It's not something you think about when you're actually a fan of something, but Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata brought up a cogent point about how people working on the new game had a certain ideal for the title that he labeled as “Final Fantasy disease”.
Games Radar picked out the most relevant quote from an interview that Tabata had with the Japanese publication 4Gamer, where he explained what the “Final Fantasy disease” is after stepping into the role of director following the game's troubled development history, saying...
It refers to people within the company who can’t imagine anything other than their own view of Final Fantasy, [...]. Since the root is a strong self-affirmation, one’s own view of Final Fantasy takes more priority than the team’s success.
What Tabata says about Final Fantasy XV makes perfect sense, because I think there are millions of gamers the world around who feel the same way about the franchise at this point. Let's also consider that the series has taken a huge shift away from what it once was when it was originally on the NES and Gameboy. The SNES era put a certain kind of expectation on the series, especially following the unforgettable Final Fantasy VI (which is still my personal favorite out of the entire series), and then expectations were raised and changed again with the now iconic Final Fantasy VII on the PSX and PC; a lot of Final Fantasy fans now feel as if that's what defined the series. There are also those who feel as if Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV also represent what the true vision of Final Fantasy is.
Tabata calling it the “Final Fantasy disease” seems somewhat fitting because everyone gets trapped in their own ways and tunnel vision on what they think the game(s) should be. For the people actually working on the game I can only imagine how difficult it would be for the director trying to persuade them to make certain artistic or gameplay design changes that they feel goes against their true vision of Final Fantasy.
Tabata also mentions that holding these kind of individual views amongst the team jeopardizes the team's overall success. It definitely makes a lot of sense given how big Final Fantasy XV is and how much is riding on the game's success at Square Enix. The company (and the brand) is at risk if the game bombs when it launches on the Xbox One and PS4 in September.
For now a lot of gamers are just curious what the game will be like. Based on the demo and the footage they've released so far, it graphically looks impressive in some scenes and the gameplay is definitely a divergence from any of the previous entries in the series, which will likely polarize some fans. However, one cannot deny that Tabata and the rest of the crew working on the game have put a lot into this long-delayed and mammoth project that is currently unlike anything else on the market at the moment.
We'll see if the developers have been able to overcome the “Final Fantasy disease” and produce a quality product when Final Fantasy XV launches on September 30th.