Tabata blasts team’s own ego
When Hajime Tabata took over as director for Final Fantasy XV in 2012 — six years after it was announced — people were pissed, including Square Enix employees working on the project.
“It wasn’t only from inside the team, but outside as well,” Tabata told 4Gamer, as translated by Kotaku. “The reason was that if my way of doing it ended up working, there are those whose circumstances will worsen,” he laughed. Damn! The candor is a bit refreshing, perhaps because fellow Japanese game developer Katsuhiro Harada (Tekken) was conducting the interview. But there were hints of this at the recent Final Fantasy XV event, too, where Square Enix let series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi admit he was worried about the direction of the series.
Tabata kept spilling real talk. “Around that time, I realized that among fans as well, there are people who’ve caught Final Fantasy disease,” which, “refers to people within the company who can’t imagine anything other than their own view of Final Fantasy.” I imagine they’re not dissimilar from the heathens that dislike Final Fantasy XII.
“Since the root is a strong self-affirmation, one’s own view of Final Fantasy takes more priority than the team’s success,” Tabata said.
“If that view of Final Fantasy isn’t fulfilled, then they’re convinced that it’s bad for Final Fantasy. They think, ‘Since Final Fantasy is a special team, then we are also special because we are making it. When the new Final Fantasy comes out, everybody is going to be so into it.’ But that’s not the reality of the situation, is it?”
Tabata told the team at one point, “We’re not special. Wake up.” And so far Final Fantasy XV is seeming better for it. Preemptive “good job!” Tabata.