Final Fantasy is a franchise that hasn't shied away from putting strong females in the spotlight. The franchise has taken a bit of criticism for some of the less practical outfits that the women find themselves in, but many of the games most popular and iconic characters happen to be women. The series' positive history with empowering women is part of the reason that the E3 reveal of the all-male cast for Final Fantasy 15 caught so many fans off-guard. In a delayed reaction to the backlash, the developers are starting to spill more of the details behind the casting decision.
Last week, FF15's director Hajime Tabata defended the game's lack of women by explaining that the goal is to leave the male characters alone on their road trip, so that they can be more comfortable around each other. He explains that, "even the presence of one female in the group will change their behavior." The director believes that men act completely differently when women aren't around and in order for the guys to be honest with each other women needed to be removed from the equation.
Today, Tabata expanded on his explanation while talking to Famitsu, and explained that this doesn't mean women won't be a part of the game entirely:
"It’s possible we’ll have female characters join the party as guests... But since it’s an all-male party, when you have a female character as a guest, their behavior might change because a woman is around."
This seems to be a step away from the original explanation - that the all-male cast was to make the game "more approachable" - but hopefully it is true. The idea that players will be able to watch the group dynamic shift as females join and leave the party opens up some very interesting narrative opportunities. There's the chance that this is just Tabata putting positive spin on his original quote after it started receiving negative press, but the game could end up exploring some interesting ideas about how the two sexes interact.
Perhaps at this year's E3 the team will reveal a first look at some of the game's playable female characters. So far, women have been completely absent from the game's marketing campaign.
The interview moved away from the gender discussion at some point and towards the game's battle system. Tabata addressed criticism of the battle system that is available in the game's demo, Episode Duscae. The director explained that the system is about 50% complete and there is a lot more to be added before the final retail version is released.
What do you think about the lack of females in Final Fantasy 15's core cast? Do you think women will still play an important role in the game's story? Let us know in the comments.
Final Fantasy 15 is currently in development for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.