By Alexander Jones / June 5th, 2015
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.
Unfortunately, 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.
This 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:
Active Time ReportFinal Fantasy Versus XIIIFinal Fantasy XVHajime TabataLuna Nox FleuretNoctisStellaStella Nox Fleuret