Sakaguchi Begged Tabata To Make FFXV’s Healer a Woman, Was Worried About Action Combat & Old Fans

Alessio Palumbo
Posted May 13, 2016
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On March 30, 2016 Square Enix finally revealed the release date of Final Fantasy XV, now set for September 30 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

During that event, series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi unexpectedly appeared on stage for the joy of all the fans. FFXV’s Director Hajime Tabata revealed that Sakaguchi provided some very helpful feedback, but we did not know the specifics until now.

Famitsu posted a lengthy interview (in English, thankfully) with both Sakaguchi and Tabata where the two recalled many funny episodes that happened behind the scenes. The first interesting piece of feedback provided by Sakaguchi was in regards to the healers – he apparently begged Tabata to make a healer woman after he found characters animations to be “creepy”.

Tabata: The second time we met, he told me that the character animations looked creepy! (laughs)

Sakaguchi: Oh no, I didn’t say it like that, did I? (laughs) I was playing the demo, and when you’re fighting, your companions go out of their way to run up and heal you. My gut feeling was I don’t want to be healed by another guy!

Tabata: Sakaguchi-san’s gripe was, they all look so tough but act so touchy-feely. (laughs)

Sakaguchi: Not a sober comment at all. (laughs)

Tabata: He begged me to make the healer a woman, and was disappointed when I told him we simply couldn’t. His take was that we then should at least make sure the characters felt more human, lest we alienate our younger users.

Sakaguchi: Did I say that? I sound so self-important. (laughs)

Tabata: At the time the AI was still pretty weak, so character behavior wasn’t organic enough to convey their mutual relationships. So some players may have found their actions creepy.

Sakaguchi was also worried about long time fans having troubles with the new action combat featured in Final Fantasy XV, so he approved of the team’s idea of adding an Easy mode.

Tabata: Another of Sakaguchi-san’s comments was that FFXV’s action-packed battle system might be too much to handle for users more used to turn-based combat. He reminded us to think about our long-time series fans.

Sakaguchi: Something you always need to keep in mind.

Tabata: The actual feedback from the demo is clearly divided between those who want more depth to the action, and those who prefer having it simpler. When Sakaguchi-san asked me what we were planning to do, I told him we’re considering adding an Easy Mode; a decision he approved of.

Sakaguchi: Tabata-san was worried because there’s never been a numbered FF which allows the user to select difficulty. Personally, I think it should be fine if that’s the solution they arrived at through thinking about the current generation of users.

Tabata: Sakaguchi-san told me “there’s no need to stick to tradition as long as you’re doing it for the fans.”

Final Fantasy XV will remain a console exclusive at launch, but at the rate Square Enix is publishing all of the existing FF games to Steam (the latest one being FFX/X-2 HD Remaster), it’s almost guaranteed that it will release on PC as well. The creators have already stated their intention of making it a tech showcase.

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