A "Final Fantasy Disease" Affected Square Enix, Director Says
That "refers to people within the company who can't imagine anything other than their own view of Final Fantasy."
Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata has opened up on the lengthy and at times strained development of the RPG, mentioning what he described as a "Final Fantasy disease."
In a back-and-forth interview between Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada and Tabata for 4Gamer, Harada asked if there was "backlash" internally when Tabata took over as the game's director in 2012.
"Oh yeah, there was," Tabata explained, according to a translation from Kotaku. "It wasn't only from inside the team, but outside as well. The reason was that if my way of doing it ended up working, there are those whose circumstances will worsen."
It should be noted that Tabata reportedly laughed after speaking that last line.
Tabata went on to say that it was important to make changes to the Final Fantasy formula for Final Fantasy XV, even if not everyone agreed.
"Around that time, I realized that among fans as well, there are people who've caught Final Fantasy disease," he said.
What's the "Final Fantasy disease"? Tabata frankly explained: "It refers to people within the company who can't imagine anything other than their own view of Final Fantasy."
He added: "Since the root is a strong self-affirmation, one's own view of Final Fantasy takes more priority than the team's success. If that view of Final Fantasy isn't fulfilled, then they're convinced that it's bad for Final Fantasy. They think, 'Since Final Fantasy is a special team, then we are also special because we are making it. When the new Final Fantasy comes out, everybody is going to be so into it.' But that's not the reality of the situation, is it?"
The director went on to say that, at one point in Final Fantasy XV's development, he told the team, "We're not special. Wake up."
"I realized that when Final Fantasy XV news was made public--this wasn't only inside the company. Everyone has FF disease."
Finally, Tabata said he could not stress enough that Final Fantasy needs to "modernize" or else it might fade away.
"At this point, if the series didn't modernize, I think it could've been done for," he said.
This isn't the first time Tabata has offered some frank comments on the state of the Final Fantasy brand. He said in April 2016 that, when he took over as director on the project, one of his first decisions was to conduct an analysis of the current state of the Final Fantasy brand in Japan. The results were not promising. Tabata said the franchise, at the time, was considered a "dying IP that had already peaked."
Why go on with Final Fantasy XV if that was the case? Tabata said he believes fans continue to have faith in the developer to make something great.
"One thing I've felt from fans is that they are disappointed in the current state of Final Fantasy, but still have hope in terms of where the brand could go," he explained at the time.
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