Art by Syn :)

Thou shalt not create a game world and then 20 years later, create a (bad) sequel to said game that changes thy canon for all the long-time fans who have stuck by thee…

So you might have heard that the Final Fantasy IV sequel, now called The After Years, is being translated and ported to a WiiWare format. Of course S/E couldn’t let this monstrosity die overseas… they now have to port a pay-per chapter DLC version to the Wii-playing Americans.

I’m curious how many people are going to be ready to pony up the cost of chapter after chapter of this shovelware. If you want a tip from me, go here and read the outline of the chapters. See how terrible the storyline is. See how S/E ruined the so-called canon of this world. And save yourself the time, money and pain of enduring this game. If you’re curious to see what it’s about please spoil yourself. Don’t support S/E’s attempt to milk the US fans yet again for a sub-par release that’s a shame to the Final Fantasy IV name.

Don’t take my word for it, see how the Japanese fans have responded to the disappointing and completely ridiculous ending at our friend Roundog’s blog. Let’s not even talk about how bad/weird the Japanese novelization of FFIV turned out.

Anyhow… I put together a chart that helps me organize my internal rage about The After. Maybe it will help you, too.

Final Fantasy IV Release Type Basic Reaction/Emotional Response
Final Fantasy II –

Yay! An RPG with a full storyline, Mode 7 Airship travel and memorable characters who can have more than 4 letters in their name!

Long-time fans were created. Fanfiction, theories and based upon the open-ended nature of the game flourished. And it was good.

Final Fantasy IV –
What? You mean it was called 4 in Japan and not 2? Okay. I can live with that (but where, then are 2 and 3?) Yay for a rerelease… but what’s up with the really lame CG movie that only plays at the start and the end?

Long-time fans bought this release because it was the first they had of this game since their SNES bit the dust (besides ROMS). Everything was pretty much the same. Fan communities, though aging now, continued on, unhindered.

Final Fantasy IV Advance –
Game Boy Advance
Woot! A portable re-release with upgraded graphics and a new translation (with a few minor errors that only the fans who had the original script memorized noticed). Extra dungeons, some weird emo scenarios at the end. Overall, it was pretty good.

Long-time fans enjoyed this release. It was nice to see an old classic get updated while holding on to the original roots of the game. And Fandom continued, possibly even strengthened.

Final Fantasy IV DS –
Nintendo DS
Okay… so… the new 3D graphics are okay. Gameplay got shot because someone wanted to “increase” the difficulty (grind). Character voices were debatable sometimes. And still only one CG movie… at the beginning. Overall not too bad (though awful soon after the Advanced remake).

All would have been okay… except S/E decided they were going to fill in pieces of the backstory and change the long-standing canon that had been untouched for 17 years. Not only that, but the changes to the canon story (backstory of KluYa, Cecil and Golbez) was really… um… lame. Lame is a good word for it.

Long-time, dedicated fans who had created their own stories and worlds around the original canon were kicked in the face as their creations may have been disqualified in the face of the canon change.

Most creative fans scoffed and kept right on creating… seeing that the story changes were simply laughable.

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years –
Mobile Phone, Japan
Nintendo WiiWare


Take everything that made sense in the original game and throw it out the window. S/E now officially stomps all over their long-time fans by creating a sequel that ruins just about every beloved character from the original game. And they don’t even do it in style. They do it with regurgitated graphics and a storyline that makes most online fanfiction look like “Gone With the Wind” in comparison.

And S/E says: “Let there be WiiWare and let us milk the fans for all they’ve got! Maybe a few will realize how terrible the story is and quit whle they are ahead… but most of them won’t catch it until the end. And by then, they will have bought it all! MWAHAHA!”