Babylon's Fall is the next big project from Platinum Games, a live service hack-and-slash RPG that can be played in teams of four, and boasts a gorgeous art style. It's recently been running a closed beta test and, after the embargo dropped, certain players accused it of ripping off some of its in-game outfits from Final Fantasy 14.
The game is being published by Square Enix, and therein lies the explanation. Yosuke Saito, producer of the game, addressed the controversy in a new blog post: "I’d like to answer a question that’s been making its way around social media—'Isn’t this gear from Final Fantasy XIV?' To get straight to the point: yes, Babylon's Fall contains gear and emote data borrowed from Final Fantasy XIV.
"When I gave my Babylon's Fall presentation at a company meeting, Final Fantasy XIV Producer & Director Naoki Yoshida was also in attendance and offered his help, to which I replied, 'Yes, please!' This is how the plan came to fruition. We then carefully implemented the data while closely coordinating with the Final Fantasy XIV team."
I mean, from any perspective this makes sense. Platinum is an amazing studio but it's not working on anything like the scale that Square Enix is and, when it comes to cosmetic items, why not re-use some assets from an unrelated title—as long as they fit the game, of course. Saito also writes: "Just to be clear though, the visuals of most of the gear that players aim to obtain in-game are unique to Babylon's Fall. The data borrowed from Final Fantasy XIV was used for gear from the introduction to mid-level range of the game, which is why they were so prevalent in the Closed Beta Test."
So: looks like a fairly simple situation. FF14 producer Naoki Yoshida also offered his version of events in characteristically amusing fashion: "When I first heard Mr. Saito’s plan for Babylon's Fall, I thought to myself, 'Ahh, so he’s making a hardcore action-based hack-and-slash game. I’m kind of jealous.' But at the same time, I thought, 'Preparing all of the gear variations needed for the gameplay is going to be really difficult.' After all, a hack-and-slash game is far more enjoyable when numerous items and gear are available.
"However, Babylon's Fall is a brand-new title which entails new challenges, so we can’t give it an unlimited budget. This is a key point. [...] So, I said, 'Let’s use FFXIV’s assets too. We have so many, it’d be a shame to limit them to FFXIV alone,' and that’s how it all started. Back then, I didn’t realise that it would become such a hot topic..."
Well, controversy over. This seems like a move that simply made sense and, outside of the Twitter hothouse, won't affect anyone's experience in either game—as Yoshida himself points out, the economics of development are key.
Babylon's Fall doesn't yet have a release date, but players can sign up for the beta on the official website.