I think Final Fantasy, the name, in and of itself is a selling point of the game. However, I don't agree that it's a brandname like Nike. Notice that Nike makes lots of different kinds of shoes, they make tennis shoes and cross-trainers and basketball, soccer, running, and just... inordinate amounts of diverging shoe types.

All the Final Fantasy games share worlds that have similar elements. They may have Chocobos, or guys named Cid, and always seem to finish off with a face off against an evil superbeing who's likened himself to a god. They've never claimed to be a 'story cycle,' but the idea that they're akin to a collection of stories based on a theme is fairly valid. They aren't coherent in relation to each other at all, but they often deal with similar premises.

While it is true that lots of RPGs share similar elements, this is just inherent in all RPGs. I mean, how're you going to get away from it? D&D games, as well as Vampire, Heavy Gear, Gurps and the Warhammer roleplaying game will end up dealing with similar themes and situations. Who's to say that you can't list different campaigns on different worlds under similar and sequel names? I mean, Christ, look at the discrepancies in the Highlander movies. They all star Christopher Lambert, but their backstories are all incredibly different, and I've yet to hear people screaming, "Hey, name Highlander 2 something else!"

Final Fantasy games all share a name, premise, music, and world characteristics, as well as similar game engines. I mean, come on, it's not like every game Square puts out is titled Final Fantasy this or that. They split their games into categories, and named them similarly. Does that make them evil? Do you think that to be a sequel, the story should have to have the recurring adventures of the same characters? I mean, where're the people bitching about all the Legend of Zelda games, since Hyrule is a completely different world each time you play it. And where is somebody to be pissed off that non-Belmonts are being featured in their own Castlevania games? Look, these games just have to end themselves each time they come around. If they didn't finish each story in its own world, then each Fantasy wouldn't be final.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Final Fantasy 8, and Ultima 9, the latest in each of their respective series, both sucked, so arguing that one has a bigger scope than the other is moot. They've only got their next games to tell us whether they've still got it in them. Oh wait... The Ultima series is OVER... how sad.

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