Word of God has spoken from on high - Final Fantasy XV is going to be a boys club. Instead of a more well-rounded party, as in previous games, Noctis and his retinue of Ignis, Gladiolus, and Prompto are having something of an extended night out. No girls allowed on this road trip. And you know what? That's absolutely fine.
I know, it may be strange to read that. Especially since it's coming from a female video game journalist. Yet, in the case of FFXV, a man's night out is all right, even though this means it will be the first Final Fantasy since the NES years to exclude the other gender.
I suppose part of my willingness to accept it is the fact that Square Enix has provided support for strong, female characters for years. As far back as FFII, we have female party members, and I think I speak for many when I say Celes and Terra from FFVI are two of the best RPG heroines of all time. There's no fear of a "boys club" inside the company influencing the course of FFXV. If there were, there would never have been a FFX-2.
Rather, it would be strange of FFXV wasn't a game about a group of men. Square Enix has already said the story is an echo of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. That means Noctis is Romeo, Ignis or Gladiolus could be likened to Benvolio, and Prompto is absolutely Mercutio. Romeo's entourage didn't include any random women, and it wouldn't be right to shoehorn in a character for appeasement purposes.
Which brings up another important point. Final Fantasy games have always been about telling a specific story, but it isn't the player's story. This isn't a BioWare-style epic, where the choices made result in a highly personal experience that often feels more like self insertion than a structured tale being told. Square Enix knows what it wants and needs to say, and the narrative requires an all-male cast to accomplish its goals.
Not to mention, we've always known FFXV would be like this. There was never a point where Square Enix talked about female party members, or showed a woman alongside the group in battle. It has always been about Noctis and his closest confidants. Think about your own life. If a game was going to be road trip you were taking, how would the cast look? Personally, mine would be a car trip with my two best friends, both of whom are also female. It would be unrealistic to portray it otherwise.
So let's squash any potential rabble-rousing against FFXV concerning the cast right now. Given the nature of the story, a sausage fest is okay. Look at the source material. Think about the tale Square Enix wants to tell. Having an all male party is more realistic for this situation. I don't think I have to remind anyone that we should be thankful that there's actually going to be a FFXV, since it always felt like it was this close to being vaporware.
And, if you're a woman who's upset about not having a female party member with which to identify, look at it this way. Noctis and his buddies are some of the hottest, virtual men Square Enix has ever created. (...Yes. I've started having the dreams again.)