Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae In Final Stages
Square Enix’s video game director, Hajime Tabata sat down with Dengeki Playstation for an interview and give an update on Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae demo and details about the game.
Tabata said that Episode Duscae is doing well in it’s final stages. “I’d say progress is at about 80%. Based on the reactions since Tokyo Game Show 2014, we have decided how the demo version will be broken down.
All that’s left is optimization in order to make it as good as we can for players. Nevertheless, optimization is actually a fairly troublesome thing to do. Of course, development for the final product is also going well.”
Check out the interview below:
– New Final Fantasy XV information and a new trailer were released, but in addition to the new elements, much of the content was familiar stuff we hadn’t seen in a while including the scenes regarding conflicts between nations.
Tabata: The content in the new trailer isn’t really new information, it was designed to be more like a dress rehearsal of the content we had presented in the past. It’s all content that you’ll see in the final version of the game, but part of it will be playable in the Episode Duscae demo.
– In the last trailer, we couldn’t confirm Cor’s appearance, but we are relieved that we could confirm him this time. (Laughs)
Tabata: As for confirming his existence, I wanted to make sure all those people who thought he might have been removed could breathe easy. (Laughs) Though Cor will fight alongside your party, he is a person in service to Noctis’ father King Regis more than he is a travel companion. He isn’t constantly with Noctis and his companions, he has a supportive role.
– A new character called Cidney was introduced, what kind of person is she?
Tabata: Cidney doesn’t have as much to do with the storyline as she does with the actual adventuring, but she will also be making an appearance in Episode Duscae. She got the name “Cidney” because she’s in maintenance, but I’ll leave it at that for now. (Laughs)
– The newly revealed Titan is something with extreme impact, can you tell us about fighting it?
Tabata: Since you can only fight it in the actual game, the details about that are still under wraps. This is a hint to some degree, but the scene in the trailer is of a melee battle situation where the Titan is a part of the enemy army. Of course the Titan attacks you, but it also attacks the enemy army members as well, it’s a battle situation where friends and foes are all jumbled together.
– Other than that, a southern provincial town was also introduced. Does this city exist in the Duscae region?
Tabata: Yes, you set out from that town when you venture into the Duscae region. There are a number of other big cities in their world, but this time we introduced just this one.
– Since it’s in the Duscae region, will it also be in the Episode Duscae demo?
Tabata: You won’t be able to go there in Episode Duscae. If you were able to, then you’d be able to do a lot of things like purchase equipment. Plus there are scenarios prepared there as well. Rather than being able to go to a city, I intend on making it so you can play around on the world map properly.
– Well then, what kind of content can we expect in Episode Duscae?
Tabata: The world map is quite vast, and at first, I thought it’d be nice to just cruise the world in the car. However, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback that player’s want to experience more fundamental parts, so the content I planned at first has changed a little. Therefore in the demo you’ll get to experience the game basics; the fundamentals of fighting, a battle against the monster Behemoth, and see how the day cycle works.
– We watched the trailer on the official site called “Walkthrough”, and the world map seemed so vast, it’d be easy to get lost. (Laughs)
Tabata: If you climbed up a mountain, you’d be able to see across the opened areas, and there are things like lakes that serve as landmarks, so I don’t think it’s so bad you’d get lost. Plus there is a map display. But if you do get lost, that’s another part of the fun. Moments where you’re not sure where to go, so you wonder around different places, wouldn’t you say that’s becoming of an RPG? (Laughs)
– It’s fine during the day time, but at night it gets really dark.
Tabata: That’s too dark, isn’t it? (Laughs) So it’s as close to reality as possible, the night time is dangerous, I want players to experience the fear of not knowing what will come out. We’ve achieved that, but from here onwards we’ll be regulating it to find a good balance.
– As for the in-game day cycle, about how long does it take in actual time?
Tabata: Previously, one day cycle took about 30 minutes in actual time, but we’re playing with it right now and the in-game day has become a little bit longer, so I think players should be able to venture without hinderance. We’ll keep regulating it until the release of the Episode Duscae demo and then after the release of that, I think we’ll regulate it according to the feedback we receive.
– Can we go in the lake that’s seen in the Walkthrough trailer?
Tabata: Yes, you can go in it. At the Episode Duscae demo phase, I am aiming to give players a taste of adventuring in a world they don’t know, so finally I think that the areas in that Walkthrough trailer are where we will put the most power into completing thoroughly. Nonetheless, this will be a part of the finished product’s story, not a wide space meant to be explored endlessly, there are various situations being prepared.
For example from the new trailer, there is a scene with a blizzard inside a train. In the final product, there will be other ways to travel besides walking and driving, you can also get around by train. The world of this title is vast, and I wanted to display that in the trailer this time.
– There was a camping scene introduced as well, will we be able to experience it in Episode Duscae as well?
Tabata: Yes, setting camp isn’t a mere cutscene, it’s a fundamental part of the game’s system. You can set up camp in a safe spot if it’s between midday and night. It’s an extremely important element in this title. First of all, it’s where you account for the experience you get while traveling. Experience points are calculated when you camp, and this is where you can level up.
Next, the buffs (temporary status improvements) come from eating during camp, and you sleep in order to maintain the buffs. If you maintain the buffs by sleeping before they run their span, you can obtain various additional effects. Besides that, you can continue to adventure without sleeping and use healing items to restore your HP to max, but camping also restores your health to max.
– So camping isn’t a mere one scene deal, it’s one major element of the system.
Tabata: It’s adventuring while making camp and resting, with a day cycle. Camping being the trigger for leveling up is a unique characteristic, and it serves the purpose of sustaining the travel cycle.
– As for sleeping, there was also a scene where Noctis was sleeping in a car, does that count? (Laughs)
Tabata: That’s ultimately just an idle action. (Laughs) You end up driving around in the car for long periods of time, so in order to give it a natural feel of traveling with friends, there are idle actions with a lot of variations being prepared. We heard a lot of requests from overseas fans about wanting a radio or jukebox type of element, but I think that’s something we’ll investigate later on.
– I’m bringing this up again, but a lot of content was revealed at TGS 2014 that we hadn’t seen in a long time. How was the response to that?
Tabata: Domestically it was good of course, but even overseas, I felt there were big expectations in regards for FFXV. I’ve strongly sensed that the mood of Japan’s core gamers since Final Fantasy Versus XIII was one of contemplation, but overseas, there is a strong tone of “this being the 15th Final Fantasy, how will it compare to other numbered FFs?” Because there is so much focused expectations completely on FFXV, I’m both happy and I’m surprised.
– After TGS 2014, you’ve been releasing regular updates with the live broadcast streams etc., it sort of seems like development is being rushed…
Tabata: Recently, there are a lot of people who want to see how FFXV is doing, and at the time of TGS 2014 I was aware that due to our own incompetence, we had lacked in sharing important information with fans who had been waiting this whole time since FF Versus XIII. I am truly sorry for this. With the information gaps of FF Versus XIII in mind, from here onwards I want to release information regularly.
– Are you going to continue doing livestreams from here on out?
Tabata: I don’t know until when we will do them, but that’s the plan. Especially since being able to speak directly is something really valuable.
FFXV Episode Duscae demo will release sometime in 2015 exclusively for limited day one edition of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD.