I normally don’t follow mobile gaming news – but this caught my attention. The latest promotional video for Mevius Final Fantasy (or Mobius, I’ve seen it translated as both) revealed a wardrobe change for the game’s protagonist, Wal. According to Rocket News 24, Mevius Final Fantasy producer Yoshinori Kitase explained that Wal’s new, more conservative attire was requested by fans of the series:
Kitase explains that they’ve since decided to slap a little more fabric over Wal’s hairless canvas of lean muscle mass. “After we released the screenshots in December, we looked at the various reactions we were getting online, and in the end, showing this much skin…”
“It’s kind of sexy…” offers Asuna, the sole female presenter, before adding “A little too sexy.”
Kitase says many people shared Asuna’s sentiment about the revealing peek the developers had given the public back in December. “For this game, we’re moving forward during development and letting it evolve while taking into consideration users’ opinions, so I asked the character designer to make a change.”
The image at the top shows the outcome. Essentially, fabric is now slapped over the rib-cage area of his torso and he no longer looks like he’s wearing an awkward apron… I can’t help but question this decision, though, when I consider other character’s clothing in the series. The Final Fantasy series has never shied from showcasing proactively dressed characters. Final Fantasy IX’s Kuja is sans cloth in the abdominal region and sports a cod piece, to boot. Even serious characters like XIII’s Lightning received the ‘cat girl’ treatment for one of her multitude of costumes in Lightning Returns. Clearly, Wal was not the first ‘flesh-baring’ character featured in the games.
What I wonder is where the criticism of Wal’s original costume was coming from… male or female fans? Kuja’s attire shows that revealing costumes for male characters in Final Fantasy is not without precedent – but, Kuja is FFIX’s villain. He is not the hero of the story and his identity is not assumed by or forced upon the player… a male player, perhaps? Needless to say, I don’t think that Wal’s costume would have received the same criticism if he was actually a she. After all, Square-Enix didn’t shy from this presentation:
Interestingly, Mevius project leader Naoki Hamaguchi and managing producer Hiroki Okayama expressed a different opinion from Kitase. They expressed:
“But I want that naked outfit,” and “He looks like a model…You can see the body line of his lower back and hips… If enough people say they like those hiplines, then we might bring the original costume back.”
Personally, I’d wish they’d stuck to their guns. It’s not that playing a chiseled Wal entices me as a gamer – but I think if it’s the original vision that was conceived for the character, why deviate from it?