When Final Fantasy Type-0 HD comes out in March fans will also get to try out Final Fantasy XV. First print copies of the game include Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae, a demo of the next numbered Final Fantasy game. Siliconera spoke to director Hajime Tabata about what to expect from the demo and when we started talking about the battle system he revealed a new feature, a cover system.
How does the story in Episode Duscae connect to Final Fantasy XV’s story as a whole?
Hajime Tabata, Director: There is a sequence in the full game where you lose your car. The demo was created around that sequence, but the main story is masked within the demo so you won’t be able to experience that. But, when you play the full game and reach that moment you will probably realize that was the sequence in the demo.
It’s interesting that you took the driving sections out of Final Fantasy XV. That’s one of the features that shows how Final Fantasy XV has evolved compared to other numbered titles.
After Tokyo Game Show, when we revealed a lot of information about [Final Fantasy XV] we received a lot of fan feedback. We had a discussion internally about how to best showcase the new generation of Final Fantasy so our fans get a sense of the game through the demo. Originally, what we were thinking of for the demo is they would drive in a very vast world and get off every now and then to explore the vicinity. But, in showcasing the new generation of Final Fantasy we felt it was important to get a sense of how the characters behave and the battles, given it’s the first action oriented game in the numbered series. We felt it was best for them to get a feel for [the battle system]. Rather than driving long differences we felt it would be best to explore the vast world on foot, the combat, and really connect with the world and surroundings around them.
When we were considering a demo primarily about driving in the environment, the normal gameplay would be about an hour or so. We altered the structure of the demo so they could walk more freely in the field then battle monsters. You can really explore wherever you want in the environment and if you play through it normally there is approximately two hours of content. I think you may have seen the footage where you’re walking across a world map. The actual environment in the demo will be several times the size seen in the walkthrough video.
During this media tour I went to New York and was able to walk around the city. That was when I was able to get a grasp of the people, the culture, and how cold it was. For players to experience this demo and be able to walk around the world, I feel they will get a good understanding of it.
The biggest aspect that isn’t included in the demo is magic. Whether the demo had driving or walking, that was a decision the team made about how players should experience the game. For magic, that was a developmental reason. The combat system in the full game has magic as an important part of it, but the graphics aren’t polished yet. There was also the summon system, which wasn’t refined yet at the time. We made the decision to refine the summon system so we could offer it in the demo at this time.
Will we see any of the female characters in the demo like Cidney or is it just the guys?
The demo won’t have any female characters tied to the story, but there will be a female character, Cidney, who will help with your adventures within the demo.
How does the action oriented combat system in Final Fantasy XV compare to other action battle systems you made like Final Fantasy Type-0 and The 3rd Birthday?
As you know Final Fantasy Type-0 and The 3rd Birthday were developed on PSP. The biggest change working with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is you have so much more overhead in terms of technical limits and memory. The whole game design and structure of the game is different. For example, the size of the map and how much of it you can utilize for combat. That makes the approach to action is different and how it is designed different. In the PSP version, each time the game would load we would need to identify what the player would have to do next.
With Final Fantasy XV, the game is not designed around loading times. You can run around the environment freely so the approach to combat was different.
In The 3rd Birthday there is an Overdrive function where you can switch your position quickly with another character. I drew on that idea significantly for Final Fantasy XV. Final Fantasy XV has that kind of system and you can utilize that strategically. There is also a cover system where you can avoid attacks to recover. It has a very close effect similar to defending yourself. I drew ideas from The 3rd Birthday for that aspect.
I can’t go into too many details right now, but in terms of drawing from first person and third person shooting mechanics there is this covering system. It’s not like you’re covering yourself from a shower bullets, but there are some natural environments where you can recover your HP and then go back into battle. There are some other weapon related aspects that I will be able to reveal later on.
Aside from Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae, there will be a Final Fantasy XV tech demo players will be able to access too. Can you tell us more about this?
Unfortunately, we’re still in the planning phase for the tech demo. Since we’re still putting everything together, I can’t share any details with you today. For Episode Duscae we wanted to bundle it with Type-0 so everyone would get an idea of what the latest Final Fantasy title looks like. Also, as you know ever since Final Fantasy Versus XIII we’ve been keeping fans waiting a long time and we wanted to show how the new generation of Final Fantasy series looks.
Understandably, there may be people who are interested in a demo of Final Fantasy XV, but due to circumstances may not be able to purchase Final Fantasy Type-0 at the time. We wanted to follow up and ensure those people can touch upon the world of Final Fantasy XV, as well. It may not follow a particular sequence of the game, but they will be provided one map and be able to enjoy different aspects of the game. It was an idea that popped up because we want as many people as possible to get a touch of Final Fantasy XV.