At the end of August, Final Fantasy XV launched it’s latest in-game event: a complex narrative-focused event called the Assassin’s Festival, a tie-in with Ubisoft’s popular Assassin’s Creed franchise. As part of the festival, players can explore the city of Lestallum and learn the ancient legend of an assassin who kept the city safe. As a reward for completing this content, players can get Assassin’s Creed-themed gear for Noctis and assassin outfits for him as well as for Ignis, Gladiolus, and Prompto.
The mash-up seems totally out of left-field, but in a way makes perfect sense. Previously we’ve seen Assassin’s Creed costumes pop up in Final Fantasy games, like in Final Fantasy XIII-2, but nothing so narrative-driven. FANDOM got a chance to catch up with both Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata last month and Assassin’s Creed Origins director Ashraf Ismail at a recent preview event to get the full story behind this collaboration.
Fans First, Developers Second
According to Tabata, the conversation casually began three years ago with Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft. The developers on Final Fantasy XV decided that Noctis would be a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, and so they wanted to build on the character’s interest and work in a collaboration of sorts.
“What can we do to build off of that?’ That’s kind of how the conversation really kicked off,” Tabata explained. “[Yves] was on board with the idea and we said, ‘Can we incorporate game mechanics from the Assassin’s Creed series into our game?’ He said, ‘Well, if you’re going to do that, I’m going to connect you with the development team so that you all are actually working from one dev team to another and collaborating, making sure things are right, and things are done in the proper way.’”
From there, Tabata and Square Enix’s Business Division 2 was connected to Ismail and his team at Ubisoft Montreal.
“We heard about [the conversation with Square Enix] through the grapevine and then it came down to us with, ‘The directors want to meet with you guys and discuss a collaboration.’ We were like, ‘Uh, YEAH. Of course!’” Ismail added that he had been a Final Fantasy fan since falling in love with Final Fantasy VII, and that he had been making his way through Final Fantasy XV when the collaboration idea came down.
The Perfect Challenge
The challenge in melding the IPs together fell in making a believable Assassin’s Creed-focused story in the Final Fantasy XV universe. Would these ideas and mechanics built to suit real world settings fit in the fantasy world of Eos?
“They contacted us a few years ago, and then we started visiting each other’s studios, and just bouncing back and forth on what they were trying to do and what we were trying to do,” Ismail said. “Could we create some collaboration between us? At some point [Business Division 2] came to us with the idea of the Assassin’s Festival, and we thought it was awesome. They asked, ‘Do you mind if we use some of your outfits?’ Yes, of course!”
“It was tricky, but we wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a straight hash of, ‘Oh, Assassin’s Creed costumes in Final Fantasy,’” Tabata said. “We wanted to make sure it made sense within the scope of Final Fantasy XV. The background story is that in Lestallum long ago, there were all these things happening, and then somehow someone solved all those issues and saved the town. People thought, ‘Oh, it must have been an assassin.’”
The legend of the assassin in Lestallum goes even deeper. Just as Assassin’s Creed games include a game company parodying Ubisoft in its lore, Final Fantasy XV has its own: a game development studio in the capital city of Insomnia that makes the Assassin’s Creed games. This connects the two worlds, and studios, with a neat little bow, cementing the fact that Assassin’s Creed exists in the world of Final Fantasy XV.
Final Fantasy In My Assassin’s Creed?
“It was really fun, really cool, especially since so many of us are hardcore fans of Final Fantasy,” Ismail said. “It was really wonderful. Really, really nice.”
So could we see more cross-franchise collaborations in games like Final Fantasy XV?
“We enjoyed creating it,” Tabata said. “We have a lot of Assassin’s Creed fans on the team and they were excited to create this. But the end result was, we have fans from both our side and Assassin’s Creed. They all were really well receiving of the collaboration. So, if it makes sense and it’s not just one-sided–people from our side enjoy it and people from the other party enjoy it–then it makes sense to do further collaborations. As long as we could do something like this where the two development teams work together and have mutual respect for one another, then it’s something that we’re open to.”
Ismail also hinted that there could be something Final Fantasy-related in the upcoming Assassin’s’ Creed Origins, though he wouldn’t go into details.
“Our goal right now is really to ship the game,” he said. “But we’ve done some really cool stuff as well, we’re not going to go into those details just yet, but there’s some really cool stuff.”