My final fantasy is that I'm wrong about Square Enix's no-show JRPGs

Opinion

Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3, two of the Japanese role-playing games community's mystical unicorns of Game Limbo Land, will not be at E3 this year. Square Enix may have just broken faith with one of its largest fanbases.

Series producer Shinji Hashimoto told Famitsu that neither game would appear, despite being given the spotlight last year with new teaser trailers and next-gen platform announcements.

It's worth breaking down exactly what was said on the subject.

Breaking down the language

"First I'd like to say that development for Final Fantasy 15 is going well," he said. This has been the standard response for eight years now — the game was first revealed alongside Final Fantasy 13, the first one, at E3 2006.

"Internally, we try to ascertain the best timing for revealing new information about Final Fantasy 15 to the fans. So when we were going over our promotion plans, we judged that this year's E3 would not be the best time to exhibit information about Final Fantasy 15," he continued.

"Exhibit information" covers everything from playable demos to trailers. So much for holding out hope Sony's presence conference — which has typically given stage time to these series in the past — will feature a clip or two.

All we know about Kingdom Hearts 3 is that developers are "eagerly working on the title."

"Instead we are currently planning to exhibit new information at events after E3 2014."

The Tokyo Games Show 2014 in September, most likely, since Japan is Final Fantasy's native ground. Maybe Gamescom in August. There are plenty of chances left in the year to make a splash with new content. But of course the chances the game could be a no-show at those events is just as high.

All we know about Kingdom Hearts 3 is that developers are "eagerly working on the title."

There's not much to go on here, as the last video content for the game doesn't even qualify as a teaser. The short clip is tacked onto the end of the most recent trailer for Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix. It features footage from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance — the most recent game in the franchise — and some on-screen text set to a voice over in Japanese.

The text discusses the cataclysmic battle alluded to in several previous games, making this less of a window into the new game's plot and more of a reaffirmation that we're absolutely definitely going to be doing the Keyblade War thing. The whole darkness and light angle, you know.

"I am extremely grateful to all the fans who excitedly anticipate Final Fantasy 15, and I'm looking forward to share new information when the timing is right. I would appreciate if fans hold out until then."

There are only so many times you can disappoint someone before they give up on you entirely. The Last Guardian is another game going through this dance of barely keeping fans hanging on. It's not a pretty look.

Why I care

The Final Fantasy series has been tethered to my heart since my first gaming days as a child, but I'm watching colleagues roll their eyes and sigh and non-industry friends post long diatribes on their Facebook pages about why they are fed up with waiting for Final Fantasy 15 or Kingdom Hearts 3. It's disappointing, and doesn't have to happen.

There may be good reasons the content is being held back, but it's getting old.

Lightning Returns didn't sell very well, with many Final Fantasy 13 fans just not coming back to commit to the ten-year, three-game span of the spin-off series. The fans of these games are getting older, and not much is being done to create new ones. There may be good reasons the content is being held back, but it's getting old.

The more energy is spent hoping for news, the less is available for the game itself. Square Enix hasn't blown it as a company — its slate for this year is impressive and varied — but it may have blown it with one of its most dedicated group of fans.

Eight years after Final Fantasy 15's announcement, and 12 years after the first Kingdom Hearts game, it's not worth getting up in arms at the people who laugh at you for holding out hope.

Let's pray I have reasons to eat my words this week.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Polygon as an organization.

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