While we didn’t exactly get a “new” trailer for Final Fantasy XV, that showed any additional footage from the one showed during this year’s E3, director Tetsuya Nomura appeared in an interview on Sony’s PlayStation Community website, where he briefly discussed the game. Famitsu.com have translated the interview, and below are the pertinent details.
The interview begins with Nomura being asked to provide us a little insight on what kind of game we can expect from the long-awaited new numbered Final Fantasy title.
“Final Fantasy XV will be the first of the Final Fantasy main numbered series that is based on an action RPG,” explains Nomura. “Since we started using 3D graphics for Final Fantasy, we’ve often prepared pre-rendered movies for the custscenes; however, since the hardware has changed this time, we’ve been able to feasibly render such cutscenes for real-time [gameplay].”
“For this reason, you’ll have full control of your character even during highly dynamic scenes.”
Nomura elaborates, “For example, in the video we showed during E3, a Leviathan was going berserk in the town, as waterspouts were seen gushing from under water, while the protagonist was jumping around and fighting. Up until now, such scenes were always part of Visual Works’ (Square Enix’s video production team) pre-rendered movies. This time, you’ll actually get to play it in real-time.”
The director then gives a little insight on what to expect from the battles of Final Fantasy XV.
“The concept of Final Fantasy XV’s battle system is to make it as seamless as possible, and being able to fight while switching characters according to various situations,” says Nomura. “Each character has their own strengths that can be used in a cooperative fashion, and even such scenes that depict the moments of cooperation that were pre-rendered up until now, will be shown in real-time.
One notable scene that was shown during the E3 trailer, depicted Noctis’ childhood friend Prompto Argentum helping out in the midst of combat.
“That scene was also rendered in real-time,” explains Nomura. “The battles put a lot of emphasis on the feeling of speed. Since it will be based on action, we’re doing as much as we can to lessen the moments players don’t have control. As enemies and allies run around, the pace of battles becomes faster, and fighting amidst the sense of reality is what I believe sets it apart from Final Fantasy titles up until now.”
While Final Fantasy XV will be quite different from any other traditional game of its series, what is it that makes it more like an actual Final Fantasy game?
“Final Fantasy battles are about having numbers of HP and such, be displayed on the screen, which appears while hitting enemies or being hit by them,” Nomura feels. “Up until now, ‘looking at the displayed numerical values while thinking of your next actions’ was the flow of Final Fantasy battles, which will be inherited [in Final Fantasy XV]. If we didn’t keep that, I don’t think it would feel like a Final Fantasy. Thinking about numbers, along with action techniques. I don’t think there are any other games that feature such action type battle that combines the two.”
The interview then moves on to the subject of Final Fantasy XV’s story and what kind of world we can expect to explore.
“While the story of Final Fantasy XV is based on the world setting of the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos, similar to Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0, unlike the two aforementioned titles, it will take place in an original world,” Nomura shares. He then adds that the story will be quite simple; the enemy nation steals a crystal and the protagonists will be retrieving it. Within that, there will be various interactions with other people, which will make it into a Final Fantasy-styled story.
It has been noted that cities of Final Fantasy XV have a European style to them. Nomura shares more regarding the comparison.
“Final Fantasy XV’s them is ‘a fantasy based on reality,’ so we’ve used parts of the real world for the picture as a concept,” says the director. “Having the expansion of a fantasy amidst that is a big part of Final Fantasy XV. In order to realize such power of expression, I believed that it could only be done through something close to the hardware of the PlayStation 4.” [Note: This interview as posted on Sony’s PlayStation Community. FFXV is also in development for Xbox One.]
While on the subject of the next-generation console, Nomura is asked what stood out the most while developing Final Fantasy XV on PlayStation 4.
“From a developer’s point of a view, the most important part of a hardware is the memory,” answers Nomura. “The larger the memory is, the more you can push the limits.”
After being asked to elaborate more on what he means by “pushing the limits,” Nomura elaborates, “The more data you can store in memory, the less loading time there will be, along with the possibility of expanding a game on a much larger scale. As mentioned earlier, in order to depict many cut-scenes in real-time, it is dependant on the size of memory. Again, the number of character motions in battle, and the variety of weapons you can shift through will be high. In terms of having such features take up memory space, I believe that Final Fantasy XV is a perfect fit with the PlayStation 4.”
While it may seem like next-generation consoles will be making things much easier for developers, Nomura also talks about how it has also made things a little tougher.
“There was a Behemoth that appeared in the E3 trailer, well, we actually talked among staff members regarding that Behemoth’s facial expression.” says Nomura. “Up until now, we could get away with just having facial expressions for characters alone, but we’ve entered an era where we even have to work on the monsters’ facials. This means that we’ll have to put in much more detail than ever, from now on.”
Nomura is then asked if there will be any cross-play features between Final Fantasy XV with PlayStation Vita or smartphones.
“I’d really like to think about some something using mobile devices,” says Nomura. “The PlayStation 4’s ability to connect with external devices really fits today’s era, and it coincides with what we’re trying to do. I believe that nowadays, it is difficult to have someone sit in front of their home consoles for long periods of time, so I believe that we need to have something that allows them to enjoy the world of Final Fantasy XV, while they go out, as well.”
Finally, a message for fans from Tetsuya Nomura:
“Many years have gone by since we first introduced the name of Versus XIII, and because of that, I am aware of the very high expectations you all have for the game. In order to meet those expectations, we, the staff, are all doing our best. Please look forward to it.”
Final Fantasy XV is currently in development for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.