"...we had to make adjustments in terms of scale, what we were creating. We had to reevaluate what was really crucial for this, a different type of game."
- Hajime Tabata details the evolution of Final Fantasy XV to USGamer.
Hajime Tabata joined the Final Fantasy XV development team as its director in 2012, roughly six years after the game was first announced as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Tabata started on the game during the crux of that rebranding effort, and recently shared some of the effects of that process in an interview with USGamer.
While Final Fantasy Versus XIII was a spin-off of 2009’s Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XV would take place in a new and separate world from the game it was originally announced as. Despite this, Tabata explained that starting from the ground up wasn’t an option.
"Because the game had already been presented via trailers and other forms of media to the users, one of my goals in developing XV was to preserve the elements that users were aware of and excited about,” he said. “Once something like that is out in the open, you can't really ignore it. People are expecting it. They're excited about it, so it's something that they have to take into account and, yeah, it sort of serves as inspiration in a way.”
Despite Final Fantasy XV’s unique situation, Tabata says that the kinds of sacrifices his team had to make during development aren’t all that different from the kinds of decisions most game developers have to make on a project.
"There's always going to be something that you have partway through development only to realize, 'We need to make this more efficient,' and you have to sadly let go of them,” he said. “But as far as XV was concerned, nothing that we had to leave behind was crucial to the FFXV experience.”
For more from Tabata on how the shift away from Final Fantasy Versus XIII informed core features throughout XV, take a look at the full interview on USGamer.