During a lecture held at Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris, former Square Enix Technology Director Julien Merceron shared his insight on the transition from Final Fantasy Versus XIII to Final Fantasy XV – topic that’s remained shrouded under much secrecy since Square Enix vaulted the project up to mainline status.
Merceron was working on Final Fantasy XIII-2 when the concept of Versus XIII was still evolving at a constant pace. The technology used at the time became gradually useless as the game became more open world and so new technology had to be created to allow for environments and streaming. These things started to cause a lot of complications for the team.
It was during this time Final Fantasy XIV was a mess as well. After the disastrous launch of Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 Square Enix decided they had to take action – hiring in Yoshihisa Hashimoto from Sega along with some others from his former team who helped establish Luminous Studio as well as the custom engine in FFXIV: A Realm Reborn.
To solve a lot of the game’s problems, the new team used an approach similar to Ubisoft’s where they created an approximate system that allowed for real-time rendering editing. First they developed the graphics and animations followed by a cinematics editor and added in a system that would manage events during cutscenes and scene transitions. This was one of the first things they did to allow for the evolution of the game in what we see today.
When asked about Final Fantasy XV itself and whether or not it will live up to its ambitions under the helm of director Hajime Tabata, Merceron said he doesn’t know many developers who are fully satisfied with their end products. he always has a desire to go back and rework something, often leading to constant game patching. He believes the team won’t be fully satisfied when the game releases, but he thinks their work here will lead to an “awesome Final Fantasy XVI.”
Final Fantasy XV is in development on PS4 and Xbox One and is set to release worldwide in 2016.