FFXV director Hajime Tabata has opened up about working on the first Paralympic Game to help "social good" rather than working on more AAA games.
The director of Final Fantasy XV left Square Enix in 2018 after the release of that game to start his own studio, JP Games. That developer now has its first game, which also happens to be the first licensed Paralympic game. Pegasus Dream Tour is out now on mobile devices, and it allows you to participate in multiple Paralympic sports.
In an interview with Tokyo-based SoraNews24 (opens in new tab) (via Gamespot (opens in new tab)), Tabata said that he had offers from all over to make more AAA games but that he wanted to make games to help make the world better. He said: "When I started I got several offers to make AAA games, and they were very good, but that would be doing more or less the same thing. First, I wanted to try something new and really explore making a game for the social good, before investing time into making more conventional high-end games.”
Tabata also commented on why he decided to head down this path of making games that help society, especially in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake in 2011. He said: "My hometown was in the area affected by the disaster and many people I knew lost their lives there. There were many people who lost a lot, and I started to wonder if there was a way to use video games to contribute more to society."
He explains that his stint on Final Fantasy XV had him travel and learn more about the world. This made him aware of more social issues that he wanted to bring back home to Japan. He explains: "When I took over directing Final Fantasy XV I had to travel a lot for production and promotion and I learned more about concepts like ‘sustainable development goals’ and ‘inclusiveness’ that weren’t talked about much in Japan at that time, but seemed to be common in other countries."
Tabata has seemingly left the door open to work on more AAA games in the future, but it's clear his vision is currently on finding ways to have video games help in a broader context than pure escapism. It's a noble goal, and one he hopefully will find success in.
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