Tabata talks Versus XIII to XV, removing Stella, making Prompto more popular and more with USgamer

Tabata talks Versus XIII to XV, removing Stella, making Prompto more popular and more with USgamer

Written by Brayden — 25 Mar 2017

USgamer has spoken to Hajime Tabata, the director of Final Fantasy XV and head of Square Enix Business Division 2 in depth about the evolution from Versus XIII to XV.

Tabata re-confirms he joined the project when it was being re-branded to XV in summer of 2012. He also explained he was in-charge of decisions regarding the game's technology and team structure.

Tabata also re-confirms his promotion to director happened around the time Square Enix Japan's game development was restructured into the 12 Business Divisions, which was December 2013. Tabata was of course made head of BD2, the studio who developed the Final Fantasy XV Universe.

Tabata explained some more about the Business Divisions.

"The shift toward business divisions was devised by our current president, Yosuke Matsuda, and the idea he had in mind was that each business division would operate sort of independently of the company itself. They're still parts of the same company, Square Enix, but they operate independently, and they're each responsible for the games they produce."

Tabata then quietly brings up Final Fantasy Type-1, the planned sequel to Type-0.

"I was actually working on a different console title at the time that I was moved over to rebrand Versus XIII to XV," he says. "Sadly, [that project] is sleeping with the fishes right now. It would be nice if we could resume the project someday, but...."

Tabata then explains he wanted to move onto console games anyway since he felt the handheld market was becoming harder to reach an audience in.

"I moved over from handheld games to console games in the first place because it was something I wanted to do. It's not because I was disappointed in the handheld market or handheld games in general, but rather because at the time, it was becoming difficult for those games to reach a wide audience. Console titles ensure a much larger market, which means the games I create for them can reach a greater number of people on consoles.

And in that sense, I'm glad that we were able to pull off a global launch for FFXV-we reached a much greater audience than any game I've done before, at the exact same time. Up until XV, we would produce a game in Japan, have it released, localized, and then we'd slowly roll it out to players in other regions. So there was a disconnect between how Japanese players feel and how overseas players feel. Awareness was different, and it's hard to keep track of that. So this time, because we aimed for a global launch, we were able to produce things and then, in real time, hear feedback-not only from Japanese users, but from overseas users as well. It was a really good experience for us."

Next Tabata talked more about the transformation from Versus XIII to XV.

"Because the game itself was incomplete, there really wasn't a whole lot brought over, if I'm speaking honestly," he admits. "It's pretty difficult to compare apples and oranges in this case. You have something that was incomplete and never really fully formed. [Versus] was more an idea that an actual game, whereas what we've created here is a complete, finished product.

"However, because the game had already been presented via trailers and other forms of media to the users, one of my goals in developing XV was to preserve the elements that users were aware of and excited about. Once something like that is out in the open, you can't really ignore it. People are expecting it. They're excited about it, so it's something that they have to take into account and, yeah, it sort of serves as inspiration in a way. When you're tying together the start and the end, you know, there are going to be some elements in there that don't quite fit this new conception. To the team's credit, they did as much as they could to include what could fit into this new idea, but there were some aspects, of course, that just didn't work."

Tabata also explained that since fans were already familiar with characters from the various trailers so they had to be kept when making it XV. But it was not easy as they had to adjust the designs to match the new hardware. Tabata then explained about a certain heroine that never came to be.

"Take Stella: In that case, the role of heroine for Versus XIII was different than the heroine that we conceived for Final Fantasy XV. But again, because so many players who had seen these trailers were looking forward to playing as this character, if her role in XV was different, then it would be sort of be betraying their expectations, right? So, rather than disappoint users by including a Stella that didn't match what they expected, we went with a different character altogether, Luna. It's easier for both parties that way. That way, the users aren't disappointed because Stella isn't the Stella of their dreams. And for the developers, it's easier because they can focus on creating a character that's their own."

Tabata then stated their goal when switching to PlayStation 4 & Xbox One was to make the world, characters and battle system more realistic and going away from the "very stylized, cartoonish Kingdom Hearts approach".

Tabata also explained the reason for only Noctis being playable in the main game was due to not wanting to have the other characters not play as good and it being easier to make them good A.I.

Finally, Tabata explained that following the results of the Episode Duscae demo survey in which players voted for their favourite characters they made it a focus to make Prompto and to an extent Noctis more interesting to the player in particular through Prompto taking photos and Noctis fishing.

Check out the link below for even more.

Source: USgamer