During a panel at PAX East, Final Fantasy XV Lead Game Designers Wan Hazmer and Prasert Prasertvithyakarn shared more information about the game and its demo Episode Duscae, and quite a lot of new and interesting screenshots and artwork as part of the presentation slides.
We learn that the Culture team, led by Wan Hazmer, creates cultures for Final Fantasy XV. They starts with creating civilizations (the words they use for towns) that affect the surrounding area, while the surrounding area affects them in return.
They also analyze the effects of the economy, what the inhabitants eat and so forth.
When Wan Hazmer joined the team there were only four foreigners. On his first meeting, the team was discussing on how an airship crashes in a rather graphical way.
The team includes a lot of “maniacs,” and they’re allowed to do what they like. People that love cars work on cars, those that love creatures are in charge of monsters and so forth.
The developers want to retain the old charm of the Final Fantasy series, but modernized, creating a fantasy, but believable.
In Episode Duscae you’re stuck because “a certain blond guy” broke Noctis’ car, and Cidney will fix it for a price. The player will have to make money to pay her.
In order to do so, they’ll have to hunt for the Behemoth, which has a bounty on its horned head. We also learn that when camping at night, the game will autosave.
According to Prasertvithyakarn, the AI needs to be functional, believable, comfortable (the team wants the player to be comfortable with them and have fun with them, but distance needs to be balanced) and emotional.
There’s a system called “The buddy’s request:” when you don’t notice something, the buddies might see it, and ask you to go check it out. Some times it’s a hint to complete a quest, or the beginning of a new quest.
Towns need to be memorable, include culture shock, but rooted in their culture. They also need to be a place to relax, and offer support.
There are no big towns in Episode Duscae (the team didn’t want to cram one in there just for the sake of the demo), but there are outposts. There are two of them: Cidney’s gas station and Wiz Chocobo Post. Yoko Shimomura’s new composition is associated to the Chocobo Post, and it’s a new Chcoobo theme you can listen to it in the video here.
The Chocobo Post belongs to Wiz, a passionate chocobo rider who created the outpost to spread the love for chocobos and also sells merchandise, like Gysahl Greens in chip format.
There are no chocobo rentals in Episode Duscae, because the behemoth is running amok, but that’s not the only purpose of the Chocobo post.
The chocobo post will be an example of how NPCs live their lives, eating, sleeping and more, and of the shop system.
At the post the player can buy ingredients for cooking when he camps. Choosing the food means choosing the buff received. One example is Fresh, which increases slightly attack, defense and experience, with a Prime version which is more powerful. “Slightly” actually doesn’t mean five or ten percent, but 50%. The Prime version is a 75% increase.
You can also sleep in a caravan (there’s one in every outpost), but it doesn’t give any buffs, but it gives an experience multiplier for the points you earned during the day. This means that if the player defeated a lot of monsters, it might be wise to go to the caravan instead of camping, in order to level up faster. It also costs money.
It’ll be important to balance camping and sleeping in the caravan in order to get the best results.
You can see all the presentation slides and the screenshots below.