According to The Gamer, Final Fantasy VII Remake Co-Director Motomu Toriyama recently offered praise to Naughty Dog for The Last Of Us Part II’s “diversity,” but a deeper look into this assertion reveals that the video game news outlet may have reached this conclusion by misrepresenting the Japanese developer’s actual words.
On July 5th, The Gamer published an article headlined “Final Fantasy 7 Remake Developer Says The Last Of Us Part 2 Is A Benchmark For Video Game Diversity,” which saw staff writer Jade King preview her then-soon-to-be-published interview with Toriyama and two of his fellow Final Fantasy VII Remake developers by reporting that the Co-Director had asserted that “Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part 2 set a new benchmark for diversity in the gaming medium.”
As quoted by King, “‘The Last of Us Part 2 really delivered on its consideration for diversity,’” Toriyama told her. “Right down to the UI, and I would imagine that the cost of debugging on that game was massive. However, having achieved that makes it a great game that sets a benchmark for the industry.”
While Toriyama certainly does acknowledge that The Last of Us Part II “delivered on its consideration for diversity,” it appears that King’s framing that he had heralded said diversity as “a benchmark for the industry” omits the sentence immediately preceding this awe-inspiring descriptor, in which the co-director explicitly expressed his admiration for Naughty Dog’s work developing the game’s user interface and the “massive” amount of money he imagined it cost them to debug that same work.
Taking into consideration the full context of his statements, it appears that rather than praising the game’s “diversity,” Toriyama was actually offering his respect to the game’s impressively extensive list of accessibility options and all the work it took to make them function properly in an exhaustive number of various combinations.
This more likely explanation is also supported by the published version of King’s interview with Toriyama, Final Fantasy series producer Yoshinori Kitase, and co-director Naoki Hamaguchi, wherein the The Gamer writer wrote of the very same quote, “The team points to Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part 2 as a benchmark for diversity in the medium right now, both in terms of queer storytelling and how its accessibility [emphasis added] shines above almost everything else out there.”
While Toriyama does also share his opinion “that expressing diversity with LGBTQ inclusion is an important issue for everyone involved in making content, not just people making games,” this quote appears to have been in response to a separate question from King specifically on the topic of “LGBTQ identities”.
“In Final Fantasy 7 Remake, we rebuilt the original game using the latest technology,” said Toriyama. “But we felt that it should not stop at the technical side and we needed to update the story content being shown in line with modern sensibilities.”
What do you make of The Gamer’s headline assertion regarding the statements Toriyama made during his interview with King? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!