Final Fantasy XV: the big interview summary
posted on 06.27.13 at 09:38 PM EST by (@salromano)
Theme, summons, countries, and more discussed.

A ton of new Final Fantasy XV information was released over the past two weeks, mostly via Japanese interviews with director Tetsuya Nomura. Some of it—specifically the Weekly Famitsu stuff—we’ve already covered. But this week, Famitsu went live with the online version of that interview, and Dengeki’s website and magazine offered even more details. Find our mega-summary below. (I = Nomura.)

Weekly Famitsu

  • In the two years following the announcement of Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Square Enix hinted at shifting its focus to Final Fantasy XV.
  • I started thinking of Final Fantasy XV under its current, numerically-based title about the time Final Fantasy Agito XIII became Final Fantasy Type Zero (in January 2011).
  • This was also when we decided to gear the new title toward next-gen production. When I asked the programmers if we could aim the project at next-gen technology as we continued development, they said they were one step ahead of the game and showed me some clips they had been working on. At this point I thought it was conceivable to make a game that was compatible with both current and next-gen devices.
  • (If the original plan was to release on PlayStation 3 as well, what changed?) We were actually planning on announcing our platform choices last year, but various issues and delays arose. This, plus the fact that the life spans of current generation systems were growing short, proved to be problematic. In the year we were delayed in making our announcement, next-gen research had continued and current-gen work wasn’t looked upon so well anymore.
  • It also became difficult to announce that we wanted to continue work with current-gen technology. While we were trying to make the release before the next gen wave, the ultimate push to upgrade came from our company who didn’t want us with our hands tied in the current generation.
  • (What are some of the things you wanted to do that lead to the shift?) We wanted to make Final Fantasy XV the most seamless experience we could. This meant we needed a lot of memory space for all the action taking place in game. The diverse weapons, various actions of your party, magic, and not to mention the enormous map and great variety of enemies to fight—all of these things take up a huge amount of data. There’s also lighting effects, game physics and filters which require resources, and in order to make a viable game, decisions must be made to accommodate all of these factors.
  • (In reducing the amount of data and memory needed to make this game, was producing an FPS not considered?) Although we were promoting Final Fantasy as an action game, we didn’t think about working on an FPS. We thought about getting rid of UI, throwing away the damage point display system of previous games, and making Noctis the only playable character. But if we were to do this we would risk making Final Fantasy ‘just another action game.’ There was a big concern that we not forget that this is a Final Fantasy game.
  • (What is a ‘Final Fantasy game?’) In terms of the battle system, Final Fantasy means using a party of characters to fight based on numeric point values. You manage things like hit points, damage points, and recovery points while battling… You ‘consider the numbers.’ In Final Fantasy XV you will be able to control three different characters while fighting. In addition to your main party characters, we’re also implementing control over other characters you encounter.
  • In the Final Fantasy XV trailer at E3 2013 you saw Noctis warping and fighting in a large areal arena. We are developing battle arenas like these where you can move around freely but still fight in a Final Fantasy-esque style. If we had continued work with current gen technology, what we have now wouldn’t have been nearly as sophisticated. We also really wanted to implement damage and changes made to the world map.
  • PlayStation 3 was originally meant to be a home entertainment system. But thanks to the implementation of DirectX11, we no longer have to worry about the system model and can start making full-spec developments before choosing the hardware and platform that best fits the game we wish to create. The original Final Fantasy XV works on some pretty high specs, and whether the game will work on a system depends on the hardware it uses. In other words, if a system comes out that can support Final Fantasy XV, we will consider releasing a version for that system. Developing games in this way has been unheard of until now.
  • (What sorts of differences can we expect to see between the original game design and the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions?) I’m hearing that both systems are adequately equipped to handle Final Fantasy XV, but how close they come to the original game design depends on the hardware. At any rate, there’s not too much I can say about this right now.
  • (Will we be seeing anything developed for the PC?) We haven’t really considered release for PC, but we will if there is demand for it. At this rate, you would need a pretty high priced computer to run this game, but the more demand for a PC release the more we will consider it.
  • (Have you been making use of Luminous Studio?) At our E3 2013 exhibition, we displayed samples from Luminous Studio. We plan on integrating with Luminous Studio and developing it alongside other projects. Once the game engine is complete, it’s safe to say that gave development will follow. It’s difficult to build a game engine without a concrete idea of what it will be used for. This is why we’re having the Luminous Team work side-by-side with the Final Fantasy XV team in building the game engine and game itself.
  • (Will the use of Luminous drastically change anything about the game?) Of course. The camera has yet to be optimized, but we would like it not only to follow characters, but also give the impression that it is filming actual people in a very raw and realistic way. Since we are not filming actual people, we have to wait to see how close Luminous can come to this. But we are aiming to create pre-rendered movies which can be controlled or manipulated in some way. We are looking at both real-time movies and pre-rendered scenes to find which is the inferior method.
  • Visual Works is making pre-rendered movies they call “Look Development,” while Luminous is working on the real-time project.
  • The Noctis in the E3 trailer is of a high level and has access to the various weapons and warp techniques shown. You will not be able to use all of these techniques from the start of the game.
  • Like in Kingdom Hearts, you will start the game with some simple but refreshing action, and learning will occur in an intuitive way.
  • We are also looking at ways to make movement and control match the characteristics of each system in an optimal way.
  • In addition to allies that cooperate during battle, we are also implementing situational actions available under certain circumstances.
  • Deeper interactions with monster will also be possible. You will be able to ride monsters and weaken specific areas of an enemy.
  • For example, in the trailer scene where a Leviathan is causing a whirlpool, you must navigate the crumbling buildings inside the whirlpool while fighting. Boss battles will probably take place under dense and high-paced circumstances such as this.

Dengeki Online

  • In the bottom left corner of the screen there will be an icon that displays the weapon currently in use. Until now, weapons were selected before battle and appeared automatically when fighting. This has been changed.
  • An important element of battling will be the ‘sensation of speed.’ We are working hard to make this sensation realistically affect how lightly you move. Actually, it would be easy to make movement realistic, but we have to consider the element of play as well.
  • We are placing more importance on the realism of movement with Final Fantasy XV than with Kingdom Hearts.
  • The summon monsters in this game will be divided into a sort of class system, within which there will be a ranking system. The Leviathan that appeared in the trailer is of high rank and summons of this size will be rare. Summon monsters can be obtained by defeating them in battle.
  • The story and characters will not change from their current versions.
  • The theme of the story is ‘Bonds.’ The tone is serious and heavy, but there will be light comedy. The story is simple and about returning the crystals to their rightful place.
  • We’re focusing a lot on the in-game conversations. These will be natural and not game-like or lofty.
  • As the trailer suggests, Final Fantasy XV will ultimately culminate in one final climax, but we plan to continue the larger saga. We hope to make an extraordinary tale, and although we thought about dropping this extravagant story idea, in the end we felt it was best to make a continuing saga.
  • We will announce how this saga will continue at a later date.
  • We don’t want to keep you waiting for the next Final Fantasy title, so we will likely start work on a new game as we continue to finish Final Fantasy XV. We are considering ways to get Final Fantasy XV out as soon as possible.
  • On this note we have been considering online and co-op or multiplay capabilities. This may include incorporating the use of the PS Vita, smart phones, and tablets to develop Final Fantasy in entirely new ways.
  • The character Cor Leonis who appeared in the trailer will be a playable character. He is a member of the elite guards. His weapon is the katana.
  • The blonde-haired male with the sharp glare, as well as the long, red-haired male characters who also appeared in the trailer are both hostile toward Noctis. The red-haired character is voiced by Keiji Fujiwara, so we made this character’s hair red. Both Reno from Final Fantasy VII and Axel from Kingdom Hearts are voiced by Keiji Fujiwara and have red hair.
  • The water-bound country Accordo is based on the scenery and city-scape of Venice.
  • (How many countries are there?) There will be four main countries, with other towns and villages scattered here and there.
  • I can’t say anything about how much has been developed or when this game will be released, but I hope to say more at the Tokyo Game Show.

Dengeki PlayStation

  • (After discussing the game’s platforms) Nothing has been decided, but I would like to get the most use out of the next-gen systems, such as the PlayStation 4 Share button, and other features.
  • All of the main characters introduced so far are male, but please feel assured that there will be main female characters, including Stella and a female knight. We’ve only introduced Noctis and three other characters, but as the story progresses Cor will also join your party. As you have seen in the trailer there are many characters that will appear. Stay tuned for more information.
  • The clothing design are still done by Roen.
  • The characters in white are people of an enemy state named Niflheim. The design concept is based on the idea of asymmetry, so the colors on either sides of their clothing are different.
  • Cor is voiced by Hiroki Touchi who initially was slated to do the voice of a different character that appeared in a previous trailer. However, after careful consideration, we decided he was best suited for the character of Cor. Casting this time around has taken a lot of time. Choosing a voice actor for Stella took several years. We will have more to announce later.
  • The warping ability that Noctis uses in the trailer will have in-game limits. This is a power only Noctis has, so other characters will situate themselves automatically during battle. In the trailer you saw Noctis’s short warp ability, but long warping will be possible as well. We will release more information on this later.
  • The scene from the trailer in which Noctis is fighting the Leviathan takes place in a whirlpool. Objects and buildings are flying around and Noctis must navigate them in order to battle. The scene in which Noctis is dodging enemies in a room is a part of the same battle with the Leviathan where Noctis, the monster and an enemy nation are all battling at the same time.
  • Due to the large explorable area, development has taken some time. Making towns smaller has been discussed but we are doing our best to maintain the large scope of the project. It would be a shame to complete this story with this game.

Bonus: Kingdom Hearts III Dengeki PlayStation

  • Unfortunately, all we currently have to show is a teaser movie. The footage that we have to show you is not nearly as advanced as that of Final Fantasy XV. We will release more information about equipment and the battle system at a later date.
  • So much is still in early development, but this is our first glance at next gen Kingdom Hearts.
  • This will be the final installment in the Dark Seeker Saga, but we are working things so that even new-comers to the series can have fun. Like Final Fantasy XV, we hope to incorporate online play and interaction with smart phones and tablets.
  • We are earnestly working on development, but the world selection has yet to be completed.
  • It’s been a few years since the last numbered installment of Kingdom Hearts, but with the announcement of Kingdom Hearts III we want to put any fears fans might have to rest about this sequel. While we can’t follow this release up with anything immediately, we hope to release more information at TGS and D23 Expo Japan. The voice actors of the series will be appearing at D23 Expo Japan, so stay tuned! Fans will be able to talk with the voice actors about the series and we’ll be looking forward to sharing more about the new game.

Thanks, Dengeki, Game Jouhou, Sokuho@Hokanko.

  • King-Podigy-X

    Awesome

  • Zuhri69

    Whenever I heard the word female knight, I can not help but scream, ‘Agrias!!!’.

    • whiteferrero

      it’s probably that cute asian girl from the E3 trailer <3

      • Zuhri69

        I hope so. Don’t flame me but I always have this attraction towards oriental beauty.

        • whiteferrero

          me too! though i’m asian myself. XD

        • rainelee

          Why would people flame you for that?

          • Zuhri69

            It’s the internet. People flame you for everything.

  • Sae-Won Yoon

    Oh my god, all this delicious info. Always bet on Nomura.

    This guy heard on a smaller grapevine that XV looked like Shadow of the Colossus mixed with Uncharted. I would say my own bias, but i’d like to hear what others think of this.

  • Fantasytales

    i am so exited for both of these titles…

  • Bob Obb

    I had completely lost inteterest in this game until reading this:

    “All of the main characters introduced so far are male, but please feel
    assured that there will be main female characters, including Stella and a
    female knight. We’ve only introduced Noctis and three other characters,
    but as the story progresses Cor will also join your party. As you have
    seen in the trailer there are many characters that will appear. Stay
    tuned for more information.”

    :)

    • leadintea

      Same! I really wanna see some kickass female fighters! The summon system also has me really interested in this game now.

    • Serovath

      this is good, i was worried it was gonna be a sausage fest. :)

    • Nice Boat

      Stella did not even talk and she already became the best character?

      • bloodiOS

        Silence is golden ;)

        • Nice Boat

          No wonder why Chrono and Squall are so popular.

    • http://gematsu.com/author/ro-kurorai 浪黒雷 (Roland Gmyrek)

      The black-haired female knight looks interesting but Stella stole my heart since the very first time I saw her in a trailer (which has been quite some time ago). I bloody hope that means Stella and knight-lady are playable party members =)

  • bloodiOS

    So, it took the team several years to find the right voice actress for Stella… I sure hope they got the right person for it (kinda makes me nervous to see who will be chosen for the English counterpart…) Anyway, I think we caught a glimpse of her voice in the trailer, so anyone had any guess as of who Stella’s voice actress might be?

    By the way, female knight huh? Suddenly these two come to mind:

    • Zuhri69

      It sounded like Minako Kotobuki but I could be wrong.

  • http://zefhar.deviantart.com Zefhar

    “There will be four main countries, with other towns and villages scattered here and there”
    and
    “Due to the large explorable area, development has taken some time. Making towns smaller has been discussed but we are doing our best to maintain the large scope of the project”

    FINALLY!!! Explorable towns, for a change!

    • xMCXx

      It only took them the whole series of Final Fantasy XIII to notice that we want fucking towns and a world to explore.
      Good on you, SE.

      • http://gematsu.com/author/ro-kurorai 浪黒雷 (Roland Gmyrek)

        Well. they’re finally not constrained by 360’s asininely small (6.8-7.8 GB) disc size, so it’s to be expected.

        • aNameWithinaName

          It has nothing to do with disk space and more to do with what square chose to do with their dev time. World Size is a developer choice, not a disc size limitation. lmfao !

  • Chippy

    Hope Utada Hikaru returns to make the theme song for KH3

    • http://www.psvitadirect.com/ Kurisu Makise

      I hope too but the prospects aren’t looking bright to be fair…

      • xMCXx

        Why?
        It will take some time until the game is finished and she’s young. She won’t die before it’s finished. xD

        • http://www.psvitadirect.com/ Kurisu Makise

          I’m not worried about her dying (heaven forbid, I’d be crying for months), rather if she chooses not to continue singing then there will be a change in vocals or continued reuse of the old songs.

      • SaveTheDay

        Yeah but remember Evangelion 3.0 ? There is still hope, I think.

        • http://www.psvitadirect.com/ Kurisu Makise

          Hope springs eternal indeed.

  • EspadaKiller

    So female characters will be playable too, niceeeeeeee.

  • Hidayat246

    wow so many information in here!!!!!

  • kuusou yume

    Please have playable female characters. Not just characters in the story :/

  • Strid

    “Final Fantasy XV is being created at a quality higher than
    next-gen consoles are capable of, and the game is being ported down to
    consoles capable of running DirectX 11.” -Nomura

    That kind of conflicts with:

    “I’m hearing that both systems are adequately equipped to handle Final Fantasy XV,
    but how close they come to the original game design depends on the
    hardware. At any rate, there’s not too much I can say about this right
    now.”

    I wonder how old some of this interview material actually is.

    • http://gematsu.com/ Sal Romano

      Not really.

      Both consoles are capable of running DirectX 11.

      The game is being ported down from PC to consoles.

      But the game is being developed on PC with overspec — with higher specs than next-gen consoles, basically.

      When Nomura says the “original game,” he’s talking about the overspec-developed PC version.

      The game will look different on PS4 and Xbox One, considering the game is being developed with higer-specs. How close it comes to the original PC version depends on the hardware. The PS4 version, given its higher specs, might look closer than the Xbox One version, for example. Both systems are still equipped to run the game, but again, it’s about how close it will come to the original, PC-developed game.

      • Strid

        I know full well what Nomura was saying, which is why I said what I did in the first place. It’s more an issue between context and time frames, not what’s “going down.”

  • Guest

    I can’t wait to play this game,but I must say it’s a shame it’ll take almost a decade to finally play it,I’m quite sure the USA won’t see this game release date till 4th Q 2014 or 1st Q 2015.

  • Tracy

    I can’t wait to play to play FFXV,but I must say it’s a shame it’ll be almost a decade until it releases in the USA,probably late 2014 or early 2015.

  • Torraint

    hmm.. about limitation which make the game can’t fit into a single game

    can’t they make it as multiple disc like PS1 age? i hope sqex doesn’t simply plan to milk the game

  • kenshee

    As tight-lipped on the pc-port as ever :/

    I really hope they just do it. Maybe do it a month (or even) later to combat piracy and such, but seriously, do it :)

    It’ll only be playable for the top 15% of current pc’s probably, but that’s fine isn’t it? It’s a cool way to show what you’re capable of with such a system and actually works really well in getting publicity. (just look at Crysis, I couldn’t care less about shooters, but I know about that game simply by being interested in PC gaming)

    And the fun thing with pcs is: people will get better pcs in time.
    If they buy the game and can only play on medium settings? That’s fine, with some luck, in a couple of years they upgrade or get a new system entirely and can suddenly play your same game at very high settings :) (note, this often keeps the game in the back of their minds, in my case it does anyways, that’s a good thing for your brand ^^)

    If you then keep that in mind and include (possibly by optional patches) extremely demanding features that at the moment, no one will really be using except for the top 5%, then your game becomes a lot more interesting over a longer period of time, since with enough time, everyone will be able to use those, as of now, near impossible to run settings ^^

    I guess I’m saying this with a rather narrow-minded view on things. I myself did switch over to pc gaming a couple of years ago and it sort of skews my view on things.
    Nevertheless, I recently got a ps3 and playing older classics on there with no way to clean up the graphics is kind of sad!
    Infamous 1 would look ok if I could run it in a higher resolution, force some stuff like ambient occlusion and the like, get a texture mod or two…

    I’m just saying, what about in 5-6 years, when 4k TVs/monitors (might) have become the norm? Consoles won’t magically gain the power to run ff XV in that resolution, but a pc with a new GPU? Hopefully will knock that out of the park with extra power to spare.

    Of course, is any of this necessary? Should it take away development time of the game as it is or drive up production costs? Of course not!
    But if your team has made high-spec graphical features you just can’t put into the whole mix because of power? If the team made really high resolution textures which are then scaled down accordingly? Keep those close by, and include all of these things in a pc release, some nerds (like me) will be able to use them and be grateful for it :)

    p.s. Yes, I sort of just want square-enix to turn more into a Japanese styled CD Projekt RED, hahaha XD

    • Budgiecat

      meh PC

      • kenshee

        Have you had bad personal experiences gaming on a pc? :/

        I agree to a point, I prefer console type games myself, but in all honesty, I love those games ported to pc, played on my TV with a controller, haha. Same thing as consoles, just pushing graphics more, and mods obviously :)

  • Ratsuki

    The warping ability that Noctis uses in the trailer will have in-game limits. This is a power only Noctis has, so other characters will situate themselves automatically during battle.

    So warping is exclusive to Noctis, eh? I thought I had seen Prompto and Gladiolus warping around too in the trailer, but maybe my eyes fooled me..

    • Torraint

      so do my eyes,then

      • Ratsuki

        Yeah, especially that scene. As far as I can see he comes out of thin air… But maybe thay can come and gone like that only if they controlled by AI, but when player controling them, we have to move in traditional way, i.e running..?

        • MasterSensei

          It was a combination attack between Noctis and Prompto or Noctis and Gladiolus which is why they seemed to appear out of nowhere

  • http://twitter.com/M_Demolish Demolish

    i miss old square enix,,

    • Nice Boat

      Wait what? This game feels a lot like 2005 Square Enix.

    • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

      You have Snow as your picture -_-

    • Flameking

      squaresoft?

  • LordKaiser

    If this game fails it will be the end of Square Enix.

  • slimegeneral

    >>Although we were promoting Final Fantasy as an action game, we didn’t think about working on an FPS. We thought about getting rid of UI, throwing away the damage point display system of previous games, and making Noctis the only playable character.

    Man, that sounds so promising… Even though they’ve backed out of this plan, this is still great to hear that the devs are not entirely bound by conventions and are thinking about moving the series forward. I’m sure that eventually FF will end up being a pure action game or a FPS. Can’t wait to see what the future beyond FFXV holds

  • artemisthemp

    A lot of good stuff, but I don’t like the Online talk

    • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

      Why?Adding Co-op would take Nothing away,

      • artemisthemp

        Yes Co-op would be great, but PvP MP (Deathmatch etc) wouldn’t fit

        • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

          It could,just think of FF7’s arcade just with Mp games

      • Kobracon

        It would take time, money and effort better spent on other gameplay aspects.

        • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

          Its not like FF has a small budget,

  • Willgaea

    I have never been more excited for a FF game in my whole life.