Hajime Tabata Talks Final Fantasy XV’s Goals And Direction

Friday, March 27th, 2015

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Final Fantaxy XV director Hajime Tabata opened up about what he and his team at Square Enix hope to bring to the fans in a recent talk with Gamespot. In the interview, Tabata discusses the fact that the demo represents a 60% build of the game, the decision to use an all male cast and the idea of ‘three pillars’ upon which to build Final Fantasy XV.

As it regards the demo Episode Duscae, Tabata clarified earlier statements that the game had been 80% done but that the demo was more indicative of a 60% build of the finished product. Tabata believes that the demo’s release will create the type of feedback he needs to make sure that Final Fantasy XV lives up to everyone’s expectations. In his own words:

“To clarify on that 60 percent figure, it’s the playable demo that represents the 60 percent, which is what [I] was referring to in February. The main challenge right now is taking all the lessons we learned from making the demo and turning them into something positive to bring to the full game,”

The most controversial element of Final Fantasy XV to date has been the decision to use an all male cast for the player character and his party. Tabata stated that the reason for this was to make the characters more accessible to their audience by showing the group in a more natural state of activity. He wanted a level of intimacy between the characters that he feels wouldn’t have been possible had females been a part of the group. Quoting Tabata directly:

“Speaking honestly, an all-male party feels almost more approachable for players. Even the presence of one female in the group will change their behaviour, so that they’ll act differently. So to give the most natural feeling, to make them feel sincere and honest, having them all the same gender made sense in that way,”

In essence, Tabata is saying that the intimacy and bonding that the party goes through will show them in a more natural light where they aren’t putting up fronts and engaging in behavior that caters to a different dynamic. In Tabata’s own words, “boys will be boys.” It’s a rather interesting take on video game narrative, especially considering all the current hot-button topics happening in social media as it concerns the hobby as a whole.

Insofar as the “three pillars” that Final Fantasy XV is being built on, they are “great story, great graphics, great game experience.” Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn director Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P, as he’s affectionately known by the XIV fan base) also cited these three pillars as the basis for resurrecting the once troubled but now resurgent MMO. While these three aspects may seem like something all game companies try to focus on, the almost philosophical approach SE takes in establishing and investing themes into their development cycle is one of their defining traits.

To read more about Tabata’s thoughts on Final Fantasy XV and also Square Enix’s decision to bring Final Fantasy Type-0 to next gen consoles, check out the article here.

About Tom Tolios

Really smart, talks too much, loves the video games and the Star Wars and the Game of Thrones, likes the manga and some anime and knows that Kentaro Miura's Berserk is the greatest thing ever made.




  • Bakuryukun

    Or, they could have written the characters to not be apparent douchebags who hide behind masks at the mere sight of a woman. So was every Final Fantasy group before that NOT acting sincere and putting up fronts all the time because Tifa or Terra were there? What gross implications.

    I’m still interested in the game and all, but geez what a lame sexist reason. Also “Boys will be boys”” is and will always be a stupid mindset that only exists to make people ignore bad behaviour and handwave it away as natural and unavoidable.

    • TachyonCode

      First of all, there are basically only four ways a sexist player can treat female characters in their party:
      >Turn them into their personal murder tool (and thereby objectify them as a “sexy badass”)
      >Have them tank until they die (thereby objectifying them as “the de-facto victim”)
      >Protect them from harm at every turn (thereby objectifying them as “chivalry” does)
      >Not use them, on principle, “because a woman shouldn’t be fighting” (which is inherently sexist for reasons I shouldn’t need to explain)

      Given that the above is irrefutably true, let us further investigate the narrative potential this party configuration has, both in terms of its effect on the direction of the game’s plot AND on the potential experiences a player can have.

      If there’s no female party members, there’s also going to be none of the following typical problems with RPGs and JRPGs in particular:
      >”Female armor problems” (at least on playable characters)
      >Perverts having control over the degree of “fanservice” any given female party member displays for their own entertainment (remember Lightning’s costumes in her most recent game?)
      >Ridiculous over-endowment of female player characters to appeal to perverts (again: do you REMEMBER Lightning in her most recent game?)

      A sexist player of this game therefore has ZERO control over which characters in the party get to be their wank material, and is thus robbed of a major degree of agency – much as their sexism tends to rob others of agency.


      (I realize that it is NOT ONLY sexist players whose agency is removed here, but let’s focus on what this situation forces on them *specifically*, shall we? Likewise, take from this next part what you will. I just find where this train of thought goes to be interesting to consider.)

      Then, of course, there is the little matter of the potential for character development. A male who accepts females into their social groups with no qualms has nowhere to go but down, from the perspective of their behavior with women. A sexist male, on the other hand, has nowhere to go but up, because people CAN (and just often don’t) change.

      A PACK of these sexist or chauvinist males (which we’re apparently getting, from the tone of that interview) presents a whole lot of opportunities for conflict – which if you are a writer, you already know means you automatically gain a lot of material to work with, both in terms of how you can develop characters’ personalities, and in terms of how you can develop the plot.

      The one thing that prevents me from seeing this particular game as a golden opportunity is the fact that it already sounds like the party will be *exclusively* male *throughout gameplay*.

      So, while there *were* opportunities for good writing to occur here, it just sounds like there’s a good possibility it *won’t*.

  • mic

    Absolutely sickening. He is spilling out utter bullshit.

    This man is either a complete fool with no concept of quality writing and actually thinks what he’s saying is true, or he’s lying and Square Enix has some sort of hidden agenda.

    • TachyonCode

      First of all, there are basically only four ways a sexist player can treat female characters in their party:
      >Turn them into their personal murder tool (and thereby objectify them as a “sexy badass”)
      >Have them tank until they die (thereby objectifying them as “the de-facto victim”)
      >Protect them from harm at every turn (thereby objectifying them as “chivalry” does)
      >Not use them, on principle, “because a woman shouldn’t be fighting” (which is inherently sexist for reasons I shouldn’t need to explain)

      Given that the above is irrefutably true, let us further investigate the narrative potential this party configuration has, both in terms of its effect on the direction of the game’s plot AND on the potential experiences a player can have.

      If there’s no female party members, there’s also going to be none of the following typical problems with RPGs and JRPGs in particular:
      >”Female armor problems” (at least on playable characters)
      >Perverts having control over the degree of “fanservice” any given female party member displays for their own entertainment (remember Lightning’s costumes in her most recent game?)
      >Ridiculous over-endowment of female player characters to appeal to perverts (again: do you REMEMBER Lightning in her most recent game?)

      A sexist player of this game therefore has ZERO control over which characters in the party get to be their wank material, and is thus robbed of a major degree of agency – much as their sexism tends to rob others of agency.


      (I realize that it is NOT ONLY sexist players whose agency is removed here, but let’s focus on what this situation forces on them *specifically*, shall we? Likewise, take from this next part what you will. I just find where this train of thought goes to be interesting to consider.)

      Then, of course, there is the little matter of the potential for character development. A male who accepts females into their social groups with no qualms has nowhere to go but down, from the perspective of their behavior with women. A sexist male, on the other hand, has nowhere to go but up, because people CAN (and just often don’t) change.

      A PACK of these sexist or chauvinist males (which we’re apparently getting, from the tone of that interview) presents a whole lot of opportunities for conflict – which if you are a writer, you already know means you automatically gain a lot of material to work with, both in terms of how you can develop characters’ personalities, and in terms of how you can develop the plot.

      The one thing that prevents me from seeing this particular game as a golden opportunity, from a narrative perspective alone, is the fact that it already sounds like the party will be exclusively male *throughout gameplay*.

      So, while there *were* opportunities for good writing to occur here, it just sounds like there’s a good possibility it *won’t*.

  • Alexander Jones

    I don’t really see what the hullabaloo is about here. Okay, sure, having a main cast of just guys may seem like an odd thing, but what’s wrong with exploring a camaraderie of four guys travelling together? Can you think of a JRPG that has done that? I’m sure there have been some, but I can’t really think of one off the top of my head that didn’t have a girl in there, too, and you know what? There’s nothing wrong with either scenario. It’s not sexist to say that, when adding a girl in a dynamic of three close guys, the dynamic DOES change, because it’s painfully obvious in real life that the dynamic changes, whether you acknowledge it or not. Sure, there are exceptions to everything, but from my personal experience with a variety of different personalities from both the guys and the girls in this scenario, the dynamic changes in various different ways.

    Considering the numerous social pressures on men in Japan at this time, I’m interested to see where they take the story of this one and explore the friendship of these young men. Also, I don’t think anyone should read too deeply into some of the statements about this game as implications for what happened in other JRPGs/the social dynamics in them, because I think he’s mainly just referring to how it would change this particular social dynamic.

    • TachyonCode

      I think you’re overgeneralizing a bit, as I was tempted to do at first, with regards to how the social dynamic changes (you seem to admit this, partially). Their behavior does, after all, depend on whether or not we are talking about a group of all straight men, a group of gay men, or a mixed group – and it likewise also depends on their personalities. I would expect to see some variety in each spectrum, with regards to playable characters in this game.

      Therefore, I do think that this *could* be a very topical story being told, depending on the treatment. But I’m taking that opinion with a very large grain of salt. After all, this is Japan we’re talking about – where, if something can be presented as “moe” or otherwise objectified, you better damn well believe the Otaku subculture will and does fetishize it, and that therefore the creators of just about any content produced in that market deliberately aim to exploit that fact.

      I rather doubt Squeenix is going to rectify that problem with regards to their own products within the next ten years, but it may be interesting to see them try.

      At any rate, the lack of playable female characters IS exclusionary from a representation perspective (even if there are female non-player characters, this means that the game deprives those who genuinely wish to experience a female perspective directly of their agency to do so – which, you know, demanding that every game do so is a little bit unreasonable, since every game tells a different story… but it’s not any less a valid point to make). That’s the primary problem anybody *should* be complaining about here, if anyone’s going to complain about anything, because that’s what they have actual room to complain about at this point in time.