Tabata talks Final Fantasy XV story imbalances and the team's unconventional decisions

One of the big points of contention surrounding Final Fantasy XV post launch has been its story. It’s an aspect of the game we criticized at length in our own review, and certainly one that’s left a lot of fans wondering – just what happened?

Speaking with Game Informer, director Hajime Tabata says the narrative direction was entirely intentional – namely the important events that happened off-screen. “It was for the players to experience the story through Noctis’ eyes,” he told the magazine. “The world and the events that Noctis sees are merely things that are seen through his eyes. We didn’t want to create a comprehensive and perfectly balanced story in this game. Instead, we placed importance on the main characters and for the player and Noctis to share the same experience when we tell the story.”

With this sort of narrative design philosophy in hand, Tabata said it was only natural to increase the proportion in which the main characters are depicted. “It’s not that we decreased the role of the side characters,” he explained. “Focusing on many characters in the game means that the allocation given to the main characters will decrease. Instead of creating a comprehensive and perfectly balanced story, we placed greater importance on the four main characters and strived to depict a world seen from their perspective.”

Another topic fielded by Game Informer touched on the later chapters of the game, where things become a lot more linear. This again, according to Tabata, was intentional.

“Based on calculations that the development time and cost would double if the latter half of the game was to be an open-world environment as well, we had already planned to make the latter half more of a journey by vehicle. The structure of this title – to create memories while traveling in the open-world environment during the first half of the game, then have the story move forward linearly using the train in the latter half of the game – was designed and intended to be that way.”

For more from Tabata including the “how and why” behind some of the team’s other unconventional decisions, be sure to check out the March 2017 issue of Game Informer.

About the Author

Erren Van Duine As a self-professed Final Fantasy fan, Erren created Nova Crystallis in 2009 as a place to collect the latest information on her favorite series. As owner and Editor-in-Chief, she also spends her time as a freelance illustrator.