Actually, it is quite clear that they DO care what made the great FF's great.
They have to care. They KNOW. They simply choose to be different every game and specifically exclude the things that made the great FF's great.
No world map. No traditional leveling system. Are we actually going to return to having actual equipment, instead of just choosing a weapon? There are many more factors, too many to get into.
The deliberate exclusion of many if not all of those factors shows that they know what they are. Entirely too many get excluded for them to unaware of them, random chance is not that enthusiastic.
Those don't make a RPG great. Infact the "traditional leveling system" is pretty poor because it's taken from a structured game(DnD) that's structured around providing a suitable challenge for the players level at any point.
I mean could you explain what makes a traditional level up system great in context of Final Fantasy and not actually detrimental because rather than getting better at the game a player can simply gain some levels.
at least FF8 world map should be standard for modern FF RPGs.
And yea FF 3D world maps are more open than just linear field areas.
For example, in FF7 world map, you can go from Midgar straight to Kalm town, BUT you could also go visit Chocobo Ranch as well. AND cross the swamp into the cave which leads to the other side. Fort Condor is optional, and then there's Junon, as well as some forests along the way (and a cave on the side).
THEN at Coasta Del Sol, it gets a tad linear, but it opens up more once they get the vehicle that can cross rivers, so you can visit Gongaga town, or go straight to that village, um whatever it's called, (lots of town names to memorize across all FFs) and then further ahead is Nibelheim.
AND THEN once you go past that and the mountains, there's Rocket Town, and getting that ship raft, basically any area with shallow water is open to you.
You can go to Wutai, you can go to the Northern Continent. And the world and accessibility and openness keeps expanding as the story progresses. by the time the campaign reaches its climax, the heroes can take airship, submarine and chocobo anywhere.
The 3D FF world map really opens up more epicness to FF RPG worlds than without it.
It is strange that even Lightning Returns still doesn't get a proper FF world map (which even FF Type 0 did right, as well as Dissidia Duodecim despite the type of world they were in, and that has a lower budget than XIII games.)
I tell you there is something wacky about Kitase and Toriyama these days.
Look, they're not lazy, wacky, or anything because they are working so hard to make a better game. You can't blame them if they don't need a world map or "TOWNZ!". If they want their dev team to make that, that's fine. But how long do they work on the world map merging into anything? Hours? Days? Weeks? Years? If Toriyama, Kitase, and other had more or less 500 developers to make the game faster, it'll be two or more years. But you can't expect that they put everything you wanted. They are doing their best they can.
"Get up!! Show me your true power!" Ryu's victory in SF3