The Creation of FFXVI’s Breakout Star Torgal | An Interview with Director Hiroshi Takai

Can Torgal beat Turgle?

Final Fantasy XVI certainly made waves when it was released earlier this year. However, one little guy stood out above the rest. Torgal, the lovable dog companion, won the hearts and minds of fans almost immediately.

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We recently interviewed Final Fantasy XVI’s Director Hiroshi Takai to talk about the design process for Torgal and, most importantly, if he could beat Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’s frog man Turgle.

The Early Beginnings

When first talking about designing Torgal as a companion for Clive, was it always going to be a dog/wolf? Were there other options for Clive’s trusty companion?​

Hiroshi Takai, FINAL FANTASY XVI Main Director: “It had been established from the start that Clive would be the only character who could be controlled in the game and that various party characters would come and go as the scenario progressed, with Clive at the center. We thought that players would be happy to have a constant companion to accompany Clive on his journey, independent of the progress of the scenario, so it was confirmed pretty early on that an animal character would be accompanying him. There was some initial talk of a feline character, but from the standpoint of the two fighting together, I remember it was a pretty easy decision to make it a canine character.”

At what point in development did you realize that Torgal could be one of the breakout stars of FFXVI? Did you expect fan reactions to be willing to purchase giant plushies of the character?

“Actually, I didn’t expect it at all until we reached a point where we could share his near-finalized look. It took various adjustments until even those on the development team were referring to the young Torgal design as “cute!” I couldn’t imagine that this character would be liked so much by everyone until when I had felt confident enough to show him in a trailer.”

When designing Torgal, what thoughts went into the creature’s color, size, and overall look of the creature? Were you trying to strike a balance between a ferocious wolf and a cuddly companion?

“We went through several options for Torgal’s fur patterns before settling on the current style, but in the end, we went for a style that made the most sense for a creature living in the world of Valisthea. The size of adult Torgal is larger than that of a real wolf, taking into account how he appears in battle scenes. In addition, his overall form is different from that of real wolves in terms of limb size and neck length. In this respect, he is a creature that resembles, yet is different from a wolf. The cutscenes and such were also crafted with attention to presenting him as a dependable partner in battle, as well as a calm and lovable companion in peaceful/ordinary times. Adult Torgal is assumed to be much older than Clive in terms of mental age.”

Image via Square Enix

Torgal vs Turgle

Are you familiar with the character Turgle that came out this year in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor? There has been a hot debate about who would win a fight between Turgle and Torgal. Do you think Torgal could win?

“I know of the character Turgle. I wonder what the outcome would be if they simply fought? I feel like Torgal would be stronger, but I don’t want them to fight because Turgle is also a lovable character. Also, personality-wise, I don’t think Torgal would be the type to bite Turgle. (laughs)”

How many different iterations of Torgal’s design did the team go through before picking the right one? What was the balancing act between marrying his gameplay capabilities and design?

“Kazuya Takahashi, who is in charge of the character designs, and I went back and forth many times on what we envisioned before settling on the current design. There were times when Torgal looked like a normal dog and other times when he was more fantasy oriented. That said, we didn’t create dozens of designs and choose from among them. Not counting the color variations, I think we went through about three different designs. After the design was finalized and the modeling was complete, we had dedicated animators work hard on his movements in order to make him stand out yet still believable at the same time. The initial movements felt a bit too clingy towards Clive, so we ultimately asked to have that toned down a bit.”

Image via Square Enix

Final Fantasy XVI is available now for the PlayStation 5. For more news, reviews, and hot interviews, stay right here at Prima Games.


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Author
Jesse Vitelli
Jesse loves most games, but he really loves games that he can play together with friends and family. This usually means late nights in Destiny 2 or FFXIV. You can also find him thinking about his ever-expanding backlog of games he won't play and being constantly dehydrated. Do not contact him.