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Balthier ffxiirwBalthier: I'm afraid the jury's still out on that one.
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Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV Logo
ファイナルファンタジーXV
Fainaru Fantajī Fifutīn
Developers Square Enix
Publishers Square Enix
Release dates Flag of Japan TBA

Flag of the United States TBA
Flag of Canada TBA
European flag TBA

Genre Action role-playing
Game modes Single player
Ratings
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One[1]
This is a fantasy based on reality.
—Tagline

Final Fantasy XV, originally known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, is the fifteenth installment in the main Final Fantasy series. While regarded as another installment of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series alongside the Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 games, XV has no physical connections to the rest of the project, and will feature a wholly independent story and a unique visual design. It is currently under development for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII was announced at E3 2006 alongside Final Fantasy XIII. Final Fantasy Versus XIII was originally developed with the Crystal Tools engine, but it was announced in December 2011 the game had been moved to a game-specific engine for the gameplay mechanics, while the lighting is done by the Luminous Engine and the Crystal Tools is still doing the real-time graphics.[2] At E3 2013, the game was revealed to have been rebranded as Final Fantasy XV, and availability for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was announced.

The story centers around Noctis Lucis Caelum, a protector of the last remaining city in the world with control over crystals. The game's focus is to examine the characters' humanity and distinguish it from the fantasy setting in other titles in the series. It has been said the game will take around 40 hours to complete.[3]

GameplayEdit

FFXV-Battle

Final Fantasy XV's combat system.

The game takes place in open world environments and the player party's car can be either driven manually or put on autopilot to take the player to different locations, although walking is also possible. Monsters wander throughout the field and sometimes hostile ones will suddenly appear to ambush the player. The battles are real time action with the player controlling one person, Noctis, the other party members being controlled by the AI with the player able to issue them commands. The system has been described as streamlined rather than full of button-smashing, and readily accessible in that with obtaining good weapons and leveling up players will be able to clear the main scenarios, but further challenges are implied to lie waiting in the optional content requiring more player skill.[4]

Summons are said to be in the game and will have to be defeated to be used. They will be based on a ranking system and their size will influence their rank. For example, Leviathan is one of the top-ranked summons, and shown by its massive size.[5]

The game will support the new-generation consoles' features, such as sharing, but the remote play function on PlayStation 4 is yet to be decided. With the remote play, the players can play their PlayStation 4 games on PSVita anywhere as long as their internet connection is fast enough. The feature won't be in the demo, but it might be added to the retail game.[6]

Battle SystemEdit

FFXV-Battles

Battle from TGS14 trailer.

The battle system is called Active Cross Battle (AXB).[4] Battles will be seamless with no load times, taking place in real-time environments using all regions of the field from up high buildings to down low streets. Battles can take place in areas with great differences in height, and players will have to fight using the full environment. This means fighting what's both in front of the player and above and below (vertical battles). Players can climb onto large enemies to reach their weak points, and to take down specific parts.[7] Players can jump during battles.[4]

The combat system will utilize three buttons: an attack button, a defense button and an interactive button for interactions between different party members.[8] Players can continuously dodge while holding down the block button, and auto-attack by holding down the attack button.[9] Holding a button to continuously guard or evade drains the user's MP, and thus the player won't be able to do that indefinitely, and not all attacks can be evaded.[4] The "Defense Movement" system will allow players to move around while defending. Holding the attack button invokes the standard combo and the player can change the actions by using it in coordination with the directional buttons. The actions depend on the circumstances—such as when guarding, there might be a chance to counterattack, or whether other party members are close by;[4] it is said this combat feature will be easy to pull off as long as Noctis has allies nearby.[9]

FFXV Gladiolus In-battle

Gladiolus shields Noctis from a Behemoth.

According to Tabata, the combat isn't about pressing a button once for a single action to happen, but a continuous flow of movements associated with the buttons, and building upon them for actions through the combat system. The gameplay is less about focusing on menus and more about navigating 3D spaces with predetermined moves, similar to the Gambit system of Final Fantasy XII. There are no menu commands in combat. The game controls like an action game where players switch between offense and defense. The player can give orders to other party members and swap weapons on the fly.[10]

All team members will have different approaches and specialties in battle unique to them. There will be situations where the party will perform co-op attacks, such as Noctis fighting an Iron Giant and teaming up with Prompto and Gladiolus to take it down. Party members will automatically react to situations differently according to the circumstances, but certain abilities, equipment and weapons may encourage the characters to cooperate more likely when the circumstances are right.[6] The co-op moves can be pulled off continuously and although invoking them is automatic the player must aim their mark. For example, to connect a co-op move while avoiding an enemy attack, the player must keep an eye out for an indication when to invoke it.[4]

FFvXIII-mech

Noctis piloting a tank cannon with footage of when the game was still called Versus XIII.

Noctis has a number of different weapons with different methods of attack, and some will be usable as shields to go along with Noctis's crystal power. Weapons will have some sort of customization element. Weapons are set in a deck and during battle it will choose the most appropriate weapon based on the situation.[10] The player can set the weapons before battle considering what actions can be used with each weapon. The player can determine one weapon to be the main weapon, and that weapon will come with techniques that can be invoked at the player's discretion in battle. Besides the basic attack button, the player can invoke techniques with the technique button.[4]

Noctis can warp around the field and throw his sword and warp to that location. The player can only teleport to certain locations and depending on the circumstances, there is a glowing icon denoting a warp spot.[6] In the Tokyo Game Show 2014 playable footage showed to press, Noctis could teleport to certain places in the environment, and also to all enemies.

Warping, along with using magic, requires units of MP to perform, but the Warp command will be exclusive to Noctis. A "Link Form" command has also been seen in use during the E3 2013 material, which allowed Noctis to grapple with a soldier and slam the enemy into the side of a car, and climb up a Behemoth's horns to reach a more favorable position. This suggests Link Form could be an invaluable function for interacting with enemies and vehicles alike.[11]

Magic-Fire-FFXV

Noctis casts a fire spell on a behemoth, setting it ablaze.

Magic will be available and spells will have unique effects and manifestations among each team member. Noctis must be included in the team to have access to magic, as the ability is related to the powers of the crystal. Weather will have a tactical impact on battle conditions, with different types of magic having varying effects depending on weather patterns. Using fire spells on a clear day, for example, will not only hurt monsters, but also ignite surrounding area, and monsters afraid of fire will be sent fleeing, but it can hurt party members as well. As such, using magic can be a liability, too.[10]

Game WorldEdit

The creatures in the world are properly depicted as alive. If you think about fighting something, you can fight it. Just watching the way everything moves is pleasant. Making a virtual world that is so alive is important in making the player feel absorbed in it.
—Hajime Tabata in a Dengeki interview[3]
Final-Fantasy-Versus-XIII-Three-Scans Top

Noctis at a gas station.

The game is seamless open world with vast fields able to explored as far as the eye can reach, except for the mountains. The player will be able to drive the party's car, RHS-113, and in early information on the game it was said the party would be able to fly airships just like in older Final Fantasy titles.[12] The game will be seamless and the only loading the player will experience is between large areas. Even if the player is free to explore far and wide and possibly stumble upon optional content, such as dungeons, the objectives are laid out clearly so players won't get lost in the vastness of available area.[6]

The day and night cycles and cloud formations are done by physical calculations, the lighting and the shadows changing as the day goes on. At night towns will be lit up, with people turning the lights on in their homes.[6] It was decided to be made this way to have a smooth change between the cycles and to have a more dynamic lighting system, reflecting the mood of a certain region/place. One day in the game world is about 30 minutes in real time.[10]

Camping out is important; since time is a real factor, characters who don't sleep will do worse in battle. When a day is over, accrued experience will be calculated to give players an idea of how much they've accomplished over that stretch of time. Monsters in dungeons will also wander above ground during night, adding extra impetus to camp.[10] The party can camp out in the open, or stay at a hotel while in town.[6]

FFXV Accordo

Accordo in the E3 2013 trailer.

The world of Final Fantasy XV takes place in what seems to be similar to the real world, with modern technology such as cars and highways, but also contains countries with medieval elements, such as castles and armored soldiers. According to the developers, the game's locations are based on real world locations. So far, the following replicas have been seen or confirmed by the developers: Piazza San Marco and Basilica (from Venice, Italy), Manchester (England), a U.S. gas station and Shinjuku (an area of Tokyo, Japan).

CharactersEdit

Main article: List of Final Fantasy XV Characters
Final-Fantasy-XV-Main-Cast-CG

Noctis and his comrades. From left to right: Prompto, Gladiolus, Noctis, Ignis, and Cor.

Playable CharactersEdit

  • Noctis Lucis Caelum - The main protagonist. A childhood affliction endowed Noctis, heir apparent to the throne of Lucis, with the mystical power to see a heavenly light, through which he could sense others’ deaths. Noctis rejects rigid royal conventions and acts as somewhat of a renegade, much to the dismay of those who tend to him. Yet while "Noct" may act brash at times, he does so in defense of those loyal to him.

Supporting CharactersEdit

  • Ignis Stupeo Scientia - Ever the unwavering voice of reason, Ignis was weaned on shrewd logic and a classical education from boyhood so that he might one day counsel the would-be king, Noctis. He applies the deep mutual understanding and trust they have built over time to help smooth over Noctis's brusqueness with others.
  • Gladiolus Amicitia - As lord of the noble House Amicitia, Gladiolus continues a line sworn to protect the crown. "Gladio" shares a friendship with Noctis that transcends birth and title, and his loyalty to his liege is born not of duty, but of brotherhood.
  • Prompto Argentum - The puckish playboy Prompto befriended Noctis in his school days. He wears a chip on his shoulder as an outsider to the royal circle, but remains eager to do all he can for the cause.
  • Cor Leonis - A living legend of Lucian lore, Lord Commander Cor Leonis's devotion to the art of war is surpassed only by that to his king. Little love is lost between the ill-starred stalwart and Noctis's retinue, yet honor binds him to keep watch over the group all the same.

Other CharactersEdit

Final Fantasy XV - Cast

Main cast of FFXV from the 2013 E3 trailer.

  • Stella Nox Fleuret - A daughter of the Fleuret family of Tenebrae, she meets Noctis at a party. The two of them get into a tumultuous relationship. She was revealed to be one of the game's antagonists.
  • Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII - King of Lucis and the father of Noctis; he signed a peace treaty with the kingdom Niflheim, but it turned out to be a ruse to get close to the Lucian crystal.
  • Idola Aldercapt - The emperor of Niflheim who is out to collect all the four crystals of the world by any means necessary.
  • Luna - a woman the party is traveling to meet at Altissia

SettingEdit

The only crystal left to the world lies in the Kingdom of Lucis. Upon striking a peace with the garrison state of Niflheim, Lucis rejoices in having at last brought the cold war to a close. Their celebrations, however, are premature. Under the guise of amity, Niflheim dispels the anti-armament runewall and launches a full-scale invasion of the kingdom. The peaceful lives Crown Prince Noctis and his entourage once knew are consumed by the flames of war as they struggle to mount a resistance.
—Official synopsis[13]
Amano Goddess of Death

Artwork of the Goddess Etro by Yoshitaka Amano.

Noctis Lucis Caelum—the latest in a lineage of kings, and the heir apparent to the throne—hails from the kingdom of Lucis, a country holding the world's last crystal, which is beneficial to his country's military, political, and economic standing. Because of increasingly apparent industrialization in contrast to neighboring nations, Lucis has isolated itself from the rest of the world.

At one time, all countries possessed a crystal, but many lost them due to fighting over them. They thus pooled their resources into weapons and warfare, granting them firearms along with swords and magic, becoming modern and advanced in only their military power, and in consequence, left regressive in their cultural and societal aspects, severely affecting their standards and quality of life. A cold war has gone on between Lucis and the rest of the world about the use and possession of the last crystal, but recently, a peace treaty was negotiated, ending the standoff.

There exists a myth in the kingdom of Tenebrae about a goddess of death, the Goddess Etro, who is said to greet the souls of the deceased, and open the door to the afterlife. When the door opens, the released souls burst out in a streak of light that ascends to heaven. Few people are able to see the light, and those who can are given power from the Kingdom of the Dead. Both Noctis and Stella have gained this power.

StoryEdit

Under the guise of peace the kingdom of Niflheim breaks the treaty, conquering the nearby nations of Solheim, Tenebrae, and Accordo before attacking Lucis. During the chaos Noctis and his friends attempt to stop the seizure of Lucis's crystal before the affair escalates into a global war.

Noctis and his three friends—his royal advisor Ignis, his bodyguard Gladiolus and his childhood friend Prompto—set out on a road trip across the continent toward Altissia to meet a woman named Luna.

MusicEdit

The music is composed by Yoko Shimomura, who was also responsible for the soundtracks of the Kingdom Hearts series, Super Mario RPG, and the first Parasite Eve. She was also one of the composers for the critically-acclaimed Xenoblade Chronicles.

The game's theme song, performed by Aundréa L. Hopkins,[14] is titled "Somnus - Sleeping" (「somnus - 眠り -」), refers to the Roman god of sleep. The god is often depicted as a young man sleeping, which matches the game's logo art.

"Omnis Lacrima" is the second released track from the game. On May 26th, 2014 it was released as a bonus track from Yoko Shimomura's compilation album, memoria: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura.[15] "Omnis Lacrima" is Latin for "all the tears." Before its release, it was used as the music in three trailers for the game: the 2008 DKS3713 trailer, the 2011 Square Enix 1st Production Department Premier trailer, and the E3 2013 gameplay trailer.

A new track that was used in the Tokyo Game Show 2014 trailer was the collaboration between composer Yoko Shimomura and Video Game Orchestra, a well-known orchestra that had collaborated with composer Masashi Hamauzu for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.[16]

DevelopmentEdit

2006-2009Edit

Versus logo

Logo for Versus XIII during development.

Unveiled at E3 2006, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was said to be "not merely a sequel, but a wholly independent story unfolding in a different world with different characters." The game was going to be developed by the team responsible for the hit Kingdom Hearts series. Tetsuya Nomura would be the director and character designer, but not costume designer,[17] as Square Enix signed a contract with Japanese fashion brand "Roen" to promote their clothing designs in the game through different characters. Roen Creative Director Himuro Takahara serves as the game's costume designer.

In E3 2013 it was revealed Square Enix was thinking Final Fantasy Versus XIII could be made into Final Fantasy XV much earlier in the game's production than what was revealed to the public. Within the company, about one to two years after Versus XIII was announced, discussions were had on its scale and concept and the talks went on for several years.[18]

2009Edit

After nearly a year of silence, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was briefly shown at Tokyo Game Show 2009 in a private theater showcasing the game's first gameplay footage, though Nomura commented it was merely a demo and most footage would not be used in the final game. He said the clip was made to prove the game was still in development.[19]

At Jump Festa 2009 Noctis's new outfit was put on display. It had a more modern look with a jacket and pants, as opposed to his old outfit from past trailers. [20]

2010Edit

FinalFantasyVersusXIII combat 2

An old mock-up of a battle interface from when the game was still known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

During an interview with Famitsu, Nomura stated he was unsure whether Versus would be shown at E3 2010. [21] When E3 took place, the game was not shown.

On May 18, when asked by a Square Enix investor at a shareholders' meeting about a possible Xbox 360 port, president Yoichi Wada stated "We'll be looking into it internally until right before the formal announcement." After some backlash, he later clarified his original statement by saying on Twitter "It looks like the [inter]net is heating up. Versus on Xbox? What I said at the earnings press conference was just that until a formal announcement is made at the announcement time; all points about all titles are not finalized".

On June 23, new in-game screenshots and details about Final Fantasy Versus XIII were revealed[22][23], and it was confirmed the game would appear at the 2010 Tokyo Game Show.

On June 29, an issue of Dengeki PlayStation stated Nomura and the fashion company Roen, assigned with creating the costumes for the characters, had completed all character designs and the scenario was finished as well.[24]

On August 9, Nomura announced via Twitter that voice casting for Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII had begun along with other bits of news. [25]

On August 25, Yoshinori Kitase announced, during an interview with GamingUnion.net, that Final Fantasy Versus XIII "may not be released until after 2011".[26]

During the 2010 Tokyo Game Show, Square Enix confirmed they planned to present Final Fantasy Versus XIII in their January 2011 conference, which was part of their Fabula Nova Crystallis conference.

On September 17, the 30 second trailer for the game had been leaked onto the Internet along with that for Final Fantasy Type-0. The footage contained Noctis in his new outfit briefly running through the areas shown in previously released screenshots. The trailer ended with Noctis fighting a Behemoth and there were instances of blood shown whenever Noctis slashed at it.[27] On October 8, the combined Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer from Tokyo Game Show was officially released on the Internet through the Japanese Square Enix Members website.[28]

2011Edit

On January 18, 2011, Square Enix held the 1st Production Department Premier. It was originally named the Fabula Nova Crystallis Conference and the original date was set on January 11. The event included new trailers and the announcement of the official release dates. Fans got to hear Noctis speak for the first time, along with the other characters. Besides Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the event featured new video content of Final Fantasy Type-0, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix, and other titles. Square Enix hinted at several new titles to be revealed at this event, such as Final Fantasy XIII-2.

On July 2011, in an interview with Tetsuya Nomura, it was revealed that Final Fantasy Versus XIII hadn't yet entered full production. He went on to say the date for the next showing of the game had been set.

In early August for the 500th issue of Dengeki PlayStation magazine, Nomura stated Final Fantasy Versus XIII would not be shown at Tokyo Game Show 2011 in September.

On August 31, 2011, a renewal for the trademark of Final Fantasy Versus XIII was filed by Square Enix.

On September 10, 2011 during the Final Fantasy XIII-2 fan meeting, producer Yoshinori Kitase was questioned about the development of Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. His answer was: "for Type-0 and Versus XIII we are giving 100% to development."

In 2011, developers began to hear about next-generation consoles, and the team decided to make Final Fantasy Versus XIII into Final Fantasy XV, but this was not public knowledge yet.[18] While the game was rebranded, the ideas of having a different story from previous Final Fantasy games and an action-based battle system did not change. Nomura had to confirm this during talks of the game being rebranded as the next numbered Final Fantasy, but after being told it wouldn't be a problem, the project went ahead.[29]

2012Edit

On the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Nomura announced the game will be a mix between real-time cutscenes and pre-rendered cutscenes with a ratio of 7:3 (70% real-time and 30% pre-rendered). He stated the next time the game will be shown there would be a demonstration using real time footage. Nomura said working on Final Fantasy Versus XIII takes priority, in response to fans' requests for a Final Fantasy VII remake.[30]

On July 24th, 2012, the then Square Enix president Yoichi Wada posted a tweet dismissing rumors that arose about the game being cancelled after a long period of media silence, also hinting its progress would surprise its fans, particularly in the game's city environments.

Noctis (FF 25th ANNIVERSARY EVENT)

Sketch of Noctis for the anniversary event.

On September 1st, 2012, in the event of Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary, Tetsuya Nomura did a sketch of Noctis for the event. "Congratulations on the 25th anniversary. Please wait for his turn to appear".[31]

On October 10th, 2012, Nomura said that Final Fantasy Versus XIII is still in development and asked fans to wait for more detailed news regarding the game.[32]

In 2012 it was decided all development would shift to next-generation consoles, and the name was officially changed into Final Fantasy XV within the company, although the public revelation of the re-branding would wait until E3 2013.[18] In July 2012, around the time of the cancellation rumors, Wada ordered the Final Fantasy Type-0 team to join the Final Fantasy XV development and Hajime Tabata took more of a leadership role in the team, which would eventually have him transition as the new director. The game's development was re-examined between the gameplay team, the CG team, and the game engine team and decided to merge them.[10]

Tabata has later said that with the change of name and platform and him taking the reins it would no longer be "the exact same game" as some things had to re-evaluated to fit the change of circumstances. But he assured the game did not lose its core and he had sat down with Tetsuya Nomura about the direction of the title to ensure that characters, like Noctis, would be maintained in the best possible way.[10]

2013Edit

On February 21st, 2013, GameSpot reported that Shuhei Yoshida, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, said about Final Fantasy Versus XIII that "I have some knowledge, but I'm not in a position to talk about it".[33]

On March 19th, 2013, VG Leaks reported that not only has production been halted because of the failure and subsequent rebuilding of Final Fantasy XIV, but that it has been moved to the PlayStation 4 and was being co-developed by Sony as a PlayStation 4 exclusive, and was reworked into Final Fantasy XV[34]. Square Enix refused to comment on the rumor[35].

On April 17th, 2013, during the inaugural episode of Square Enix Merchandise Radio, Tetsuya Nomura spoke briefly about the game: "It's a delicate situation within the company. The date for our next reveal is set and we are working toward preparing information for that. Perhaps the details as to why information couldn't be released might be touched upon with the next information announcement".[36]

During this time Nomura briefly envisioned making Final Fantasy XV into a musical after watching the 2012 film version of Les Miserables. He charged into the Square offices the next morning intent on transforming Final Fantasy XV but Square Enix convinced him to continue on the game's current trajectory.[37]

FFXV - Leviathan

Leviathan in the E3 2013 trailer.

During Sony's press conference at E3 on June 10, 2013, a prerecorded video of Tetsuya Nomura was played. In the video, Nomura acknowledged that not much information on the project had been released as of late, and that while he couldn't immediately share new details himself, new information on the game would be revealed in the coming days. Following the message, a new trailer for the game was shown, with the end of the trailer announcing the game has been renamed Final Fantasy XV, with development moved to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Square Enix's Final Fantasy brand director Shinji Hashimoto wouldn't comment on how close to completion Final Fantasy XV was.[38] The game shown at E3 was running on a prototype environment (Ebony), rather than the actual environment (Luminous Engine).[4]

2014Edit

In February Yoshinori Kitase commented that the game was "quite far in development" and that the game was given a high priority within Square Enix.[39] Final Fantasy XV was not shown at E3 2014, but producer Shinji Hashimoto promised new information would be revealed some time after the event.[40]

In August co-director Hajime Tabata assured development on Final Fantasy XV was Square's top priority, unhindered by the announcement of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD during the 3E.[41] When new release info on Final Fantasy Type-0 HD arose during Tokyo Game Show, it was revealed every copy would include a voucher for a playable Final Fantasy XV demo.[42] A new trailer was released on September 17th, showcasing the setting, the party and their car, battles, and a new character, Luna,[43] and unlike the E3 2013 showing, the game was running on Luminous Engine.[4] During Tokyo Game Show, Square Enix announced that Hajime Tabata has taken over directing the game with Nomura focusing on Kingdom Hearts III.[44] Nomura then told Famitsu magazine that it was Square Enix's decision to remove him from Final Fantasy XV project.[45]

Personally, I'm working on 15 to make it the most emotional Final Fantasy title that I've worked on. My goal is to have people play Final Fantasy 15, and for them to think this is the best Final Fantasy they've ever played.
—Hajime Tabata in an interview with Eurogamer[46]
Adamantoise-FFXV

TGS 2014 trailer.

Final Fantasy XV returning to the media focus was met with enthusiasm and Tabata gave many interviews to the press during this time, and also showcased a gameplay demonstration showing different weather effects and explaining more on the game's battle system and day and night cycles. In his numerous interviews Hajime Tabata mentioned the game was 50-60% done, with the team working on it from the beginning to the end, meaning the beginning portions were more complete than others.[47] He said the release date was still a way off, and lamented on the the "Versus era" when the team was not able to reveal any information on release timing because the project had to overcome many problems. In around 2012 when Tabata officially joined the project the team did a major directional change in deciding to abandon the previous generation, and Tabata hoped people would "reset their timers" from when he joined the team, restarting the count from there.[47] He also mentioned the fundamental parts of the game's systems are implemented, and did not expect there to be too long a wait after the demo is out.[10] The development team was revealed to be around 200 to 300 of staff as Tabata doesn't want a 1000-plus team like for big western releases, as he'd rather have a team with people who can make the most of their individual potential.[10]

On 2nd October Square Enix broadcast a livestream showing the game being played, and Tabata elaborated more on its progress and gameplay details. He said the team was in the process of migrating functions from the prototype environment into the actual game environment (Luminous), but it would take time to complete. Despite this, Tabata had wanted to show footage in the actual environment and thus something unfinished was shown, with Tabata stressing it was primitive to what the final game would be like.[4] Based on fan reactions for the Tokyo Game Show footage, the goal was to elaborate on the concerns that had arisen with Tabata receiving daily reports from development staff about what people had been discussing on the the Internet. Tabata said he'd like to release development information again in another live broadcast on November 1st, and include information from others in the development team than just himself. Tabata confirmed Final Fantasy XV had entered the phase where the team was mass producing resource material, and after that it would be a fight against the amount of resource material and time. It was said Square Enix was hiring to help make the game. On a lighter note, Tabata mentioned he found the image macros fans had been making of Noctis and the party in the car looking out with different backgrounds photoshopped in hilarious, and provided official assets for people to use as a template.[4]

Development to different gaming platformsEdit

Stella

Stella in the PS3 environment.

At E3 2013 it was said that until a year before, the developers were making the game for then current-generation consoles as well, but this was abandoned when it became clear next-generation consoles would have superior quality.[18] Tetsuya Nomura commented that the way of developing games in general has changed and that before, when going multi-platform, a game would be fit to one console's specifications and would be evened out to other consoles, but Nomura said he didn't want to make a game that compromises quality.[18] Using a different development method, Nomura chose not to look at consumer consoles to meet their specifications.[18]

The shift in platform had several reasons. The lifespan of the current generation of consoles was starting to pose a problem, as if Square Enix was a year late entering the next generation, other companies would have had more time to research developing for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and releasing the game against their products on the older generation could have caused Square to look inferior.[48] Nomura also thought they had hit the wall with the power offered by PlayStation 3 due to limitations of having a seamless world and simultaneously having all required actions always available in the memory; world map sized maps that can have elements on it change and be destroyed during battles, the myriad of weapons, party members' individual actions, magic spells, monsters on a large map, light sourcing, physics, filters and other graphical elements; and that to fully realize his vision they would need to shift the project to the next generation of consoles.[48]

Square Enix is developing Final Fantasy XV on DirectX 11, which is not based on either the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One, letting the team develop full-spec without worrying about individual platforms, then port it to each console in the most appropriate way.[48] The original Final Fantasy XV runs on a high-spec PC, and how close a console gets to the original depends on its specs.[48] Nomura explains that the idea is to keep the options open in case a console comes out in the future that can recreate the original. It is the opposite approach from Square Enix's previous 'multiplatform' projects, which were based on the specs of a single console and then ported to other platforms.[49] Nomura even mentioned the possibility of bringing Final Fantasy XV out on high-end PCs if there was ever enough demand.[48]

Hajime Tabata works both as director of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD and director for Final Fantasy XV. The decision to release the former for PlayStation 4 and XBox One was in part because Square wants to push the install-base for the consoles to ensure the success of Final Fantasy XV in turn, in Japan as well as overseas.[41]

GameplayEdit

The game takes place in a seamless open world. Though the player is free to explore, the game was designed around clear objectives so players would not wander into the world haphazardly. The game is balanced to ideally satisfy fans who like traditional Final Fantasy storytelling for a feel of following an epic story.[10]

When making the transition from a Nomura-led project to a Tabata-led one, the two directors discussed the game with Tabata feeling it should shift to be more realistic. "For example, when you're battling a really strong boss like a behemoth, if you go at it from just the front you're going to get hit with his counter-attacks. You have to think about baiting it to attack forward, but then break its stance and attack it from the side. I wanted to make it so you're fighting a real animal, but with easy-to-manipulate controls as well as dramatic effects. My basis was to keep it grounded in reality."[46]

Tabata wanted to make the game accessible for a broad audience, so both casual and hardcore gamers would find something to enjoy. For example, the party's car can be set to autopilot, or it can be driven by the player manually. The idea of streamlining was also used when designing the combat system, made into "a one-button action" with the AI intuitively outputting an action that gives instant player gratification. The idea was not to design a game that requires frantic button pushing, but that still has depth.[46] Despite striving for a game "anyone can immediately be able to play", the game as a whole is said not to be casual, even if it has basic controls.[4]

FinalFantasyVersusXIII combat 3

Old footage of a player-controlled Prompto.

Previously it had been said players would be able to switch characters on the fly, allowing the opportunity to create multi-character combos, but in the footage shown in 2014 only has Noctis as playable, and it has been said player would be able to give commands to the allies, rather than directly controlling them. Early footage showed a third person aiming mode for firearms, exclusive to Prompto, and the player being able to control mechanic structures, such as tanks or robots. The old footage depicted a menu titled "EX Arts," but it has been absent since the 2013 gameplay demonstrations.

Although being shown in the E3 2013 trailer, in its current specifications Final Fantasy XV does not allow the player to switch the playable character, allowing direct control of only Noctis. The development team looked into an "Active Cross Battle system" that made free use of attack, guard, and co-op functions, but as a result concluded that changing characters would be too difficult.[4]

Visuals and Art DirectionEdit

Accordo-at-night-FFXV

Accordo from the TGS14 trailer.

The modernistic art direction for Final Fantasy XV derives inspiration from real world locations, as opposed to the more fantasy-futuristic feel of Final Fantasy XIII. The cars driven in the game resemble modern cars rather than the various fantasy vehicles utilized in Final Fantasy XIII and the main characters' clothes are designed by the clothing brand Roen rather than being designed by Nomura himself. In its strive for a more corporeal-looking world, the style is somewhat reminiscent of Final Fantasy VIII, although darker and more monochromatic. While the beginning of the game takes place in a more contemporary setting, as the story progresses, the player will find various fantasy environments and atmospheres similar to what past titles like Final Fantasy VII did.

With the improved processing power of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the need for prerendered cutscenes is diminished and thus Final Fantasy XV is set to have fewer prerendered cutscenes than many of its main series predecessors. Director Tetsuya Nomura has commented that even in considerably dynamic scenes, the player will be in control of their character, and cited the scene where Leviathan is rioting through the city as an example.[50]

The world continuously changes as time passes affecting player experience while journeying through it. It is said day and night cycles occur naturally within the game. Weather affects the characters' appearance on the field; in wet weather, the party's hair and clothes get a subtle damp look.[51]

One of the concepts of the game's graphic design to keep the original monster designs by Yoshitaka Amano from the previous titles and to adapt them in a realistic way possible.[8] However, director Hajime Tabata has mentioned that in creating a new game, throwing in familiar elements just to please the fans gives an impression of shallowness. Thus, Tabata thinks carefully how Final Fantasy icons apply to the setting and ensures they are included there because they are necessary.[47]

StoryEdit

The theme of the story is said to be "a road trip" and adventure focusing on brotherhood.[41] Though Noctis is the main character, the party itself, that includes Noctis's friends, could be treated as main characters in all scenes of the game.[10]

Tetsuya Nomura said that because he designed his game to have a modern setting and a story focused on human drama, he chose not to use the names in the mythos, such as "l'Cie", instead using the concepts behind the terms and not directly referring to the mythos as Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 did.[52]

LocalizationEdit

The first titbit on Final Fantasy XV localization came on June 15 2013, days after the game was revealed at E3, when Jay Preston, a relatively unknown actor, announced he has received an unspecified part in the localization of Final Fantasy XV, suggesting the localization for the game was further along than previously thought.[53] In February 2014 further details on the English voice acting surfaced, with voice actress Katy Townsend having listed "various" roles in the game as part of her resume. Townsend's resume lists Chris Borders as voice casting director, which indicates the game's voice work will be performed by world leading voice over production company TikiMan Productions, of which Borders is CEO.[54] Soon after the news broke David Yang, Senior PR Manager Square Enix, has confirmed English voice casting has yet to begin for Final Fantasy XV. In a later update, Yang stated that voice acting for the final game had yet to begin in all languages.[55]

SequelsEdit

During E3 2013 it was also talked how Final Fantasy XV would likely have sequels.

In the trailer, there was a line that read 'A World of the Versus Epic,' which suggests that it will be part of an epic. While Final Fantasy XV will have one climax, as a story, we plan to continue it further.
—Tetsuya Nomura[29]

However, in a later interview at Japan Expo 2013 Nomura was more cautious when talking of sequels.

Obviously we haven't decided yet. We don't have any concrete plan for a future sequel of FFXV, it would be good if we could do that but we can't announce it or say anything into detail for the moment.
—Tetsuya Nomura[56]

DemosEdit

A live demo called Final Fantasy XV: The Overture was featured during the Tokyo Game Show 2014.[57]

FFXV-Episode-Duscae-Logo

Episode Duscae logo.

A demo of Final Fantasy XV will come bundled as a downloadable code for players who purchased Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. The demo will be known as Episode Duscae, named after a location from the game[58], which will show off the early stages of the game.[3] Square Enix expects the demo to last about an hour, but if the player was to fully explore the field and dungeon areas it could take three hours. There will be no boss fight in the demo, as the company intends to save them for the final game.[58]

Episode Duscae will naturally limit open world aspects, but still be wide-ranging. It is set to take place around the astral shard seen in the Tokyo Game Show 2014 trailer. Players can fight monsters and explore dungeons, although dungeons are optional. The passage of time and weather mechanics, as well as camping[3] will be present in the demo. The demo will be focused on battle, but will have towns the players can visit.[10] The Japanese demo will have Japanese voice acting, and English voice acting in the overseas versions.[3]

The reason for releasing the demo is because Tabata wants to let players see the portion of the game currently available, and understand the game is still being worked on.[10] The point is not to father feedback, but Tabata has said they will regardless try to respond to any feedback on the demo.[3] Square Enix wants to avoid releasing two Final Fantasy games simultaneously as standalone titles as not to damage each others' sales, but decided to release them in a single package by including the demo with Type-0.[6][3]

Production CreditsEdit

StaffEdit

Producer Shinji Hashimoto
Director Hajime Tabata (Co-Director 2013-2014, Director 2014-)
Tetsuya Nomura (Director 2006-2014)
Concept Game Design
Character Design
Base Story
Tetsuya Nomura
Image Artwork Yoshitaka Amano
Mechanic Concept Takayuki Takeya
Clothes Design Hiromu Takahara (Roen Creative Director)
Scenario Writer Kazushige Nojima
Character Design Tetsuya Nomura, Roberto Ferrari
Music Yoko Shimomura
Theme Song Performer Aundréa L. Hopkins
Main Programmers Hiroshi Harata, Kentarou Yasui
Planning Directors Yuuichi Kanemori, Takayoshi Nakazato
Planning Director (World) Takeshi Endou
Planning Director (Event) Jun Akiyama
Graphic Director (Character Model) Tomohiro Kayano
Graphic Director (Animation) Tatsuya Kando
Graphic Director (Map Model) Masahide Tanaka
Graphic Director (Visual Effects) Shuichi Sato
Graphic Director (System Menu) Takeshi Arakawa
Art Director (Character) Tomohiro Hasegawa
Art Director (Map) Takayuki Odachi
Total Visual Director Takeshi Nozue

Voice CastEdit

Character Japanese English
Noctis Lucis Caelum Tatsuhisa Suzuki
Ignis Stupeo Scientia Mamoru Miyano
Gladiolus Amicitia Kenta Miyake
Prompto Argentum Tetsuya Kakihara
Cor Leonis Hiroki Tōchi
Stella Nox Fleuret
Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII
Idola Aldercapt
Luna

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  2. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=445773
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  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 Final Fantasy XV director addresses fan concerns, new gameplay — Gematsu.com
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  55. Final Fantasy XV’s Voice Over Work Hasn’t Started Yet, Square Enix Confirms — Dualshockers.com
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