Paris Games Week Type-0 HD Interview with Hajime Tabata
“I’d like to be remembered as the leader of the team who made one of the best Final Fantasy games of all time.” These are the words of Hajime Tabata, the director of both Final Fantasy Type-0 HD and Final Fantasy XV. They are very brave words and words that he doesn’t use lightly - and I’m sure there are plenty of people who would not be envious of his position.
He is the man responsible for not only directing the next numbered game in one of the most well respected franchises in the world with Final Fantasy XV, but he’s also responsible for releasing a new type of Final Fantasy game on the newest generation of consoles with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. It’s an incredible responsibility and while he is completely aware of this, you can always see him smiling, talking to fans when he can and generally being kind, happy and approachable as well.
We managed to spend a bit of time with Tabata-san at Paris Games Week to ask him some of your questions about Final Fantasy Type-0 HD and he was more than happy to chat, so read on to find out what he had to say.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Hajime Tabata enjoys interacting with fans about his games (you can see him in the image above watching fans play Type-0 HD). After all, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is coming out in the West due to fan demand, so Tabata-san is aware and listening to feedback. Since this will be the first time that Type-0 is being released outside of Japan, there was a temptation to add in new features and make an “International Version” of the game like previous Final Fantasy games.
“We did have the idea of doing an 'International Version' of the game,” Tabata-san explained, “but because the original game hadn’t been released yet, we thought it would be more important to release it as early as possible rather than worry about what extra features we can add in and how to make it an 'International Version.'" Time is precious to Tabata-san and it’s quite clear that if he can at all help it, he doesn’t want to make fans wait any longer.
He is also careful about making sure that fans have a complete experience of his games, so no one is missing out content-wise. The main theme of Final Fantasy Type-0 called 'ZERO' by the band Bump of Chicken is heavily tied to the game - and music can sometimes be a tricky thing to culturally translate from Japan to the West.
“It’s a really good song and we thought it’d be best to keep the original appeal and impact of it for the fans,” said Tabata-san. “We discussed it with Bump of Chicken and the final verdict is that we’re going to keep the original Japanese version as it is, included in the European version too. That’s what all the members of Bump of Chicken agreed on so that’s what we decided to do. Obviously there will be subtitles for the lyrics of the song so you can understand its meaning.”
Speaking of content, the original PlayStation Portable version of Type-0 had additional costumes available and while these are the kinds of things that could have easily been cut, Tabata-san doesn’t want anyone to miss out.
“We made sure that all the special costumes that were available for the original game via various demos and other things can somehow be acquired during the actual game itself so they’ll all be there,” he explained. “We do have some extra costumes but we can’t reveal them as they are a secret... so that’s something you can look forward to discovering.”
It seems that Tabata-san enjoys being a bit of a crowd-pleaser as well! It’s always refreshing when developers add in the little extras for fans and Tabata-sans openness about his games is a positive step for the Final Fantasy franchise.
However, not all requests can be fulfilled and when questioned about a possible Final Fantasy Type-0 HD demo Tabata-san explained that it wasn't going to be possible.
“We decided to get the game out as quickly as possible so we’re going to concentrate on getting the proper release version done - so we’re not going to be doing a demo for this one. We may think about doing a demo version after release to draw more people in but up until the main release we don’t have anything planned.”
While this may sound a little disappointing, it goes to show that Tabata-san really isn’t a fan of making people wait and I for one am relieved to hear time is being well spent to release games as quickly as possible on home consoles.
The Final Fantasy Type-0 HD and Final Fantasy XV teams are working flat-out to make sure the games come out as soon as humanly possible - but what about the future? Maybe it’s a little soon to be thinking about what’s coming next but apparently not for Tabata-san who has bigger plans if Type-0 HD is successful.
"I would like to make more Type games and make them into a Final Fantasy series. We’ve registered trademarks for it, we’ve gone that far so we want to continue it,” Tabata-san said, giggling slightly. “I’d like to make the Type series the kind of series where we can do the kind of stuff that we really can’t do in the mainline numbered series, so make it a really alternative kind of Final Fantasy.”
It looks like I’m buying two copies of Type-0 HD to make this happen then...!
If there’s one word I would use to describe Hajime Tabata it would be 'delightful.' He’s really easy to talk to, he’s always smiling and always wants you to be honest with him. If it isn’t apparent in the streams he’s appeared in for Type-0 HD and Final Fantasy XV, he really does care about the fans and does everything he can to do what he feels is right by them - by you. Perhaps this is why he was chosen to direct the next mainline Final Fantasy game. He certainly knows what he’s doing.
We’ll have another article coming from our chat with Hajime Tabata at Paris Games Week in the coming weeks so keep an eye out for it here on the Square Enix blog. Also don’t forget you can pre-order Final Fantasy Type-0 HD right here!
Special thanks to the following community members for providing the questions used in this segment of our interview – Mintchoklad, Surakian, Falchia, Kennerz, Light-san101, Erren Van Duine and Exentryk.