Hajime Tabata has never met a woman who was anything less than “strong.” But the director of Final Fantasy 15 — arguably the series’ most guy-heavy installment — hasn’t done much to prove that as he continues to expand the game’s universe.
It may be up to outspoken fans for that to change, he told me at Gamescom. I asked him why the Square Enix team has yet to focus on cast members like Lunafreya in its episodic content and other Final Fantasy 15 expansions, something he sounded remorseful about himself.
“I really do have that desire to depict Luna as an even stronger female personality,” Tabata said. “Obviously the first mission is to get ‘Episode Ignis’ [the third piece of story-based DLC] out. Then when we decided what we do with 15 after, is to decide that together with the fans and community and opinions, just like you gave.”
The boys of Final Fantasy 15 have won over players, myself included. Yet Final Fantasy has always been special when it comes to female representation. There aren’t many high-profile role-playing game franchises that dare to devote a full-budget entry to three pop-singing heroes, after all. Some of my favorite characters in the entire medium are Final Fantasy heroines; they’re a major reason why I grew up loving and relating to the games so deeply.
Tabata wouldn’t commit to giving Lunafreya, or any other Final Fantasy 15 woman, a bigger role in an upcoming episode. But he sided with me that the former princess, who did have a major role in the feature film Kingsglaive, deserved more in-game action.
“First priority you want to see [in future DLC] is Luna?” he responded. “That’s something that I can agree with very well. I’ve also got incredible motivation to do that.”
We’ll see what 2018 brings for the growing Final Fantasy 15 franchise, and if its future is female.