There are many theories and rumors around Final Fantasy XII, especially due to the change of leadership in the middle of development. One of these rumors has been shot down today.
Many fans, including media, have propagated for a long time the idea that Basch was originally supposed to be the original protagonist of the game, but Square Enix's management allegedly pushed for Van and Penelo to take on the main role to help the game connect with a younger audience.
Today, Twitter user Bee decided to ask Yasumi Matsuno - who initially co-directed the game - directly, and Matsuno-san straight out denied the rumor, calling it openly a "fake story."
That rumor is a fake story.— 松野泰己 (@YasumiMatsuno) April 18, 2023
The rumor was originally born from interviews with the development team and then expanded on by both media and fans of the game. Yet, the wording of the interviews was fairly vague, which quite possibly means that the developers' point of view was misinterpreted or lost in translation.
Matsuno-san was the original co-director of Final Fantasy XII until his departure from Square Enix in 2005. He's credited with creating the world of Ivalice which also served as a setting for previous games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story.
The legacy of the world of Ivalice was brought back by Matsuno-san himself in 2017 with the "Return to Ivalice" raids in Final Fantasy XIV, of which he wrote the scenario. The popular Viera race was finally implemented as playable in the MMORPG in 2019 with the Shadowbringers expansion.
Final Fantasy XII was originally released in 2006 for PlayStation 2, and it's playable on several modern platforms (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC) via the Zodiac Age remaster which was released between 2017 and 2019.