In the last few days, there has been talk about how many units need to be sold for Final Fantasy XV to be financially successful. Despite this discussion seemingly prompted by what seems to be a mistranslated statement, it is an interesting topic. The long awaited game has been in various forms of development for a decade. Now, years after its conception, with a gigantic number of people having worked on it during its countless iterations and countless dollars thrown into the wind, is it possible for the game to be a financial success, and is that even Square Enix’s primary goal?
It seems like Square Enix believe they have a good game, maybe even a great one. The unprecedented investment that was revealed during their recent Uncovered event seems to suggest that they truly believe that this is the game to revamp the Final Fantasy series. The only problem is that in the past, Square Enix have been somewhat unrealistic in regards to sales expectations. Now, with FFXV’s project team and the game’s Director Hajime Tabata setting a “voluntary goal” of 10 million units sold, is this the number that is actually expected? This is a game that has been plagued with various setbacks over the years, some well publicized, some only alluded to, leading to endless delays and sucking out any semblance of hype as the years have rolled by.
Right now, Square Enix is in full marketing and promotion mode with custom cars, an anime series, and a CG movie in the works, but can they really create enough hype for Final Fantasy XV to be an immediate commercial success? Only one Square Enix game has come close to approaching the numbers talked about by Tabata and co. That game was Final Fantasy VII. With countless iterations, versions and releases over the past 19 years, Square Enix have sucked dry what is one of the most celebrated games of all time. With that in mind, it seems almost farcical that their latest project could possibly come anywhere close to that success with any sort of immediacy, especially as it will lack availability on certain platforms upon release.
So is commercial success for Final Fantasy XV their immediate and primary goal? While the financial investment in marketing suggests that financial recuperation is on their minds; perhaps the company is willing to take an initial loss on their flagship title in order to prove to the world that the Final Fantasy Series can still be dominant and to secure success for the series’ future. If they do believe that the game is truly great and they successfully convince the players and critics of this fact (by releasing a game that is actually good), then perhaps an initial financial loss will be worth the increase of positive public perception of the franchise. With the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake Series and its inevitable spin-offs, it might be prudent of Square Enix to take the opportunity of Final Fantasy XV putting the franchise back on the map in a timely fashion, just in time to cash in on the perpetual cash cow that is Final Fantasy VII. It would be a rare move in the industry, but one that could work out. The Final Fantasy VII Remake is widely speculated to be at least three games for the core series. Add whatever spin-offs you wish and you have a solid reason to repair Final Fantasy’s foundation and garner goodwill among consumers as a long term investment at the cost of short term finance.