• FFXV's story and narrative design are intentional, says Tabata

    In the March 2017 issue of Game Informer, Final Fantasy XV's director Hajime Tabata discussed some of his team's development decisions. Specifically, he discusses the narrative direction as well as the linearity of the game's later chapters.

    Several important events happen off-screen. What is the advantage of letting players imagine rather than witness some moments?

    "It was for the players to experience the story through Noctis' eyes. The world and the events that Noctis sees are merely things that are seen through his eyes. We didn't want to create a comprehensive and perfectly balanced story in this game. Instead, we placed importance on the main characters and for the player and Noctis to share the same experience when we tell the story."

    Considering this narrative design philosophy, Tabata states that the development team decided to focus on the main cast of the game.

    “It’s not that we decreased the role of the side characters. Focusing on many characters in the game means that the allocation given to the main characters will decrease. Instead of creating a comprehensive and perfectly balanced story, we placed greater importance on the four main characters and strived to depict a world seen from their perspective.”

    Additionally, he addressed the discussion about the linearity of the game's later chapters. He confirms that the decision to have them be linear was intentional.

    “Based on calculations that the development time and cost would double if the latter half of the game was to be an open-world environment as well, we had already planned to make the latter half more of a journey by vehicle. The structure of this title – to create memories while traveling in the open-world environment during the first half of the game, then have the story move forward linearly using the train in the latter half of the game – was designed and intended to be that way.”

    Final Fantasy XV has received a significant amount of criticism for its story and narrative. Do you agree with Tabata and the development team's decisions?

    Credit to Nova Crystallis for the original article.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: FFXV's story and narrative design are intentional, says Tabata started by Scruffington View original post
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Fox's Avatar
      Fox -
      I certainly see where he's coming from. I definitely understand the potential from a creative perspective here. But you know, I just don't think they did a good job of it.

      Look, I can see why you'd want to create a story seen entirely from the group of friends that you're journeying with. But they don't commit to it. OK, Noctis wasn't around for the fall of Insomnia... so don't include that in the game. OK, I get where you're coming from. But where were the effects of Insomnias fall? Where were the flood of refugees we see leaving Insomnia in Kingsglaive, for example?

      Same with the side characters - they didn't want to tell the story of the side characters in order to focus on Noctis and crew. Well, OK, but then why show us the side characters at all? The game is quite happy to cut away from Noctis's team to show us Ravus or Luna or Ardyn, but only occasionally.

      Go and play Mass Effect or The Witcher; that's all shown from the perspective of the protagonist and their rag-tag band of misfits. These are games where you see the effects of devastating events in real detail, or you show up half way through as the Reapers are blowing up Palaven, things like that. If side characters only get development when the main crew are around, they make time to make said crew spend time with the important side characters over the course of the adventure.

      So that's my response: fair enough, Tabata-san. I respect you for the vision. And you had some ideas that definitely had the potential to be interesting. You just didn't execute it well.
    1. Psychotic's Avatar
      Psychotic -
      I agree with Fox. I appreciate the effort but it didn't work out. Even if we wash our hands of the major plot itself, even as a character story there was too much left unsaid and too much uncovered for it to really work. I've just played through Dragon Age Inquisition and I feel I know more about each of those characters lives, motivations, fears etc. than I do any of the FFXV lads, and that's with a cast that's doubled in size. Don't get me wrong, I like them well enough and I'm especially fond of Prompto, but I feel like we only scratched the surface.

      Also, I know a common defence is "watch Brotherhood/Kingsglaive" etc. I have, and I really don't like the idea that they only covered some essential character information outside of the game, either through anime, movie or upcoming DLCs. That was a mistake. And I still don't think the information we got in those (excluding the as yet unreleased DLC) was sufficient either.
    1. Loony BoB's Avatar
      Loony BoB -
      For me the big thing was when we get to the train station in (SPOILER)Tenebrae just to find that it's been trashed. If we're seeing it through Nox's eyes then why is there no massive reaction by him?
    1. Lawr's Avatar
      Lawr -
      I like Hajime Tabata but why is it so hard for the people that worked on this game to admit that they just did a bad job. Story-wise at least.

      Like call me crazy but maybe instead of expending energy on an anime, a manga, a restaurant, graphics, action figures, a car, an arcade game, a movie, extra foliage on maps, multiple collector's editions, more foliage, more action figures, graphics again, and DLC, maybe all of that energy could have been spent on creating a definitive, fully polished game?
    1. Fynn's Avatar
      Fynn -
      Except different people handled all those things so it doesn't matter
    1. Lawr's Avatar
      Lawr -
    1. Squall Leonhart Loire's Avatar
      Squall Leonhart Loire -
      Tabata is such a hack IMO. This is the man that ruined Parasite Eve.
    1. Raistlin's Avatar
      Raistlin -
      Like basically everyone else, sure, I buy that the overarching story design was intentional, but it just wasn't applied well. Potentially decent idea, but poor execution.
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