There are many ways in which ‘Final Fantasy XV’ has already proven itself as unique within the ‘Final Fantasy’ franchise even before its release – a modern day-inspired (if not futuristic) setting, an interactive environment, forgoing turn-based combat, etc. But one surprising way that FFXV differentiates itself from its predecessors is its absence of any female playable characters.

In almost every Final Fantasy game to date, the main cast has always had women amongst its ranks. Some ‘Final Fantasy’ spin-off games have even been all female or had their stories focused on its female characters, such as ‘FFX-2, ‘FFXIII-2 and Lightning Returns, but mainline ‘Final Fantasy’ games have always been pretty gender balanced. Therefore, FFXV’s absence of female characters is odd enough to not go unnoticed.

In an interview with Gamespot, Hajime Tabata says that the choice to have an all male cast was deliberate.

“Speaking honestly, an all-male party feels almost more approachable for players,” Tabata said. “Even the presence of one female in the group will change their behaviour, so that they’ll act differently. So to give the most natural feeling, to make them feel sincere and honest, having them all the same gender made sense in that way.”

Tabata says the game is aiming for a “boys will be boys” demeanor: “The world might be ready to see the curtain lifted on what boys do when girls aren’t around, when they come out of the tent all prim and proper. That’s kind of the idea behind it . . . we think, male or female player, that everyone will feel a certain connection and bond with the four characters.”

Whether excluding women from the main cast makes the game more “approachable” is certainly up to debate, however, from what the trailers and demo has shown us thus far Tabata’s claim that the game is focused on showing male intimacy doesn’t come off as a flimsy excuse. The characters are shown constantly with each other, whether they’re traveling on the road, eating meals together, or even sharing a tent at night. The demo shows that even while exploring the world around them the characters are constantly bantering with each other, trading insults, compliments, and self-deprecating humor alike. Teamwork also seems to be important in combat, with characters able to back each other up or help in a pinch.

A few days after Tabata’s interview with Gamespot he has since stated that there is a possibility of a female character appearing as a temporary guest, but until such a character’s appearance is confirmed, we’ll have to wait to see if Tabata’s suggestion holds any merit.

Disappointing as it might be that we won’t have any playable women characters this time around, ‘Final Fantasy’s’ track record of gender representation might give them some forgiveness if they want to focus on just one gender this time around, especially if it continues to give us such wonderful dialogue such as:

Noctis: Oh right, you hate bugs.
Prompto: Me? Yeah, can’t stand ’em.
Noctis: Same here. Icky.

Prompto: I’m toootally into chocobos. Don’t take that the wrong way.
Noctis: There’s no wrong way to love a chocobo.

Last we heard ‘Final Fantasy XV’ was 60% complete; Tabata has not updated that number, but remains confident in his game’s progress, saying: “The main challenge right now is taking all the lessons we learned from making the demo and turning them into something positive to bring to the full game . . . We really think that the feeling of the journey, adventure, and bonding that no other Final Fantasy has been able to do before, we’ll be able to achieve that in Final Fantasy XV.”