I can tell you how the self depreciation started. Here's the story:
Squaresoft made some fun games, FF, FF2, FF3 (by American numbers). Fans of the RPG really loved them, thought they were great. Then, Squaresoft makes FFVII. Another good and fun game. Except, there is a huge marketing campaign to attract buyers and FFVII becomes very chic among all people that enjoy videogames. Its popularity grows way beyond what it should have (Though it certainly deserved great appreciation), and it gets the "backlash" any really popular game gets (think Halo). FFVIII is released, another good and decent game, but it doesn't have the ad campaign FFVII did, and, frankly, it just isn't as good.
And that is when it happened - right after the release of FFVIII. When people started thinking that all Final Fantasies had to be OMGWTFBBQPWN awesome to be good. When people started expecting enthralling, instead of entertaining.
IMO none of the numbered Final Fantasies are bad games, all are at least decent. Though, decent doesn't mean everyone wants to play it. So, there you go. We basically have to do it to stroke the ego of those that don't find Final Fantasy games fun. And that started circa 1999/2000.
That sounds about right. At any rate, I still have faith in Final Fantasy; Final Fantasy XII reaffirmed my faith in Jesus (he still loves me), so it at least reaffirmed my faith in this series of videogames.
I just wish that they would do away with the light hearted, tween-esque characters. It's a stupid set up that has been played out way too much.
Duh, I having fun I'm a badass mercenary but I act like a complete spastic. Whoa, you're a girl that came along (may or may not belong to a resistance group) and showed me how serious life really is and that mindlessly obeying orders is wrong, I love you.
Gotta agree with Matt I. (Hey, I'm posting in a two month old thread to the exact day!) Between Final Fantasy Twelve and War of the Lions, I still have some faith in Squeenex. WotL for its updated translation; although I'm not always sure if I like it, one couldn't say that it panders to thirteen year old boys, which is the biggest thing wrong with the company. Plus Tactics is and shall forever be, in my opinion, one of the greatest games of all time.