Final Fantasy XV famously underwent a name change deep into its development, having spent the first half-decade of its development as Final Fantasy XIII Versus. While the core story remained intact, many fans are wondering what exactly changed when Director Hajime Tabata took over.
Mognetcentral forum user xXShuyaXx recently sat down with Tabata to ask the differences, and Tabata provided a little insight into how the two games differed from one another.
WARNING: OBVIOUS FINAL FANTASY SPOILERS BELOW
Final Fantasy Versus XIII, along with Final Fantasy XIII were both made based on the story of the Goddess in the ”Fabula Nova Crystallis” series. However, as the title changed to Final Fantasy XV, and as the next gen hardware came into development, with this as a new numbered title in the series, development went through an overhaul. Because of this, there was a need to carefully consider and reexamine the content of the game as a whole to fix it. As a result from that, after going over and re-establishing the scenario, the heroine’s position in the story had changed and, as a result, the new heroine Luna was introduced.
However, the main plot of Final Fantasy Versus XIII was preserved and carried over into Final Fantasy XV. Speaking furthermore, common mythos of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series [the chosen ones by crystal put their life at stake to accomplish their mission], have also been carried over and imported into Final Fantasy XV as one of the essentials. In that manner, in the roots of Final Fantasy XV, many components and elements from the days of Final Fantasy Versus XIII remain.
Other hints point to a purposefully vague ending, and the origin of several of the popular characters through connections with those that did not make it into the final game.
The original vision vs the final vision… which is more legit?
Final Fantasy XV is a perfect look into how video games are seen as personal projects and how outside influences affect the game. Originally, the game was put under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura, a man with a long history at Square Enix. The story, characters, and world were his creations along with the help of his team’s.
However, when he was replaced at the director’s chair by Hajime Tabata, a man with a shorter resume, the game officially became his to steer, leaving fans worried that the “original vision” for the game would be tainted by somebody beyond the original team.
Which just raises the question of how much games are allowed to change over development. Just like any other media form, things happen. Personnel changes, budgets and time limits are retweaked, characters and stories have to be scrapped.
I’m a believer that the final product of any game is what the game should be. Of course, the quality of that game is a separate consideration, and patches are able to add in those elements afterwards.
However, from an artistic viewpoint, Nomura wrote his story and had his turn, and Tabata took over and had his turn. The results were a great game regardless if some of Nomura’s characters were scrapped. This is a collaborative effort, just like movies. Sometimes, the big dog isn’t always right, and preserving the story has to take a back seat to telling a better one.