The realities of development forced some compromises.
One of the most popular imageries associated with the upcoming Final Fantasy 15 is the Niflheim Invasion, which was originally shown off in the E3 2013 trailer for the game, which was where it was rebranded Final Fantasy 15, after spending an almost decade long life as Final Fantasy Versus 13.
As it turns out, that Niflheim Invasion will not be in the final game. It’s an iconic scene, yes, but as per director Hajime Tabata, it could not be included in the final title for what seems to be a well thought out, well articulated set of reasons. Speaking to Kotaku, Tabata explained that once the project was rethought into Final Fantasy 15, the team had to make some hard decisions- and these decisions obviously came with some casualties.
“When we first sat down to re-plan the project that’s Final Fantasy 12, we really looked at which elements we need and should use and could do to create that kind of unique gameplay experience that we wouldn’t really get anywhere else,” Tabata explained. “It was a very in-depth discussion about what elements to keep and what to throw away or change. We felt because the theme we’re trying to handle here with the story is such a massive epic tale, we really couldn’t fit all of that into the game that we had the time to make. So we wanted to show the essential things to get the best story across, which is where we decided on that—that’s reflected in the final form of the game.
He explained how he understands the importance of the invasion to the story, but how realities of development on a game that had already spent way too long in development dictated that certain sacrifices be made.
“It’s not that we don’t need to show the Niflheim invasion to get the story across, but because that episode is something that would take up so much effort and time that rather than force it into the game, we started up its own separate project independently, and that’s the tale we wanted to tell with the film. That’s why we moved that to Kingsglaive. From a story perspective we’d have to have both the game and the film, both of these together in one package, but realistically that’s not something we could have done in one game, it’s too much.
“It’s very similar to the kind of decision we had to ask ourselves, OK do we spend another six years to develop that whole complete package as one game or do we spend three years to do it in the way that we’re doing now? I think, it really doesn’t affect it which one you get to see—from a story perspective whether you see it as part of the game or through the film, and how we tell that story is not such a thing which is affected by that choice. We really are confident that we’ve made a really great experience with that. We felt the most important thing we needed to depict through the game was that idea of traveling together with these comrades and watching them all grow and develop as people emotionally at the same time. We really have gotten that in there, so from a story perspective I think we’ve done the best we can.”
I understand his reasoning, and I respect it- as to whether or not his team did as good a job as they could have, that remains to be seen, but everything we have seen of the game is certainly promising.