When FF7R was announced, it was widely assumed by media and gamers to come to Xbox after a year. This was exacerbated by the boxart from Square-Enix that, even after the initial delay, explicitly stated it was a one year timed exclusive down to the very date:
Now, the reason everybody assumed it was coming to Xbox was due to a few factors:
- PlayStation console exclusives tend to have this boxart or some variation of it:
Switch wouldn’t be able to run the game (unfortunately). Although a cloud (no pun intended) version might have been possible.
When FF7R Intergrade was announced for PS5, gamers and media alike caught on to the fact that Sony seemed to have extended the contract behind the scenes for at least six months, and also put extra emphasis on “console exclusive:”
A quick internet search shows many sites picking up on this but here is an example from the popular PlayStation fansite PushSquare:
Sony loves a good ol’ timed exclusive, and having pumped a chunk of change into Square Enix’s pocket for the original release of Final Fantasy VII Remake, it looks like it’s brought another briefcase to the publisher for PlayStation 5 expansion Intergrade. A new trailer for the title concludes with some small print: “Available on PS5 at least six months earlier than any other format.”
The original Final Fantasy VII Remake on PS4 was timed exclusive for a year, meaning many had expected it to launch on other formats in April, but it seems the Japanese giant has extended that deal with Intergrade, keeping the title off other consoles until at least January of next year. That’s more than 18 months after the RPG’s original release.
Now, my memory gets fuzzy after all this (likely the intended effect of the obsfucation in the first place), but it seemed to have been widely known that Epic then moneyhatted the game for the Epic Games Store, which was obvious due to their promotions, the SteamDB for FF7R popping up, and the fact that Final Fantasy does pretty well on Steam for the platform to be suddenly blocked in favor of a much lesser platform with something to prove.
At this point, the only thing keeping Xbox fans hopes afloat was the fact that the game originally seemed to be coming to Xbox and the fact that even Steam got shafted due to a competitors “moneyhat.”
However, things became doubtful when:
- Popular journalists and insiders were claiming Sony wanted mainline Final Fantasy to be exclusive for the entire generation
- FFXVI was announced for PlayStation/PC only (and later on the PC version was removed, including from Wikipedia), despite the previous entry (FFXV) launching multiplatform. Xbox Series X|S being the most successful Xbox consoles (and especially more than last generation) should have cemented another multiplatform release
- FFXIV being announced for Xbox, and then quietly forgotten and never mentioned again. While a lot of this may have to do with how busy the devs have been with expansions, Sony had been promotong the game more and more as a third-party exclusive and successful MMO.
And now we are here, where a Steam version was just announced to be 6 months (day and date) late to the party for a port, obviously since the EGS contract is over.
And what does Xbox get? They get the prequel spin-off: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, along with a reminder that the second part of FF7R is launching exclusively on PS5.
My personal take on this is probably too much to write, but I do have a few questions:
When do you think the move to keep the game off of Xbox permanently happened? For me, it seems to have been at the start of this gen (hence the above ad) when Sony seemingly wanted to bury Xbox before they got up and running. This coincides with the rumors that they want to get exclusives from franchises/developers associated with Xbox (which we have seen with Deathloop, Ghostwire: Tokyo, KotOR and rumored to be the case with BioShock/others, as well as journalists stating Sony wants FF off Xbox for the entire gen).
Why is Microsoft expected, pressed and demanded by media and gamers to release games they own for multiplatform IP everywhere, but things like this that go on behind the scenes for multiplatform IP that is NOT owned by a company is ignored? In 2028 (example), when Microsoft has moved around ABK studios and have CoD on a two year cycle, and need to spend hundreds upon hundreds of millions on funding, marketing, publishing and promoting the game(s), as well as take all the risk with actually owning an IP and having it potentially flop or fail to meet expectations (especially with the millions lost from moving to a two year dev cycle instead of yearly), it feels like there is an expectation and entitlement that the game(s) (and other games) still release on PS5.
Meanwhile, a company can seemingly spend a boatload of cash to keep massive AAA game(s) off the competitor’s platform for years (or permanetely whether fully or in perpetuity), despite having absolutely no hands in the development or publishment of the game, and nobody raises an eyebrow.
It just doesn’t make sense and the goalposts always seem moved whenever someone does end up bringing it up.
What are your thoughts?