Concept and creation
The original scenario and concept of Final Fantasy Type-0, originally a mobile title named Final Fantasy Agito XIII, was conceived by Hajime Tabata. He wished for a group-driven story as he felt that a single playable character would not be able to properly convey the scope and themes of the story. Because Tabata wanted to show a history of survival told from the point of view of young people caught in a war, it was decided to set the story during a war between four nations. Much of the original story, which mainly revolved about defying the gods, was drawn from popular anime and manga and did not survive. After the platform change to PlayStation Portable, Tabata adopted a story-telling style similar to a documentary film: a direct inspiration for this was Centuries of Picture, a documentary series broadcast on NHK. Alongside that, multiple war films were used as inspiration. Type-0's script was written by Hiroki Chiba and Sarah Okabe. During the rough draft stage, elements such as extra plot points involving Khalia Chival, a boss fight with Arecia, and a main plot thread involving Joker and Tiz were planned. Most of these elements were cut from the final product, meaning elements such as Joker and Tiz's role needed to be included in written texts found in-game so they were not left hanging. The deaths of Class Zero were planned from an early stage, and to emphasize the state of the world, a large number of the supporting cast were killed off near the end. Tabata wanted to create a story depicting different fates for Type-0's characters, and this decision was supported by both staff members and fans of the original. He also implemented the ability for players to decide the course of the story, which was to have been included in the Type-0 when it was still known as Agito XIII. Final Fantasy Agito was given a more upbeat atmosphere when compared to Type-0, although dark and more dramatic moments were still present. The story grew out of what Tabata originally envisioned for Type-0.
The setting of Type-0 was written around the Fabula Nova Crystallis subseries, which also includes Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XV. The mythos involves how humans are manipulated and controlled by the world's deities. The crystals of Type-0's world were the equivalent of the fal'Cie, demigods serving these deities. Originally, the crystals were to have been called "fal'Cie". The characters Arecia, Gala and Diva were also created to fill the roles of fal'Cie. The approach taken to the incorporation of the mythos was that the world of Orience was part of a shared universe that also contained the worlds of XIII and XV rather than a standalone existence. As opposed to XIII, which told a story directly related to the mythos' deities, Type-0 focused on the human side of the story, depicting the deities' role in world events from a historical standpoint. A key element carried directly from the mythos is the l'Cie, humans chosen by servants of the world's deities to fulfill a pre-determined task called a "Focus". Tabata neglected including elements from the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos until approximately halfway through the process. Chiba and Obake were the ones responsible for including the elements in the storyline, as well as including the cyclic nature of the game's world to help communicate some aspects of the mythos: originally disliked by Tabata, he later said that it suited the game due to the heavy eastern influences.
The characters were designed by regular Final Fantasy designer Tetsuya Nomura, art director Yusuke Naora, co-art director Yusaku Nakaaki, and sub-character designer Roberto Ferrari. Naora asked Nomura to contribute to the character designs. Naora and Nomura did the main cast, while Nakaaki and Ferrari handled secondary characters. Each player character was initially given a basic design trait drawn by Nomura. The design was gradually expanded upon during the creative process, working to avoid making them appear similar. Part of this was giving each character a unique weapon: Deuce's flute and Ace's cards were the most difficult to realize from a technical standpoint. After the world and setting were created, the characters' personalities and traits were finalized: for each character, the team planned how each character originated and the events which happened around them. The main cast's naming system, based on playing cards, was chosen because the team liked the idea. Nomura came up with the idea of having fourteen characters, with thirteen main characters and a "Joker". This idea, originally created for Agito XIII, carried over into Type-0. The characters were made of various heights and builds to emphasize both the game's realism and the characters being teenagers.
While portraying the bonds between the members of Class Zero, and between them and their summoned monsters, along with the game's themes of death and war, Naora drew inspiration from when he saw a cat killed by a car surrounded by other cats. Nomura was in charge of choosing the voice cast, which featured several well-known voice actors. When listening to the samples and picking the actors, Nomura focused on whether they could successfully project the characters' personalities. The actors and actresses helped define the characters, adding individual touches during voice recording sessions. Sayoko Hoshino acted as the game's character texture artist. Originally, she was going to put in black voids where a female character's panties would have been due to hardware limitations. However the staff realized that the players would be looking at the backs of characters a lot, so Hoshino designed panties for each female character and worked with the staff to incorporate them into the character models.
After Type-0's release, Tabata resurrected his initial concept for a mobile game as the prequel Agito. Hoshino became the title's art director. As with Type-0, one of the areas she focused on was the female characters' underwear. The characters' facial animations were done using Silicon Studio's Motion Portrait middleware. For Type-0 HD, the characters' original gameplay models were replaced with updated versions of the original cutscene models due to the latter's higher detail. Due to this higher detail, the cutscene models looked older than the gameplay models, so they needed adjustments to look more like the original models. Their appearances were also adjusted to look more "charming". The game's graphical upgrade was only partially done for the game's characters due to time constraints: while the main cast were given the most attention, secondary characters such as Kurasame received less work.