The truth most fans ignore

Raspberry

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THE TRUTH MOST FANS IGNORE:

Over the course of this decade, I can remember one prominent opinion that resonated with fans:

That Nomura is a terrible director and mismanages every game he produces, and Tabata is the honest, most transparent director that gives us the truth and he is the savior of Final Fantasy XV.

But is this true? Is Nomura the sole reason why we didn't get the Final Fantasy XV he originally envisioned? And has Tabata truly been the most honest developer at least more honest than Nomura?

This is going to be a rant about Final Fantasy XV, but also on the fandom and how misguided they were. So if you really want to read all this, please keep an open mind. If you still don't want to read all of this and still think you should comment, I'll make a TLDR section.

The Relationship between Nomura and Tabata:
I find this one of the most important topics that need to be discussed. A lot of the work Tabata received was mostly because the devs chose to work together. Nomura was one of the first to use Tabata for "Before Crisis: FF7". The developers of Compilation wanted to use him again for Crisis Core. Although they did want to use him specifically to remake Before Crisis into PSP at the time.

It didn't just stop at Compilation of FF7, Tabata and Nomura worked together on other titles with Tabata such as The 3rd Birthday and can you believe it Final Fantasy Type-0. All these titles I mentioned were not Nomura serving only as a character designer either. Tetsuya Nomura was a creative producer which isn't a small role.

So it is important to know that before Final Fantasy XV/Versus XIII situation, they had a good work relationship together.

It's not all Nomura's fault (but he had a hand to play)
Final Fantasy Versus XIII was announced in 2006. During that time, he was working on Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts coded and Re:coded, Dissidia, Dissidia Duodecim, and of course Final Fantasy Type-0. Now let's not take that list at face value. Not every title he worked on he put the most attention to and half of them were managed by other developers with different divisions. But it is important to know that Nomura wasn't just "sitting" around.

In addition to all those games Nomura was developing on (or provided assistance), we need to look at what mindset Square Enix had at the time too. Back when Final Fantasy XIII was being developed, Square Enix was hell-bent on developing its own proprietary engine that was better than the competition. Ever since the PS3 era, they were obsessed with making their games as pretty as possible, at the expense of good gameplay and storytelling. Square Enix and many other Japanese developers were not prepared for the HD graphics generation the PS3 and Xbox 360 were offering. However, unlike most Japanese developers that just chose not to do HD graphics until they were comfortable with it, Square Enix was trying to push forward no matter the sacrifice.

This led to the infamous "Crystal Tools Engine". This engine was not meant for open-world games and favored more on the graphical side of development. As of yet, this engine has yet to provide superb games and many developers retroactively criticized Square Enix for wasting money on developing it. Final Fantasy 13, 13-2, Lightning Returns, Final Fantasy 14, and lastly Dragon Quest X. One of these we never really received.

This engine was originally planned for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Early in production, however, this engine proved to be a failure for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Now for SE, the rational thing to do at this point is outsourcing to another prominent engine that allows them to do what they need for the game. Unfortunately, they didn't. Instead, they chose to use the Crystal Tools engine as part of the foundation for a new engine which we all know as Luminous. The luminous engine was announced around 2012. That was 5 years after the Crystal Tools engine.

To this day, the Luminous engine has not been finished and still being worked on. To say this wasn't Nomura's fault at all is a stretch. And he's not perfect. i have a love-hate relationship with Kingdom hearts too. If i can blame Nomura for anything is trusting in Square Enix too much.

Square Enix holds most of the blame
Square Enix asked Nomura to leave the project at the beginning of 2013. At the time, it was to focus on Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy VII Remake. But Square Enix's timing couldn't have been worse. Because shortly after Nomura was asked to leave Final Fantasy XV, Square Enix demanded the changes to the game. They didn't want Final Fantasy XV, to be a trilogy, they didn't want religion based on death to be used

So big changes to the original plan. It could be speculated that Square Enix wanted to get rid of Nomura from XV to allow these changes to be made quicker, but it's also a terrible decision nonetheless even if it was planned.

It's not all Hajime Tabata's fault (But he still had a hand to play)

It is clear in past interviews that Hajime Tabata had creative differences with Final Fantasy Versus XIII, as he considered old characters like Stella weak and he didn't like the idea of an all-male party. And he even said the original was too dark. As irritating it can be to see someone be part of a project they didn't agree with, there was more to it than just some creative differences.

Hajime Tabata also spearheaded the Luminous engine development which meant developing the engine and the game at the same time. The game was also under contract to release at a specific time, so the game was rushed to the highest degree. And Because he couldn't fit everything in the game, he resorted to creating a Film and an Anime series just for Final Fantasy XV. This is understandable because the luminous engine couldn't handle a whole invasion scene. These changes were demanded by Square Enix themselves.

However, what I personally can't forgive Tabata is using the films, and TV series and feel more like spin-offs on what should've been part of the game eventually. Characters like Nyx Ulric robbing events that Noctis should've experienced first-hand. By making it about some new character that barely holds any weight to the game's story, it's impossible for the invasion scene to be part of a DLC/update. The same with Brotherhood anime.

Especially when it has been proven that they can add new scenes and events to the game as DLC with little to no effort.

Why XV and Versus XIII are so different:
Every game has to sacrifice something for the sake of development Band games change vision throughout development. But is this the case for Final Fantasy XV? Was Final Fantasy XV revealed too soon to the public?

In my humble opinion, I don't think it was revealed too soon. The reason why is because Final Fantasy Versus XIII was never intended to be the next main installment of Final Fantasy when it was in production. It was supposed to be a passion project for Tetsuya Nomura. The concepts, characters, story and all came from him. Any changes he was willing to make in the future was within his right because it still met the goal of making a game he wanted to make. So it didn't matter how long it took, so long as we got what was advertised (His project).

Another jab fans love to bring out is "He wanted to change it into a musical! That's so stupid!" Well, it was perfectly within his right. Does a musical sound so bad? Especially if he took inspiration from Les Miserables? In addition, Yoko Shimomura was producing the music. So having voices attached to the beautiful music would've been interesting. But again, even if it wasn't for you, at the time the goal was to make a Final Fantasy he always wanted to make. People forget he made this proposal when the Shakespearean themes were apparent and when it was still Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

However, it wasn't just the game that changed, but the entire reason for existing. This game, at its core, wasn't intended to be the main Final Fantasy. It had ideas that exceeded that of a main Final Fantasy title. A world resembling our own, Shakespearean themes, Mafia-like kingdom, and the themes of Death closely tied to their religion. Tetsuya Nomura's sole reason for changing the title into "15" was because he was promised that the game's vision and scope weren't going to change.

So what are we left with Final Fantasy XV? Unfortunately, it's a censored mess. Important lore was removed and altered, characters were removed and replaced (Stella/Luna), and the ones that remain have been redesigned completely to characters with no personality (Regis/Ravus). New characters were added in that just don't add anything to the world of Final Fantasy XV, they're just filler.

It would be different if Nomura made all these changes himself and released it. But because he had to work on others with zero input on the new changes made. It's just not a good look for Final Fantasy XV.

Civil War among the fandom:
Ever since Tokyo Game Show 2013, something was off. Tabata started reporting information such as development hell and the game was only 30% complete. And he had to restructure the entire setup. In addition, he didn't like the mindset of certain developers on how they viewed Final Fantasy and attempted to correct them. There was information revealed that gave negative ideas about the old development team of the game, and the primary person to blame was Tetsuya Nomura.

The fans have made negative such as Nomura never finishes his games, or he takes too long. Those who were there from the beginning could be more sympathetic. There were also two different mindsets among the fans: "the ones who wanted to see what Nomura planned" and "The ones who want to see the next mainline Final Fantasy because it's taking too damn long".

And for this, I can only blame Tabata alone for this. This is information that didn't need to be said. Or if it was needed to be said, definitely needed clarity in making sure the fandom doesn't rise in anger. But he didn't.

Throughout the years, Tabata received all the sympathy, all the praise, and all the support from fans. And fans went out of their way to turn a blind eye to the inconsistency of his statements and the lack of clarity. I don't hate Tabata, but over the years I admit I shifted my hatred toward Tabata on what should've been the misguided fans, and he didn't deserve that. I personally still have a strong distaste for FF15 and most of his management, but I'm less angry for reasons I'll get to in a bit.

Time has validated Nomura
The good news is that time has validated Nomura. Nomura has released the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts 3. Final Fantasy VII Remake is also coming in March 2020. There's plenty of room for delays but we know that we're getting the game sometime next year (unless something unpredictable happens). People are building trust again that Nomura can bring out games, and just because he's silent doesn't mean he's not working. Keep in mind that these games had their own obstacles to coming into fruition.

Tabata, on the other hand, left Square Enix, and even though people want to claim he was overworked, he was still one of the fastest promoted developers in the company. Handing him his own studio. Tabata's previous statements of Final Fantasy XV would come to haunt him as contradictory information would rise, rumors of mismanagement, and even admitted his own statements were false. Statements such as Final Fantasy XV were complete when it was originally released only to say Final Fantasy XV wasn't complete after the Royal Edition was released. His planned projects for XV were are also gone and had to be filled with a novel instead.

Let's not forget that Final Fantasy XV wasn't even his own passion project. His passion was to release the game. He had other planned projects that he advertised. He set up a series such as Final Fantasy Type-0. I know people are still huge fans of Tabata after this and will try to defend him. The mysterious Final Fantasy Type-Next is nothing but just a concept.

And fans are starting to see his glaring flaws.

Time has validated me (and others)

Over the years, I was treated as scum of the fandom for having the facts (that were made available) and voiced it. It was a terrible time to be alive. Imagine an entire fandom that you were apart of for years misconstrue your words to the point that they called you stupid and idiotic, no matter how many times you explained and clarified. it sucked. But I know one thing. I'm not alone, and the disappointment in FF15 has taken away some of the rose-tinted glasses. To the point that some have apologized to me the way they treated me, and wish they saw the signs sooner.

I don't expect any positive response to that here in this forum. But I'm at peace knowing there were others who did research on the game so extensively and couldn't ignore what was going on in front of us and have stuck together.

 

mothcorrupteth

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Well argued and formatted. I wish you would cite/source some of the things you talk about, but this is an interesting angle I'd not heard.

Overall, I view Square-Enix as a Greek tragic hero who soared too high too soon. The film was boring and stupid, no two bones about it, but the consequent demotion of Sak in the company and his subsequent departure portended what we see now. The creatives no longer hold the reigns of power. Business types do. And as a consequence, Final Fantasy has largely lost its heart and soul. The only man who can deliver anything original of semi-decent quality is the one man who can't tell a story and can't design a character without giving it at least a dozen zippers and/or chains. Then there is the team that gave us Bravely Default, but they or their handlers never seem to cotton to the realization that what made Final Fantasy popular was when it focused on the sci-fi elements and made the battle system customizable but also not Jobs. Overall, Square-Enix has become the video game analog to the movie industry: Unwilling or incapable to produce anything original and risky, preferring to fall back on remasters and remakes and remasters of remakes--pale and shabby ghosts of their bygone successes. Ozymandine statues in a desert bereft of any jRPG vegetation that isn't Nino Kuni or Trails in the Sky.

I had the highest of hopes for FFXV. I really did. I had been burned with XIII, and I argued this passionately against the hype that had built up with XV. But I, too, eventually succumbed to the thought, "This Tabata guy actually sounds like maybe he wants to make Final Fantasy great again (MFFGA). Maybe Square-Enix has finally learned its lesson." But no. It was better than XIII, certainly. It did not create the acrid taste of vomit in my mouth. But it was meh. And that's somehow worse than hours of tutorial-corridors and a crap battle system, because Final Fantasy is supposed to be much, much more than meh.
 

Raspberry

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Well argued and formatted. I wish you would cite/source some of the things you talk about, but this is an interesting angle I'd not heard.

Overall, I view Square-Enix as a Greek tragic hero who soared too high too soon. The film was boring and stupid, no two bones about it, but the consequent demotion of Sak in the company and his subsequent departure portended what we see now. The creatives no longer hold the reigns of power. Business types do. And as a consequence, Final Fantasy has largely lost its heart and soul. The only man who can deliver anything original of semi-decent quality is the one man who can't tell a story and can't design a character without giving it at least a dozen zippers and/or chains. Then there is the team that gave us Bravely Default, but they or their handlers never seem to cotton to the realization that what made Final Fantasy popular was when it focused on the sci-fi elements and made the battle system customizable but also not Jobs. Overall, Square-Enix has become the video game analog to the movie industry: Unwilling or incapable to produce anything original and risky, preferring to fall back on remasters and remakes and remasters of remakes--pale and shabby ghosts of their bygone successes. Ozymandine statues in a desert bereft of any jRPG vegetation that isn't Nino Kuni or Trails in the Sky.

I had the highest of hopes for FFXV. I really did. I had been burned with XIII, and I argued this passionately against the hype that had built up with XV. But I, too, eventually succumbed to the thought, "This Tabata guy actually sounds like maybe he wants to make Final Fantasy great again (MFFGA). Maybe Square-Enix has finally learned its lesson." But no. It was better than XIII, certainly. It did not create the acrid taste of vomit in my mouth. But it was meh. And that's somehow worse than hours of tutorial-corridors and a crap battle system, because Final Fantasy is supposed to be much, much more than meh.

For 10+ years into development, I had grown too tired to cite specific sources. So I do apologize for not providing sources. but most of what I found was based on what was happening around the time of the game, and also a lot of what Tetsuya and Tabata stated.

I will say the game hurt significantly by some of the decisions. No one can convince me that FF15 is in a better state by turning its open cinematic into a spin-off film for a character that has no real stake at the plot. Or that they decided to replace a female character that at least in concept was going to challenge the main character for another female character that is there only to serve as the perfect princess archetype. Or all the actual real-world elements such as a kingdom run like a mafia.

Its immersion-breaking for me how much Tabata added in just to appease fans rather than telling a consistent story. For example, I cannot take the flying car option seriously. How come there are no flying cars elsewhere? And if they can exist, why is there a need for airships? I can count all day how many things made disbelieve that a place like the world of FFXV could exist. To me, FF15 is FF8 2.0, and inspired mess that doesn't know what it is.

Some of these things despite the corporate suits sticking their control into the game could've been easily avoided. But i do believe that the corporate site despite mismanagement holds most of the blame. The restructuring of the entire FF15 staff and losing some of the original ones.

Sakaguchi leaving Final Fantasy I will say is also a big blow and I always think about what it would be like if Sakaguchi still had control of Square and Final Fantasy. I would imagine the Enix merger never happening and we wouldn't be receiving the most enhanced graphics available. Especially after Final Fantasy: TSW. Maybe Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest would've had a more bitter rivalry too.

But hard to say.
 

Raspberry

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Well argued and formatted. I wish you would cite/source some of the things you talk about, but this is an interesting angle I'd not heard.

Overall, I view Square-Enix as a Greek tragic hero who soared too high too soon. The film was boring and stupid, no two bones about it, but the consequent demotion of Sak in the company and his subsequent departure portended what we see now. The creatives no longer hold the reigns of power. Business types do. And as a consequence, Final Fantasy has largely lost its heart and soul. The only man who can deliver anything original of semi-decent quality is the one man who can't tell a story and can't design a character without giving it at least a dozen zippers and/or chains. Then there is the team that gave us Bravely Default, but they or their handlers never seem to cotton to the realization that what made Final Fantasy popular was when it focused on the sci-fi elements and made the battle system customizable but also not Jobs. Overall, Square-Enix has become the video game analog to the movie industry: Unwilling or incapable to produce anything original and risky, preferring to fall back on remasters and remakes and remasters of remakes--pale and shabby ghosts of their bygone successes. Ozymandine statues in a desert bereft of any jRPG vegetation that isn't Nino Kuni or Trails in the Sky.

I had the highest of hopes for FFXV. I really did. I had been burned with XIII, and I argued this passionately against the hype that had built up with XV. But I, too, eventually succumbed to the thought, "This Tabata guy actually sounds like maybe he wants to make Final Fantasy great again (MFFGA). Maybe Square-Enix has finally learned its lesson." But no. It was better than XIII, certainly. It did not create the acrid taste of vomit in my mouth. But it was meh. And that's somehow worse than hours of tutorial-corridors and a crap battle system, because Final Fantasy is supposed to be much, much more than meh.

For 10+ years into development, I had grown too tired to cite specific sources. So I do apologize for not providing sources. but most of what I found was based on what was happening around the time of the game, and also a lot of what Tetsuya and Tabata stated.

I will say the game hurt significantly by some of the decisions. No one can convince me that FF15 is in a better state by turning its open cinematic into a spin-off film for a character that has no real stake at the plot. Or that they decided to replace a female character that at least in concept was going to challenge the main character for another female character that is there only to serve as the perfect princess archetype. Or all the actual real-world elements such as a kingdom run like a mafia.

Its immersion-breaking for me how much Tabata added in just to appease fans rather than telling a consistent story. For example, I cannot take the flying car option seriously. How come there are no flying cars elsewhere? And if they can exist, why is there a need for airships? I can count all day how many things made disbelieve that a place like the world of FFXV could exist. To me, FF15 is FF8 2.0, and inspired mess that doesn't know what it is.

Some of these things despite the corporate suits sticking their control into the game could've been easily avoided. But i do believe that the corporate site despite mismanagement holds most of the blame. The restructuring of the entire FF15 staff and losing some of the original ones. Getting rid of the primary concept creator and quickly asking for changes.

Sakaguchi leaving Final Fantasy I will say is also a big blow and I always think about what it would be like if Sakaguchi still had control of Square and Final Fantasy. I would imagine the Enix merger never happening and we wouldn't be receiving the most enhanced graphics available. Especially after Final Fantasy: TSW. Maybe Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest would've had a more bitter rivalry too.

But hard to say. I made this really to show how one-sided fans were throughout the entire development cycle. I dont ever want to see another game where it was supposed to be their passion project only to have it snubbed by mismanagement and corporate restrictions.
 

Vivi-Gamer

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One of the many complaints I see about Final Fantasy XV is that it didn't live up to a title which was 10 year in the making... but really was it? I get the impression that Versus XIII was in Limbo quite a few years prior to the revised announcement of it becoming XV. I think really we can only assess the project from when it truly began to take shape with that announcement and then forth:
Even with that Announcement trailer, how much of that content remained in the final game? … barely anything.

A lot of people jump to the concept of the Final Fantasy XV Universe for criticism, but honestly I actually through the story offering in both KingsGlaive & brotherhood were very decent. KingsGlaive set the foundation for some of the characters like Luna & Ravus whom I actually found more interesting in the film than the final game (The Initial Release anyway, I've still not played any of the DLC... Or Patched Add-ons), if anything they're introduction in the film intrigued me more and the botch job the game did in presenting them disappointed me even more due to this!

The problems don't lie with the external media but the actual game itself, Which is very bloaty, full of plot holes and simply was not a fulfilling experience:
- One of the biggest dissapointments for me was how the quest to gain power via the Royal Arms was completely abandoned in the game, it introduces the idea and I thought that the concept would be similar to FFX's Pilgrimage, where you visit the Tombs of your forefathers to gain their strength and wisdom to then take on the antagonist threat. But, I had a real crisis with this game when I found my first Tomb in the open world which was optional, this really confused me as I assumed they'd be necessary points woven into the games narrative but as I was on the road I saw an interesting looking area, so I pulled over and then found out it was a Tomb and got a Weapon. The problem was now I knew this was optional it made me question the structure of the game and I had to look up all the other optional Tombs within the game a I thought this was integral to Noctis' Journey... but it wasn't. I genuinely was concerned in thinking that if I did not get every Royal Arms I'd miss out on something vital later on, this thought really took over my interest over the narrative. So I was left feeling very conflicted and it completely broke my immersion from the experience and left me very annoyed.

& That's just talking about one of the gameplay structures, I can't even begin to delve into the issues I have with the story being incomplete and sections expanded in with the DLC - It simply made the initial playthrough a broken mess - & it was very apparent, like when Gladious suddenly decides to vanish and re-appear, it was so jarring and I thought okay, how will this tie into the game later on, which it didn't. What is worse is that the DLC isn't even going to be completed now! I said I will give Final Fantasy XV another shot when it is all done but after their 2nd Anniversary conference (Which is the most depressing games conference I think I've ever seen :P) the game was left doomed and incomplete.
While the game is left incomplete, S-E are planning to shovel out the Story DLC planned for the 2nd Season into a novel. I'm not buying into a novel to find out the conclusion to this series, if S-E can't even be bothered to fix this mess as a game why should I put my time into it? They released Episode Ardyn, but I think really owed it to the fans for sticking within them this far and just finishing it off. I honestly don't know how to approach XV now, I haven't touched the DLC but have no incentive to do so knowing the game will never be finished.
 
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Raspberry

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Personally Kingsglaive and Brotherhood should've been things revealed within the story.
One of the many complaints I see about Final Fantasy XV is that it didn't live up to a title which was 10 year in the making... but really was it? I get the impression that Versus XIII was in Limbo quite a few years prior to the revised announcement of it becoming XV. I think really we can only assess the project from when it truly began to take shape with that announcement and then forth:
Even with that Announcement trailer, how much of that content remained in the final game? … barely anything.

A lot of people jump to the concept of the Final Fantasy XV Universe for criticism, but honestly I actually through the story offering in both KingsGlaive & brotherhood were very decent. KingsGlaive set the foundation for some of the characters like Luna & Ravus whom I actually found more interesting in the film than the final game (The Initial Release anyway, I've still not played any of the DLC... Or Patched Add-ons), if anything they're introduction in the film intrigued me more and the botch job the game did in presenting them disappointed me even more due to this!
Ok, I will attempt to ignore all the prior years of being known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. It was still known as a passion project for Nomura for that 1 year in development (as XV) during E3 2013. he revealed in interviews that he was asked to change the name of the game and was reassured his vision wouldn't be impacted because of it. He assured fans that Versus XIII and XV are the same game.

Then in September 2014 (roughly a year in development) he had to step down to prioritize on Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy VII Remake. When this announcement happened, Tabata had to reassure fans we were going to be getting the same game as if Nomura was in charge and all the concepts were set in stone.

And up until Gamescon 2015, this is where things have shifted completely. Tabata released the "Dawn" trailer (which i still think was one of the worst trailers out there) as a reset point and had to "interpret" the original concept a different way. And moving forward from that, the bigger changes happen. We find out Stella.

And i re-iterate. the problem is now that the game's "REASON FOR EXISTING" has changed. It's no longer a passion project but just a project that re-invigorates the slowly dying franchise. And this is where the civil war among fans come in to place.

I"m not upset that Kingsglaive's storyline exist. But the events Nyx Ulric (a character who no longer had any impact on the plot of XV moving forward, including DLC) was suppose to be Noctis' storyline. I personally can't forgive that one of the most important part of XV has been turned into a side story or a prologue to the game. It should've been part of the game. It makes more sense that the events in Kingsglaive were part of Noctis' story.

Brotherhood just doesn't work as a standalone anime, and more like things that should've been in-game for the in-between. I didn't appreciate that i was being lied to. That the "game" was complete as is, and the DLC was just extra. Only for season 2 announce it was never complete in the first place.

I wish i can love this game. But i just can't. the base game is too bare-bones to forgive.
 
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