Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is actually part of a new branch of Final Fantasy games. Square Enix is embarking on a new Type branch series kind of like how Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is its own series. You might not see Ace or any of the Vermilion Bird students in Final Fantasy Type-1, though. Director Hajime Tabata explains to Siliconera what he hopes to do with the Type line of Final Fantasy games and mentions Square Enix’s new president is in Final Fantasy Type-0 HD.
How does writing a story compare when the protagonists are teenagers like in Final Fantasy Type-0 compared to adults like in Final Fantasy XV?
Hajime Tabata, Director: The approach taken to the game is different depending on the age of the main characters. The environment the characters exist in changes depending on their age. For example, if they’re in high school or if they are adults. If they are adults they will live an an adult environment and their relationships will differ too.
Could you elaborate on how relationships are different in a Final Fantasy game with teenagers as leads instead of adults?
Teenagers have relationships with each other and also with the adults are part of their lives. There is a dynamic between how the adults and teens feel towards each other and interact with each other. In depicting these relationships there is a generational difference that showcases the characters in a different light.
Adults are independent and have their own mentalities. The way they distance themselves with other adults differs significantly from the way teenagers do so. This is a very simplistic explanation, but the two age groups interact with each other is significantly different.
In Type-0, the main characters are teenagers so they probably don’t know the full weight a life carries or the true fear of battle. These are things they do not know. For them, they will experience this throughout the game and grow up and develop as characters. That is only made possible by starting off with main characters at their age group.
Do you feel Final Fantasy Type-0 is a coming of age story?
Yeah, showcasing them growing up and developing as human beings.
When Super Soldier Akkid was chasing my team in the train escape team, suddenly your avatar popped in the game and saved Cinque from Super Soldier Akkid.
In the original version of Final Fantasy Type-0 for PSP there was ad-hoc multiplayer mode where if you had the PSP and game in the same room with your friends you could get assistance from them. Since the console version doesn’t have that system we strengthened the assist system so players can receive help from the game itself.
All of the character data is included within the game, but the game was built if we ever look into an online system that would be potentially possible. Unfortunately, with this game the network system doesn’t exist, so there are stock characters in the game. Did the assist system help at all?
Yeah, it helped me run away, but Tabata-san your avatar didn’t survive.
[Laughs] In the PSP version, the assist characters were pretty weak so we strengthened them significantly for the console version, but I still died. The stock characters were registered avatars the developers were using. Just to be a little playful, we added the core staff and our previous president [Yoichi] Wada-san. For Type-0 HD there is a new member, our current president [Yosuke] Matsuda-san. The concept is for the entire Square Enix staff to come to your assistance and help you out.
In the PSP game, there was a limited amount of time players could assist you in ad-hoc mode. Since we didn’t include an online function in Type-0 HD, the entire multiplayer aspect is lost. But, the rare items that could only be obtained through the multiplayer mode have been redistributed throughout the game.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD has a new costume for players to find too.
There is one new costume that didn’t exist in the PSP version. I can’t say what it is, but there is a brand new costume you will be able to obtain in the game. Other costumes that you could obtain outside of the normal PSP game have been included in game as well.
The Type series has been designated for experimental Final Fantasy games. What do you consider the elements you need to have to make a game a Final Fantasy game?
Chocobos. [Tabata-san joked and then laughed]
Kitase-san once said to me, ever since Sakaguchi-san created the first Final Fantasy title they can freely create Final Fantasy games however they like. However, in order to get the honor to create one you need to be deemed fit. For me, Kitase-san and Nomura-san had to feel that I knew what was important to the series and I would be able to handle a title with this franchise. It’s kind of a vague concept.
This is different from other titles inside Square Enix like Dragon Quest where it is defined by the creator who has been working on it. Final Fantasy has had various people work with the series and it has expanded in the hands of different creators. The Final Fantasy DNA can only be relayed by the predecessors who deem a person to be fit to handle it and Kitase-san had said when you’re handing the series off to someone else be sure that person knows the Final Fantasy DNA and has it in their heart to work on it.
What defines a Type series Final Fantasy game then?
Hmm… if I get too specific we’ll be grounded with that. Is it OK if I talk about a bigger direction? The big direction is to challenge things that can’t be done in a numbered Final Fantasy. We want to keep true to the Final Fantasy franchise, but deliver it to new audiences and potentially new platforms. Engaging in that grander challenge is what I would like to do with the Type series.
Earlier you said creators are free to create different kinds of Final Fantasy games, but do you feel there is pressure from fans to have certain tenets or mythology from the series as a whole?
Yes, I do believe there are expectations from fans. One being the expectation built from their past experiences with the franchise and them wanting to experience that kind of feeling or have an aspect from a previous title refined. There is also the fact that the Final Fantasy series has engaged in new challenges, so there are also fans looking forward to new experiences that lie ahead.
The balance between the two is very important. If we are able to make a 50-50 split, most fans would feel that it is a proper evolution for the franchise, but if it’s an 80-20 split where 80% is evolution then that would be a challenging title.
Final Fantasy XV is 50-50. A Type series game is 80-20. Final Fantasy Type-0 is actually 70-30.
Final Fantasy Type-0’s more mature story has been a point of discussion. Do you feel that perhaps Final Fantasy games are designed for a certain demographic or age group and with the Type series you can expand beyond that?
With the Type series it’s very free. Type-1 could potentially be a story more geared towards adults while Type-2 could be a little more kid-oriented. With the numbered games we’re always trying to aim for a wide range of demographics. With the Type series we could focus on a certain demographic and the content could be potentially created around that.
We have the demographic data for Final Fantasy Type-0 in Japan and it’s a little different from some of the numbered titles. That was an interesting result and with the Western release it will be interesting to see where it stands with global data. We can utilize that and see where we can go next.
Other developers might have their own ideas too and I believe the Type series is a place where you can focus the direction of the game. When it comes to the budget, of course it’s lower with the Type titles than the numbered Final Fantasy games, so it does becomes more of a focused challenge. Because you can have a more focused direction the demographics for a Type game can have a different range, it can go anywhere.