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While Nomura wanted FFXV to be a musical, Tabata wanted it to be an online multiplayer game

While Nomura wanted FFXV to be a musical, Tabata wanted it to be an online multiplayer game

Written by Brayden — 24 Sep 2018

Final Fantasy XV's long development has been widely discussed, but director Hajime Tabata has now discussed in an interview with Polygon some of the directions the project nearly went in.

You can read what he discussed below.

While Tabata accepts responsibility for 15’s more controversial narrative decisions, it also becomes clear in speaking to him that the compromises he made stemmed from the realities of the game industry. Publisher Square Enix couldn’t gestate the game forever, and it fell on Tabata to ship something. Consider that, despite the game being announced back in 2006, the fundamental concept for 15 (or rather, Versus 13) was still fairly fluid even a few short years prior to launch. 15’s original director, Tetsuya Nomura, admitted to toying with the idea of turning the game into a musical after seeing Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Les Misérables. That movie debuted in December 2012, six and a half years after the world’s first glimpse of Versus 13, which seems remarkably late in the development cycle to be mulling such tremendous reinventions.

The need to pull the project into working order for a 2016 launch resulted in the 15 team abandoning many of the concepts developed under Nomura. That’s not to say all of Tabata’s own ideas made it into 15, though. Among the more intriguing ideas left on the drawing board was his desire to make 15 an online-focused multiplayer experience. “Our initial plan was to get different players to play each of the four buddies that go on a road trip together,” he says. “But if we had executed it with each player controlling a different character, the game would have been endless. They’d have had to work for hours and hours to get through this road trip. Se we had to stick with a single-player game.”

Though that cooperative road trip concept didn’t come together for the main game, the transformation of 15 into a platform allowed Tabata to explore the multiplayer angle anyway, in the form of last year’s Comrades expansion. That mode presented up to four players with cooperative play reminiscent of the Destiny or Monster Hunter series, allowing them to team up to complete objectives in pursuit of a concrete narrative objective. The entirety of Comrades tied into the main game’s story, though it was tidily quarantined into the decade-long time skip that prefaces the single-player mode’s final chapters. It’s not hard to imagine Comrades — a fun but decidedly rough game experience — serving as a test bed for future game concepts. Indeed, Tabata seems to regard much of his work on 15 as a learning experience to take with him to Luminous Productions.