Former Luminous Engine Lead talks transition from Final Fantasy Versus XIII to Final Fantasy XV By Red Makuzawa on December 22, 2015 at 8:24 PM

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.

Thanks Dualshockers.

  • Red Makuzawa

    And people believed that Nomura had everything set for FF Versus XIII even if there’s evidence that he kept on changing things and it just didn’t go that far. I wouldn’t throw all the blame on Tabata for changing things he and the team didn’t see right. Next year we shall see if this game ends up being truly amazing and I’m going to have faith in the developers to deliver for now.

  • “To solve a lot of the game’s problems, the new tea” this was all I needed to hear to make my dear lmao They removed Nomura and replaced him with a cup of Tea

  • ryosuke

    I think the most important takeaway from this article is that people shouldn’t solely blame Nomura for the long development time on VersusXIII.

  • SNK

    I was thinking about that for some time now. Final Fantasy XV is being made with a rough engine, but when it’s released Final Fantasy XVI will greatly takes advantage of all the work done with it. It’s gonna come out much faster too. Who is directing Final Fantasy XV is what worries me… it’s probably Motomu Toriyama.

    Poor Tabata. What a hellish situation he got himself into.

  • Octavio Valdez

    I am glad someone finally explained how complex the whole decision process in the technical side of things was. Let’s face it SE was not going through good times (at least for their JPN studios) in terms of development and technological solutions. It is clear to me from Merceron’s talk that Versus 13 was very much a changing thing even before the name change. They were not even sure to make it a main series title to begin with. I naver made any attachments to previous designs or ideas because they were never realized, and hell we have no way knowing if they were any good necessarily to begin with. I will just save judgement and see what comes out in the end. At least the demo left me wanting more, and that is a good start for me.

  • Lulcielid

    “Who is directing Final Fantasy XV is what worries me… it’s probably Motomu Toriyama.”
    Excuse me ? Tabata is XV´s director, unless you where refering to the hypothetical XVI…

  • James Stine

    If 1Truth’s theory is true, it might be Ito directing XVI.

  • Krijn van Alten

    So let is pray that it is!

  • Dongmatteezzy

    there will be a sequel in FFXV right? like FFX and FFXIII right? it was confirmed right? or they changed their minds?

  • SNK

    Oh, sorry! I meant XVI. Already edited! Thanks for the heads up.

  • SNK

    Well, he was obsessed with Ito and people didn’t take him seriously, but I hope he was right.

  • SNK

    People shouldn’t blame him at all.

  • Randy Marsh

    Possibly no more sequels planned, the whole “versus epic” series was an idea originally spoken by Nomura when he was still in charge of the project. However iirc, earlier this year Tabata and his crew stated in an ATR that they reworked the story written by Nojima to fit into one single game. So the idea of sequels might be gone at this point, also Nomura’s new baby seems to be taking on the idea of a multi-part FF series .

  • Dongmatteezzy

    NOOOOO!!!! *sighs* bummer!!!……they fit the “whole” story into one single game!? Glad that Nomura made the FFVIIR a multi-part series because if they fit the story too into one singe game….then there will be many MISSING PARTS and we don’t want that!!!……Good decision Nomura….Tabata made a HUGE mistake (no HATE tho) but I hope that they will change their minds about the “sequel” “thing” in XV

  • SNK

    I guarantee you that there will be sequels, they’re just not talking about it (which makes a lot of sense).

  • Zeref Dragneel

    Interesting, I’m can’t wait for this game to come out!
    I’m really looking foreword to what they come up with for XVI

  • Arapahoe

    How many people here like persona 5 over ff15?

  • Jesus Christ

    “What a hellish situation he got himself into.” Now if only he made a #PrayerRequest LOL just playin’.

    Anywho, yes, I kinda hope they made a character or just use Agni in FFXVI. She’s so beautiful.

  • Billy Jackson

    That franchise still exists?

  • Dongmatteezzy

    XV over P5 of course and if they have the same month release…I would buy BOTH! of course! 😀 but I would play XV first because…..of course! why not???

  • Noctis

    I just have this impression if FFXV booms, then we will have a sequel….and if not i will start a petition myself eeeeehhh 😀

  • Justice V

    What I got out of the interview about them fitting the whole story into one game was that originally Versus being that it wasn’t a numbered game and not as important was going to be a much smaller/shorter game. But since it upgraded to XV and got more important (in the eyes of the company) they were able to expand the size of the game and pull it all into one game.

  • Justice V

    Depending out XV turns out I really hope Tabata gets to direct the next or at least XVII.

  • Mehmed

    all children here maybe?

  • Red Makuzawa

    That’s a possibility, but BD2 is apparently hiring people to help develop a new IP already.


    Ever since that damn Tabata arrived, sure, the game received a release date and near perfect gameplay, however, i just don’t get why he didn’t stop at editing the story and expanding it, instead he did what he wanted and made up a whole new story from zero, what a dckhead asshole.

  • they need to stop bringing this up so we can heal.

  • Victor Petersson

    So many cry babies in here! Stop fucking bashing on a game that’s not even out yet…. Then you can make your assumptions. ( Sorry if I spelled wrong )

  • Arapahoe

    I just think ff15 has been long overdue and I never played persona at all and I watched some of the gameplay for the persona series and it just doesn’t look that fun. Too cartoonish for me. I think persona is more for the younger crowd. I’ve been waiting for ff15 since I was 25 so you can guess how old I am now

  • Arapahoe


  • daveguitar

    SOMEONEWHODOESN’TCARE: Get the f*** out of here if you keep on saying bullshit and insulting.


    This is a free forum, isn’t it? I am then free to express myself as i will, and so are you, but if u feel like that about my post then simply don’t read it or ignore it. Cause I’m letting my anger out about this dude.

  • Noctis Pendragon

    Does it confirm FF XVI uses LE ?

    Anyway everything said sounds logical , look at the Frost Bite engine , it took a long long time to be at the lvl it is at now , they are really doing a good work with LE .

  • highsky00

    Sequels of FFXV ? i would say nah ,they NEED to move on with FFXVI after FFXV .FFXV doesn’t need to have sequels to be a memorable game and most people also agree “no sequels” for FFXV .And sequels of FF games aren’t well recieved .After FFXV ,Tabata will likely creat a new IP with BD2 ,they are hiring people for it .

  • Frederick Badguy

    Maybe this can be real, BUUUUUUUUUUUT without that incompetent fool named Motomu Toriyama PLEASE!!

  • Dongmatteezzy

    You can say that persona is more for the younger crowd……but that’s not entirely true! Persona is such great game especially P3 because of the story P4 is FOR the younger crowd!!!! the theme is too— I don’t know…childish??? and P5 is darker (like P3) than P4 so it looks cool….Oh and that’s what Turn Based looks like in this generation and it looks cool! but definitely not suited for VIIR!!! that is the difference between FF and Persona….Final Fantasy is more like ummm…realistic? and Persona is like an ANIME in a Game. You should try it out! 🙂

  • Arapahoe

    Yeah I thought about it just to see what the hype is

  • Frederick Badguy

    I’ve have the same feeling about Toriyama if he back once again. Well, SE have a incredible staff and everyone knows this, but what hurt my chest is know that Toriyama is still a employeer. IF hipothetically Toriyama became a director again, sorry dudes, I’ll stop to play FF. Really! This man (or shemale) almost destroy the entire Fina Fantasy series, with X/X-2 and XIII Trilogy!

    Obs: sorry about my english, I’m brazilian kkk

  • Dongmatteezzy

    Miss Universe 2015…PHILIPPINES!!! XD

  • Dick

    By taking over the project he takes some measure of accountability. There is no way that he is without fault in potential problems as he’s been leading the team.

  • What a bunch of pessimist stuff said. Does this guy said that Square took 10 years to make a game they won’t be satisfied with? What? Do we have to wait untill FXVI to actually play a FF the company believes in… This is stupid.

  • Rob_Steinman

    Yeah I agree, after all the experience they have acquired developing lumionous engine from zero and making FFXV, they surely can finish a new game of a Final Fantasy magnitude in 3 years, instead of 4 years, which was the development time FFXV lasted

  • Mihel

    This man (or shemale) almost destroy the entire Fina Fantasy series, with X/X-2 and XIII Trilogy!

    What does the supposed “destruction” of the FF serie have to do with Toriyama being a shemale – which he’s obviously not, in case you need glasses.

  • Mihel

    most people also agree “no sequels” for FFXV

    On the contrary, the whole “world of Versus epic” thing was incredibly well received, given the fact the game was not out yet when it was announced.

  • Mihel

    I know here people are basically sanctifying FFXV, but implying the Persona franchise doesn’t exist anymore, really?

  • Mihel

    Real title should have been “Former Luminous Engine Lead talks about anything except transition from Final Fantasy Versus XIII to Final Fantasy XV”

  • Mihel

    people shouldn’t solely blame Nomura

    People almost never blame Nomura. It’s always someone else’s fault.

  • Billy Jackson

    Well I guess it’s still no less relevant now than its always been?

  • Billy Jackson

    The sentiment here I feel is people don’t want SE to linger for so long like they did with the XIII games. People would be much happier to XV to be a nice self contained package they can devour then move onto VIIR and XVI.

  • highsky00

    Incredibly well received post-release doesn’t mean in the end it will live up to its hype .

  • You’re really blowing it out of proportion when you say Toriyama almost destroyed the Final Fantasy series with XIII. People honestly need to shut the fuck up about that game. I don’t care how much you hated Lightning; her games have been over for a long time now. Give it a rest.

  • 7cking_fan_of_FFXV

    Haha, nice joke!

  • Frederick Badguy

    this guy loves games that involve change of clothes in the style barbie or confusing plots and senseless. I know you played the X-2, but Tabata himself commented that “there were things in the past where there have been questionable decisions that were repeated again and proved distance fans of the franchise”, referring to X-2 to XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. I do not care if Toriyama is male or not, business is no one liked his work. Okay, it helped in the direction of X? yes, but leave the direction of a game to him to happen other people’s shame moments. If there was only a single FFXIII, man would be better, but both move and adapt just getting worse. Remember the Lightning doing the pose Mi’quote in LR. I do not care about the life of this man! I (and many) just do not want him to come back to direct a new Final Fantasy. I do not doubt that it was he who put the options of Aya Brea change clothes in 3rd Birthday.
    At least here in Brazil we have a saying that “when it moves a lot in shit, just stink even more,” I do not know if you’ll understand hahaha
    Anyway, this is my opinion and I just do not want to wake up other people’s hatred

  • 7cking_fan_of_FFXV

    It’s not fact that even FFXVI will be really good