It turns out that naming Final Fantasy X’s sequel was a bigger headache than you might think. In a blog post for PlayStation, Final Fantasy X-2 producer Yoshinori Kitase recalls that Square Enix initially rejected the name as players might have mistaken it for Final Fantasy XII.
“It may sound odd, but one of the biggest challenges we faced when making Final Fantasy X-2 was what to call it,” he says. “Having a sequel to a mainline game was unheard of, and when we suggested ‘X-2’ the company was initially worried that it would be mistaken for Final Fantasy XII and turned it down. Since then, they’ve grown fond of it of course.”
Kitase goes on to say that FFX-2 proved more divisive than other Final Fantasy games partly because of its more “bright and poppy direction”, which gives it a very different vibe to other entries in the series. “But I think the way that Final Fantasy games try to break away from preconceived ideas is something truly wonderful about the series – and Final Fantasy X-2 is a perfect example of that,” he says.
Kitase also shares that Square Enix pushed ahead with a sequel to Final Fantasy X as it “didn’t want the world of Spira and its characters to be over in one chapter”, instead opting to flesh out some of the protagonists more.
While the team was keen to explore a version of Spira that had become peaceful after the events of Final Fantasy X, though, devs wanted to tell a different kind of story.
“Rather than the theme from the previous story that delves into particular relationships, such as between a man and woman or parent and child, we wanted a bright and light-hearted narrative that would give the game a cheery tone,” he says. “That upbeat attitude was reflected in the game’s playable characters. Unlike previous games in the series, Final Fantasy X-2 has an all-female party: Yuna, Rikku and a new character, Paine.”
Kitase also shares that he wanted to tell a story with Yuna as a strong female character as many games at the time – including Final Fantasy – had male protagonists, and he thought it would strike a chord with players.
“The tone is further reinforced by the structure of the game,” he explains. “Unlike Final Fantasy X, in which you follow the drama in a linear fashion, the quests in Final Fantasy X-2 can be accessed in any order. To increase the variety even more, we increased the number of minigames available in the game.”
Since Final Fantasy X and X-2’s release, we’ve had a few amusing development stories from Square Enix. My personal favourite is that Tidus could have been a plumber. Square Enix has also said that chances of Final Fantasy X-3 “isn’t zero”, as an outline “more or less” does exist.