Final Fantasy XV's development was fraught with problems, but in the end we got a memorable—if flawed—game about exploration and brotherhood. In other words, the kind of stuff that reminds us why we love RPGs in the first place.
As you might expect, Final Fantasy XV's bumpy development makes for some great "How it Was Made" stories. Former USgamer Editor-in-Chief and current freelancer Jeremy Parish recently got some of those stories out of the game's producer, Hajime Tabata, and relays them through a big feature / interview that's being published later today.
Tabata's stories outline the big problems and big successes that occurred throughout the development process. Notably, moving the game's development from the PlayStation 3 (where it was still Final Fantasy Versus XIII) resulted in many glitches and bugs that proved difficult to stomp out.
"This was our first time developing a title for this cutting-edge hardware, for the PS4 and Xbox One. And because we are not gods, there were a lot of bugs that came up," Tabata tells Parish. "We had to deal with those, and the optimization process proved to be pretty difficult. But all things considered, we were still able to release the FFXV that we had envisioned."
Shifting a game's development onto new tech is one challenge. Making necessary changes to its story and characters is another. Tabata elaborates on that, too:
"You know, it would have been a lot easier to simply change the [Final Fantasy Versus XIII] designs themselves, but again, people were familiar with them. They're excited to play as these characters, so rather than completely creating new characters—for the main characters, I should say—it became a matter of tweaking the designs to better fit the new technology.
"Cor would probably be the first example that comes to mind," Tabata continues. "In Versus XIII, he was originally conceived as a party member that would be with you the entire time. You'd control him and he'd be there throughout the game, whereas with XV, we decided to focus solely on the relationships between the four guys. You know, they're all the same age, and they have their relationships. So while we kept Cor in the game, he takes on a different role than he did before, more of a mentor, if you will."
Speaking of characters, Tabata doesn't like to get into fandom slap-fights about Final Fantasy XV's "Best Boy." He loves them all equally, and the team worked hard to make Noctis and his pals equally lovable. In fact, when Prompto proved unpopular following his appearance in Episode Duscae, Final Fantasy XV's team thought of a clever solution: Photography.
"As you know, Episode Duscae was in a lot of ways a prototype," Tabata says. "When Prompto came in dead last in this popularity contest, we were trying to come up with ways to make him more likable. Eventually we realized that this photography feature, making that a part of his character, could be one way to bring him closer to users, make them feel a little bit more appreciation for him and make him seem more likable."
See? Everyone loves selfies!
Please look forward to the full feature / interview tomorrow!