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Tabata: We Really Thought Final Fantasy Was A "Dead IP"

Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata believes FFXV is the most promising entry since the legendary Final Fantasy VII.

...no, really.

In a recent Game Informer interview, Tabata said that when he accepted the role of director for FFXV in 2012, his first move was to conduct an analysis of the FF brand in Japan. As you might expect, the results were a little depressing, which caused Tabata to say Final Fantasy was in critical condition:

"The gravest situation of all was that, at the time we were starting Final Fantasy XV, we didn't see an increase in new fans of the franchise. The brand image of Final Fantasy wasn't really clear.

The reality is not that the situation is okay or in favor of us. Rather, it is more grave and serious than we had initially thought. The way we understood Final Fantasy after our analysis is that it was a dying IP that had already peaked."

So, why push forward with FFXV? Well, Tabata said it's because despite fan disappointment, most followers still held out hope for the future. He then said the game had three "core qualities" that have defined the brand in the past:

"A willingness to challenge the status quo"

"An exceptional, out-of-the-ordinary experience"

"Cutting-edge technology to use the hardware to the fullest"

Tabata said the last installment to have all three qualities was FFVII back in 1997 and he added:

"Any Final Fantasy released after [Final Fantasy VII] lacks in one or the other. But what Final Fantasy fans desire is a new entry that encompasses all of these elements, and that is our objective with Final Fantasy XV."

I have no comment. It's like he's speaking Swahili. And has anyone noticed that in just about every interview with a Square Enix executive, they say at least once that something turned out to be different than they thought? Like, every single time?

Anyway. Final Fantasy XV is set to release on September 30 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and a PC release may follow at a later date. Tabata and Co. have set a lofty sales goal for the impending title, given the immediate popularity Square Enix has considered producing more Ultimate Editions, and they swear they're still working to optimize the frame rate.

Related Game(s): Final Fantasy XV

Tags: final fantasy xv, ffxv, final fantasy 15, ff15

4/13/2016 8:58:35 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (49 posts)


xenris
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 @ 10:11:08 PM
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I think this game is going to be good, but I doubt it will top FF9 as my favourite FF game, let alone some of the other classic FF games.

That being said, I still have NO idea what they are smoking over there. There obsession with getting "new" fans is what destroyed the series in the first place.

Unless there is some crazy data they have and after FF7 every game was selling 30% less over its life time, and they saw this as a failure I don't know. It has to be something like this, they can't be this brain dead over there can they?

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Bio
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 @ 10:59:19 PM
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X and XII had all of those things he says a good FF title needs to have.

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Hexen
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 2:19:21 PM

X-2 aswell, amazing battle system but you probably didn't included on purpose cause reasons.

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Jawknee
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 1:16:41 AM
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It didn't have to be this way. All they had to do was give us a game similar in ambition to past Final Fantasy games and not wrestle control of the party away from the player. That wasn't number one complaint about XIII. The whole system was just terrible.

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Bio
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 9:20:57 AM

The combat in XIII was the only good thing about it. The problem was that it was a horrible story about terrible characters. Lightning is just a bitch, Snow is probably wanted on Cocoon for statutory rape and crimes against fashion, Vanille could never decide if she was Australian or not, Sazh proves that Square still sees black people as little more than racist caricatures, and Hope makes me think that sometimes child abuse is entirely justifiable.

And you do nothing but walk down one long tube with these people you hate for 20 hours while the game explains things it should have explained in the first hour. You keep going because you hear the game "really opens up" when you reach Gran Pulse, and you think these problems will go away when you get there, but they don't.

You're just stuck in a suddenly open world with the same shitty characters on the same stupid quest.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 11:00:26 AM

The story is a problem, but for the FF faithful, we want full party control otherwise it's not an RPG.

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Jawknee
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 11:30:37 AM

I disagree. Gameplay is the most important feature of you know, video games and it was terrible in XIII.

But I don't disagree that the rest of the game was bad too.

Last edited by Jawknee on 4/14/2016 11:32:29 AM

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Bio
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 12:04:45 PM

I didn't realize you spoke for all the "FF faithful" :P

It was one of my favorite franchises for a long time, and I wasn't bothered in the least by the change in control. XII still has the best combat system in the series, if you ask me. I don't think that makes me "FF unfaithful," either.

Also, I'm not sure how micromanagement in combat is what defines a role playing game. You still have complete control over how you progress your characters as they level, which is arguably the defining trait of a role playing game.

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Bio
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 12:11:46 PM

@jawknee - Combat is not, usually, the only gameplay element in a role playing game. Even in a game as bare bones as XIII. In most FF games a big aspect of it is exploration, side quests, character interaction, upgrading/managing gear, etc.

I'll never understand how FFXIII simply changing the level at which you control characters is, to some, an objectively bad thing. You still had full control of your party, just on a completely different level, requiring completely different thinking. XIII was far more strategic than earlier installments where you could just sit there and analyze each move and mull over your next. You had to understand and respond to the flow of battle, manage your AI, etc. and it was every bit as complex, if not more so, than picking spells from a text menu.

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Jawknee
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 12:58:01 PM

Never said I spoke for everyone. But you obviously think you do so I defer to you master of JRPG's. Derp.

Last edited by Jawknee on 4/14/2016 12:59:16 PM

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Bio
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 1:33:52 PM

That comment was directed at World who actually used the term "FF faithful".

Derp indeed.

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TheHighlander
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 1:54:25 PM

Jawknee, there are several meta-games in more traditional RPGs such as building your character's skill tree, acquiring the correct gear, creating an ideal build for what you want. There are usually several mini-games that exist along side the combat system. Once games ceased using turn based combat, the whole metagame of planning your strategy ahead to maximize the XP and drops from the fight went out the window, and instead action based RPG combat feels like mindless button mashing since there is always a specific skill or rotation that works 95% of the time.

RPGs need more depth and strategy in their combat, there should be time to think, plan ahead and plot a strategy. Skill trees, gear, gear upgrades, character stats/builds all of these things interact to allow a player who gets it just right, to be pretty kick ass, and that itself is the reward for the meta game(s) relating to these things.

When you no longer control the party, and combat is action based and even somewhat automated, you lose almost everything that was at the heart of progressing through RPGs before modern progress obliterated half the reason for playing RPGs.

Innovation, progress and efficiency seem to be hallmarks of the modern action RPG, where old school RPGs are dismissed out of hand as old fashioned, slow, cliche, too complex, and even obsolete. To me, that's simply pejorative nonsense.

Last edited by TheHighlander on 4/14/2016 1:54:46 PM

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Jawknee
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 2:50:38 PM

I agree Highlander and that's exactly what I felt was wrong with Final Fantasu XIII. It had non of that expect for maybe the skill tree which was lame in comparison to past games. Everything felt so automated in the combats system. The linear nature of the game didn't even bother me too much considering most past games are similar in design. There was no strategy involved XIII. It was a twitch fest.

@Bio, fine but your condescending tone is unwarranted none the less. So what if he considers himself apart of the "faithful"? You're no more a representative of the RPG community than he is yet you think you get to speak from a position of authority when in your replies in this particular instance.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 4:17:43 PM

I do speak for them. Full party control is a staple. That is non negotiable and has been for decades. I was playing FF while you were fishing for turds to play with out of the toilet bio.

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Bio
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 6:05:40 PM

@jawknee - There was nothing condescending about it. I even included a nice little smilie to point out that I was not being serious.

@World - Stay classy.

Last edited by Bio on 4/14/2016 6:06:33 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 7:47:19 PM

stay pompous

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johnld
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 5:55:12 AM
Reply

Hahaha, final fantasy has peaked. All I take from that is that after a certain point, they started to put out games in declining quality. I know when that peak was, it was when squaresoft disappeared and became square enix. That dumbass CEO that quit, I already forgot his name, put them in that decline. He probably didn't know that they should satisfy the fans who got them there while trying to attract new fans. They shouldn't drop the fans in favor of new ones.

If final fantasy was a dead ip, then they desecrated its grave. Time for squaresoft to separate from them.

I'm at the point with square enix where I'm done supporting their product. No more final fantasy, no more tomb raider, no more deus ex, no more star ocean. Luckily, I can get those experiences with other games.

Last edited by johnld on 4/14/2016 5:59:17 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 11:02:24 AM

Exactly. And if they would just bring in any fan or western content review this issue would be pointed out and rectified no problem.

Instead they try to jam this action Final Fantasy down the throats of people who don't want it and wonder why action fans have no interest in it.

Dead yeah, well don't murder things that were going well.

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Phoenix
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 11:22:12 AM

This.

It boggles the mind that SE thought their fans were such blind sheep that we'd follow FF despite them changing everything about the series down to its core in a mad quest to gain new fans.

Reap what you sow....

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Bio
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 12:17:45 PM

That Square didn't cater to your desire for the franchise to stagnate while the industry moves forward is not why FF is on the decline. The core fanbase you guys are talking about were clearly not enough to sustain the franchise. Without the new fans who seem to be the bane of the PSXE community, the entire franchise would have died out long ago.

Instead, they tried to appease that group while making necessary strides forward, and didn't know how to do that, so they floundered. Personally they'd have been much better off, and the games would have been much better overall, if they'd just disregarded that demographic completely.

I remember when everyone complained about the new direction of Deus Ex, how it didn't hew to the originals, etc. Turns out Human Revolution was, by far, the best in the series, gained tons of new fans, and didn't need the vocal minority of complainers to revive the franchise.

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Phoenix
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 1:19:36 PM

Sales were good until they started to mess with the formula, so the fact that they didn't cater to the fans of the time is indeed why the series is doing so poorly now.

New blood is not a bad thing, I doubt anyone would even suggest such a thing, but SE abandoned everything Final Fantasy in an attempt to whore themselves to the current generation of kids by making the game less JRPG and much much more action focused. It's the same thing Capcom did with the RE series with the exact same results.

FF didn't keep most of its core with the newer games like Deus Ex did when human came around, it was gutted and rebranded as an action game with some rpg elements.

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Bio
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 1:38:22 PM

Final Fantasy X sold well over ten million. Final Fantasy XII sold less than half that. XIII sold about half of XII. The sales of FF have been on the decline for well over a decade.

And what did they "gut", and how is XIII an "action game"? What action game uses a menu interface?

This whole line of reasoning seems like grown ups who are sour that their favorite series is no longer about them, the same way people get old and complain about how new music is terrible. Final Fantasy has changed time and again, in drastic ways. It just so happens that XIII was the first legitimately bad main entry in the series. That doesn't mean it was "gutted" or turned into an "action game for kids". It just means it wasn't very good. That probably has a lot to do with much of the FF team leaving over the years.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 1:58:30 PM

FFXIII was definitely not an action game. What made it suck was taking control away from players and doing weird a$$ things like leader dies=game over even when another character is casting raise... and there was very little to interact with... and well, lots of other things... it just was very pretty and that's about it.

The whole "sales decline" thing seems funny. FFVII and FFX obviously killed it huge, but other games going 5+ million copies is hardly bad enough to consider an IP dead... They just didn't understand why no one wanted to touch sequels and the Lightning Returns turd. That trilogy is really the only thing that made it seem weak. I modestly liked FFXIII. I mostly liked FFXIII-2. But I had zero interest in Lightning Returns. Still haven't tried it other than the demo.

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Phoenix
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 2:01:02 PM

XII was the start of the changes though, so reinforces my point.

What did they gut? seriously? just about every staple of the series, and yes 13 and beyond games feel very action focused, if you can't see that... I dunno what to say to ya.

SE has made it clear that FF is certainly more action focused, we've had what? 3 games proving just that, and another on the way. So, why make the change in the first place? because at the time action/fps games were pulling in quite a bit of cash, SE being a business decided to rebrand FF to try and get a slice of this market.

That is why people are sour with the series and SE right now.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 2:51:00 PM

The -ONLY- way you could think of XIII as being action is because there's a lot of flash and the ATB moves quickly. You still select actions and need to be quick on paradigm shifts, but you don't manually control your character and it's not at all based on your reaction time. It's an ATB system that doesn't give you the options between wait mode and action mode like 6,7,8,9, and 12 did.

I defy anyone that calls 13 an action game. That's ridiculous.

There's lots to complain about when it comes to XIII. Stick to the things that are real.

XII's system was probably a progressive step in the RIGHT direction. No idea why they scrapped that progress. It was a beautiful battle system for the most part. And XIII-2 had an excellent RPG-feel system as well. It was like XIII, but good. I still haven't touched Lightning Returns. Doubt I ever will, actually.

Fans were sour about XIII for things like only controlling one character, death of leader = game over, a giant 20 hour tutorial, no towns or vehicles, auto-battle, no world map really, a beautiful but empty world, and an overly summarized story.

No one, critics included, rightfully criticized it as being an "action" game. They criticized it for removing turn-based elements. I know that may confuse you, but think about it... It was not an action game. But it was auto-battle + paradigm shift. It just removed almost all user contribution.

But it was -NOT- an action game.

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Jawknee
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 2:57:34 PM

FFXII was fine though. Even though the battle system evolved it was still an RPG that gave complete control of the party to the player. XIII changed all that as Underdog points out in how silly that party system was.

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johnld
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 3:05:32 PM

You just proved my Damn point bio. Ff10 was a square enix game and the start of the decline after that. Getting new fans is not a bad thing at all, but at the expense of abandoning the ones who got them to that position is. The fact that ff15 is unrecognizable as a final fantasy game now is proof of them completely changing the series. They could've changed the name but keeping the name final fantasy is they are still trying to trick older fans with nostalgia. That's what happened with 13. Fans bought it because it was final fantasy. The name promises the best jrpg games that is offered. Ff15 is not a jrpg, it's an action game with slight rpg elements. Completely the opposite of what the games core is. And this I blame on the squaresoft and enix merger. These are the games the final fantasy fans grew up with, supported, and expect of the final fantasy name.

The fact that they just don't call this game a different name proves how much weight they think the name carries. Naming a game as part of a game series holds a promise really. Changing everything about it just bastardizes the core of that. Imagine those bloodborne/souls game. What if they thought that this time well want other fans. Dark souls 4 would be a fast pace button masher like devil may cry and make it easy as hell. Make it extremely linear too. That would get people to try dark souls. What if they made dark souls 4 turn based to get some of the jrpg crowd to play? I sure as hell know that the previous fans would hate that. Dark souls would've lost its soul basically. That's pretty much what is going on with the series.

I guess I'm more of a squaresoft fan than final fantasy fan. Those games were great. Final fantasy is a squaresoft game to me and watching square enix destroy that brand is just painful to see.

Last edited by johnld on 4/14/2016 3:12:19 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 4:18:50 PM

Why would doing exactly what has always made them rich be "catering to stagnation"? you are a derpy dildo head.

The core FF fanbase has always been as big or larger than that of any modern western blockbuster besides Skyrim. (look at sales man) And that's been on just one console exclusively. You can't have your own facts.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/14/2016 4:25:54 PM

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Bio
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 6:13:39 PM

LMAO a "derpy dildo head". Catering to the same audience is exactly why the JRPG genre is dying, and the WRPG genre is flourishing. As the industry grows, old people who call themselves "hardcore" become a less and less influential group, and their numbers dwindle, anyway.

To survive, you need to evolve, expand and try new things. "Hardcore" JRPG fans can keep rebelling against this until the cows come home, but it doesn't change anything. That Square's attempts with XIII and beyond were failures doesn't mean that they should go back to catering to a disappearing audience. It means they should simply make better games.

I'm sorry if that makes you salty, but it's not my fault, bro :)

Last edited by Bio on 4/14/2016 6:14:49 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 7:48:06 PM

Derpy. Dildo. Head.

If the shoe fits. Lace that b*tch up and wear it.

Final Fantasy remade itself with every iteration. So that shows what you know bro.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/14/2016 7:48:38 PM

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Bio
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 8:03:03 PM

First you're complaining that XIII was a failure for doing things too differently, now you're saying the series remade itself with every installment.

When you make up your mind about which it actually is, let me know. We can pick this up then.

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johnld
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 8:47:02 PM

Final fantasy did change things with every iteration but they kept the core of the game the same while they were squaresoft. Then it became square enix and they took apart that core final fantasy game with every iteration. Ffx, a square enix game took away the huge worldmap. That game is very linear. Not 13 linear but linear either way. You call us old but the fact remains, it was the fans like us who supported them and brought them to where they were. If you don't understand why the core concept of the game should be there with each iteratio of a series, then I really don't know what to say to you.

I can't really stand most wrpgs. Don't like multiple endings. compared to jrpgs, wrpgs have too much pointless and repetitive side quests just to pad it's game time.

Last edited by johnld on 4/14/2016 8:50:52 PM

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Bio
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 7:31:00 AM

I didn't call you old, I likened your complaints to old people whining about music. There is a difference.

As for the "core concept", nobody seems to agree on what that is. Probably because there is no "core concept" to Final Fantasy. Even the things people claim are "staples" of the franchise, like ATB, aren't present in the majority of FF games. ATB didn't appear until FFIV, and was gone after FFIX.

So which "core concepts" of FF are immutable and ever present? The closest thing I can think of is certain items, like Phoenix Down, and certain character names, like Cid. Not exactly "core".

Just seems weird to me when people complain that "FF isn't the same anymore" when FF is pretty much never the same, which has pretty much been the freakin' point of the series since forever. A lot of people used to be upset at the sci-fi direction the franchise went with VII and VIII, because that "Wasn't FF".

LOL, if you guys want to keep playing the same FF games forever, just replay the PS1 games. Otherwise you're going to be severely disappointed.

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Underdog15
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 3:59:45 PM

I don't see why it can't be both criticized for making it too differently and at the same time praised for remaking itself with every iteration.

FF6, FF7, FF8, FF9, and FF10, for example, are all very different games from one another, yet they are also very clearly able to be understood as the same product line. FF13 is sort of the ugly-step sister of that group that is related, but doesn't really belong. FFXV could be great, but it really doesn't seem like any of the other same namesakes that came before it.

I don't think I should have to explain why that first mini-paragraph makes sense, but I can if needed.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/15/2016 4:00:48 PM

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Bio
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 4:47:59 PM

XIII's deficiencies trace back to the fact that, by Square's own admission, the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. They literally didn't even know what kind of game they were making, despite having worked on it for years, until they had to come up with content for the demo.

The combat system was a natural evolution that started with the CTB in X; the problem was that it was just a bad game. You could have put the FFVII (or VIII or whichever game's system floats your boat) into FFXIII and it still would have been a terrible game.

As for 'remaking itself but staying the same' I don't buy it at all, because I don't see that as the case at all. I see the games as narratively self contained with evolution in the gameplay, for the most part, with IX being a notable exception.

At some point an evolutionary franchise is going to evolve too much for some people, but that doesn't make the subsequent games good or bad on their face. MGS V was a huge evolutionary step for that franchise, but at the end of the day it was still a damn good game so most people responded warmly.

XIII may have been a bigger evolutionary step than people were ready for, but I think the simpler answer is that it was just shitty.

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godsman
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 10:23:04 AM
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I think ff8 was really good. I still stop before the ending because I didnt want it to end.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 11:02:53 AM

It's a great ending though, especially during and after credits.

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Bio
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 12:05:35 PM

VIII has my favorite ending in the entire series.

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xenris
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 4:14:33 PM

...Squalls a chicken wuss!!! *Runs away cackling*

#ironic

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 10:58:08 AM
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We really thought you killed it.

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Athrin
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 4:35:54 PM

it IS dead, FFXV is a action game like Uncharted it is in absolute no way a RPG

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TheHighlander
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 2:04:57 PM
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I'm not sure I'd say that he might as well have been talking in Swahili. If you've followed the communications of Naoki Yoshida about FFXIV, you get used to the way Japanese is interpreted to English, there are a lot of things that when said in Japanese, sound a bit awkward in English, even with a good translator/interpreter.

I mean, in this case, Tabata is essentially bearing his soul and saying "..we tried to understand what was going wrong with FF games, and we know that FFVII was a high point for the franchise...so we conducted surveys and market research and found that the FF franchise and brand was fading...so we want to change that, we want to please our loyal fans and get them to return to Final Fantasy. We think that we can capture the essence or spirit of FF games of the past as long as we pay attention to these 3 things..."

To me, those three things sort of 'translate as follows;
"A willingness to challenge the status quo" :- So, don't sit on your laurels, challenge the player.

"An exceptional, out-of-the-ordinary experience" :- It's Final Fantasy, the story and experience of the game has to be fantastical and remarkable.

"Cutting-edge technology to use the hardware to the fullest" :- We used to make these crazy good cutscenes in FMV because consoles couldn't render it in real time. Now they can, so we have to look at other things, besides excellence in cut scenes. It could be new control schemes, massive scale bosses, or jaw-dropping visuals, or all 3 at once. This is where they are essentially saying that they try to innovate based on the technology they have at their disposal.

I don't know, I'm usually a very cynical person, but I find it very hard to be as cynical, if not outright negative about this game (FFXV), or the FFVII remake(s). Perhaps I'm biased because I really enjoy FFXIV?

Last edited by TheHighlander on 4/14/2016 2:06:33 PM

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Jawknee
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 3:05:13 PM

For me it's hard to be cynical about XV because I never expected it to be a true RPG to begin with. From the Duscae demo, the RPG elements are slight but still there. The Platinum demo didn't change my view because it was never intended to show us more than the tech behind the world.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 7:51:37 PM

But Jawknee, they sure are touting XV as the only possible future or way forward for the franchise before its death. In other words that spinoff game that was supposed to be kinda bad has to be a huge hit that rivals Skyrim or it's all over, no chance of ever getting them back on the rails of an RPG.

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Jawknee
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 12:42:58 AM

Right but I've excepted that what the franchise used to be is dead. Now I'm just trying to salvage what's left because I still do very much like the worlds they create in general. Hoping maybe some elements of their past will be seen peeking through the cracks.

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Jawknee
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 3:50:43 AM

Accepted. Lol whoops

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Athrin
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 4:34:50 PM
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it is a dead IP, you and your comrades are just too stupid to figure it out yet.

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Lone Wanderer
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @ 5:32:01 PM
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It is dead Tabata.Square-Enix just doesn't know it yet.

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ricksterj
Sunday, April 17, 2016 @ 4:29:24 PM
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We'll see. If not there's ALWAYS RE 7-OOPS never mind.

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