Final Fantasy XV’s Original Heroine Stella is Officially Dropped

Friday, June 5th, 2015

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Final Fantasy XV | oprainfall

“Well…I guess we’ll never find out what our full connection was supposed to be after all.”

Remember those trailers for Final Fantasy XV from so long ago, back when it was still known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII? The earliest Versus XIII trailer shared characteristics with Kingdom Hearts teaser movies unlocked after beating one of those games — a lot of flashy action with no explanation or setup, but enough there to spark general interest in the future of the project or series. As more trailers for Versus XIII released, the workings of a coherent story presented themselves through various scenarios and character interactions, especially with the introduction of a character known as Stella Nox Fleuret. From early trailers, Stella came across as a confident, straightforward and sensitive young woman around the same age as Noctis. She also happened to share with him the ability to see souls cross over from the world of the living to the world of the dead. Though one cutscene showed Noctis and Stella interacting cheerfully in the lobby during a swanky dinner party of some sort, some scenes in other trailers showed the two of them facing off against each other as enemies. This tension between friendly interaction and forced face-offs appeared to be a driving force of the plot of the game, or at least the early parts we got a taste from. Melded together with Noctis’ relationships with his three bodyguard friends, the character development and interactions appeared to have quite a bit of room to flourish.

Final Fantasy XV | StellaUnfortunately, even with all the buildup the early trailers gave us, Stella is no more. Revealed during the most recent “FINAL FANTASY XV Active Time Report,” Hajime Tabata explained that Versus XIII had undergone many changes besides just its name throughout its development, especially once he took over as director. Many in-depth discussions took place on the development team, deciding on which gameplay and story elements would carry over from the Versus XIII stage of development to the more fully-realized Final Fantasy XV stage he inherited. Tabata wanted to stay as true to the original vision of the story as possible, but understood that with new advances in gameplay, technology, and overall world building and character interaction, some things had to go.

Though the team sought to find a way for Stella to remain as the heroine she was, Tabata stated that it became “increasingly difficult to make sense of Stella’s character and role within FFXV.” Likely the increased focus on the interaction between Noctis and his bodyguards made it harder to fit her into that dynamic, so as much as he and others on the staff wanted her to stay, she simply could not fit in the story anymore. Other scenarios and plot points have changed, as well, including the removal of gameplay during the aforementioned party that was prominent in the trailers for Versus XIII; the characters will already have left the city at this point.

Final Fantasy XV | LunaThis is somewhat expected since Stella has been absent from virtually all the promotional material for Final Fantasy XV. Still, Stella is not completely gone, as elements in her character seem to have been transferred to the young woman that has been featured in more recent trailers: Luna Nox Fleuret. Her full role has yet to be determined, though it seems that her design certainly took inspiration from Stella. Given the little particles of light around her, it might not be out of the realm of possibility that she can see the dead cross over, as well. Time will tell as to the part Luna will play in the overall story for Final Fantasy XV.


Final Fantasy XV is available for pre-order on Amazon:

About Alexander Jones

Alexander Jones is a 24 year-old with a BA in History and has been gaming as far back as he can remember. Growing up, he was raised strictly on Nintendo consoles, but this fueled a passion for Japanese gaming and design. Though he does still have a soft spot for Nintendo, he has grown to love any developer and console with fun, enjoyable games. Some of his favorite games of all time include Ocarina of Time, Final Fantasy XIII, Chrono Trigger, and Katawa Shoujo.

  • prometheus126

    I can’t believe they ended up removing Stella. The fact that they seemed to be quite close, yet still had to fight each other to the death was amazing. And removing her just to have more focus on the bodyguards? Come on.

    Wanted to stay true to the original vision? One of the main things we saw in the first few trailers WAS STELLA!!

    • Dimitri Theodosakis

      I may just not buy Final Fantasy XV until hits 29.99 most due to Stella removed

    • ZelpherFayt

      LOL are you a moron? That’s such a dumb reason. They pretty much just turned her into Luna. it’s the same chick lol even have the same last name. They dont even LOOK all that different. in fact I bet if they didn’t say anything most people would not have even known! it was a different girl lol. Also you dont even know Stellas personality in GAME LOL my gawd people on the net…

  • Brian Williams

    Looks like they had a bad breakup before the game even began.

  • Iyamtebist

    Okay they removed a character who was shown in trailers years ago back when it was Versus XIII? What the hell? Did they just flat out change the storyline mid development? Call me crazy but i’d think that the first thing that someone would do for an RPG is write the story first and build the game’s universe around said story. Were they designing the game without a complete story and making it up as they go? Good lord, this just screams incompetence.

    • ragunaxl

      Monolithsoft did exactly what you said for xenosaga. They had built an epic story and eeked out a barebones game engine to fit the story in on one disc and to meet the deadline. It lacked depth and wasn’t very fun. They were so disappointed that with xenoblade they did the opposite. They built the massive world, then the battles system and wuest system and let the world dictate what type of story it told. It ended up being great.

    • TRUndercover

      I’m still chafing from Stella’s removal, but your point is reasonable and valid. Monolithsoft DID go by that route and Chronicles turned out to be a stone cold classic with a very well thought out gameplay loop.

    • Iyamtebist

      Well it doesn’t sound like that is the route FFXV is going if they are trying to build both the story and the game at the same time. I would just assume that the story and scripting would take a lot less time than building a game engine as well as putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into graphical assets only to change something and rebuild a whole bunch of stuff from scratch and need to start over. And considering how long this game was in development, that could very well be the case here.

    • Jahu

      That’s more or less what happened. For all intents and purposes, Versus XIII was cancelled in 2012, and its remains were reworked as XV. But I’m just as disappointed about Stella’s removal.

  • ragunaxl

    It was said early on after it became XV anyway, that XV would be realized as a trilogy, and that noctis powers in earlier trailers displayed abilities in later games, he would be much more down to earth. Luna or Stella, however they are related sisters or a reskin of the same character, may play a larger role in games down the line.

  • Taiyaki

    I was hoping romance would be a strong theme in this one like it was in VIII or X but doesn’t look like it anymore. Bromance is the name of the game or they want us to feel that way right now. :/

  • TRUndercover

    The agony is real, but…. There’s still some hope. Quite frankly we don’t really know what the real story of FF vs./XV would have been and are basically working out of pure conjecture from old trailers. There are still a couple of female characters that we can look out for that seem suitably mysterious. I’d refer you all to the E3 2013 Announcement Trailer during which our hero is escaping Insomnia during Nifelheim’s invasion. Towards the end, there are a bunch of faces that show up showing off the characters (one of whom seems to be an enigmatic black haired Asian lady)… I assume that Stella was in fact part of a pretty robust entourage of worthwhile female characters in the game alongside Luna.

    There must be much more left to be seen.

  • Another_Unknown

    Shin disliked this.