Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy and current head of Mistwalker Corporation, has some interesting thoughts on making sequels. He “hates” them.
It might seem like quite a mouthful coming from the guy whose creation has spawned 14 main games and countless spin-offs, but in an interview with IGN, Sakaguchi pretty bluntly states his opinion on the issue.
“I don’t like sequels. I hate them.”
Doesn’t get much more direct than that. Of course, Final Fantasy is a series, much like Mario, that has consistently and successfully redefined itself from game to game to game. Sakaguchi emphasizes this point.
“That’s why every single Final Fantasy had a new cast of characters, a brand new story, [and] a different system.”
As the man says, no two Final Fantasy games play similarly to one another, and only rarely does a sequel continue the previous game’s story. The only instance of his name appearing in the credits of a sequel is Final Fantasy X-2, when he was already halfway out the door of Square Enix. Even in that game though, the RPG mechanics had been completely rebuilt from the ground up.
The series didn’t branch out into spin-offs either until after Final Fantasy IX, the last game he wrote and was directly involved in. Even outside of Final Fantasy, the only direct sequel I can see his fingers in is Parasite Eve 2.
Now in charge at Mistwalker and running a successful free-to-play game called Terra Battle, Sakaguchi has promised that every game he creates will be a one-off release and will not sputter out into sequels.
“Every single game that we make, we are going to give it our all, and then we finish it, we’ll end it in such a way that there is no to be continued checklist.”
Sounds like a promise from the heart, one I can totally get behind, but sequels are what bring in the green these days. I have a feeling though Sakaguchi is comfortable enough in his long career at this point to not shun away his principles for a few extra bucks. Keep doing what you do best, my friend.