We saw a lot of games at this year’s E3, but Final Fantasy XV still found a way to maintain a substantial presence throughout the whole event. Square Enix held three full days of live streaming, and to close out the stream on the final day, Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata answered 16 questions from fans on Final Fantasy XV. On top of that, we learned more about the game’s “wait mode”, and Square Enix also revealed the pre-order bonus for Final Fantasy XV. Allow me to start by summarizing the Q&A.
Hajime Tabata answered a wide array of Final Fantasy XV questions, including a couple concerning the game’s UI. One fan asked whether the UI and control schemes that we saw in the latest demo for Final Fantasy XV were final or not. Tabata responded stating that the UI design will be renewed once more, both to improve the functionality and aesthetics of the UI. Concerning the game’s control scheme, Tabata explained that the game will have multiple control layouts for the player to choose from, including the control scheme from the demo Episode Duscae. Another fan asked whether there would be an option to off the HUD in Final Fantasy XV, and the answer was yes, there will be an option to turn off the HUD. Another question slightly related to this was whether or not players would be able to adjust the camera distance, and while the answer to that question is no for now, the developers have not finalized that decision yet, so it might still change.
One fan asked whether the game will have a camera mode, theatre mode, or coliseum mode. Yes, the game will have a photo mode where players will be able to take their own photos, however, there will not be a theatre mode for the game. Instead of a coliseum mode where players can enter and fight against other enemies, Final Fantasy XV’s coliseum mini-game will have you, the player, betting on who will win in different battles between monsters.
When asked about whether players should be worried about over leveling their characters in Final Fantasy XV making the game too easy, Tabata explained that that is part of the appeal of RPGs for some people. Many players take pleasure in the fact that they can grind their levels to be able to tackle any enemy that they face with relative ease. However, if you do want the game to remain somewhat difficult for you, there will be an item that you can equip that will prevent you from leveling up too high.
Tabata also was asked a few questions on specific locations in the game. One fan asked where the end of the Final Fantasy XV E3 trailer took place, stating that they noticed characters wearing what the glaives were wearing in Kingsglaive. Apparently that part of the trailer takes place in the later part of your journey after you return to Insomnia, but Tabata didn’t want to reveal too much beyond that so as to not spoil too much. Tabata was also whether Shinjuku would be an explorable town in the game, and he responded that Insomnia is not in the game as an explorable town, but there will be battle areas around it.
This Q&A also revealed some numerical details as well. We learned that the main story for the game will take about 40-50 hours to complete, and it will take about 200 hours to complete the main story and all of the side quests. When it comes to specs, Tabata revealed that Final Fantasy XV was performing at about 900p and 30 frames per second on Xbox One and 1080p and 30 frames per second on PlayStation 4. However, the dev team is still working to reduce the amount of framerate drops the game currently experiences.
The game’s music was also brought up by one fan who noted that “Stand by Me” is now the official theme song for Final Fantasy XV instead of ”Somnus”. “Somnus” will still appear in the game apparently, but it is not the official song anymore. Tamata also stated that Final Fantasy XV will have plenty of somber and serious moments throughout the game’s story and that the whole game isn’t just some happy-go-lucky road trip.
Tamata also went into some detail on the differences between running and dashing in Final Fantasy XV. He specified that running in the game won’t use up any stamina, but dashing will. Stamina in Final Fantasy XV is influenced by what you eat, just like it was in Episode Duscae.
The Final Fantasy XV director also answered a couple of questions concerning summons in the game. When asked about how many summons (A.K.A. Astrals) would be in the game, Tamata said that he cannot give an exact number, but that there aren’t a whole lot. Instead, the developers are trying to make the summons mean something to you rather than providing you with too many. Another fan asked whether you need to be in a critical state in order to summon an Astral like you needed to be in Episode Duscae, and Tamata responded with this:
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.
One fan asked whether weapons like the Engine Sword and Airstep Sword from Versus XII will make it into the final version of Final Fantasy XV. Tamata reassured us that the Airstep Sword is already in the current build of the game and that the Engine Sword will be too by the time the game launches.
When it comes to downloadable content for Final Fantasy XV, Tamata stated that they already have finalized plans for DLC and that he is excited to share them, just not yet.
The last question that Tamata was able to answer relates to the behavior of your party members during battle, and whether you would be able change their behavior mid-battle. Tamata had this to say:
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.
Although that might be all the info that the Q&A covered, that doesn’t include the newly announced pre-order bonus for Final Fantasy XV or the newly announced “wait mode”. “Wait mode” is a new gameplay mechanic for the Final Fantasy series, more along the lines of Real Time With Pause games such as the old Infinity Engine games or the more recent Pillars of Eternity, although those titles didn't have a limit on your pause time. It has its own differences with the combat being more action-heavy than the dice-based resolution of those games, but it allows you to pause, figure out what's going on, target characters, and change who you're controlling among other things.
Lastly, the pre-order bonus. In North America, if you pre-order Final Fantasy XV at GameStop, you will also receive King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV. King's Tale is a retro-style action-brawler that takes place 30 years before the events of Final Fantasy XV. The story behind King’s Tale is that it is a fairy-tale that King Regis is telling Noctis, however, the protagonist of King’s Tale is a young King Regis. It will take place throughout multiple locations in the world of Final Fantasy XV, including Insomnia.
Final Fantasy XV launches on September 30th on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can check out the rest of our E3 coverage at E3 2016 Coverage Hub.