Final Fantasy Face-Off

Type-0 is perhaps the most action-oriented Final Fantasy game to date. And with the director of that game, Hajime Tabata, now enthroned as director of the long-awaited Final Fantasy XV, this modern action approach is heading to the numbered series, too. As the release of FFXV edges ever closer, Square Enix has shown us new footage from the game, including a brand new trailer and an in-engine real-time demo that shows off the game’s day/night cycle, among other cool effects. And best of all, you’ll be able to play it for yourself in March.

Speaking to Gm, Tabata confirms that FFXV’s gameplay will be heavily influenced by Type-0. The Fabula Nova crystallis spin-off game originally released for PSP in Japan-only in 2011 and due for release in HD form on 20 march on PS4 and Xbox One centres on class Zero, a group of 14 students at the magic academy Peristylium Suzaku, as they are drafted into a gritty war story. Unusually for a Final Fantasy game, it gives the player direct control over party members for seamless exploration and encounters in real-time.

“The seamless element of the gameplay and the direct character control are things that XV will have in common with Type-0,” Tabata tells us. “You can attack and defend with direct responses in both titles. In terms of the rPG elements, Type-0 is very action-oriented but at its heart it’s an RPG, because you grow your characters over time to raise their skills and abilities. The same goes for FFXV you can take your time to grow your character as you progress. rather than think of it as an action game with rPG elements, think of it as an RPG with action elements.”

“type-0 is a story about nations at war, whereas FFXV is more like a road trip movie”

A playable demo for FFXV, titled episode Duscae, will be available via download voucher with copies of Type-0 HD when it’s released in march. The demo is set in the opening section of the full game, an area called Duscae. The map is more or less an open world, with vast distances that can be traversed on foot or in a sports car, which we see in the trailer loaded up with a party of four that look like they’d be right at home in a boyband. They encounter a giant tortoise-like creature as well as nasty imps in a setting that appears to be just a tad into the future, with flying vehicles in stark contrast to hero Noctis Lucis caelum’s classic car.

“Type-0 is a story about nations at war,” explains Tabata, “whereas FFXV is more like a road movie that follows a group of friends. The demo will have about an hour of story, but if you explore the world map and the dungeons there is about three hours’ worth. And that’s assuming you travel by car if you choose to walk then it will take five times longer!”

Looking the part

The game looks quite staggering. In the new trailer, textures are crisp and beautifully lit, while the art direction is striking. With every swing of their weapons, Noctis and friends leave little sparkly trails of magic, while some of the character modelling and animation looks almost photorealistic. And a real-time in engine presentation is set in a richly detailed city environment, with impressive draw distance, a full day/night cycle and dynamic weather, as raindrops ripple in puddles and soak into the characters’ clothes.

The game looks modern, and may convince lapsed Final Fantasy fans bummed out by the linear gameplay of FFXIII or who are uninterested in the mmO aspects of FFXIV to return to the series.

Fighting fit

Which brings us back to Type-0. Undoubtedly XV owes a huge debt to its PSP brother, and the game’s fresh approach is doubtless what secured Tabata his promotion to directing a game in the numbered series, taking XV out of the hands of original director Tetsuya Nomura. Available for the first time in english, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD will provide not only a taster of what is in store for XV, but also a rewarding experience in its own right.

We’ve played the first chapter of the game on PS4, with a team comprising three of the class Zero student warriors: Seven, who boasts the long-range Whip blade chain weapon; rem, whose magic abilities include fire and lightning; and Ace, the leader, armed with, uh, deadly playing cards.

belying its PSP roots, traversal is broken up into small areas connected by loading screens, but aside from that the action is fast-paced, with the player controlling the party leader directly and attacking just like in an action game, only with limited magic Points. Strategy is critical to success. by switching party leader on the fly, with a total of 14, the player has a wide range of attacks to choose between, and deciding the right moment to strike while an enemy is vulnerable results in powerful blows. You can choose to sacrifice a character to summon an Ifrit or other War Gods for several seconds of devastation, but once the character is sacrificed, they’re out of the fray.
“right now we’re a little over halFway through deVelopment so we won’t keep you waiting too much longer”

Generation gap

There is a clear difference between the presentation quality of FFXV, built from the ground up for new-gen hardware, and of Type-0 HD. Visually the build we saw looked closer to PS3 quality than PS4, with low-res textures on the walls and floors, the aforementioned loading screens, a distracting PSP-style camera, and a lot of dialogue repetition. The game is still unfinished, mind you only 75 or 80 percent complete, Tabata says.

“I didn’t want to focus on remaking all of the assets, but rather to utilise the technology of the new hardware to push the limits of the graphic quality,” he tells us of Type-0’s HD upgrade. “Things such as lighting, richer shaders and better reflection effects; that’s where we’ve spent our efforts, rather than making new models and so on.”

Luckily the original game’s beautiful art direction has given the team a head start. And anyway, it’s a thrill to finally be able to play the game in english, announced as it was just as a group of fans had completed their own translation of the PSP version. meanwhile, a group called Operation Suzaku had petitioned Square enix for a localised release.

“I only heard about Operation Suzaku after e3 this summer, but I was happy to know that the fans were so passionate about our game that they would lobby for its release,” Tabata says, explaining that the reason it was never released on PSP in the West is that the handheld was already in sharp decline by the time the Japanese version’s lengthy development was complete. “We missed the boat, basically that was my fault for being too slow. We decided it was better to aim at a different platform instead. I learned that rather than taking as long as possible over development, it’s better to get the game out to the fans as quickly as possible.”

Nearly there

This is another lesson learned on Type-0 that Tabata intends to apply to FFXV. He says that he hopes the forthcoming playable demo will encourage player feedback, good and bad, that can influence development. FFXV was announced in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and after eight years, he indicates that an end really is in sight.

“When I joined the project about two years ago, we made a major directional shift when we decided to make the game for new hardware, and I sat down with Nomura to discuss the new direction the game should take. So I hope people can reset their timers from when I joined the team. right now we’re a little over halfway through development of the gameplay, so I don’t think we’ll keep you waiting too much longer. I think once you play the episode Duscae you’ll be able to imagine how
far along the game is.”

Post a Comment