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Final Fantasy 15 director stresses importance of attracting new players

Recent games haven't done a great job of bringing in a new audience, Hajime Tabata admits.

One of the goals Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata has for the upcoming RPG is to attract new players. Without them, he says, the franchise "will shrink and shrink as the years go on."

Tabata admitted this hasn't been a strong point for the series as of late. "Certainly, in recent years, getting new fans is something we haven't done very well; we really haven't achieved that," he told GamesRadar in a new interview.

His attempt at ensuring XV doesn't repeat that mistake involves "trying to go back to the roots of Final Fantasy." He also wants XV to offer "themes that resonate with everyone," as he feels that recent games have "maybe been a bit stylized, very niche, hard to get into."

XV was originally planned to be part of the Final Fantasy XIII sub-series, known as Fabula Nova Crystalis. Development on it started under the name Final Fantasy Versus XIII, but the project eventually would turn into XV, which was first unveiled at E3 in 2013.

While there are links to the franchise--including returning enemies, such as the Malboro in the video above--you won't need to have played any previous Final Fantasy games in order to pick up XV. This is something that Tabata describes as "a big part of what I think the game should be."

Another key is not including aspects of the series simply because they've been in past games.

"You look at all the elements of Final Fantasy that make up its identity over the generations, and obviously many of those are very useful, meaningful things," he explained. "But there are some that have been used many times which may be turning off new people. We've really got to go through and ask, 'Are they necessary?' and be proactive about cutting out the ones that stop people coming into the franchise."

Tabata recently indicated he hopes to have XV out for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2016. You won't have to wait that long to play it, though; in addition to the demo already released with Type-0 HD, a livestream during Gamescom revealed there are plans for a second demo.

We learned a number of other details during the stream as well; you can read all about those here. Additionally, you can check out some new screenshots from the game, which may end up getting help from the developer of Just Cause 3.