How to Franchise to Infinity

Final Fantasy was once the gold standard of video games--but that was back in 1987. Many titles have since stolen its glory, but Final Fantasy still hasn't reached its finale: Its 14th edition comes out on PlayStation 4 this month. Longtime fans lay out its survival strategies.

Be awesome

Final Fantasy XI is the most profitable in the series--so far. "The director of the reboot, Naoki Yoshida, has a reputation for being a canny designer," says USgamer senior editor Jeremy Parish. A great game could bring back some of that former glory.

Be first

Even after so many years, it's possible. "There's a boatload of competition on PC, but Final Fantasy XIV will be the first online role-playing game on PS4," says Ray Barnholt, creator of Scroll, a video-game-history magazine.

Be loyal

Each new iteration of the game uses new characters but the same rules. "This combination--some familiar aspects with some new ideas--makes the Final Fantasy franchise, to some extent, a license to print money," says 14-year fan Phoebe Seiders.

Be creative

With a game like Final Fantasy, "the equity is in the adventure you craft for yourself and the friends you make while in these vast worlds," says Cesar Bittar, CEO of Phoenix Online Studios. As long as that's there, he says, "you could continue playing forever."

[Illustration by Steve Courtney]

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