Is a Final Fantasy XII remaster necessary?

Here at NoSleepGamer, we take each remaster as it comes and examine it on its own merits in terms of value and the perceived desire for it to exist in the first place. The latest title to apparently get the HD/Remaster treatment will be 2006’s PS2 title, Final Fantasy XII. Is this more cash-grabbing and recycling of old games, or an essential chance to catch up with one of the PS2’s last hailed gems? Let’s take a look.

There have been no official announcements from Square-Enix yet, but at the Final Fantasy Distant World orchestral event in Pittsburgh, composer Arnie Roth, said on-stage: “…and there’s the Final Fantasy XII remake underway. That’s coming out soon.”

He’s probably received a stern phone call since, but it’s looking highly credible with Hitoshi Sakimoto, who scored the original, apparently confirming it too [IGN]. It’s important to consider that the term ‘remake’ was probably used very lightly and in error, as we’re more than likely looking at a HD remaster. It’s a wording error, that’s frequently used to describe HD re-releases, even by yours truly I imagine. And come on, it took Square how long to announce a proper ‘remake’ of Final Fantasy VII? So they’re hardly going to bother with one for the comparatively low-key XII.

Unlike the remasters for God of War III, The Last of Us and Tomb Raider, this is would be the first time Final Fantasy XII was released in HD. This is more like the burgeoning HD remasters that originally appeared on the PS3, so there’s reasonable ground to assume the jump in visual fidelity would be much more noticeable than recent remasters.

While we’re likely to see it release on new-gen consoles, we wouldn’t be surprised to see FFXII HD appear on the PS3 and 360 too, albeit probably only as digital titles, expect them to look close to identical on both generations though.

Price will be an important factor and one we hope Square will get right first time. It was easy to blast God of War III: Remastered’s initial reveal at the audacity of a £49.99 RRP preorder for a remaster of a single title that would barely look any different from the -admittedly gorgeous- original; a point hammered home when I played it for my review, when I labelled it excellent/pointless.

Square have good form though with their re-releases and usually pack in the value as we’ve seen with Kingdom Hearts, Hitman collection and Final Fantasy X/X-2. Could Square be working on putting the 2007 DS sequel (Revenant Wings) game in there too? We’d be very surprised to be honest as it’s not exactly been topping many most wanted lists. A HD Remake of just Final Fantasy XII for £19.99 though, I could get behind that, especially if they thrown in a few tweaks, new items and making-of videos to flesh out the experience.

With the original final Fantasy XII releasing towards the end of the PS2’s main lifespan, and many gamers eyeing up the arrival of the PS3 or Xbox 360, it probably missed out on some of the limelight usually reserved for the series. Being a few years late didn’t help either. That said, it generally scored well in the press. There was a more mixed reception from series fans though, especially those fond of the old turn-based system.

The in-game gambit system was a shock to the system for many gamers too and word got around about the drastic change and possibly put off many series regulars. With combat constantly changing in future games (rarely for the better), a change is easier to bear nowadays and many gamers may find it easier to adjust to the gambit system in today’s climate.

Personally, I never got around to getting stuck into the original on release apart from a quick couple of hours and a spare 40 hours never really popped up since. So, I’m quite up for the idea, and am also glad I’ve put off dusting off the original version. I mean, have you tried plugging a Scart lead into a HD TV? It’s just the worst and doesn’t do PS2 titles any justice compared to playing them on an old TV.

In reality, we’ll have to wait until Square makes Final Fantasy XII HD an official thing. But as an often-forgotten title in the Final Fantasy legacy, a re-release could work very well for the company and could be appreciated by gamers wanting to make up for missing out in 2006. We’d much rather this had happened a few years ago instead of the continued demise of the lacklustre XIII series.

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