The most recent Active Time Report took place on June 4th, 2015. Game Director, Hajime Tabata, used a sizeable chunk of the broadcast to discuss some of the significant changes that have happened to FINAL FANTASY XV since it’s re branding from FINAL FANTASY Versus XIII. The most notable change by far, which is sure to upset many people on the internet, is the removal of the character Stella Nox Fleuret, who was originally shown as a heroine at odds with Noctis.
“We wanted to keep her as a heroine in FFXV’s story, and pursued ways to tie her in to FFXV’s design as well, but we found it increasingly difficult to make sense of Stella’s character and role within FFXV,” Tabata explained. “So then we thought, do we want to recreate Stella with a different role and image, or do we want to start over with a new hreoine? And after a lot of consideration, we decided not to include Stella in FFXV. Instead, we have a new heroine named Luna, who has a different role within the story. So we will be talking more about her in the future.”
Another major change Tabata mentioned, was in regard to the scene once seen as the opening of FINAL FANTASY Versus XIII where Noctis visits a party taking place in the city of Insomnia. That sequence has been removed from FINAL FANTASY XV.
“Now, if you have been following info on Versus, you may already know this, but there was a sequence of scenes right after the party where the city is attacked by the enemy forces of Niflheim, that sequence has been deleted from FFXV. And there is a good reason behind it.”
“Scenes like those had to be regressed because of a very critical factor. So now, the sequence is: Noct and his retinue leave Insomnia, and then… What was it? Then the Niflheim army attacks the crown city. There’s an extremely important reason behind this decision. In fact, it could be construed a spoiler, so I can’t tell you about it here.”
“The third point is not a change. But as I just informed you, we decided to delete the scene of a party in Insomnia, which is a city like Shinjuku. So then we became concerned that the players who were looking forward to some gameplay in that city might worry that they would be losing that gameplay as well. So I thought I should let you know here and now that we are preparing situations that would involve gameplay in the Shinjuku-like city of Insomnia. We had previously released information on Versus saying you would begin combat right after the Niflheim army attacks the city, but the new gameplay would not fall in around the same timeline. As for when and in what kind of situation the combat occurs, we would like for you to wait for future updates, and play the actual game, but we are working on something great, so I hope you will look forward to it.”
With all the changes being made, Tabata did confirm both the black-haired woman from the E3 2013 trailer the mysterious dragoon lady we saw back in 2011 are still present, and both will play major roles in the story.
“Quite some time has passed now… After we had switched from Versus to XV, the first decision we made was to make sure that FFXV would have a complete, coherent story in one game. That was an important decision—one made at the company level, too. So I started thinking about how we could get a full, coherent story in a single game. And the crux of that was which elements from Versus we could carry over and which would not fit into the new structure as XV.”
“So I went through everything in detail, seeing which areas we would have to change. By that time, a fair amount of information about the Versus story had already been released, so we tried to keep as many elements from it as we could. We tried hard in a number of areas. But it would have been very difficult to carry over absolutely everything as it was. We considered what was possible with the new-gen hardware, as well as what elements absolutely must be included in XV but might fall through if not given top priority. It was not easy to nail down what was essential for the story to be contained in one title. Everyone involved was very sensitive in dealing with this, and we patiently debated numerous times, but we still couldn’t come up with a definitive answer.”
“In the end, we decided to be as faithful as possible to Mr. Nojima’s story for Versus and focus on realizing the original story as much as we could. It goes without saying that I consulted with him on this. And he said that if I valued his original story, then it would still fulfill his vision, even if not every single element he came up with included in the end. So that gave us the confidence to set our goal, which was to create a narrative that utilizes Mr. Nojima’s original story as fully as possible.”
You can watch the Active Time Report 6.0, in full, below.