The Men Of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

It looks like Final Fantasy XV will have lots of fellas. For some folks online, this is a problem.

In an interview with 4Gamer, Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata said, "The party is men only. That hasn't changed since Final Fantasy Versus XIII."

That's why, for years now, we have been seeing images like this from the game.

The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

And this.

The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

Ditto.

The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

Men, men, men, men.

But, realise that these criticism about the game's cast of characters are not new.

Online, there are those who seemed disappointed that there are no playable female characters.

The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy
The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

Though, not everyone is displeased.

The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

Note: just because the game's party is a sausage party doesn't mean everyone you meet is a dude. There are of course female characters.

There seems to be a selection of gamers who want playable female characters in Final Fantasy XV -- or, it seems, a female character in the party. There is definitely reasoning behind this: Besides the issues the gaming industry has had regarding its depiction of women, Final Fantasy has a long history of strong female characters. There are concerns that this game won't have that -- perhaps, there are even worries that the female characters won't be that deep. There are also gamers who either want to play as a woman or have a woman in their party.

This isn't only Western gamers saying this, but as evident on Japanese blogs like Barukanlog or Twitter, there are Japanese gamers saying this as well.

The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

"Besides Final Fantasy III for the Famicom, is this the only numbered FF entry with a male-only party?" asked one commenter on Barukanlog. Other comments seemed let down by all the men.

Online, there has also been some confusion over who will be playable in Final Fantasy XV. To be clear, Tabata also mentioned to 4Gamer that the only playable character in Final Fantasy XV is Noctis. According to Tabata, the party-play aspect, however, is based on tactical commands you give other characters, and then they act independently. In a separate interview, Tabata told Kotaku that the gameplay feels "very natural."

To review: The party is "only men," and the one character you control directly is Noctis.

Another Barukanlog commenter wondered if all the men were the result of female Final Fantasy players now outnumbering the male ones. Meaning? That a large cast of men were designed to appeal to Japanese women.

OK, there's a bit to unpack here. First, note that online in the West, there are people online saying that the male characters are feminine or look like a boy band. Perhaps! This isn't surprising within a Japanese context. Look at the country's boy bands and its legions of female fans.

The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

(The above tweet reads: But the cast of FFXV looks somewhat like an otome game.)

Then, there is a history of handsome male-driven games being extremely popular with female gamers in Japan. Take Sengoku Basara, for example.

Then, there is also a history of fluidity with gender roles. Take kabuki theatre, for example. Men continue to play both the male and female roles, whether that's a tough samurai or an elegant geisha. Then, there is the all-women Japanese theatrical company the Takarazuka Revue, which for a hundred years has had its female actors play both the male roles and the female roles. Many of Takarzuka's fans are, well, women.

For decades now, all-male manga have been targeted at women. A classic example of this is the boys' love genre (yaoi), with male characters falling in love with each other.

The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

(Above, a woman gamer writes: "It seemed like FFXV will send fujoshi into a frenzy.)

I don't know if Square Enix will go full yaoi. I somehow doubt it. However, part of the appeal of yaoi isn't just seeing two men kiss, but the freedom it gives its female readers. Japanese women can identify with whichever character they want, whether that's a dominant one or a passive one. Whatever. Because they are separated by gender, they are given more freedom to identify with the character, because they don't have to directly compare themselves or their appearance, like they might feel compelled to with female characters. In Japan, yaoi traditionally has not been about gay rights or gay issues, but uses the relationship between male characters to push the story even further into the realm of fantasy.

The Men of Final Fantasy XV Are Making Some Unhappy

It goes without saying that fantasy is a big part of the FF appeal. Final Fantasy fans have long been aware of the dual masculine and feminine qualities of the characters. They're sometimes both male and female, and other times they are neither. Women cosplaying as male FF characters is a big part of Final Fantasy fandom in Japan and has been for some time now.

But this time around is different. There isn't a woman in the party -- the complete opposite of Final Fantasy X-2, where there were only women in the party. It's a boys' club, which was how the game, it seems, was conceived. That doesn't make it right. It doesn't make it wrong. It just makes it part of the story. Now, whether or not that story works or can feel inclusive and draw an array of players in is an other matter entirely. The issue shouldn't be what gender makes up the party, but whether or not players give a damn about those characters or anyone else who appears in the game. Easier said than done.

スクエニ田畑端氏インタビュー『FF15』の完成度は50~55% パーティは男性キャラのみ、など等 [Barukanlog]


Comments

    I felt vaguely disappointed, but I'm prepared to judge the story on its merits, not on some preconceived notion of how many men or women should make up its cast of characters.

      I'm the same. I do feel a bit disappointed characters has always been a draw card for me with ff. These guys don't feel interesting to me but I'll give it a shot.

      Not on day one though. They made me wait so I'll make them wait before I buy it.

      Oh my God... A sensible and rational view!!! If a story is written about a group of male friends that is how it goes I am afraid. Got to move on and accept it and try to enjoy the game as a game. Not a social justice statement.

      TLDR I would pick a story designed to have female characters in them instead of having flimsy female characters shoe horned in to please the masses

      Came here to say this. If the game ends up having a fantastic story, but people dismiss it because there are no female party !embers, well, then, that would make me a little sad.

      Yeah, for all we know there could be a whole plot reason behind it. The story could be about the men and male relationships/bonding and that kind of thing. If it is a story where the maleness of the characters is not explored for any reason, where you could easily replace some with woman then yeah it seems a bit off.

      Shocking, I know. I actually judge a game on it's quality as opposed to the testicles that the characters have.
      At the same time, I wouldn't mind females characters, but a mostly male cast doesn't bother me and I'm perfectly fine with it.
      And I bet if there there were females in there, there would be the SJWs complaining about how they're "sexualized" and objects of "male fantasy".
      Can't please 'em all.

    Was there similar bitching when final fantasy X-2 was released? Wasn't that a 95% female party?

      This is exactly what I was about to post......to much bitching in the game world today

      I'm just dropping by to say the exact same thing, SE has had the majority as women exclusively in the 13 series (as well as X-2) - this time its flipped and suddenly its an issue because media.

      Saying that i wouldn't have minded a few extra for 15 but its not something that needs to be addressed its just how they wrote the story.

      I can think of many more reasons why you should bitch about X-2 over an all female cast.

        hey hey, easy there, it had probably the most fun combat and gameplay of any FF in recent times, and while yes I will grant you the charlies angels vibe it had going was a bit hit and miss and the story fell flat, it was still decent.

          I know. I find it to be one of the best RPG combat systems the Final Fantasy brand has ever produced. I would recommend people to play it solely for this reason. But what they surround that system in... eurgh!

      Technically, the party in Lightning Returns (the most recent FF game) is 100% female.

      I recall there was some muttering when FFX-2 was released but the male gamer was mollified by the substantial quantities of "eye candy".

      Personally I'm not fond of the idea of an all-male main party, mainly because I would expect the resulting party dynamics to be very "bro" oriented, and I can't stand "bro" culture. The few clips we've seen so far give me no reason to doubt that the game is headed in that direction.

      I suppose we can always count on Rule 34 for gender-bending variations. :-/

        I suppose we can always count on Rule 34 for gender-bending variations

        Why? It's Japan, they've already done it for us :P

    Most girl orientated anime have a cast of mostly men who look like this, which is what is putting me off.

    It's not all bad news: based on the picture above, apparently you get to play as Ezio.

    I have to admit i just dont get the hate comments about it being a boys club.
    Dont guys hang out with their guy mates?
    So whats the problem with playing a game that has this concept if that is the angle the developer is taking?
    Its not like your not going to intereact with girl characters at all in the game..

    Lol they look like Yaoi protagonists, not that it's bad but....(can't finish sentence just know it's a mind blowing sentence suffix.)

    Last edited 24/09/14 7:43 am

      Sounds like minds aren't the only thing getting blown amirite?
      *high fives everyone*

    lol @ the tweet of calling them Emo men. Hahaha, seriously? Ever heard of aesthetics brah? Minus the lifting, these cxnts are pretty aesthetic ;)

      I think they're confuse "emo" with "feminine" - they all have a fairly soft look, for all its intended toughness.

    And yet if it were an entire cast of women, these same people would be crying "MUH SEXUALISATION."

    You can't please anyone. I myself am open to a Final Fantasy entry that won't feature the token Cookie Spice character.

    I think some people need to take a time out instead of reading too much into things. I do not really care if a game contains all men or a party of all women. its just a game and if they want to tell a story like this, let them, and if you do not want to play a game like this, no one is forcing your hand to buy it.

    Leave the gender politics out of our games... wait a minute... I just realised the same conclusion can be made about a story from two thousand years ago, it's about a guy who went around with twelve other guys, preached about love and fairness, challenged a mighty establishment and lost, and so far I have not heard anyone refer to it as a yaoi story... but I will from now on. Thanks Kotaku.

      I think their point has nothing to do with fantasy stories from 2000 years ago, nor 'politics'. They want the choice to play with female characters, hence the complaining. I'd be annoyed too if I could only play something like Skyrim or Mass Effect as a dude.

        Yeah, but gender wasn't really a part of the plot in those games. If this games' story revolves around 4 bros going on a road trip, then why should Squenix shoe-horn a female character in there?

          I've heard that story told before, there is usually jail time at the end :P

          I think their complaints are more an issue of what they wanted, versus what they got. They can't cry foul about it being a gender issue considering the long history of female characters in the series. Like I said, I think it's more an issue of people wanting to have the option to use female characters and complaining because that's not part of the game.

    Why do people think everything should cater to their specific tastes all the time? Aside from the obvious point that it's impossible to do that, it's a really selfish and entitled viewpoint.

    SquareEnix are making the game they want to make, like it or not, play it or not, but no one gets to tell them how to make their game.

      Yeah, it's really not difficult to add female characters. That's hardly catering to "specific tastes all the time", in fact it's a perfectly reasonable and eminently do-able request. It's the most minor of 'choice' elements to factor into a game's build that doesn't require a drastic redesign of the game nor thousands of lines of new coding. Christ, even GTA had the option back in the day!

        in fact it's a perfectly reasonable

        No, it's not. SquareEnix can make whatever they want, they don't have to listen to you or anybody else. They can make whatever game they want, all male, all female, all dinosaur, it's their game. If you think it's reasonable to think that a company that is making a creative project should bow down to your wants (and by extension everyone else's, to make it 'fair') then you have a massively inflated ego and a entitlement complex.

        As I said before if you don't like that sort of thing you don't have to buy it/play it, there's nothing that exists to say that anyone and everyone gets a say in any creative project.

          Jeez... hit a nerve, much? What exactly do you think it is that development companies do? They don't solely make games of passion. They mostly make games based on the feedback based from the demo they're looking to market it to generate as profitable a return on the investment they made during dev. If you think the market is comprised mostly of passion projects, I think you might need to stop and have a little lie down. Unless they have an unusually large capital base from which to work (like the EAs, Ubis, etc), the companies that doesn't listen to the wants of it's customer base is potentially limiting their returns. Using 'technical' excuses to claim doing so is impossible is ridiculous, and in this instance (not the use of the word 'instance'), it seems like that was something their community wanted. That was all I was saying, but do go on about how my sjw ego was demanding complete social inclusiveness to satiate my entitlement complex. I love a good diatribe...

            i think you're going off on an unrelated tangent here. I never heard anyone make a 'technical' excuse about why there are more males in the FF than say X-2 (which was predominantly female...), but whatever they say about it, it should be good enough. If all it boils down to is 'this is the story we want to do with these characters' who has the right to tell them they're wrong? Just because someone might buy a game it doesn't give them the right to tell whoever's making it that they're wrong.

            Someone might have thought that Pride and Prejudice should have more dinosaurs. Someone else might think Citizen Kane should have had time travelling zombies. People can think what they want, but ultimately the creators decide what's best for the project and no amount of self entitled brats throwing hissy fits is going to change that. People just need to get over themselves.

            Also good job being a condescending dick. A+

            Last edited 24/09/14 3:42 pm

              I completely agree with every single point you've made here, but god damn do I now want a version of Pride and Prejudice with dinosaurs!

                “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a velociraptor.”

    This complaint rings pretty damn hollow when all of the FFXIII games have had a female characters both as the lead and the driving force of the plot, while in the MMO, of the three faction leaders two of them are female and the one male is subordinate to a female ruler AND the leader of the main story organization whom you see and talk (with kinda awful English voice acting and amazing Japanese voice acting) to the most in the whole game is also female. Final Fantasy has been incredibly lady-centric for the last decade.

    Last edited 24/09/14 10:12 am

    *in Russian accent* I once went to sausage festival... Too many men, not enough sausage.

    ...Er-hem. Seriously, though, this doesn't bug me. We should be judging the game on its merits; its characters, story and gameplay, not whether or not there's a playable set of fits in the game. Yknow, there are still plenty of games that have female leads; Kameo, Tomb Raider, Contrast, Primal, the Pokemon games - we've got plenty of choice and I don't see the point in whinging about it.

    Does this guy ever do anything but create arbitrary click bait? Of course someone is unhappy, someone is unhappy about everything. These are the most bottom-feeding stories from Kotaku's biggest bottom-feeder. Get rid of this arbitrary trash and get someone with an eye for legitimacy to write.

    What's the arbitrary ratio of men to women and women to men? What's acceptable?

    Sadly I saw this coming. As soon as I saw that new trailer, I thought to myself "people are going to complain about this having mostly male cast, aren't they?"

    This is the world we live in, folks.

    If the story demands an all-male team then I don't care about any gender-inequality misconception.
    Geez, I don't remember anyone complaining about gender-imbalance in X-2. And what about Lightning Returns where you only play as a girl and the one time you get a human partner in the game... *fain shock* It's a girl! Do I care? No. Because the stories of those respective games required it.

    I couldn't care less about the characters gender ratio as long as said characters are well written and believable.

      What about the fact there's no trans gender in there!?

      I can't believe how intolerant Square Enix are. There should be at least one straight male, straight female, gay male, gay female, straight trans gender, gay trans gender, bi curious trans gender and an asexual hermaphrodite.

      Just to make everyone happy, we wouldn't want to displease any group of people.

    All I care about is that the characters are actually good and likeable, as opposed to FFXIII's characters, who were almost uniformly detestable.

    Having seen the design of these characters (who look like they fell directly out of a J-pop music video, ugh), I don't hold much hope for these characters being any more likeable than the last batch.

    Besides Final Fantasy III for the Famicom, is this the only numbered FF entry with a male-only party?Refia was male?

    This really is kind of getting ridiculous. People are starting to cross that line between asking for equal representation in games and downright suppression of a creator's freedom to express their story how they want. What happened to the push for everyone to “have the right to play games, criticise games and make games without getting harassed or threatened”. Or does this not count because it doesn't fit an agenda? /rant

    Basically, get over it. Stop thinking about it so much and just be pumped for what looks to be a killer of a game.

    This isn't Sweden, there's no law in Japan that says there must be at least one female everywhere at all times in every form of everything.

    Why should there be a female in the party just for the sake of having a female present?

    Isn't this kind of the same thing as the folks whinging about the lack of female protagonists in the main AC series?

    I'm not concerned with the male character line up. It definitely stands out as a sausage fest I guess, but I will always ask - Why does it matter?

    I'll play a game based on one ultimate rule. That said game is fun to play. Main characters serve as a vessel for me to explore the game. Sure, connecting with characters through narrative is beneficial to the experience but I won't enjoy a game any less simply because I'm playing a particular gender.

    Truth is I've had very little to do with FF after playing FFVII on PS2. I couldn't get into the series after that. FFXV looks like it will be worth playing based on the tidbits I have seen. Fingers crossed.

    The diversity is certainly reduced but I honestly have no problems allowing developers to tell the story they want to tell exactly how they want to tell it.

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