Thanks to a change of director, we’re finally getting new details about Final Fantasy XV. It’s going to be an impressive game, of that I have no doubt. However, director Hajime Tabata isn’t going to be satisfied unless it defines the generation.
Tabata explained to Kotaku that each new Final Fantasy game has set a benchmark for game consoles, showing what was possible with existing hardware. So when Tabata joined the project two years ago, he wanted to make a game that would impress everyone:
If we don’t do something that people think is amazing, it’s meaningless. If we don’t do something that’s challenging, it’s also meaningless.
How will this work? There are a few things to increase the scale while still sticking with classic Final Fantasy elements that fans are looking for. Much like the airships of previous games, the car is a symbol that represents freedom, open world and exploration. However, it’s not a totally open world:
That being said, if the game is totally open world, it kind of defeats what makes a Final Fantasy game Final Fantasy—which is the dramatic and cinematic storytelling. The game is balanced to ideally satisfy those fans who like traditional Final Fantasy storytelling so they can feel like they’re following an epic story.
Tabata worked closely with the original creator and director, Tetsuya Nomura, to ensure that the game is still in line with his original vision. The characters have been protected, as well as the car. Despite being a single player experience, they want it to feel like an adventure with your friends. Players can choose to drive the car, or autopilot, or have their companions drive.
At the moment, FFXV is about 50-60% complete, mostly because they had to start over from scratch when changing platforms. However, we’ll be able to grab the demo next year. According to Tabata’s interview with Game Informer, the reason for the demo is simple:
It is the first time that fans who have been waiting for XV get a chance to try out the game. I can’t say what their reaction is going to be. The reason I wanted to make a demo is to let players see whatever portion is available right now and to understand that XV is still coming and we’re still working on it.
The demo is named after an area in the game and will offer about one hour of the story. If you go exploring, you might manage to squeeze 3-4 hours out of the experience. While there will be some familiar elements to keep fans happy, they aren’t just thrown in at will. Tabata wants to ensure that there is reason and context to each familiar aspect; he teases that there’s a surprise element incorporated towards the end of the demo that will make fans happy.
I am really happy to hear about Tabata’s direction for the game. It sounds like FF XV will finally emerge from development hell. It’s great to know that we’ll get some demo time to see what the gameplay experience will include, and I’m really excited to see how it fits into the Final Fantasy universe.
For those who are interested, here’s a video showing off FFXV. It’s mostly looking at rain and lighting, but it sure looks pretty.
Last Updated: September 22, 2014