The director of Final Fantasy XV, Hajime Tabata, told the Japanese website 4Gamer that when he took over directing Final Fantasy XV in 2012, there was some backlash within the company. “It wasn’t only from inside the team, but outside as well. The reason was that if my way of doing it ended up working, there are those whose circumstances will worsen.”
“Around that time, I realized that among fans as well, there are people who’ve caught Final Fantasy disease,” Tabata said.
The reporter asked what exactly he meant. Tabata phrased it this way: “It refers to people within the company who can’t imagine anything other than their own view of Final Fantasy.”
Essentially, he’s admitting the long-standing delay in getting this game out the door has been due to a clash of egos. “Since the root is a strong self-affirmation, one’s own view of Final Fantasy takes more priority than the team’s success. 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?”
Eventually, Tabata told the reporter, he had to look his dev team in the eye and tell them, “We’re not special. Wake up.”
Tabata also comments on the generally negative reaction new FFs tend to get from fans when they’re revealed. “I realized that when Final Fantasy XV news was made public–this wasn’t only inside the company. Everyone has FF disease.” He believes the brand must be constantly evolving and shifting if it is to survive, despite the strong desire from much of the fanbase (myself included) for just ONE MORE turn-based epic with colorful characters.
In other words, FF9 will only happen once. I’d love to be wrong.