Final Fantasy XV To Be a Complete, Albeit “Casual”, Experience
In the wake of Final Fantasy XV‘s TGS showing, followers have had more to sink their teeth into than any time before. Production of the game essentially started back in 2012, and the title is estimated to be around fifty-five percent complete. A convertible automobile, by way of transportation, served as a huge focal point of Final Fantasy XV’s TGS trailer, and apparently enemies will still be able to attack the player when inside the car, necessitating the need to get out and fight. Moreover, to facilitate on-foot exploration in the game, the Final Fantasy XV team has implemented the ability for players to instantly summon the car to their location – eliminating the need to return to the car’s previous location.
Due to the implementation of day/night cycles, gameplay is set to change around this mechanic, with more dangerous fiends present during the nighttime period. It is for this reason that stopping at hotels or making camp by the side of the road will take on a certain prominence in Final Fantasy XV, so look forward to doing some cooking on the game’s utterly impractical barbeque!
“The key artwork we already released shows an essential element to within the actual game. They camp along the way, stay at hotels, it adheres to the way the gameplay gives the sensation of going on a road trip.”
The game’s new director, Hajime Tabata, has estimated that the Final Fantasy XV demo which will be available for gamers who have purchased Final Fantasy Type-0 HD can be completed in roughly an hour if players opt to use the car. He has also predicted that the final game will end up taking most players about forty hours to complete, which is a hefty amount of gameplay, but still falls short of the more traditional sixty hours for a Final Fantasy title. This may actually be a good move on the part of the Final Fantasy XV team, as it is better to have a dense forty hours than sixty hours with padding.
This week has also seen Hajime Tabata stamp his mark on Final Fantasy XV, both for better and worse. In an interview with Degeki, Tabata made it clear that he had to step in and scupper the plans of foolish Nomura, who was toying with the idea of splitting Final Fantasy XV into two games:
“Degeki: When I spoke to Nomura previously, he had mentioned a plan to release FFXV in segments. Is that concept still progressing now?
Tabata: We do not currently plan on releasing in segments. As director that was something I was concerned with because I thought it was important to complete it as my own title.”
Less welcome is the revelation that Tabata has set about casualising the game’s systems – it is perhaps understandable [though a tad fucking pointless] to include a feature which allows the car to drive itself, yet it is deeply worrying to hear his plans for the combat system. Originally the combat was to be like Kingdom Hearts, where the press of a button would result in the corresponding attack. Now it would seem that Final Fantasy is to use an action button, which, when pressed, will instruct the game’s AI to perform whatever action it deems most appropriate for the circumstance. This is sure to be great for initiating flashy combat techniques, but not so good for engaging gameplay:
“With Final Fantasy 15, I do want to make it more casual. Of course the depth of the game is going to be there, but I want to make it so players can easily experience the satisfaction of the depth of the game. There’s an option to set that car to drive itself, allowing players to sit back and take in the sights – although there is also an option to drive it manually, should they want to engage more fully with the world.
Another example is in the combat, with the hardware specifications of the newer consoles, it’s possible to set it up so you have different enemies and different choices of attacks you can enter in, but I want to simplify that. It’ll basically be a one-button action, and the AI intuitively outputs an action that kind of satisfies, gives you that instant gratification, and it connects with the simple touch of a button. I myself am not getting any younger. I don’t want to be frantically pushing buttons. I also want to utilise the intelligence of the hardware spec, and not have to go through too much hassle or trouble in order to execute moves.”
In a brief transcription of a Famitsu interview, Tabata goes on to describe the battle system in more detail, along with a possible saving grace of the game’s combat. That is to say that he specifically mentions that players will have the ability to pause combat in order to adjust party behaviour. It is one’s fervent hope that by this he means that players will be able to pause the battle in order to issue commands [a la Final Fantasy XII], though he could just as easily be talking about the ability to adjust party AI on the fly:
“The battle system will feature very flashy moves and abilities, and feel like an action packed flow of moves. There will be warping and magic attacks, and there will be combination attacks with party members which are generated automatically based on context.
He also mentions that because this is a RPG, you can also play more strategically, and that during combat you can pause the game into a menu and adjust party behavior, change weapons, etc.
The weapon system in the game is treated like a deck. You set weapons on the deck in the menu, and during combat the most appropriate weapon in the deck will be used based on the situation.
The evasion in the game is executed by “defensive movement” which is a stance the player goes into when holding down the defense button. This allows the player to move around defensively avoiding attacks.”
Bungie Disrespects the Time of Their Players
Last week the most overhyped video game of the year, Destiny, was released to an eager public who subsequently found it to categorically lacking in pretty much everything. By all accounts the game had fantastic mechanics, yet the missions lacked even a modicum of creativity or diversity, the game was really bad [perhaps deliberately so] at giving players the resources they needed to advance to the endgame, and the game itself contained nowhere near enough content to sustain itself, forcing players to repeatedly grind through the missions they had already completed in order to reach level thirty.
In the face of this regrettable situation the game’s executive producer, Patrick O’Kelley, has blithely trotted out what is beginning to be affectionately known as the Final Fantasy XIII defense – which is to say that the game gets better after twenty hours.
“Twenty hours in, I think that players will find that they’ve evolved to playing a whole different kind of game than the shooter that started them off. They’ll find that they’re immersed in a different world, and are deep into the history of their characters. They’ll have built a community of other players. And, without realizing it, they’ll have learned some sophisticated mechanics that enable them to gear up and dive into a six-player cooperative raid, in pursuit of high-level exotic weapons and armor.”
It is all very nice for Bungie that they feel this way, yet it seems a tad churlish to expect players to put twenty hours into the game when they have only been given eight hours of content. To make matters worse, Bungie has been very attentive in promptly patching out any exploit that gamers have been using to try and reach level thirty. The game essentially caps players at level twenty, meaning that the only way they can reach level thirty is by obtaining legendary weapons – the process of which is reportedly quite arduous. One way around this that Destiny players had found was to sit for hours in a ‘loot cave’ shooting periodically spawning enemies. Sadly, that is no longer a viable method to ameliorate Bungie’s shitty, broken game, as they not only immediately nerfed the cave, but were also complete dicks about it:
“The social experience of a cave farming run is amazing: the herding to get a team of Guardians all behind the line and firing in the right direction, the rush to grab the loot, the scramble when the panic wave starts, the beckoning glow from inside the cave. The speed at which the community organized around this activity was inspiring and humbling to us.
But shooting at a black hole for hours on end isn’t our dream for how Destiny is played. ”
If that does not serve as a colossal ‘fuck you’ to Bungie’s fans, then this author does not know what would.
Release of Destiny Sees Surge in PS4 Sales
Destiny may well have turned out to be a wretched experience, but last week’s release of Bungie’s much overhyped multi-platform release certainly seems to have stimulated console sales, most notably those of the PS4. Last week saw Sony shift almost half a million [472,885] PS4 consoles inside of a week, which is usually the kind of performance reserved for the run-up to Christmas. Microsoft’s Xbox One also saw a healthy increase to its sales by selling 171,486 units, but this is a figure that the PS4 obviously bests by an order of magnitude.
The PS4 usually bests the Xbox One by a 2:1 basis, yet last week saw this ratio exceeded by a significant extent. One feels that there can be very little doubt that this is an instance of Sony’s partnership with a game publisher yielding some insane dividends. Several weeks ago Microsoft’s marketing department appeared more than a little miffed at not being allowed to advertise Destiny for their platform, and this right here is why. Sony has given Microsoft an absolute drubbing in terms of weekly hardware sales, and Destiny on PS4 has been able to exceed the sales of the Xbox One version by almost a million units [2,265,469 copies sold to 1,373,498], beating Titanfall‘s sales to date in the span of a week.