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Final Fantasy XV is 55 percent complete after two years of work By Erren Van Duine on September 21, 2014 at 11:19 PM

Final Fantasy XV is around half-way done, said Hajime Tabata in a new interview with GameInformer Magazine. “We kind of started from the beginning of the game, so the first part is more complete than the others.” Speaking separately with Kotaku, Tabata wanted to clarify: This is 55 percent during the two years Tabata has joined the project and the game’s systems are more or less already in – there shouldn’t be much of a wait after the demo is out, at least not years and years.

Tabata joined the Final Fantasy XV project around two years ago when the game made its move to current generation platforms. “We re-examined Final Fantasy XV’s development structure,” he said. We had the gameplay team, the cinematics or CG team, and the game engine team. And we finally merged them all together to work on this game. I think we can deliver the best that Square Enix has to offer.”

When Tabata joined the team, development also shifted from primarily making use of CGI to a mix of pre-rendered CG and in-engine content that are up to the quality of pre-rendered images. The visual’s we see today are around 70% of what Square Enix is aiming for and the demo will likely represent 80% of that visual goal with the last little bit achieved by the game’s release. “The Final Fantasy XV trailer was all in-game engine, except for the part with the spaceships flying. That was pre-rendered,” Tabata explained.

With Tetsuya Nomura’s departure from the project, Tabata assures fans that they are still making the game for those fans who have been waiting since it was Final Fantasy Versus XIII. “But, this is not the exact same game. The director is different, and the platform was switched to the current gen. And because the platform has changed, there were things we had to re-evaluate, like what we can and cannot do or even what we have to do. The various circumstances are different.” Tabata does note, however, that many of the elements that were important to Nomura, such as the main character Noctis, will be maintained in the best way possible.

Square Enix will be releasing a demo some time next year in order to let fans know that yes, the game is still coming. Not everything in the game will be “open world.” Tabata explains that it is vast and you’ll be able to freely explore with encounters seamlessly integrated into the game world. “That being said, if the game is totally open world, it kind of defeats what makes a Final Fantasy game Final Fantasy—which is the dramatic and cinematic storytelling. The game is balanced to ideally satisfy those fans who like traditional Final Fantasy storytelling so they can feel like they’re following an epic story.”

When it comes to combat, players will always be tag-teaming with the other members of their party. The game is most definitely an action RPG, but Tabata stresses he’s taking into consideration the traditional Final Fantasy party play. “The controls aren’t you simply press a button once for a single action to happen,” said Tabata. “Rather, they are a continuous flow of movements. It’s more about the movements that are associated with the buttons and building upon them for actions through the combat system.” To him, the way a game plays has to “feel good.”

When asked about release timing for the final game, Tabata noted, “During the “Versus era” – though it might be weird to refer to it that way – we weren’t able to reveal any information on release timing because that was a project in which we had to overcome so many different problems that arose. Unfortunately, while we were trying to work through the issues, the timing never matched. But about two years ago, when I officially joined the project, we did a pretty major directional change when we decided not to go with the previous generation. I also had to talk with Nomura-san about the direction FF XV is going to take. Unfortunately, it’s still going to take a while, but I’m hoping people will reset their timers from when I joined the team and restart the count from there.”

Tabata also plans to take caution when adding in classic Final Fantasy elements. “I have to think about how it applies to the setting of the particular Final Fantasy numbered title, and make sure that it’s there because it’s necessary. In Episode Duscae, there is a sort of surprise element incorporated toward the end.”

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  • Lucas Lara

    Which means…. we going to wait another eight years? D:

  • flower234

    50% ISN’T VERY GOOD BUT I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS FINALLY HAPPENING

  • Karysonson

    Hm, I kinda still have hope it’ll release late next year because of the demo and what not. What do you think Erren?

  • Lea

    I’m honestly disappointed they’re only at 55%, since I was expecting it to already be in the final stages (90-100%) for Nomura to be alright stepping down as Director…

    Well, I suppose we should be happy we’re at least getting progress since the PS3-to-PS4 transition. I imagine how tough it must be to refactor all the code they’ve already done two years ago. Regardless, I’m still hoping for a release late next year. Release XV on 2015. It’d be an awesome tag line or something.

  • Alexis Crockett

    55% after TWO years, not eight. Which would mean maybe a year and a half or two. But definitely not another eight…

  • Alexis Crockett

    I was looking for at least 80-something… I didn’t realise he left so early?! I thought they were just sticking on little extra shiny things, so it was okay for him to leave… Didn’t know they were only halfway…

  • Crystal Power

    Not trying to be pessimistic, but saying it is 55% in the two years with addition to him saying “I’m hoping people will reset their timers from when I joined the team and restart the count from there.” Really made me a bit down, I guess the demo isn’t a sign it will be coming next year. Well, I look forward to playing the demo at least. Going to be awesome. 🙂

  • Alexis Crockett

    I’m still hoping on XV in 20XV…
    But being only half-way done over two years, after you were already working on ideas for 6 years before that, just, wow. I know they basically started from scratch when they moved consoles but still, ideas were already developed from before, which should’ve scraped alot of time off…

  • Alexis Crockett

    “I’m hoping people will reset their timers from when I joined the team and restart the count from there.”

    I’m still feeling kinda optimistic about the game now, but this sentence kind of made me mad. It’s not that simple for me to just act like we didn’t just wait for almost an entire decade. This whole thing was a rollercoaster of excitement, dissappointment and almost anger, and yet still at this rate, the game will release on the 10th anniversary of when it was announced. That’s not okay, friends.

    But, y’know how it is: “Please understand.”

  • Alexis Crockett

    **this was me whoops bye

  • SykraS

    Im I the only one that is feeling worried about the director change? hajime tabata I’m sure is a great director i really can’t wait for Type-0 HD but i don’t want this guy to end up changing what nomura had promised us. it especially worries me because nomura steps down when its 55% complete. can this guy really change the story? change the ending?…. we were hinted at noctis and stella having a complicated relationship. some really tragic events happening. can this guy change it?

  • Starlord

    If we did a little math here since he’s saying ” reset our timers”. The game as it stand now is 55 percent complete. So if they keep the same pace 55 percent/2 years of work= 27.5% a year. 55 percent + 27.5 per year completion= 82.5% complete by this time next year. So roughly speaking, if the game stays it’s same pace. we should get the game by Holiday 2015 earliest/Early 2016 latest.

    This is not taken into account what they are exactly doing, what is done at what time. When one part of the game is finished, that frees up time for other parts of the game to be potentially done at a quicker rate.

    Also, another thing to consider is that it took this long because of the development of the Luminous Engine. The engine is nearly done it’s now the process of moving everything over to the new engine.
    that’s why I think the first 50-55% is the hard/longest part due to the engine alone. I believe the rest of the work will flow a bit faster than the pace they are going now. Which is why I am not ruling out a late 2015 release for this title just yet.

  • Wazi the pa

    This tells me that Final Fantasy XV is in good hands. Tabata knows what a FF game consists of and what the game needs to be an FF game. Judging from the interview, he is really determine to keep this game true to the Final Fantasy name. I believe in Tabata.

  • Jesus Christ

    People are complaining Noctis is only playable? I understand that. Why is SE doing that? Why the restrictions?

    It’s my constitutional right to play any character I want Gosh darn it!

  • Starlord

    People are reading to deep into it. They are basically saying:

    1) Only 1 character can be controlled at one time (given)
    2) Naturally, the rest of the party will have AI
    3) When you switch characters, the previous character now becomes AI

    However, I also think he is referring to the Demo.

  • Jesus Christ

    Is the 3rd point confirmed? I remember that in the past interview, but is it still available now?

  • Starlord

    No, but it’s more of common sense. When people see ” The only character that the player is in direct control of is Noctis” They see it as ” The only playable character. They said, When you the player is in control of noctis, you can’t control the other characters. But that’s where the gambit system comes in and you can change what they do.

    When they say “Direct control” they mean what you are using at the moment. If they said “Noctis is the only playable character, now THAT’s is a worrisome sentence.

  • Jesus Christ

    Well see about this. Now an old Ollldddd trailer showed prompto playable shooting to blow up behemoth. If they change that, LOL haterade time!!!!

  • Mey

    Hi um, I come from a college focusing on entertainment arts so this may help.

    TL;DR version: Google 3D game production pipeline. What you’re suggesting is the very start of preproduction stage, which at 55% is completely impossible, so no worries on that front 🙂

    No matter game, movie, comic, what starts a project going is a concept/idea that gets turned into a story. From the story they will develop the visuals/concept art (character, environment etc) and storyboard, and script. These are in the ‘preproduction’ stage, because you haven’t actually ‘made’ anything yet, just confirmed what you are going to make. When they actually do the 3D stuff is the ‘production’ stage, when they model and animate. My education is on the ‘preproduction’ side, so I can’t speak for the ‘production’, which is where the bulk of the work for the game is done.

    Only after they have confirmed those, THEN they will start to make the 3D stuff/ ‘production’ stage, because the 3D stuff requires a hell lot of time and resources. If I understand correctly, since they changed the game’s engine and platform, they had had to start ‘production’ stage from scratch (or somewhere there, if they were able import some of the work they did , which is somewhere in 2012, 2 years ago. So it’s not surprising about Tabata-san’s statement ‘hoping people will reset their timers from when I joined the team and restart the count from there.’

    The part ‘But about two years ago, when I officially joined the project, we did a pretty major directional change when we decided not to go with the previous generation. I also had to talk with Nomura-san about the direction FF XV is going to take.’ is concerning, but I believe it is more of the game elements, gameplay and user interface kind of thing… unless he talks about that more in detail there’s nothing to derive from there 🙁

    Sorry for the long post OTL

  • Somber

    That’s a bit pessimistic. These are the facts why it took 8 years.

    1. Versus’s Crystal Tools Engine to XV’s Luminous Engine. Changing engines is NOT an easy job. Let alone Crystal Tools’ reputation (notoriously hard, cannot handle open-world)

    2. XIV’s failure impacts. All development of XV were halted to speed up remaking XIV as A Realm Reborn.

    3. You know, XIII Trilogy was the main force that prevent XV’s media coverage so it couldn’t show its wow-factors.

    4. It was told ‘2 years’ not ‘8 years’.

  • It’s not the release date that worries me from what Tabata says. But now I’m starting to get the feeling that Nomura stepped down because people at Square-Enix were tampering with his product too much! I’m beginning to think that this will not be the same as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which is actually the game we all wanted from 2006. The better graphics are welcome, but screwing around with Nomura’s epic characters and story (remember how Prompto and Gladiolus were changed?) might be kind of a deal breaker on this game. Oh well, I guess nothing will change my mind on this game, I waited so many years, another one or two won’t make the slightest difference. Besides, we have Type-0 coming next March as well, so…

  • NoctX85

    Prompto was better before, and yes I´m worried to if they screw something to change it more like FFXIII with this fucking auto – buttons!

  • NoctX85

    lol jesus Christ your name, are you such katholic men?

  • JSYK

    “Tabata also plans to take caution when adding in classic Final Fantasy elements.”

    Makes you wonder. Where they referring to Summons or Limit Breaks? Or airships. Or post game stuff. I’m also a little bit iffy on the level up system but hey, whatevs. Gimme what you got Square and I’ll take it from there!

  • LukesAlike

    Also, where the heck is Cor?

  • Cor is probably going to be a party member that joins halfway through the story. Either that, or a temporary party member, hopefully not.

  • LukesAlike

    I was gonna say, because in that ‘power walk’ poster/wallpaper it shows Cor walking among them.

  • Jesus Christ

    I appreciate the subtitles!

  • Nick Greeley

    That’s a little silly. Type-0 HD is only at 80 percent.

  • Alexis Crockett

    How is that “silly”?

  • Unknown

    It probably will be a late 2015 for Japan, the Demo comes out in March and I doubt they would leave a big gap between the two.

  • Nick Greeley

    I totally misread that. Sorry!

  • Martian Wong

    The title is a bit misleading. After two years of work, it is 55%. But the game has been in development since 2006…even though not major work had been done at that time.

  • Martian Wong

    This is worrisome to me as well. So the whole game I just keep holding the attack button and dont let go until the boss is dead?

  • Jesus Christ

    You know, I think there’s more too it than that, but from what we’ve been getting, there’s a lot of automated gameplay and little creative manual button mashing.

    If they do something like DmC or Bayonetta or the so inspired KH system we saw in older trailers, this wouldn’t be a problem for the majority.

  • Martian Wong

    I prefer like press one button, Noctis attack once. Similar to KH. I never played DmC or Bayonetta.

  • Jesus Christ

    Right, I prefer this as well rather than holding down. This is something new obvious and it may be well received once everyone plays it, but so far it’s getting blacklash probably because a lot of people aren’t expecting this and they are bias towards what they know from KH and stuff. IMO

  • Martian Wong

    Holding down attack button and attack continuously sounds like a Fast forward button back in video tape era.

  • Martian Wong

    Is the engine sword still in the game? Had yet to see it since the new trailer popped up. http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100216033300/finalfantasy/images/f/f0/Noctis-render.png

  • Martian Wong

    I am leaning towards airships. Summons doesnt seem to be able to work in the demo without any boss fights. Limit Breaks are possible.

  • Starlord

    He said, Tabata wanted to clarify: This is 55 percent during the two years Tabata has joined the project and the game’s systems are more or less already in ( He joined in 2012)

  • Starlord

    No, the article said “If” you press and hold defend you will continue to defend. Keyword is “If”. Meaning you have the choice/option to hold it or simply tap it for a single command.

  • Martian Wong

    I guess the demo will be able to solve this for me. I will buy this game day 1 regardless.

  • Jesus Christ

    LOL!!! riiiighht!?

  • Martian Wong

    I certainly hope there is more to it. I played a racing game before, and the game drives the car for you. You just steer left and right. That was horrifying…

  • Jesus Christ

    I wouldn’t mind this if it were for the car driving in XV, just not when we are in combat.

  • Martian Wong

    Haha, You got it. Also, can the car be used as a mean to escape from battle? Same goes for teleporting. Like, O no, Noctis is being killed by the boss, let’s teleport out of the harms way. And is the engine sword still in the game? That is my favorite sword in FFXV. Hope they didnt take it out since I had yet to see it in the newest trailer.

  • stevenm281

    they had to start over from scratch when moving to new-gen consoles which was in 2012, so yes, they only worked on this new version for the past two years. Forget the old version.

  • stevenm281

    I dont know why people are complaining about options, they are OPTIONS for fuck sake, you can tap or you can hold, whatever you prefer, one does not takes away from the other…

    I trust Nomura and I trust Tabata and I will gladly play the game THEY want to make, its their vision of FF not ours and I will enjoy it no matter what.

  • JSYK

    I do want my summons though. Even if it’s just the plain old shiva ifrit and ramuh. Bahamut will most likely be a big boss like Leviathan. I just can’t wait for next year!

  • Frostofthecwsw

    Summons were confirmed AGES ago, dude. they have to be defeated just like before in order to obtain

  • Frostofthecwsw

    Two things: 1) holding down the button to attack was also in Type-0 and it went over fine. I’ve played it. It feels good. I also doubt the holding willbe infallable. In type-0 holding down attack woulddo a constant repeating combo, but you got an increase to critical chance, attack speed, and damage for well timed attack presses. With dodging, you can’t attack whilst dodging and a lot of the time you had a period where you can’t attack when dodging. The game was also just intelligently built to keep you from end lessly evading around the battlefield. Ontop of that, there is the chance that holding and tapping yeild different KINDS of attacks. Maybe holding is less powerful or in some other way detrimental? maybe it is hard to cancel out of attack animations so you are more likely to be hit? Who knows.
    2) The weapon switching mechanic also has to be brought into consideration. It is quite obvious that switching weapons is deliberate from the more recent trailers. There is a very high likelihood that switching weapons is intergral to the combat system in some way. Think Vann in Dissidia 012. He gained various changes for his first attack when weapon switching. Maybe switching from greatsword to spear makes you polevault into a high jump style attack. Or remember that crazy teleporting attack in the E3 gameplay trailer where Noct disappears and attacks like crazy? Maybe that is activated by switching.
    So yeah, that’s just my observations here, take them how you will.

  • Frankie MacDonald

    Is there going to be Cid in final fantasy xv

  • Frostofthecwsw

    Probably. There always is a Cid nowadays

  • JSYK

    Oh sorry. I must’ve forgot about that detail thanks to a slew of brand new info they’re giving us lately. Still makes you wonder how they’ll fit in certain locations tho

  • Frostofthecwsw

    What do you mean?

  • Ehren Rivers

    He is referring to the massive form of Leviathan, and the idea that all or a large number of summons will possibly be near it in size. Excepting very large open areas, JSYK wonders how those summons can be drawn forth and still fit. The caves from the recent trailer, for example, would not accommodate creatures too terribly much larger than Noctis and friends, let alone something bigger than buildings.

    So, will summons shrink? Do you see a flash of them, and an attack is performed without them needing to be present? Does the world cut-away to another screen where there’s infinite space and the Summon is present in all its glorious titanism? An interesting question.

  • Frostofthecwsw

    It will probably be a smaller creature, I would imagine. Sort of like how summoners have egis in FFXIV, though not THAT small. After seeing the direstion of summons in FFXIII and FFType-0, both of Fabulla Nova Crystalis, I would imagine the next entry will be similar. Summons will likely shrink to a more manageable size. Summons will probably also either be party members or controllable, much like XIII and Type-0