During the last day of Square Enix’s E3 live-stream, Final Fantasy XV Director, Hajime Tabata, answered 16 fan questions. Gematsu.com has transcribed the Director’s answers (which you can find below!), and there are some real nuggets. If you’re even remotely excited for the game, I highly suggest you give it a read.
Is there an option to turn off the HUD to create a more immersive experience?
There is an option. Players probably want to take screenshots while playing the game, so this option has been enabled.
Will there be a camera mode, theater mode, or coliseum mode?
Camera mode: yes. Fans are probably aware that Prompto is always taking photos, but players can take manual photos as well. Prompto gradually gets better at taking photos, but if you don’t want to wait for that, you can just take your own.
Theater mode: no. There’s too much to tackle there, such as loading times.
The coliseum question is probably based on the Altissia video. There’s a mini-game at the coliseum in Altissia. It’s not a coliseum mode where you enter and fight against an enemy, but there is a battle coliseum there where monsters fight against each other, and you participate by betting on which monster you think is going to win. So having a coliseum mode in there allows us to, perhaps post-launch, do some extra stuff with it. Over the last three days, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about downloadable content and post-launch plans, so we’re thinking about that.
Will there be an option to adjust the camera distance?
Currently, there is no option. Right now the camera moves automatically depending on the situation (if you’re close to enemies or far from enemies). We’re using as much time as we can to fine tune the camera controls, but at some point we’ll need to decide whether we should let users manually control the camera.
Since Final Fantasy XV has an action-based battle system, how does strategy come into play, especially during boss battles? Will it be too easy if you level up too much?
If you do level up enough, there will be situations where you can one-hit enemies. Personally, that’s not a negative aspect of leveling up. One aspect of RPGs that I think people enjoy is that when you’re faced off against a tough boss or tough enemy, you work your way towards leveling up so that you can beat him, and when you finally do beat him and beat him easily, I think people enjoy that. I personally enjoy that. But in this game, one way you can enjoy it, is that when you’re fighting a boss that is stronger or a higher level, you can counter it with your player techniques or actual skill. For those that don’t want to level up too high or want to set a cap for themselves, there is actually an item that will help with that. This item is specifically designed and implemented for players that want to do low level clears.
Regarding the recent UI, I preferred the UI from Episode Duscae. It felt more intuitive to defend using LB/L1, as well as using RB/R1 to manually lock-on to enemies. Will there be different control layouts that we can choose from?
The UI design will be renewed once more. We’re currently working on both the functionality and aesthetics of the UI. In terms of the development state right now, the progress of the UI and NPC elements are not as far along as some of the other stuff, so right now we’re still using some placeholder stuff that aren’t what we envision for the final game. In terms of control layouts, we have the normal layout and the one from Episode Duscae, and we may also have a third layout planned. But people can choose between those two at any time. A lot of players have gotten used to Episode Duscae controls, so we want to give options to the players.
When does the final scene in the E3 trailer take place? It looks like they were weawring what the glaives are wearing in Kingsglaive.
The last scene in the trailer is towards the very end of your journey after you make your return to Insomnia. And you’re right on the money in terms of the costumes for the glaives. The four characters are wearing what the glaives are wearing in Kingsglaive, but we won’t explain why because that would obviously be a spoiler.
Is the Shinjuku area an explorable town in the game?
Insomnia is not in the game as an explorable town. But it is a field for battle. It’s not just the area in front of city hall that we’ve been showing—it’s actually a wider, wider area. It’s not an explorable, full-fledged town like Altissia is, per say, but it is a location where you’ll carry out battle. It will make sense and everyone will understand as they watch Kingsglaive and get a sense of what that environment is.
How many hours of gameplay will there be? Aside from the main story, are there a lot of side quests?
In terms of clearing the main story, we’re anticipating about 40 to 50 hours of gameplay, so there will be that at the very least. But there are a lot of side quests and extra stuff. With that alone, we’re looking at about 100 hours of gameplay. So if you count all of that, we’re looking at about 200 hours total if you clear everything. Fans have been waiting for quite a while, so we want to make sure there is a lot to enjoy when it’s out.
Will we see a stable frame rate and anti-aliasing improvement in the final game? What kind of optimization is being carried out to maximize visual quality while preventing frame rate dips?
It’s hard to give a definitive answer about the final version now since we are constantly optimizing, but we can tell you the specs of the E3 demo. There’s a slight different with Xbox One and PS4.
For the Xbox One E3 demo, dynamic resolution ranges between 800p to 900p, usually closer to the 900p range, and at a constant 30 frames per second. So it is performing at a more stable and higher level than Episode Duscae and the Platinum Demo. There are times when it still dips, and that’s usually when you call on your ally commands, like when you call on Ignis to mark an enemy it dips to 26 to 27 frames, but it won’t deter from the experience. But since we’re able to achieve this for the E3 demo, we have a positive outlook on the final version of the game.
For the PlayStation 4 E3 demo, it’s a dynamic range between 900p and 1080p. Most of the time, it’s about 1080p at a constant 30 frames per second. Sometimes, it will, just like Xbox One, dip a little bit when the GPU can’t process what’s happening on the screen so quickly, but it’s mostly 30 frames. But we will continue to fine tune and optimize the game for as much time as we can.
Don’t worry about the frame rate for the final version, we’re working on it. As far as anti-aliasing goes, there’s a lot of processing for constant anti-aliasing, so we implement it every few frames as not to overload the processing.
Will movement speed and sprint duration increase as the player levels up? Even with chocobos and the Regalia, I think it will be useful considering the sheer size of the fields.
To clarify, there is a difference between normal movement speed and the dash. Running doesn’t take up any stamina, but the dash does. The duration of how long your stamina lasts can be influenced by what you eat at camp. Just like in Episode Duscae where that stamina is influenced by what you eat, the same will carry over in the full game. Your level won’t matter. Right now in the E3 demo, the stamina gauge is constantly visible, but in the final version, we’ll have it so you can turn it on all the time, or off. We want to give users a choice—playing knowing when their stamina will run out, or playing without having any distractions on the screen.
“Stand by Me” is now the official theme song, but what happened to “Somnus”? Will the game still have expected tragedy elements like Versus XIII?
“Stand by Me” is now the official song, but “Somnus” is still in the game and used in a very important way. In terms of the second question, there will be serious moments, tragedy inspired elements, and we made a story appropriate for the latest numbered Final Fantasy title, but within the story of course we have all sorts of elements that appeal to a wide audience. It’s not a fun, upbeat road trip the whole way through.
How many Astrals (summons) are in the game, and how are they related to the story? Do they serve as guardians of specific nations?
In terms of sheer number, we don’t need to say the exact number. There isn’t a whole lot. It’s a relatively lower number. Some fans might feel that the total number of Astrals is underwhelming. But we’ve made each one so impactful that they all have a presence and that players will have a real connection with them by the end of the game. Over the course of the story, Noctis will need to borrow the power of these Astrals, so as you progress through the story, Noctis will face off against them. And there are some other Astrals, like Carbuncle from the Platinum Demo. So instead of focusing on the sheer number, we want people to focus on their personality and characteristics, and how we designed each one. Astrals aren’t guardians of specific nations, they’re guardians of the world.
In Episode Duscae, the only way to summon was to be in a critical state. Is this still the case in the main game?
There’s not just one condition to summon an Astral. There are Astrals you can use when Noctis is in a pinch. There are also those you can use when your allies are in danger. And there are Astrals that can be called upon outside of those two situations. And each Astral has its own personality, so their actions are kind of specific to different situations. For example, the Leviathan cannot be summoned unless there is a body of water near you. Or if you’re in a dungeon and summon Ramuh, he can’t do his spell inside the dungeon, so he’ll instead throw his staff from very afar.
Will the Airstep Sword, Engine Sword, or other weaposn from the Versus XIII days make it into the final game?
The Airstep Sword is already in the current build. The Engine Sword will make it into the final game as well. And it has special functions. The Engine Sword is its official name.
Are there are any plans for downloadable content? I’m curious about additional story content and costumes.
It’s probably because we announced the release date already, but during E3 we got so many questions about DLC. We’re in a state where we’ve pretty much finalized our DLC plans, and our concept for all of our DLC is to make sure that fans who bought the game and played it feel like they’ve made a great purchase. Looking at the DLC plan, there is a lot of stuff I myself am excited to play and give to fans, but right now isn’t the right moment to release those details.
There will be additional story content, costumes, as well as things that don’t fall into those categories that fans will be excited to see. I know we’ve showcased some of our PlayStation VR demos this E3, and those are some things we’re planning to implement and provide as DLC experiences. But obviously, we’re working towards getting this game out on September 30, so most of the priorities are on the main game. Only specific core members are working on the DLC right now.
Are you able to change your party members’ behavior during battle?
Party member behavior during battle will be affected by the weapons you’ve equipped and the abilities you have at that time. The weapons you’ve equipped will influence their actions in battle, and depending on what abilities you’ve obtained up until that point, that influences the AI of your party members.
For player abilities, by pressing the LB/L1, the UI at the bottom left, which is usually your weapons, will change to select abilities from your comrades, and from there you can manually select which ability you want each member to carry out. There’s a cool-down timer for these commands, so once you use one you have to wait a bit to use it again.
There are also automatic abilities and actions that your party members carry out, so what you have at the time will affect when and how they use those. We’ve shown a little bit of the magic usage, but your comrades can also use magic as usable items. I feel like we’ve obtained a good balance. Noctis is the main character, but by being able to command your party members, it feels like you’re able to control all of them.
50 hours to complete the story! I’m intrigued! Hopefully that won’t be full of filler!
Final Fantasy XV will launch on 30th September 2016, on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. I can’t wait!