Tetsuya Nomura Details Final Fantasy XV, and How the PS4’s Memory Turned Impossible into Possible
Today Sony Computer Entertainment Japan and Asia released a new video interview of the series “Conversations with the Creators”, and this time around the protagonist of the interview is Final Fantasy XV‘s director Tetsuya Nomura.
Nomura-san had a lot to say about the game’s systems, the tech it’s based on, its story and themes, and the synergy with the PS4. Below you can read a summary of the points he makes in the interview. At the bottom of the post you can find the video itself.
- Final Fantasy XV is the first numbered Final Fantasy to be an action RPG. Since when Final Fantasy became 3D, Square Enix made heavy use of prerendered cutscenes, but the hardware has changed, so what was previously prerendered now can be displayed in real time. So even in a quite cinematic scene you’ll be able to control the character.
- An example of that is the scene of the E3 trailer where Noctis is fighting and flying in the city and leviathan is rampaging causing a massive wave. Before that would have been prerendered, but this time it’s in real time and playable.
- The concept is to make battles as seamless as possible while switching between actions. Each character is very unique and they work together taking advantage of their unique abilities. Even those interactions are rendered in real time instead of prerendered.
- The scene in which Prompto covers Noctis is also in real time. Since the game is now action based, the focus of the battle is to give a sense of speed and to make the enemy act as much as possible. Enemies and allies move around, the battle situation changes rapidly, and there’s a sense of realism. Nomura-san thinks that’s where Final Fantasy XV differs from previous Final Fantasy games.
- FFXV is similar to previous games of the series in the visualization of numerical values on the screen, like HP, or in the fact that when an ally or an enemy receives an attack, damage is displayed as numbers. Even if now the point is the flow of battle, the team has kept those elements or people would feel that it’s not Final Fantasy. Both action and numbers are present, and there are probably no other action games where these two coexist.
- The story inherited the foundation of the world of Final Fantasy XIII and Type Zero, and is rooted in the mythology of Fabula Nova Crystallis. That said, the world itself is different and original. It has a more modern feel. The story is simple: about heroes that go to recover the crystal stolen by the enemy, but it mixes with the relationships between characters to create a plot appropriate to Final Fantasy.
- Since the theme of the game is “a fantasy based in reality”, the concept of the world is similar to the real world, but it’s a big point of FFXV that a fantasy develops in that world. Realizing the power of that concept before the coming of the PS4 was difficult.
- From a developer’s point of view, what’s most important in the hardware is memory. The more memory you have, the more the impossible becomes possible.
- The more your data can be resident in the memory, the more you reduce the frequency of reading from the disk in the game and making large worlds becomes possible. Rendering many things in real time really depends on the large size of the memory. In addition to that, since there are so many characters in motion during battles, and so many different weapons that can be permanently loaded, the affinity between FFXV and PS4 is quite good.
- After the E3 presentation in which the Behemoth appeared on the scene, Nomura-san had a talk with his staff. He felt that the expression of characters were great, but not so much these of monsters, so he wants to focus on improving the facial expressions of the monsters as well in the future.
- Nomura-san wants to think about some use for mobile devices since the PS4 can work with them, considering that in this day and age it’s difficult to sit still in front of a screen for a long time. He wants to give players a way to interact with the world of Final Fantasy XV even when going outside.
- He knows that the time passed since the announcement of Versus XIII is considerable, and that the expectations of everyone are high. The staff will work hard to live up to those expectations.