When you jump into the mystical world of Final Fantasy XV on November 16, you’ll begin a magical journey that spans ten years.
Fans of the iconic RPG series were quick to point out that Noctis — the game’s main protagonist — had a beard in gameplay footage out of gamescom.
Director Hajime Tabata has explained the change, telling IGN the different appearance is merely a progression of the character in their journey through the world.
“In the opening sequence, you see Regis and Noctis talking to one another and Regis tells him to stand tall,” Tabata said. “His appearance later on in the game communicates that he has [taken] that to heart and lived with those final words.
“The whole change in Noctis’ appearance from when the game starts compared to when years have passed [is so] that people would feel the passing of time, and that they were actual living, breathing characters rather than just symbolic characters.”
Tabata went on to say that it was important to show Noctis older, because it was uncommon for Japanese RPGs to have middle-aged men as the lead character.
“A lot of people who like Japanese RPGs would be surprised by the fact that they’ll see this character age in the way that he does, so it took a lot of courage for us as developers to do that. But we felt that it was important in communicating [the party’s] development and wanting to express it in a way that we only can with the current generation of consoles,” he explained. “There’s not a deep reason as to why we made it ten years,” Tabata confessed. “It’s just that we needed a significant amount of time to have passed within the game for certain reasons.”
Final Fantasy XV launches on Xbox One and PS4 on November 29.