Final Fantasy 12's original director has shot down a long-standing rumor that's persisted for over a decade.
First, the rumor itself. When Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age originally launched in 2006, plenty of players were left disappointed by protagonist Vaan, who many deemed to be dull and apathetic. From this, a rumor sprang forth than companion Basch was originally meant to be the protagonist of Final Fantasy 12, but was switched out of the role at the last minute.
This rumor has gained traction ever since, to the point where multiple outlets have reported it as fact, and Final Fantasy 12's Wikipedia page even mentions it as part of the game's development. Now though, years after the rumor originated, original Final Fantasy 12 director and scenario writer Yasumi Matsuno has stepped in to quash the rumor.
In the tweet below, Matsuno responds to a Final Fantasy fan from his personal Twitter account, simply stating that the rumor concerning Basch is a "fake story." It's a really simple rebuttal that easily rewrites the history surrounding Final Fantasy 12 in a single sentence, as players realize that no, the dull protagonist Vaan really was meant to be there from the start.
That rumor is a fake story. Thank you.April 18, 2023
One interesting thing to note is that although Matsuno was the original director of Final Fantasy 12, he didn't see the project through to completion. In 2005, one year before Final Fantasy 12 was released, it was announced Matsuno was stepping away from the project due to health issues, and was replaced by Akitoshi Kawazu to see the game across the finish line.
Despite the fact Matsuno wasn't there for the final year of Final Fantasy 12's development, he's still clearly an authority on The Zodiac Age in general. Matsuno actually had a really interesting career path after his departure from Square Enix - he helped PlatinumGames release hack-and-slasher MadWorld, and then worked freelance for Square Enix to release Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.
As strange as it is, Matsuno has resurfaced all these years later to quash what could be one of the more persistent rumors in video games.
As for what's next for the Final Fantasy franchise at large, Final Fantasy 16 finally launches later this year on June 22, 2023.