Final Fantasy XV Designer On Why It Took 10 Years, Blames Dev Team

It’s no secret that Final Fantasy XV took 10 years to make. FFXV Character Designer Roberto Ferrari reveals why the team of 200 “suffering souls” took so long.

Final Fantasy has just released, and it received many a great feedback from new and old Final Fantasy fans across the world. In fact, it was so well received that some deemed it worth the 10-year wait. And yes, the ten laborious years of waiting did take a toll on many Final Fantasy fans. We almost gave up after the long bouts of silence, the lack of updates during E3, the title change, the director change, and the platform change. But right when we were just about to lose hope, clinging on to just the Final Fantasy heads’ promises of “no, FFXV is still on,” the game lands and blows us all away.

"Why did it take 10 years?!" [Image by Square Enix]
"Why did it take 10 years?!" [Image by Square Enix]

Final Fantasy XV was first introduced to the world as Final Fantasy Versus XIII in 2006, and the community went gaga over the two promotional images of Lightning and Noctis side by side. But long story short, In 2012, Final Fantasy Versus XIII became Final Fantasy XV, Hajime Tabata came on board (it was only in 2014 when he became the sole director of FFXV, and original director Tetsuya Nomura moved to work on other projects, thankfully), and the game will launch on the newer generation consoles instead.

Lightning and Noctis on the first Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII promo [Image by Square Enix]
Lightning and Noctis on the first Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII promo [Image by Square Enix]

After a few more delays in the schedule, on November 29, 2016, Final Fantasy XV finally arrived on the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.

Now Loading details the journey of the title from Final Fantasy Versus XIII to Final Fantasy XV, and it seems that substantial progress was only really ever made after Hajime started to clean up. Speaking to IGN, Tabata clarifies that Versus XIII was really just around 20 to 25 percent and that most of the development that resulted to Final Fantasy XV really just started to come together by 2012.

“It’s a little bit rough, but in terms of how much it had progressed in terms of development, Versus XIII was around 20 to 25 percent. In terms of character designs or visuals, nothing really had been fixed at that point. We were still working on updating it and revising those designs.”

Now, a new Final Fantasy staff member comes forward and validates what the FFXV heads have been trying to sugarcoat and what we’ve been thinking about all along: that Final Fantasy Versus XIII was just all chaos and half-baked plans.

Lunafreya was not in the original plan. Stella was the original female protagonist. [Image by Square Enix]
Lunafreya was not in the original plan. Stella was the original female protagonist. [Image by Square Enix]

Final Fantasy Character Designer Roberto Ferrari (who has since left the development team), reveals on his Facebook page how disorganized the Final Fantasy Versus XIII team was, which could account for all the wasted time. WCCFTechtranslates Ferrari’s post from Italian which read:

“They’re highly disorganized. Our staff (200 suffering souls) had to work on FFXV while the story still had to be finalized. In 2013, the d*** story changed every three months or so and the game’s release date had been scheduled for December 2014.

“In the world of animation, which is where I come from, the main story is nailed down before hiring the staff in order to avoid this kind of a waste.”

It seems the transition from Tetsuya to Hajime couldn’t have come soon enough. Tetsuya was just simply stretched out too thin, working on ten different games (four of which he directed) when he was working on Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

Roberto Ferrari has been the character design mastermind for such characters as Ardyn Izunia, Cidney Aurum, Cid Sophiar, Iris Amicitia, Aranea Highwind, Gentiana, Umbra, and Verstael. He shares some of his original character designs of these Final Fantasy XV characters and adds that some of his characters underwent serious transformation (although not everything to his liking) like Gentiana, who wore a different gown that was less garish, while some were removed from the story entirely.

Ferrari also worked on the FFVII Remake although he reveals that he did not have as much freedom as he did in FFXV since it was mostly just reimagining already existing FFVII characters.

And speaking of Final Fantasy VII Remake, we’re distracted for now by Final Fantasy XV, so we’re not yet going nuts over the lack of updates about the said remake. Hopefully, we hear from Square Enix soon, too.

[Featured Image by Square Enix]