Just another interview with Hajime Tabata has been released, and this time the director was discussing about making Final Fantasy XV a more accessible title, while still carrying the legacy of core-centric games in the best possible form. He also dropped the word “casual” and everything was set right for a new drama. But what did he really mean with that word and is there any reason to overreact? We think not.
During the interview, Tabata explained he is eager to make the Final Fantasy XV experience more “casual”. This wording often tends to have a negative tone for the “hardcore” gamers, but in this case, Tabata didn’t mean to turn Final Fantasy XV into a social or mobile game or anything like that. He simply wants to make a game that is more accessible and easier to get into for everyone. This is made possible by providing features such as an auto mode and a manual mode for driving, for example. You can choose which one you want to use: For some, it could be easier to set the car destination and just enjoy the ride, but others may want to explore the world by themselves. You are free to do whatever you want.
Tabata also has a vision of a new-generation battle system, where everything could be done with a single button or the combination of a few. There wouldn’t be many complicated menus anymore or unnecessary button mashing, since they are utilizing the intelligence of the new hardware to create a smoother and more satisfying gameplay experience. This doesn’t mean they are dumbing down the battle system or making it less skill-demanding, but creating a system that’s easier to use and understand, and that is still core and challenging enough. It will be taking time to finally master it.
If it’s still hard to understand what he means with the more casual experience, we could compare the battle system to to a smartphone operating system. All phone companies are constantly trying to improve their interfaces and make the software better and smoother to use. This is what the Final Fantasy XV team is trying to do, but with the battle system. After realizing this, it may be easier to understand the basic idea, which is to build the battles upon a continuous flow of movements; this continuous flow is based on the combination of buttons you press and each action is chained into another in a seamless way.
This analysis is based on multiples interviews with Tabata, including the one with Eurogamer.
Categories: FINAL FANTASY XV