As promised, the latest ‘Creator Interview’ series of PlayStation 4 videos features Final Fantasy XV director Tetsuya Nomura.
In it, Nomura discusses creating real-time versus pre-rendered scenes, the game’s Final Fantasy elements, PlayStation 4, mobile connectivity, and more.
Famitsu.com has a text version of the video interview, which we translated below.
—As the Final Fantasy series’ long-awaited numbered title, please tell us again what kind of game this is.
Final Fantasy XV is the first game of the Final Fantasy numbered title that is an action-based RPG. Since the beginning of 3D graphics, Final Fantasy has largely used pre-rendered movies, but what’s different about this new hardware is that it allows you to direct what has previously been pre-rendered and make it real-time. For this reason, even in considerably dynamic scenes, the player can still control their character.
—When you say “dynamic scenes,” to what are you referring?
For example, the scene we saw at E3 where a Leviathan is rioting through a town, and the main character comes in fighting and flying around in a current of water. Until now this scene would have been completely pre-rendered into a movie by Visual Works (Suare Enix’s film producing team). But now you’ll actually be able to play through it in real-time.
—It seems these flashy battles will be fun. Expectations are high.
Making the battles in Final Fantasy XV as seamless as possible and controlling your character through a variety of changing settings are the concepts. Each character has their own talents so we’re working on allowing you to cooperate and make the best use of these talents. Even in cooperative directions that have until now been pre-rendered, you’ll find things develop in real-time.
—In the E3 trailers, we saw allies protecting the main character.
These scenes are in real-time, too. Also, we’re stressing the importance of speed in battle. Because this game is action-based, we’re doing our best to stay away from situations where the character doesn’t have control. Enemies and allies alike will move around, and fighting within the speedy progression of battle is what makes this Final Fantasy different from previous installments.
—How about the points that are like previous Final Fantasy games?
HP and other point values will appear on screen during battle, and when you attack enemies and in turn are attacked, these point values will also be displayed. “Planning actions as you watch the numbers display”—this has been the flow of Final Fantasy, and we are following suit. I think that losing this would mean losing the Final Fantasy feel. Using action techniques while thinking about the numbers. I think these two things coexisting in an action-type battle are perhaps not seen anywhere else.
—To continue, let’s talk about the world and story of Final Fantasy XV. What kind of world will you be able to explore?
The story of Final Fantasy XV inherits the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos of Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0, but establishes an original world that is different from what we saw in these two games. The legend is rooted, but the people’s thoughts are fairly modern and as such this is a world where the legend is not very obvious. The story is simple and about the main characters retrieving a crystal stolen by an enemy nation. Within this Final Fantasy-esque story, the character relations will crossover with one another.
—The realistic graphics that remind you of a European town are also impressive.
Because Final Fantasy XV‘s theme is ‘fantasy based on reality,’ the concept for the art is to look like real-world spaces. That a fantasy is happening within this is a major point for Final Fantasy XV. Realizing this power of expression was difficult before PlayStation 4.
—As you continue with development, have you noticed anything about the performance of PlayStation 4?
From a developer’s point of view, the most interesting point about the hardware is its memory. This is because the more memory you have, the more you can do the impossible.
—What kind of “impossible” things do you want to do?
The more data you can permanently keep in memory, the more you can decrease loading frequency, and the bigger the scale you can develop. Like we were talking about before, the reason we can produce a lot in real-time is thanks to the amount of memory we have. Because the amount of movements characters make during battle and the amount of weapon types in the game are both numerous, I think the amount of data that needs to be stored works well with PlayStation 4.
—It looks like you’ve been able to make the dynamic battles you can feel satisfied with.
There have been difficult parts along the way. Speaking of the Behemoth in the videos at E3, I spoke with the staff about its facial expression at the time. Up until now, we’ve been good to just make the facial expressions of the characters, but we’ve entered an era where we go so far as to make facial expressions for monsters. From now on we have to pay attention to detail like never before.
—Are you thinking about making Final Fantasy XV compatible with PS Vita or smartphones?
I want to think about how to connect with mobile devices. The timing is perfect and PlayStation 4 is well equipped to connect with other devices. And what we’re doing is also in agreement with this possibility. I think in this day and age it’s difficult to sit in front of your TV for long periods of time, and there should be some way to connect with the world of Final Fantasy XV when you’re out as well.
—I’m looking forward to this new form of connectivity. Well then, can you please give readers a final message?
A lot of time has passed since we changed the name from Versus XIII, but we acknowledge everyone’s high expectations, and with that in mind all the staff are doing our best. Please keep those expectations up.