In an interview with OXM, Abe noted that the buyout of Eidos Interactive a couple of years ago opened up the possibility of a Western developed Final Fantasy game. According to Abe, the possibility of allowing the franchise to see development outside of Japan has been “internally discussed”, but at what level we don’t know.
Abe cited Final Fantasy’s unique instalments as a useful vessel for allowing different development teams a chance with the IP, stating the variety of concepts and ideas driving the franchise are a great framework within which different teams could flourish. “If we get the right team of people, we could produce something very interesting in the end”, he claims.
Imagine a world with the depth and attention to detail of Deus Ex, but with a distinct Final Fantasy aesthetic. This generation of gamers have grown up playing Final Fantasy games, and it would be incredibly interesting to see what Western developers could do with a franchise that has only ever seen internal Japanese development. The JRPG has become something of a tarnished genre over the last few generations, and the team here at games™ cannot help but be intrigued by the possibility of a Western-lead JRPG.
With the franchise’s recent leaning towards the more action-orientated RPGs (compounded by the upcoming release of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XV and the very Hamlet-looking Final Fantasy XV), we don’t think this is too strange an idea. It’s indicative of how much times are changing, however – if this was even suggested 10 years ago, most die-hard Final Fantasy fans (ourselves included) would have balked at the idea.
Whether or not the next core, numbered entry in the series (read: Final Fantasy XVI) will be Western-lead remains to be seen, but it would not be surprising if XV itself gets a spin-off/sequel developed by one of Square’s recent non-Japanese acquisitions.