Square Enix has been in the hot seat in some corners of the Internet recently over its all-male cast for the upcoming Final Fantasy XV. The director of the game recently caused some to cringe by saying that the all-male cast makes the game "more approachable." While Hajime Tabata likely meant well while trying to convey that the story focuses on a group of young men and their relationship with each other, it came across as dubious sounding as Ubisoft's excuse for having no female assassins in Assassin's Creed: Unity.
Tabata seemed to have changed his mind just this past week when news broke that FF XV may have female party members after all. It's also been revealed that the game will feature the first female Cid, although many have pointed out that her rather skimpy attire comes across as gross and sexist. This is 2015, after all, and more and more game developers are speaking out about the way women in the industry are treated and how they are portrayed in games.
So it is against this backdrop that we must view a new development out of Square Enix. In addition to Final Fantasy XV, Square Enix also has a mobile game in development called Mevius Final Fantasy. The game features a team of veteran Final Fantasy developers and also contains graphics that look almost console-quality at times. When the game was announced, some gamers were taken aback by screenshots that showed the male protagonist wearing revealing attire.
The fact that some gamers were upset that a man was wearing a revealing outfit that is similar to what many females throughout the series history have donned is ironic, but it appears that Square Enix was listening to the feedback. The game's producer Yoshinori Kitase recently gave a video update on the game's progress alongside female entertainer Asuna and revealed that the character is going to have his costume changed to show less skin. "After we released the screenshots in December, we looked at the various reactions we were getting online, and in the end, showing this much skin..." Kitase said.
Asuna, the lone female in the video, helpfully interjected with, "It's kind of sexy. A little too sexy." Kitase then concluded that the team is "letting (the game) evolve while taking into consideration users' opinions" and that he "asked the character designer to make a change."
No one should knock Square Enix for listening to fan feedback about the game. But this will leave some people scratching their heads about why the company responded to the Mevius complaints, but has so far stayed silent over Cidney's costume in Final Fantasy XV.
If it's uncomfortable for gamers to see a guy running around with a sword while his taut muscles glisten, then many might question why it is okay for an auto mechanic to show up for work like this:
To be fair, Final Fantasy XV isn't out yet, and Square Enix could still make some changes to Cidney's costume or to the all-male dynamic that's previously been reported. But in light of the company's reaction to feedback over Mevius Final Fantasy, a lot of fans will be watching closely to see what happens with XV.
Mevius Final Fantasy is in development for iOS and Android. It will release in Japan in 2015, but no North American date has been revealed.