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Does Xbox Have an Iconic Character Problem? Maybe What Xbox Needs, is a Big AAA Final Fantasy Style RPG...


Jim
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Xbox Game Development
Xbox is in a good place with their game development but they need to keep pushing. Their recent acquisitions and emphasis on first party development has been great to hear but its not enough. We need more iconic characters.

Square-Enix Has Done A Great Job Over The Years of Creating Iconic Characters
I have to admit, I really like what Square Enix has been doing with the Final Fantasy brand. They have the mainline final fantasy series(which is huge), final fantasy online (which has been extremely successful) and now it is rumored that they are making a dark souls style final fantasy game called final fantasy origin.

In addition to this, they've made a ton of extra stuff based on the games, including; movies, anime, toys, collectibles and more. 

Recently Xbox has really started to focus on first party game development which is great. But outside of Master Chief Xbox really doesn't have any iconic characters that you relate solely to the brand. An easy way to fix that problem, I think would be to create a big party based RPG similar to Final Fantasy.

Consider Final Fantasy 7 for example. There are a ton of iconic characters that fans fell in love with. Many of them are extremely minor characters. But people buy their merchandise, they post incredible artwork on deviant art, they do a ton of cosplay, they write a lot of fan fiction and they love to ship their favorite characters. That's how you build a loving and loyal fanbase.

Xbox GamePass
Xbox Gamepass is a great value. A company that delivers great value is always going to have customers, no matter the industry. But for Xbox to take that next step, I think they really need to focus on worldbuilding and characters. The characters need to be memorable. Make them unique, make them interesting, make them distinctive and make them have their own look, make them fight for their own unique goals. A good example was fireteam osiris in Halo 5. To me they all looked basically the same and they gave off pretty much the same feel. Their only purpose in life was to hunt down Master Chiefs' team of Spartans. Osiris didn't inspire me, their leader Jameson Locke didn't ever really do anything cool or inspiring. He didn't have a reputation before master Chief(that I was aware of). The player never does anything awesome as Locke. But the player has done a ton of stuff with master chief. We've had 5 games with master chief why would we get invested in Locke and his team, when he is hunting down our favorite character. All I knew was, I was forced to play as him and hunt down master chief that's it. Locke had no personal struggles that I was aware of, no great conflict that he had to overcome, there was no great antagonist, the game just said here play as these guys.

Games Could Benefit A Lot With A Little More Complexity In Their Storytelling
On the other hand look at a game like Final Fantasy 7.  Cloud is the main character, he can't remember who he is but he's helping out his childhood friend(and getting a little coin in the process). As the story progresses Cloud and the group eventually realizes that they need to stop a guy named Sephiroth. The player comes to discover that Cloud and Sephiroth have a pretty interesting personal history. At the same time Cloud tries to figure out which girls he likes and he discovers a member of his party has a pretty big secret and is essential to them stopping Sephiroth. In Final Fantasy 8 Squall is the main character and your rival is Seifer. He scars you pretty bad in the beginning of the game. Immediately the player realizes that we don't like this guy. He gets seduced by the dark side so to speak and much later on in the story you discover that he is not the main antagonist, there is someone else who is much more powerful and is manipulating him. You are also randomly having dreams about someone that you don't know and have to figure out why.

I guess what I'm saying is, its time for these stories to get a little more complex. When they do, that's when the fandom will really take off.

Xbox Shared Universe Anyone?
If Xbox was clever they could eventually do a sort of shared universe i.e. MCU(Marvel cinematic universe). Release 4- 5 games, establish some really cool characters and then throw them all into one game. The amount of money Microsoft could make from something like that would be endless. They could release the main games on gamepass. And then sell DLC (downloadable content) on the side. And fans would eat it up without complaining. Why? Because you're giving fans exactly what they want. More ways to interact with a world they love and more opportunities to experience characters they enjoy. From their they could make all the movies, tv shows, comics, collectibles etc that they can think of. It seems like Sony has caught on. Create an iconic character/world and then move the IP(intellectual property) around into different products. For us consumers to consume.

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