If given the opportunity, the director of Final Fantasy XV has expressed a desire to work on Nintendo's prized Legend of Zelda series. The admission came during a publication celebration where they asked famed developers some questions that would surely spark a lot of internet-wide discussion.
Nintendo Everything picked up the quote from the 600th issue of Dengeki PlayStation, a Japanese trade publication that interviewed a number of renown developers in the east for their milestone.
Final Fantasy XV's current director Hajime Tabata was asked what game series he would like to work on, and he answered with the following...
The Legend of Zelda series. I’m not quite sure why myself, but a Zelda game made with the technology and know-how of Final Fantasy XV is the game I wish to create as of this moment.
That's very interesting.
Tabata specifically points out that he would like to make a Zelda game based on the technology they're currently employing for Final Fantasy XV.
A Legend of Zelda game running on the Luminous Engine with all the advanced lighting, rendering and physics capabilities would be really cool. In a way, though, what Eiji Aonuma is doing with the newest Legend of Zelda title for the Wii U is actually quite similar to Final Fantasy XV in many ways. The game's graphics rendering is obviously aimed at a more cel-shaded, cartoony look, but both titles take place in vast open worlds that players can explore on a whim. Both games feature transportation that with procedural AI path-finding so even if the player isn't in direct control of the transport it will still navigate through obstacles toward a given direction. And both games feature random battle encounters scattered throughout a dynamic world with active battle characteristics using target-based combat.
Of course, it's probably in those similarities that Tabata sees an opportunity to really take The Legend of Zelda down a route of his own creative vision. Both upcoming games are probably the most similar that these franchises have ever been throughout the history of gaming.
The Luminous Engine obviously focuses more on the graphical minutiae of hair flutters, realistic skin density, and lighting that attempts to achieve path tracing. I assume Tabata would like to apply those techniques to Nintendo's property, which would likely result in giving Link and Zelda a more “realistic” makeover.
I wouldn't be against seeing Tabata and the rest of the team taking on The Legend of Zelda, just in the same way that I definitely wouldn't mind seeing Aonuma taking on Final Fantasy XV using The Legend of Zelda's new engine. I think both games could be interchangeably interesting if put into the hands of the opposite development teams.
Nevertheless, this question being asked of Tabata was just a completely hypothetical instance. There's likely no chance that Nintendo would license out a main entry in The Legend of Zelda to Square Enix. Although, if they did do it would you be interested in seeing what Tabata would do with the franchise? To be honest I think I would be a little more curious if Naoki Yoshida from A Realm Reborn was given a crack at Nintendo's property. If he could turn Final Fantasy XIV into a playable near masterpiece, I wonder what could be done with a game that's already considered a masterpiece?