Siliconera attended Square Enix’s Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV event earlier this week, and we caught up with Director Hajime Tabata to talk more about the game’s mixed-media approach and Platinum Demo.
Final Fantasy XV has a mix of media with the Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV anime and CG film, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.
Hajime Tabata, Director: The reason we took on this mass media approach with mixed media outlets for the Final Fantasy XV universe is we wanted to give new fans who haven’t experienced Final Fantasy in the past a way to experience it not just through the games. Also to give traditional fans who have played the series other ways to experience the full Final Fantasy XV universe and really enjoy it. And it’s not necessarily a spin-off from a game. Each one is independent and can stand out on their own. You don’t have to experience one to understand another one. That’s the approach we’ve taken.
Platinum Demo: Final Fantasy XV has a modified combat system compared to Episode Duscae. Players can switch between four different of attacks on the fly using the d-pad. Noctis can jump from using heavy, but slow weapons like the Toy Hammer or Broadsword to combo weapons like the Toy Sword. Can you tell us how switching weapons will allow players to take on different attacker roles in the game?
In Final Fantasy XV’s combo system, when you change weapons you’re essentially changing roles. Depending on what weapon you’re using you’re going to change the role and combat style. Instead of changing characters you’re doing it with weapons, but since it’s in such a shorter time span and since it’s action based combat it’s very quick you might not necessarily realize it, but you are changing roles as you change weapons.
But, there are weapons where you will get a full experience and it feels like you’re taking on a different combat role with a character.
After the first demo, there was fan feedback about the hit and run tactics players can use in Final Fantasy XV. Players were invisible when they were using cover. There are also waiting periods that take players out of the action when Noctis warps away from battle and hangs on his sword to recover HP while his friends are getting pummeled. How has this feedback been taken in for the completed game?[Laughs] I think it comes down to player choice. It’s up to you as a player to decide if you want to stick with your buddies and try to tough it out or do you want to retreat, recover some HP and then go back in. It’s up to you.
In terms of hanging, it is part of strategy. If you want to recover this gives you a chance to get your forces back together, but there are going to be enemies who will be far away and they can still hit you. There is a deeper level of strategy and there won’t just be enemies that can’t reach you if you’re hanging.
You might have realized this playing the Platinum Demo, but with the Warp Strike the further you are away from the enemy the bigger damage multiplier you get. It is hard to stagger the Iron Giant, but if you are at a great distance, use a Warp Strike, and are successful at hitting it you are going to stagger him with one hit. The system we incorporated with the Platinum Demo and going forward is this hit and run system with Noct and his companions. His companions my hit, then he’ll hit, and then he’ll retreat or his companions will retreat. It’s a constant back and forth.
In terms of the cover feature where enemies not being able to find you in Episode Duscae it was because the enemy AI wasn’t fully incorporated. It has been improved upon to match the rest of the game system.
Why did you go with a whimsical direction and making young Noctis the protagonist in Platinum Demo: Final Fantasy XV? It’s a striking contrast to the core Final Fantasy XV game.
It was pretty Disney-like, right? It’s because unlike the previous demo which gave you a glimpse of the full game our goals with this demo is completely different. The title gives you a hint. Platinum Demo is the main title and Final Fantasy XV is actually the subtitle. Of course, we’ve made it with the hope that Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy XV fans will give it a try.
Since we are providing this as a free demo we thought it would be an opportunity for people who aren’t familiar with Final Fantasy to try it out. In order to do that, we had Platinum Demo up top and incorporated game features that aren’t so driven to appeal to a broader audience.
For people interested into the whole Final Fantasy XV franchise you get a glimpse of who Noct was as a child and what he was thinking. Once you play the full game you’ll have a better background of who he was and a stronger connection with him in the full game. Also because we wanted to give Carlbuncle as fans. Anyone who tries the demo will get Carlbuncle and that’s a huge benefit in itself.
Final Fantasy XV will release worldwide on September 30, 2016 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can read more from Tabata and his discussion on making the team and challenging the HD era in our earlier report.