Why Some In Japan Aren't Thrilled With Final Fantasy XV's Setting

As the game's trailer states, Final Fantasy XV is a fantasy based on reality. A select group of Japanese gamers doesn't exactly seem thrilled with that.

What is bothering a handful of players is that the latest game has elements that seem, I dunno, commonplace? That is, if you live in Japan.

Here's what I'm talking about: the latest trailer recycles footage from a 2011 Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer. As previously noted, that trailer features images of ETC booths. ETC is a highway toll system that is used in Japan.

For the most part, the ETC booths look accurate — save for the giant armed guards and the blockade stumps. There's even a yellow safety vehicle (circled below), which you often see cruising Japanese highways.

Some of the apartment buildings shown in the trailer also look exactly like you'd find in Japan.

These banal Japanese motifs continue in the new FFXV trailer. On 2ch, Japan's largest internet forum, commenters are now noticing that the game has the country's police cars.

Unlike the US, where patrol cars vary, the designs of Japanese police automobiles are uniform nationwide, differentiated by the regional name. Here's a reference photo, courtesy of Wiki.

The squad cars in FFXV are near copies of Japanese police vehicles.

But on the squad car, it reads in Japanese, "Royal Municipal Police Force".

For some Japanese gamers, it probably feels odd to see a bland cop car next to a giant monster — maybe even vaguely jarring. That could be the point, though.

It goes without saying that numerous locations in the trailer look absolutely nothing like Japan and echo Europe. Years ago, I seem to remember that Square Enix did acknowledge that the game, when it was called Final Fantasy Versus XIII, was inspired by locations in Japan and Italy.

For Japanese, Europe is foreign, different, and exotic. It would seem closer to fantasy — even fantasy based on reality.

But things like domestic toll booths and police cars are incredibly banal and commonplace. "Where's the fantasy?" asked one commenter on 2ch. "Guess they're not making fantasy anymore," added another. "Maybe, foreigners who like Japan will get into this," yet another commenter chimed in.

It's odd that some people on 2ch are just realising how the game seems to be inspired by Japan — especially, because, as hinted at above, the 2011 Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer, the game's earlier incarnation, took place in what looks like Tokyo (see below).

Naturally, Japanese game developers make Final Fantasy games. And, yes, it does make sense for FFXV's creators to gaze inward for inspiration. But for so long, they've looked to abroad to create a foreign or fantasy element for players — even if the characters are speaking Japanese.

Thus, the inclusion of commonplace Japanese motifs might strike some gamers in Japan as slightly odd. Some didn't even think it was necessary to call the game a Final Fantasy title, while there were cries that the Japan inspired world was "cheap looking". That's not being derisive per se, but rather, it probably means that these elements hinder you from entering another world.

Finally, one 2ch commenter quipped, "If they're going to set the game in Japan, then give the characters Japanese faces, too."

Still, the game's not out. Perhaps these individuals, who are not speaking for all Japanese gamers, will come around, once the game is released. Maybe not.

ファイナルファンタジー15は日本が舞台か? [2ch]


    Screw what Japan wants. If they had it their way, it would be filled with 8 year old looking anime characters with plenty of cleavage and panty shots with zero gameplay.

      Not that I have a problem with cleavage and panty shots. But, there is a time... and a place... for everything. Game time is game time.

        If they listened to what western gamers want everything will be a modern military shooter.

          That's not really true though. We western gamers still mostly play games like League of legends, as-well as Call of duty. It's not really fair thing to say that "NEEDS MOR GUNZ AND EXPLOSIVES!' make a westerner gamer wet dream come true.

          Last edited 15/06/13 12:44 am

            well it's not even remotely true that all japanese gamers want games with "8 year old looking anime characters with plenty of cleavage and panty shots with zero gameplay." either. So I really wouldn't worry about the accuracy of posts on this article :)

    Well true. If I had looked at some of those screenshots without any context I wouldn't have pinned it as a Final Fantasy title. But they've been steadily heading this direction anyway. I mean, Snow Villiers summon is two girls who turn into a motorcycle.

    Last edited 14/06/13 11:32 pm

    Square Enix could throw 60 hours of FMV with 1hr of gameplay tutorial onto a disc, call it a day and still get 40/40 and bestseller status in Japan, I don't think they give a damn what 2ch thinks.

    Maybe Japan has ignorami who speak before they think, just like we do.


    I can understand where they are coming from to a extent. If I was Japanese I probably wouldn't approve of it either but it isn't really that big of a deal as they make it out to be.

    I want a game closer to FFX. Bring back turn based. Actual turn based, none of this FFXIII 1 and 2 'Paradigm Shift' either.

      Yeah I don't get what the big deal is considering they haven't made a good Final Fantasy game since they became Square Enix instead of Square Soft.

      I had already written off this title just like 13.

    Surrealist art was always grounded in reality with an absurd element that brought it into the surreal, whereas fantasy often connotes the creation of a whole new world. So I guess you could say this work is more surrealist than fantasy, which means that the complaints of the game not being 'fantasy' are somewhat justified.

    I quite like the look - but it's irrelevant for a FF game. Story and gameplay are the only things I'm concerned about - we know it will look good but will the story be gripping and the gameplay intense or will it just be FF13?

    Perhaps the Fantasy is reaching it's finale. This might be the developers way of reaching out to people so lost in realms of fantasy, they might be including common place objects to remind those addicted to escapism that they really aren't escaping anything by playing games. Life is too short, we can't all waste our lives slugging along each day waiting for the next fake world to fall into. You have to take action, be who you want in this life. Forget about leveling up some character made of polygons, take care of yourself!

    If the japanese had animation like this they should use it for all anime like attack om titan or naruto

    I understand where everyone is coming from on here, but im annoyed that the first game trailer for FF XV has nothing to do with the recent FF XV trailer. Also i want the scenery to be more like FF10, 7, and 13. I dont like the idea of it being 'technically' set in japan. What makes FF so special is cause everything in FF is different from "our" world. I dont want to play in japan, usa, australia, etc. a made up world is better.

    Lightning x Noctis FTW!!!!

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