A new interview with Hajime Tabata reveals that Final Fantasy 15 will feature a story that is at least partially influenced by Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic smash hit.

In the interview, Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata suggested that The Last of Us is being viewed as a source of inspiration for Square Enix’s development team, although it’s a bit more complicated than just an admiration for the complex narrative that The Last of Us featured. Rather, Tabata stated:

“It’s important that the story progresses through the gameplay in a very unforced way, in a similar way that it was done with The Last of Us, for example.”

Rather than expecting to see fungal zombies roaming the Lucian countryside, then, gamers should instead expect the story of Final Fantasy 15 to be intrinsically tied to its gameplay, marking a potential departure from the more traditional cutscene-focused narrative technique employed by Square Enix in the past. While the details of the story remain vague, Tabata’s comments reflect a more modern look at the Final Fantasy series that befits one of the most anticipated games of 2016.

Over the course of the interview with Examiner, Tabata also commented on the significance of Noctis to the overall structure of Final Fantasy 15‘s narrative. Although part of the game will revolve around Noctis’ evolution from young prince to king of Lucian, the narrative will also be heavily influenced by Noctis’ growth as a person alongside his friends and allies during the road trip that will also serve as an entirely new car-based gameplay feature in Final Fantasy 15.

If it seems like the Tabata interview didn’t reveal that much new information, it’s likely because more Final Fantasy 15 news is coming later in January. With Square Enix’s flagship series’ newest entry confirmed for a 2016 release, fans can expect significantly more details being released over the course of the year, and more information about just what evil Noctis and company will be pitted up against over the course of their journey will likely surface quickly.

final fantasy 15 gameplay

In the meantime, Final Fantasy fans can only be more excited at the enticing prospect of a game that is taking narrative cues from one of the most heart-wrenching and finely crafted stories in gaming history. While it remains to be seen whether or not Tabata’s team will be able to tie-in the gameplay of Final Fantasy 15 with the game’s narrative in the same way Naughty Dog did with The Last of Us, it’s an ambitious goal that shows Square Enix is pulling out all the stops to revitalize a beloved franchise and shake up console gaming in a big way in 2016.

What do you think about the news that Final Fantasy 15 is modeling its narrative at least partially after The Last of Us? Are you waiting to see more gameplay footage before you decide if the narrative even matters? Let us know in the comments below.

Final Fantasy 15 is scheduled for a 2016 release on PS4 and Xbox One.

Source: Examiner (via GameSpot)