Valentine as its leading man, but unfortunately audiences were not vitalised and Dirge of Cerberus was surprisingly poorly received by fans and critics alike, with it's only saving grace being it's intriguing storyline.
Trying to make a Mense
Square Enix, not one to sit one their hands, decided to try and give the Final Fantasy VII Compilation another shot of adrenaline, hoping not to appear to be beating it like a dead horse. They developed Crisis Core, and instead of try to mix it up with something totally new again, the developer designed the game fairly similar to the successful Kingdom Hearts series.
Furthermore, they also strictly developed Crisis Core for the Playstation Portable, in an attempt to tap an otherwise quiet market. As of current, their decision appears to be a move that hasn't necessarily paid off anywhere near as handsomely as they likely hoped.
Put Japanese and American sales data side-by-side for these four Final Fantasy sequels makes for an interesting development. While the first three titles performed fairly similar in both countries with each release, looking at Crisis Core, it's quite evident that it isn't fairing so well in West.
Comparing the first month's sales of Crisis Core, the ratio is 2:1 for Japan over America. This certainly is not boding well with Square Enix. With Crisis being their third extension of Final Fantasy VII, and still not living up either the sales of Final Fantasy X-2 or Advent Children, it's more troubling further that sales of Crisis Core in America are no where close to the higher sales of Crisis Core in Japan.
Right now Square Enix is likely not sitting on its hands, but biting its nails. How can Crisis Core's lower performance be explained? Lack of PSP interest can't be blamed considering America has approximately 3 million more PSP's than Japan. The only explanation is lack of interest in Final Fantasy sequels, and Square Enix likely set itself up for this. Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus, while still talked about, are mainly mused on in hindsight for being mediocre at best.
Their failure to receive and substantial critical response has chopped the legs off of Crisis Core's potential before it was even reviewed. Fans are tired of the history of mediocrity, the majority calling their guess on the lack of quality continuing in Crisis Core, without giving it a chance, and rightly so. America is fed up with Final Fantasy sequels.
A sales comparison chart can be seen at the link up top!
Jumping the shark. It is the term used for television series that "push it" for too long. That's what Japan has done with the Final Fantasy VII franchise. The American populus hates the same when it comes to video games. Our culture keeps wanting bigger and better. The Final Fantasy VII sequels fail because they keep expanding a mythos that doesn't need expanding.
Final Fantasy VII, one of the best. By itself. American when it comes to movies and video games wants more of a punch like Final fantasy XII.
Its not that Americans are fed up with sequels, its that we are fed up with lousy sequels. Though Crisis Core is a great game (I bought a slim just to play it on my HDTV), Dirge of Cerberus was awful and Advent Children was mediocre at best. People just aren't willing to give this game the chance it deserves because of the screw-ups that preceded it. Fans want a true sequel, not just Square-Enix milking the franchise. Its the milking we are fed up with, not sequels.