Square Enix producer cites amount of demand as key factor in decision whether or not to add controllable heroines to upcoming video game.
There are a lot of ways you can finish the sentence “Final Fantasy XV has…,” such as “a CG movie,” “a tie-in with outdoor goods company Coleman,” and even “extremely delicious real-world banana cake inspired by it.” But one thing the highly anticipated video game from publisher Square Enix won’t have, at least on launch day, is playable female characters.
This came as quite a surprise to some fans, given the large number of memorable playable heroines that have appeared in the franchise. While the series’ installments generally have ensemble casts, female characters played arguably the most important roles in Final Fantasy VI, X, and XII. Women were the protagonists of Final Fantasy XIII and its second sequel Lightning Returns, as well as Final Fantasy X-2, had no playable male characters whatsoever.
Nevertheless, the developers of Final Fantasy XV made it clear that their main intent is to focus on the interpersonal dynamics of young prince Noctis and his three male traveling companions, making this the first numbered Final Fantasy without a female party member (unless you chose to play through the very first Final Fantasy without a White Mage). In Japan, this really hasn’t caused much of an uproar. Anime and Japanese video games marketed to women in the modern era, more often than not, feature casts made up predominantly or entirely of handsome young men. Overseas, though, a vocal segment of the gaming community has decried the lack of female player characters in XV, but there’s a chance that absence will be only temporary.
French gaming website Juexvideo recently spoke with Haruyoshi Sawatari, the producer for Final Fantasy XV’s DLC, which is already in development even before the release of the game itself. It’s already been announced that the additional download content will contain episodes where the player can take control of Noctis male cohorts Ignis, Gladiolus, and Prompto, so Juexvideo asked if the DLC will also have gamers playing as Luna, Nocits’ fiance, or another female character.
Sawatari’s response was that if there’s a clear demand for such content, the team will consider adding it.
However, given the multiple helpings of DLC Square Enix has already said it’s firmly committed to, a scenario that shines the spotlight on Luna, or perhaps female mechanic Cindy is likely some ways back in the production queue. Whether or not it’s given the green light will probably also depend in no small part on how well the Final Fantasy XV main game sells following its release on November 29.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s quite pleased by how many characters in World of Final Fantasy have fish flopping around on their heads.