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Final Fantasy XV Needs 10 Million Sold to Recoup 10 Years of Work [Update]

Square Enix is setting high targets for the next Final Fantasy.

News by Mike Williams, .

Update: We've received a statement from Square Enix clarifying Tabata's comment.

We’d like to make a comment on the news reports that state Hajime Tabata, Director of Final Fantasy XV, commented that Final Fantasy XV needed to sell 10 million copies to recoup the investment at the press conference held yesterday in LA," a Square Enix spokesperson told USgamer. "We believe there was a communication problem during the conference. In fact, Tabata was referencing 10 million copies only as a high goal which the development team set to realize their ambition to make the ultimate Final Fantasy game. And the comment was never meant to be referred as a recoup line of the investment."

Original story: After the heady revelations at last night's Final Fantasy XV Uncovered event, it was clear that Square Enix is betting a lot on the game. Final Fantasy XV is not only a single game, there's an additional mobile title, animated series, and planned CG film. Today at a press conference attended by Kotaku UK, game director Hajime Tabata mentioned that Final Fantasy XV needed to sell 10 million copies over its lifetime to break even.

To put this in perspective, the Final Fantasy franchise as a whole had sold over 110 million units worldwide as of March 31, 2015. Dragon Quest is around 66 million. The last round of the main series, Final Fantasy XIII, shipped 11 million copies across all three titles - Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII - prior to the launch of the second title on Steam in 2014. Of that, 9.6 million had been sold by 2012. Final Fantasy VII, arguably the biggest game in the series, had sold 9.72 million worldwide as of August 21, 2014.

That's just within Square Enix. Looking at the biggest games of the past few years, Square Enix has it's work ahead of it.

It's possible that Final Fantasy XV could hit 10 million sold, but Square Enix has to dive hard into the marketing. That's why Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV has actors from Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, despite some of those characters appearing in-game with different voice actors. Square Enix is hoping you'll watch Kingsglaive for those folks and then you'll turn around and buy the game. It's why Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV, anime tie-in, is readily available on YouTube. Everything is flowing back to the game.

Square Enix has had developers working on Final Fantasy XV for a decade at this point. Final Fantasy Versus XIII was announced for the PlayStation 3 in 2006, as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy project. The adjoining games in that project, Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Agito XIII (Final Fantasy Type-0), were released December 2009 and October 2011 respectively. Final Fantasy Versus XIII was shifted into Final Fantasy XV sometime in 2012, after 20 to 25 percent of the game was complete. A year later at E3 2013, Square Enix announced the new title.

While Square Enix may not have had all hands on deck for the entire ten years, it was still paying some senior development staff to work on the title the entire time. Final Fantasy XIII cost Square Enix $65 million for 5 years of development on the PlayStation 3. Final Fantasy XV is probably at least double that and the open-world nature of it all means Square probably spent more just learning a different style of development. Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V spent around 137 million on development over 4 years and FFXV looks to be aiming for a similar scope.

It's not hard to believe that Square Enix and the future of Final Fantasy is riding on the success of Final Fantasy XV. It's a game fans have been waiting years to play and hype is high, but that hype needs to ultimately turn into solid sales.

Do you think Final Fantasy XV will make it? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments 41

  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #1 nadiaoxford A year ago
    ...Well. Good luck with that, Squeenix.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #2 SatelliteOfLove A year ago
    "While Square Enix may not have had all hands on deck for the entire ten years, it was still paying some senior development staff to work on the title the entire time. Final Fantasy XIII cost Square Enix $65 million for 5 years of development on the PlayStation 3. Final Fantasy XV is probably at least double that and the open-world nature of it all means Square probably spent more just learning a different style of development. Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V spent around 137 million on development over 4 years and FFXV looks to be aiming for a similar scope."

    The constant feature creep and backseat driving (hah!) has kept this company hogtied over the last 15 years. XIII has been the face of single-player mainline FF for TEN years.

    It's not just this hitting in September, XVI has to hit sometime in 2018, then XVII in 2020 and NOT just go back into this black hole of development hell again.
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  • Avatar for Daryoon #3 Daryoon A year ago
    Financial Fantasy
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  • Avatar for theresacatalano27 #4 theresacatalano27 A year ago
    Well, that's gonna be a tough number, but it's not impossible. I hope they get it, or at least get close. I want Final Fantasy and Square to stick around.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #5 MetManMas A year ago
    I seriously doubt Final Fantasy XV will sell 10 million copies, but as long as it's not a bomb or an incredibly broken mess it should sell in the millions.

    If not, well, Square Enix could probably fall back on Final Fantasy XIV Online subscriptions. Game's been pretty damn successful since they overhauled it with A Realm Reborn.
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #6 CK20XX A year ago
    I'll just say it: Final Fantasy 15 is a dead game walking. Whether it's good or not doesn't matter anymore; it's gonna be a bomb. It's too early to say whether the movie and anime will help or hinder it, but seeing the franchise era of Hollywood still gripping the video game industry like this only hurts my confidence further.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #7 MetManMas A year ago
    @CK20XX While I can relate to being skeptical of the game (it is very different from the Final Fantasy we knew when we were young), you can never tell how these things will go.

    The iPhone looked like an expensive joke when it first came out, but now we all have touchscreen phones of some kind. The Land Before Time is still receiving crummy made-for-video movies to this very day. Hyperdimension Neptunia keeps getting sequels and spinoffs even though it's always been mediocre. There have been at least four "live action with CGI rodents" Alvin and the Chipmunks films. Batman vs. Superman is by most accounts everything wrong with DC films and comics today, but it's already made 530 million dollars worldwide.

    Final Fantasy XV could bomb, but it could also be a massive hit. I doubt it'll hit 10 million, but given how hard they're advertising FFXV and that they're targeting the new guard more than the old my bets are on it being closer to the latter than the former. A big part of selling your product is letting people know that it exists.
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  • Avatar for Y7748837 #8 Y7748837 A year ago
    Might've been possible if they hadn't completely and utterly destroyed all goodwill for their series with the godawful FFXIII games.
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  • Avatar for jihon83 #9 jihon83 A year ago
    At the least, we know what number to blame for this game's reputation being battered more than it should. I thought Square learned its lesson about complaining about sales numbers from the retroactive flogging the first Tomb Raider suffered. It went from a critic's darling to hand-wringing failure after SE whined it didn't meet their target. I suppose they figure they can thin out the vitriol by announcing earlier this time.

    Hmm, anyone want to guess about the target for FF7 mk. II? I would guess 20 million, ha.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #10 VotesForCows A year ago
    Well, that's a lot of sales. Glad to contribute my 0.00001%.
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  • Avatar for send2dev #11 send2dev A year ago
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #12 CK20XX A year ago
    @MetManMas There's a bit of a difference between games like Hyperdimension Neptunia, which cultivate a diehard fanbase and don't need much more than that to survive, and Final Fantasy, which keeps getting too big for its britches in more ways than one. Square Enix still seems to be stuck in the kind of mindset that leaves Triple A publishers struggling so much.

    Besides, I still don't really like my touchscreen phone either. It feels like an awkward web browser without NoScript or AdBlock, always trying to be annoying with notifications and advertisements, and it can't even monitor its own battery life. It consistently dies while still reporting 75% power.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #13 MetManMas A year ago
    @CK20XX True. Ever since Final Fantasy VII was a huge success for Square and Sony, each new mainline Final Fantasy has tried to be bigger and flashier than the last. In contrast, the Dragon Quest devs have always gone to the system Japan follows, even if it means a significant aesthetic downgrade like going from the PS2 8 to the DS 9.

    At this point, I guess Square Enix doubts it could get away with making a lower budget numbered Final Fantasy, after selling the numbered games as being flashy AAA experiences for half the series' life.
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  • Avatar for kelakhale #14 kelakhale A year ago
    Lovely detailed info, Love this game. Graphics are wonderful i mean. Thanks. Latest Govt Jobs, Naukri
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #15 Frosty840 A year ago
    "Final Fantasy XV is not only a single game, there's an additional mobile title, animated series, and planned CG film."

    But... I only want to play the game itself. I don't want any of that other stuff.
    One of the very worst gaming experiences I had in GTA5 was where I had to play that dreadful tamagotchi game on my phone to make the dog like me, because of that one utter nightmare of a mission where the dog hated me and kept buggering off while I was trying to play.
    Then there was the fact that that whole episode was a complete bait-and-switch because there was never another dog mission and I'd downloaded and played the stupid tamagotchi game for nothing.

    I'm certainly not going to watch the anime or the film. I've got a couple of collectors' editions of other videogames with that kind of baggage sitting completely unopened in some packing crate or another.
    I bet there's going to be some door that will only open if you tell it the password from episode 4 of the anime, where the crew go through the same door. And one of the wheels on the crewmobile will squeak through the whole playthrough of the game unless you play the crappy mobile title and tap the "grease squeaky wheel" button every four hours.

    Balls to this entire phenomenon of doing-stuff-that-isn't-playing-the-game. I'll stick with games that just want me to concentrate on playing 'em.
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  • Avatar for Scimarad #16 Scimarad A year ago
    I dare say I'm going to be one of those sales numbers but I can't help but think all they really need to do to make a successful FF is go old school in design and modern in visuals. I've been interested in Versus since it was first announced, probably more so than XIII, but Duscae left me pretty cold and this doesn't really feel like FF even in a series that has changed dramatically over the years.

    There's got to be a sweet spot between the turn based games of old and something that will appeal to a broad audience that they want.
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  • Avatar for Gamer-Law #17 Gamer-Law A year ago
    @nadiaoxford hit the nail on the head. Square has likely set itself up to fail. They would have been far better off managing expectations by announcing a lower number and then exceeding it. If FF X could not achieve those sales numbers on a console with an install base in excess of 100 million, it is very difficult for me to see how FF XV sells remotely close to that.
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  • Avatar for Mooglepies #18 Mooglepies A year ago
    Well that's not likely to happen now is it.

    I suppose they're damned if they do and damned if they don't now. They have to get the game out there because otherwise it's 8 years of development hell for nothing at all. Better to get the game out there and make something out of it.
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  • Avatar for KeroseneBlast #19 KeroseneBlast A year ago
    I think they're just going to take the loss at this point and mitigate the loss as best they can. With FF14 profitable, this won't sink the company, but I think they just want to get it out, get what they can, and then move on to their next project. Here's hoping FF16 and FF7R are better planned out.
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #20 KaiserWarrior A year ago
    This is how the industry dies.

    Square's ego wrote a gigantic check that their body can't cash.

    In order to break even -- not even make a profit, but break even -- they need XV to out-sell the most popular game in the series that has been on the market for almost 20 years. To match the total combined sales of the last three titles in the series. To out-sell some of the biggest releases of recent years. To have this one game, number 15 in the mainline series and honestly who can even keep track of how many spin-offs, sell about 10% of the grand total series lifetime sales total.

    There's no way it can succeed. It is doomed to fail before it even launches.
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  • Avatar for Darji #21 Darji A year ago
    I am pretty sure they will do it. Battlefront sold 12 Million and it was a bad game with a Star wars licences. They sold their 270$ bundles in like 30 minutes. People are starving for this game which build up over the last 10 years.

    This game is basically everything fans wanted back from the FF series.Edited April 2016 by Darji
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  • Avatar for Darji #22 Darji A year ago
    @nimzy luckily the general public does not care about it if there is no women in the party or not. people like Anita are not their audience and I am thankful for that.

    They are trying something totally different in an Industry that always tries to play it safe. I applaud them for their risk taking and I wish more developer would take such huge risks.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #23 brionfoulke91 A year ago
    I don't know about 10 million, but I think this game will probably do very well. If you think about it, PS4 owners are pretty starved for games like this, or just for games in general. PS4 has sold well, but it's library is still very underwhelming. It feels like a lot of people that own PS4s are gonna end up buying this game. And probably a few are going to buy PS4 just for this game as well.
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #24 Frosty840 A year ago
    @Darji I think@nimzy was focusing on the difficulty of selling "pretty boy road-trip" to the US public rather than commenting on the gender balance of the party, tbh.

    I actually think the "pretty boy road trip" market is a lot bigger than the "grimble, gromble, not enuff wimminz" market, though whether either is as big as the "eew, pretty boys D:" market is a big question all on its own...
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #25 Frosty840 A year ago
    Oh, btw Mike/other staff, post #15 at the time of writing appears to be spam. It's a different format to the usual stuff, so it's easily missed but I think it's avoided a couple of rounds of cleanup at this point so I thought I'd mention it. Feel free to sweep up this post along with it.
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  • Avatar for TheWildCard #26 TheWildCard A year ago
    Seems high, but maybe they can get close with just brute marketing force. Selfishly I'm not sure I want it do THAT well, just cause I don't want SE to think Kingdom Hearts-esque action-RPGs is the only way forward for Final Fantasy.

    Also the premise is decent but what I've glimpsed of the story doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.
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  • Avatar for Darji #27 Darji A year ago
    Seems like this was just a personal ambition he and the team had and not the company goal

    "In a statement issued to Famitsu, Tabata clarified the 10 million figure is nothing more than a goal for the team. He said the number is probably exaggerated but was put out to demonstrate the team’s lofty ambitions."

    I really like their ambition and I am pretty sure they will archive this
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #28 Vonlenska A year ago
    Yeah, I'm ambivalent-to-hostile toward the excess kruft getting glued on now. That seems like it has more potential to hurt the game through further brand dilution than help it through marketing, at this point.

    I am curious to see how the game sells. It's turning out surprisingly appealing to me, despite some iffy decisions. It's hard to tell what the overall feeling toward the game is; if there's genuine excitement or bitterness or just inertia because "Final Fantasy" is a brand that's sold previously. I am kind of betting this is the last numbered, traditional single player FF. The series has been leaning that way since Square Enix happened, and it really might not be a bad direction to go (though if FF7R is any indication...well, here's hoping XV is a nice send off).
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  • Avatar for Jason-X #29 Jason-X A year ago
    Glad to hear that Square has really took to heart the hard-learned lessons of FFXIII's development.
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  • Avatar for Voncaster #30 Voncaster A year ago
    They only have to sell 2m ultra special editions to break even. Second print run?

    Also maybe its because they take forever to come out, but a new numbered final fantasy feels like a significant event to me in the way that almost no other video game franchise does.Edited April 2016 by Voncaster
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  • Avatar for DrCorndog #31 DrCorndog A year ago
    Release it on PC and they might hit that mark!
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  • Avatar for detten17 #32 detten17 A year ago
    finished the demo that came out this week, and to be honest I'm not really sold. The combat was a bit too simplistic, the camera felt very slow, like when I would rotate around Noctis the camera felt slower. hope it does well but idk about FFXV.

    I wonder if P5 will come out before b/c I'm only going deep on one JRPG this year.
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  • Avatar for Darji #33 Darji A year ago
    @detten17 There is quite a bit of depth in the combat but people need to experiment a bit with it. for example this^^

    .be

    It is sad that SE did not put a tutorial into it. To show of some of the stuff^^
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  • Avatar for brianli04 #34 brianli04 A year ago
    This is going to be SquarEnix "FINAL" Fantasy
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  • Avatar for detten17 #35 detten17 A year ago
    @Darji

    I fought the iron giant twice, i stepped on the pad ahead of where carbuncle was, and i was able to pull similar moves off, but I personally didn't think it was fun, the fight was somewhat easy. The whole time i was playing I wanted to explore certain area but you really couldn't, Noctics can't really climb on top of anything and the it had a similar KH invisible wall feel near the end. I'm sure there are people that will like it but I'm been iffy about this title, i'm hoping it proves me wrong but it really feels like i was playing as Riku in KH. One more thing, odd the giant wasn't winding up for an attack in that run.Edited April 2016 by detten17
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  • Avatar for Darji #36 Darji A year ago
    @detten17 you can get up the tower through warping. This is also where these 2 extra weapons hide. Shuriken and a Shield.
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  • Avatar for docexe #37 docexe A year ago
    Strictly speaking, those numbers are not impossible to hit. The game is multiplatform, Final Fantasy is still the most popular Square Enix brand around the world, and the game has been heavily hyped and anticipated since it was reintroduced as XV. Assuming it is... you know, actually good, Square might reach those “lofty ambitions” through sheer force of marketing.
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  • Avatar for kingfishjuice #38 kingfishjuice A year ago
    What the hell has happend to the writers since ff10? All these games depend on 2 things, Story And Characters. battle system is a close third. But they just crap out these odd eccentrics who mildly remind me of all past final fantasy characters. The only thing that is going to save this game is how well the battle system performs behind its visuals. Other then that the americans are now wipeing the floor with the jappanese story wise. Hireing paid hollywood script writers is the way forward no more in house writers their shit...
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  • Avatar for ajsanaje14 #39 ajsanaje14 A year ago
    Next time, you should read out Code of Conduct before posting. Welcome to USgamer.

    http://www.usgamer.net/conductEdited May 2016 by MHWilliams
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