Ready for today’s sign of the apocalypse? No, it’s not the fact that Square-Enix is force-feeding us another Final Fantasy re-release; instead, producer Takashi Tokita stated that the upcoming mobile release of Final Fantasy VI will do away with level grinding for the most part. That’s one thing, but his choice of words–“so you […] can enjoy the game for what it is”–is driving me insane.
For what it is? FFVI is what is it is!
Now, I don’t have the highest opinion of FFVI, but it’s alarming to me that Square is chopping out a portion of the gameplay–even for a mobile version. I understand their motivation: “cut the fat” and give mobile gamers a better-paced story. That makes sense for phone owners who may only play for 10 or 20 minutes on the subway. Yet at the same time, it seems like a way of cheapening the experience. If the game is easy enough to blow right through, then why bother mixing party combinations, experimenting with the Esper system, or collecting Gau’s abilities in the Veldt (the best excuse to grind)?
From a storytelling standpoint this makes a ton of sense, but I’m not eager so see the game portion of the game get stripped down. Now, have we come to expect minimal level-grinding in today’s RPGs? Sure. I’m glad Square is addressing this, but remodeling one of their classic games is not the way to sing their understanding of today’s market.
On top of all this, there’s a blown opportunity here. If Square wants limit grinding, why not include more story content, more sidequests, or even a battle arena? Include something that could bridge the process of leveling up rather than eliminate it.
If you truly want to enjoy FFVI “for what it is,” go get yourself the original cart, the GBA remake, or an emulated version. This condensed-soup mobile version is yet another attempt for Square to milk their landmark series. Only difference this time around is a slip in integrity.