A while back I wrote an entry praising Blizzard Entertainment to the heavens. I stand by every word I wrote, but when you stand on the inside of fandom looking out, you never really think that any other brand of fandom will match yours. And then something like this week’s game chart reminds you of the Rasputin-like grasp that spiky-haired androgynous manga characters have on certain segments of the populace.
I have to own up to not having played much Final Fantasy. In fact (fanboys look away now) I played my first Final Fantasy game this year, Final Fantasy XIII, which I hated to begin with, then started enjoying, then began to love and then lost patience with it. It has been gathering dust on my shelf since about July, but lately I have felt a weird compulsion to pull it off the shelf and play it again. I don’t know why; yes, it looked gorgeous and yes, every frame looked absolutely magical, but the story was utterly atrocious and the gameplay was such that I’d class Final Fantasy XIII as an interactive manga movie, rather than an actual game. (In fact, the lack of direct control I felt I had in the game was so overbearing that I actually pulled Ninja Gaiden II off the shelf between Final Fantasy sessions, just so I could play a game where I felt my button-tapping was having an immediate effect.)
Still, regardless of my feelings for it, I’m aware that the Final Fantasy has a lot of fans, and by all accounts they’re as barmy as the Blizzard bunch – even if they don’t have their own developer convention (Nyah!Nyah!Nyah!). Still, this week they reminded me of how committed they are to the nonsensical world of bangles, bad dialogue and wonky-looking monsters, by making sure that Final Fantasy XIV finished up 10th on the UK games chart.
Tenth, you say? Tenth? That’s nothing.
Not true, say I, that’s actually really something – especially for a game that hasn’t even been released yet.
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t go on general release in the UK until this Friday. So, you might wonder how in the name of Sepiroth’s ghost it managed to crash into the top 10 of the country’s retail sales chart unseating games which have been selling quite respectably up until now like Red Dead Redemption and Just Dance. Well it goes like this; the number 10 selling game in the country is actually the Collector’s Edition of Final Fantasy XIV. The one with the authenticator, the game, the DVD, the map book and the hardback travel journal for one to make notes in. The one that costs 50 quid! Yes, enough of those were sold to plonk the Collector’s Edition of FFXIV in the top ten this week.
You underestimate the cocktail of hair-gel and swords at your peril!!