Let me say, it was a huge relief to finally be able to play — and review! — Final Fantasy Type 0 in English at long last. I feel almost like some sort of midwife for the game, having been present for pretty much every major event in its rocky trip to the U.S. over the past nine years. I was at Square Enix’s E3 2006 press conference, where the massive roster of Final Fantasy XIII games (including Type 0 under its original title, Final Fantasy Agito XIII) was first announced. And then I was in Tokyo in 2008 for the bizarrely named DKΣ3713 event when Square Enix announced the game would no longer be a mobile tactical card game but in fact a PSP action game.
More recently, I sort of stumbled into another part of its history by total chance. I requested an interview with Hajime Tabata back at Tokyo Game Show 2013, because I’d interviewed pretty much every other Square Enix personality of note over the years and had enjoyed Crisis Core and what I’d played of the Type 0 import. I thought it would be interesting to talk to the guy who was quietly pumping out these reliable, entertaining handheld games for Square while everyone in media and forums alike wrung their hands about Final Fantasy XIII and XIV. I had requested the interview months in advance, so I had no idea he’d be announcing the spin-off mobile game Agito that week — and I certainly had no idea he’d been put in charge of Final Fantasy XV (which, based on the loose timeline I’ve heard, had happened a few months prior).
Tabata seemed amused (and maybe a little flattered?) that someone in the Western press had specifically requested an appointment with him, since for all we knew at the time he was just the guy who made those PSP games that hardly anyone in the U.S. bought, because no one in the U.S. cares about portable games. I definitely got the impression he wasn’t used to being singled out by the foreign press. I guess as a sort of “thank you” for taking the time, he mentioned his determination to get Type 0 and Agito localized. I could tell he went off-script for that tidbit based on the “oh crap” expressions on the faces of the poor PR folks in the room, but I think he did it as much for his own benefit as mine — apparently the resulting furor over that interview on forums and blogs gave him ammunition for the development of Type 0 HD. The entire affair was all a coincidence, and I suspect I was unwittingly used a bit for someone else’s agenda… but even so, it was still pretty cool to take the shrink wrap off Type 0 HD a few days ago and think to myself, “In some small way, I helped make this happen.”
I’m just glad Type 0 turned out to be pretty good. It would have been really pathetic to have squandered this random brush with good fortune on some crappy 2-star junker of a game.