'Final Fantasy Disease' Infected Square Enix, Says FFXV's Director 

Do you have it? According to Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata, "lots" of fans do. From the sound of it, some people at Square Enix have been infected, too. [Image: 4Gamer]

In a refreshingly frank talk with Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada on Japanese site 4Gamer, Tabata mentions what he calls "FF byou" (FF病) or "Final Fantasy disease".

The interview is several pages long, but things get very interesting when Harada asks Tabata if there was backlash during the reorganisation that occurred when he took over.

"Oh yeah, there was," Tabata said. "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." (4Gamer noted that Tabata laughed after saying this.)

[Image: 4Gamer]

According to Tabata, there's been negative feedback for Final Fantasy XV, such as, for example, folks not being happy with the character choices and whatnot. Of course, Tabata knew that Final Fantasy was a series with a lot of history, but felt it was important to make changes.

"Around that time, I realised that among fans as well, there are people who've caught FF disease," Tabata said.

4Gamer asked what exactly Final Fantasy disease was, and Tabata replied, "It refers to people within the company who can't imagine anything other than their own view of Final Fantasy. 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?"

Damn. Real talk from Tabata.

Continuing, he said, "Because of that, there was a time I told off the team, saying, 'We're not special. Wake up.' Yet, I realised that when Final Fantasy XV news was made public, this wasn't only inside the company. Everyone has FF disease."

[Image: 4Gamer]

Harada pointed out that, to a smaller degree, he's faced pushback when big changes are made to Tekken's game system or character line up.

The voices of those wanting to maintain the status quo, Tabata explained, are certainly the loudest. But, according to him, Final Fantasy has become stronger, bringing it back from the edge of crisis because of the changes. "At this point," Tabata said, "if the series didn't modernise, I think it could've been done for."

We'll have to wait until this spring to see if Final Fantasy XV is just what the JRPG doctor ordered.


Comments

    I'm putting my faith on Tabata.

    Love both Crisis Core & Type-0.
    Enjoyed both XV demos.

      Seriously considering getting the deluxe edition of this.

        I would have to see them break the trend of making garbage final fantasy games before I put down any money on a new one.

        They haven't made a good final fantasy game since 2001.

          I liked FF XII, to be honest.
          But otherwise I agree.

        What's in it? I haven't had a look because I'm skint

          Noctis Play-Arts Kai figure that retails for about $80-100

            Oh yeah, not a huge fan of figures these days :-/

            An artbook would of been nice.

              Fairly sure there's like a standard collector's edition that has an artbook? The deluxe one just adds the figure? Can't remember exactly.

                Hmmmm, will look into it. But I think as you've noted before, better artbooks are available for less cash.

                  The Ultimate Collectors edition comes with a BluRay of the anime, sound track and the figure.
                  But good luck trying to get your hands on one.

                  I had to resort to the deluxe, Which is just the steelcase game, bluray movie, and dlc.

                  Well yeah, but the last Squenix JRPG CE (Bravely Second) came with a copy of the official artbook for that game so it's not like that always holds true.

                  @negativezero it still cost way more than the game & a book though, essentially I would get another cardboard box & a figure that would collect dust like the last one.

                  I ended up opting out of Bravely Second Deluxe after realising I didn't really want it for reasons other than saying I have it.

                  I really hate those little sound selections they do to. Throw in the whole album, cheapskates.

                  I'd love more CEs to have a proper soundtrack. It's one of the big reasons I bought FFXIII-2's CE despite ending up not touching the game. The CE had the full 4 CD OST. Also more recently was the reason I imported the US CE for Ys: Memories of Celceta. It was the 25th anniversary of the first game in North America so XSeed put together a 3-disc music selection with tracks from all the Ys games and bundled that in.

                  For me, full soundtracks and high-quality artbooks are the biggest draws for CEs. The other nonsense like bad statues and steelbooks aren't a draw at all.

    This is a little worrying to read. Yes, people have their own version of how they think a game should be and sometimes can't see past it to the bigger picture, but they also often raise valid points that as someone close to the project with your own idealised view you should take into account and listen to. To dismiss things as a "disease" shows a modicum of disrespect to your fans and staff and indicates an attitude of thinking your way is the only way.

    I'm sure that's not actually the case and it's really just him saying that he's trying to invent the car when people are saying they just want better horses but the hardest part of being a producer or designer is realising when feedback is valid and you need to readjust your vision.

      He could've used a less loaded, western term and called it Confirmation Bias and he'd have been just as right.

      And I'm pretty sure they have been taking on valid feedback... hasn't latest footage been a world of difference from the first demo, purely in response to feedback?

      Hell, so far I haven't actually seen much ignored valid feedback so much as ignored nostalgia-based complaints over, "Muh ATB system!" as if that were a series-defining trait instead of a hardware/design limitation shared by many, many other franchises which were not Final Fantasy, which the franchise has been bucking ever since it's been able to.

      I fully expect the "FF isn't FF unless there's turn-based combat!" chorus is the kind of thing he's probably talking about, and that's really not a 'valid feedback' to 'readjust your vision' to so much as abandon your vision of evolution entirely to.
      It's frankly a hard-line inflexibility of the exact sort he's rightly criticizing.

      Last edited 24/05/16 12:13 pm

        Turn-based battles are not a hardware limitation, they're a style of gameplay. That's like saying that there's no place for 2D platformers now that 3D is an option. That's nonsense; they're two different styles and there's room for both.

        I'm willing to give the FF15 team the benefit of the doubt for now, but from what I've played of the demos, the combat is nowhere near as refined, elegant or intuitive as previous games. It just seemed really messy, & I'm really hoping it gets fine-tuned before September.

        I found it quite telling that my 10-year-old nephew who LOVES Final Fantasy games - his favourite is FF6 - threw the controller down in frustration after about 10 minutes of trying to play the FF15 demo. He hated it.

          Pardon me. They're a style of gameplay, born from hardware limitations.

          I can't refute the 'refined/intuitive' claims, but it's only because there's precious little you can actually do to misinterpret ATB... because there's precious little you CAN do with it. Refined and intuitive is burdened by coming hand-in-hand with being boring, repetitive, lacking in depth or strategy. It has to either evolve or stagnate. And unless you're Nintendo, stagnation is a franchise-killer.

          (Edit: To be fair, disastrous experiment after experiment is also a franchise-killer. They do kind of need to get this right for SOME audience.)

          Last edited 24/05/16 12:38 pm

            Its part of what you goto a franchise for though. I really liked the turn based combat in the older games and so far all their attempts at real time combat have felt very very shallow.

            I mean does Civ 6 need to become an RTS to keep it fresh?

              NEED to? Not necessarily. Would it freshen it up? Unquestionably.
              (And EU4/Stellaris actually shows that Civ Realtime wouldn't have to suck, either. But until you draw that comparison, I'm betting you'd get diehard Civ fans who'd scream bloody murder over the very concept.)

              Seriously though, for YEARS Civ 4 was considered better than Civ 5 because it did nothing new, and in fact did less. They had to work incredibly hard to come up with fresh angles to inject, to make a compelling case beyond, "It's prettier."

                See, that's the same thing. There's tons of other good RTS. Civ has always been turn-based. If I buy a Civ game I want a fucking Civ game. If I wanted something different, well that's out there too.

                Being different for the sake of being different is a mistake. That's the arrogant approach that nearly sank FFXIV, incidentally.

                  Nah, the arrogance that nearly sank FFXIV was not thinking they were different when they weren't, and not paying attention to all the lessons that MMOs had learned in the ten years since SE last made one themselves. There's a huge difference between 'different for the sake of different' and simply already outdated.

                  (FF14 also not being turn-based, but an EXCELLENT FF game.)

                  @transientmind: their dev manager basically said "make something that's different from FFXI". That was their whole brief and it's what they made.

                  Sure, that was their brief, but throughout development they basically reinvented the MMO wheel, and not a very good wheel. It was basically as if they were pretending that WoW had never happened. The industry titan, the 500lb gorilla in the room in any discussion of MMO standards.

                  And their arrogance around that was astounding. Took on literally no constructive criticism whatsoever. They actually fielded questions in interviews and laughed with contempt at concepts like... not bounding characters by ankle-high walls. Jumping? JUMPING? In a FF game? Lol, they did. Lol indeed. But that (and so much else) got them crucified. So what do we have now? Jumping. But not just that superficial thing, we also got better world design that has to be a lot cleverer than invisible-wall-bullshit (for the most part) about how it controls the flow of player movement.

                I love EU4 and Stellaris but I would want Civ to remain Civ. If Firaxis want to make an RTS they can call it something else like Rise of Nations or something.

                Its like buying COD and finding out its a cooking simulator, sure its different and could be very good but its not what I think i'm getting when I buy COD.

              I'll agree their attempts at real time combat have been very flawed. I'll even agree that their latest attempt is flawed. However that doesn't mean retreating into the past is the way to go.

              For all the faults in the modern games Final Fantasy was dying with turn based combat. You can argue the last games did well enough but the combat was beginning to alienate more and more players. That style of combat pushed the JRPG into becoming a niche genre. As far as combat systems go Final Fantasy had one that was there because they needed something. Even before it was done to death it wasn't great.
              For my money Final Fantasy needs to develop a signature combat system. If it's turn based so be it but it can't be the by numbers boring mash Attack to win system they used in the past. They need to develop something that says Final Fantasy not 'Beginners Guide to Programming Games'. They need something like the Tales games. Something that feels like it goes with the grand experience of a Final Fantasy game.

                "... the combat was beginning to alienate more and more players. That style of combat pushed the JRPG into becoming a niche genre."

                It always WAS a niche genre. I think the only time Final Fantasy was considered "mainstream" was when FF7 was such a revolution, and that was mainly because of the graphics.

                I think games turn out better when the creators can cater to their niche audience, instead of trying to please the mainstream. Last time Final Fantasy did that ("Hey! Westerners love first-person-shooters! Let's make an R.P.G. in that style!") we got FF13...

                Last edited 24/05/16 2:29 pm

                  I dunno, I feel like on the NES/SNES the JPRG was core enough that it was pretty much the definition of console RPG. There were a few action RPGs like Zelda and obviously platformers were the big money, but JRPGs were serious business.
                  Regardless of where it started the combat seems to be the key factor in knocking it down from it's highest point. I'm not saying they need to turn Final Fantasy into something Call of Duty fans will play but sticking with ATB combat wasn't the way forward either. They needed something with substance like Knights of the Old Republic games, the Tales Of games, Secret of Mana, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Fable, Zelda, etc. They clearly didn't find that but I'm hopeful they will.

                  Also personally I'd argue that FFXIII's was just badly designed. Trying to please the niche audience while also trying to tap into a mainstream audience that it didn't really understand. That's not a problem inherent to non-ATB systems that's them being out of touch.

            (Edit: To be fair, disastrous experiment after experiment is also a franchise-killer. They do kind of need to get this right for SOME audience.)

            I haven't been blown away by the demos, but this is what has me optimistic about FFXV. It feels like they've finally got someone in charge who is willing to do more than experimentation. I still think there's a toe in the grave of ATB and it seems to over compensate in it's attempt to be new, but it feels like it's comfortable with the idea of being it's own thing which is a big step in the right direction.
            When I look at the flaws in FFXV's combat I'm finally seeing genuine flaws rather than things that have been broken in attempts to meet ATB fans halfway. For once they aren't taking their new system, squeezing it into a ATB costume and expecting it to appeal to everybody. I mean compromise is great but this is either turn based or it's not. Adding more menus doesn't meet anybody halfway.

            "They're a style of gameplay, born from hardware limitations."

            I have to disagree there. They were born as an electronic response to the real-life D&D-type role-playing games. It's not like the creators of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy thought, "it'd be awesome if our characters could teleport all over a field, quick-dodge attacks and find weak points on the enemy's anatomy, but we've only got 8-bits to work with, so we'd better just go with turn-based."

            They did it because that was the kind of game they wanted to make. There were plenty of action-role-playing-games back then - Zelda, as an example - so it's not like they COULDN'T make the games all-out actiony, it's just that they didn't WANT to.

              He's not talking purely about action. They were pen and paper RPG inspired combat systems but the hardware couldn't handle a lot of the systems. The interface and the lack of an AI Dungeon Master meant a lot of sacrifices had to be made. When you compare them to games like D&D a lot of the simplifications stem from 'you can't do that with NES technology'.
              Keep in mind during the same window between FFI and FFIX pen and paper RPGs grew and evolved while Final Fantasy just sort of took it's combat system for granted. They released a supplement or two but there was no Final Fantasy 2nd Edition rulebook.

            Hence why bravely default will always be a great game it brought new things into turn based battles!

        I'm guessing there are also a lot of people like me who agree that FFXV needs to move on but have totally different ideas of where it should move on to. My feedback is pretty much useless unless he wants to start from scratch and make a new game. The series has gone in the wrong direction for so long that we've all had plenty of time to think about the right direction and thus we've all got at least a little bit of an idea of what 'New FF' needs to be.

          Heh. I'm sure. And I'm equally sure that all those little bits of ideas we've got are probably directly contradictory with each other. ;) Which is, again, probably what Tabata was referring to.

    Tabata needs to shut his mouth until the game is actually out. Especially when what he's making seems like it's going to be pretty divisive. He's certainly not making a game I personally want to play, and I'm fairly sure there will be a sizeable chunk of the core FF market that feels similarly.

    EDIT: Also if Final Fantasy has a disease, it's the fact that they have a billion artists sitting around creating shit with no oversight and no one actually pulling the parts together. FFXII started development in 2000, and then took six years to release. XIII was another six-year development cycle, and Versus XIII / XV is going to be a decade in the making. This shouldn't be happening.

    Last edited 24/05/16 1:24 pm

    For me Final Fantasy games were always like reading a novel, a good satisfying *complete* story of a big epic adventure in a world I haven't seen before all in *one* game.
    The worlds are normally very detailed and beautiful and the story deals with big relatable human issues. And the writer actually has something to say/share in the story.

    The music is normally amazing with a strong melody and has alot of piano compositions by a musician that fits in with the genre. Singers and pop bands/stars just make the game feel cheap and less epic and also break the immersive qualities of the world and storytelling.

    I feel like they're pushing too hard on the jpop boy band character designs, and maybe too much commercialism injected into the game. And FF13 felt like they hired Japanese soap opera writers, when we don't even like our own soap opera's.
    I wouldn't mind some characters who are more unique and less pretty, and I feel like FF is more part of alt culture than pop culture, at least stylistically.

    I think FF should feel like sitting down and reading a good book.

    See I dont understand this argument at all. I dont get why they continually have to try and reinvent the wheel here. When was the last time you heard a complaint about FF's X and backwards? Did they sell? Never and yes, a lot. You know when the complaints started to happen? When FFXII came out and they started to change the battle system etc. FFXIII got hounded by many, and they even had to admit they were wrong and change certain things in the sequels. They've killed the series with their own idiotic decisions, rather than the populace getting bored with their previous designs.

    This smacks of a guy who's come in and wanted to assert his image on the franchise, rather than anyone having some "nostalgia disease". There are plenty of franchises who pump out the same games every few years and seem to get on fine (Civ games, Nintendo, Uncharted, Need for Speed, CoD/Battlefield to name a few). It would be fine if these new designs improve on what we loved before, but the simple fact is they dont. I have played both FFXV demos. It might be a solid enough game but I just cant see how it's going to hit the heights of some of the older games. I feel as though this is going to be another FFXIII where it's all style and no substance.

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