During the latest “Active Time Report” broadcast hosted by Square Enix, Final Fantasy XV Game Director Hajime Tabata provided answers to a few questions about the Episode Duscae demo and the final game itself.
Initially, Tabata-san gave a bit more color about the reason why Noctis’ car has been removed from the demo.
The car is still a very important element in the full version of the game, that retains that road trip feel, but the feedback at Tokyo Game Show made Tabata-san realize that the users want to know more about the basic combat and controls, and about the seamless open world instead.
During discussions with the development team it was decided that it was better to let players actually control the characters, walk around the world and discover things for themselves more in depth. The the demo is based in a location of the map where walking is the main form of transportation, not the car.
Originally in the demo there was a Meteor area where you’d be able to drive around, amounting to one hour of gameplay. Instead the demo will be located in an area in which you lose access to the car temporarily in the main game. Some of the features of the final game won’t be available in the demo, but the development team feels that this zone would be more effective, because it would allow users to get a better feel of what kind of experience the demo offers.
According to the developers, this new area provides a more in-depth exploration experience of the world of Final Fantasy XV. It’s about two hours of gameplay if you play normally, which is approximately two times of the duration that was initially planned.
About the possible inclusion of the airship in the final game, it’s still to be determined. There definitely is a desire to include it, and the team understands that the fans would like to see it in the game, but it presents a great technical hurdle and a considerable challenge, so the team can’t promise its inclusion yet.
Tabata-san also mentioned that the team managed to overcome a big hurdle in terms of creating a “horizontally seamless world” (IE: the ground level), so the natural environment you see in the Duscae region is indeed seamless. On the other hand making the large cities seamless is still a big challenge that the developers are facing.
When the player rides an airship, they could have it hover above the ground and just switch to an overland map after a loading screen, but that wouldn’t be an exciting experience. Instead, the development team would like players to be able to see the airship take off and actually fly over the world at a certain altitude. That’s the next challenge the team is facing after finalizing the horizontally seamless world, so they can’t yet promise it will be done.
Flying at bird-like altitude is already technically possible, but according to Tabata-san, it wouldn’t be a valuable experience to have the airship fly that low. The only game he could think about that achieved what he would like to implement is Just Cause.
That’s a technical challenge the team will need to overcome, and while they can’t make promises for now, they will try, as it would be great to fly over Final Fantasy XV‘s world.
On the other hand, Tabata-san revealed that it will be possible to jump to the altitude at which birds fly. He also believes that playing the “walkable” Final Fantasy XV demo will be a great experience for the users, just as much walking around New York improved his understanding of the city.
In addition to that, Tabata-san mentioned that Square Enix is planning activities involving game development students from North American colleges. The publisher has been in talks with a couple of colleges, and the details will be announced at a later time. The development team is excited about the idea of connecting with future game developers, and even a bit nervous.