Nomura @ E3, Part 2: Final Fantasy XV

Tetsuya Nomura’s livestream interview at E3 2013 went beyond discussing the Kingdom Hearts franchise. After showing us a new gameplay trailer, they immediately began talking about Final Fantasy XV!

  • Nomura right away explains that the trailer will be available to view on the company website after the livestream.
  • Regarding the name change from Versus XIII and the “feel” of being a numbered title: within the company, about one to two years after Versus XIII was announced, discussions were had on its scale and concept. It was considered that the game may be appropriate for Final Fantasy XV. They talked about it for several years. Two years ago (sometime in 2011), developers began to hear about next-generation consoles, and the team decided to make Final Fantasy Versus XIII into FFXV. One year ago, they decided that all development will shift to next-generation consoles, and the name was officially changed.
  • The game will be an action-based RPG. Not much turn-based style will feature in XV, but in the trailer, we can see a command system in the screen. Nomura tried to keep the “taste” of Final Fantasy; he’s not trying to make it all action. The game being a Final Fantasy entry is the most important thing. If Final Fantasy were to become an action game, Nomura feels that this game would come closest to showing what that would be like.
  • The interviewer notes that Noctis has many fans, but he is very mysterious. Nomura, meanwhile, describes Noct as “not cool” on the inside. Appearances can be deceiving. He’s rather cocky, and him not being cool is actually his main characteristic.
  • In Final Fantasy games, one’s party is necessary. How to use them is a core feature in Final Fantasy games, in regards to taking turns, how to act, etc. Noctis can battle by himself, but in the trailer, we can see him with other characters, as well. There will be lots of team cooperation, but it will be different from previous Final Fantasies. In the new gameplay trailer, we see three players/characters cooperating with each other to fight a giant (or a Behemoth). There will be drama in these interactions. It won’t be too systematic, but rather, it will have some story aspects to it as well. Nomura and his team are aware that battling with one’s party is necessary in the Final Fantasy series.
  • Unlike what the interviewer thought, Noctis doesn’t defy gravity/use gravity spells, but rather has the ability to teleport himself, including into the sky. In trying to make a game realistic, it becomes impossible to enjoy. Nomura has been trying to figure out a good balance between realism and the game’s main entertainment as a “fantasy.”
  • Until about a year ago, the team was making FFXV for current-generation consoles as well. But next-generation consoles, according to Nomura, have better quality. This better quality only increases as the development proceeds.
  • The way of developing the game (or games in general) has changed. Before, when going multi-platform, a game would be fit to one console’s specifications and would be “evened out” to other consoles. But now, games made in a different way. Nomura always had in mind that he didn’t want to make a game that compromises quality.
  • This time, using a different development method, Nomura chose not to look at consumer consoles to meet their specifications; instead, he focused on making higher quality games. They used a development tool called DirectX 11 to make the game. The consoles that handle that tool can be used to port the game. The team hopes to maintain the original high quality of the game they’re making when it’s ported to consoles.
  • Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV are both coming to PS4 and the Xbox One, but DirectX 11 is the key: whichever hardware is compatible with DirectX 11, the team will keep that hardware in consideration.

No word yet on why exactly Versus XIII has been kept in the dark for so long, but it sounds likely that the shift to next-generation consoles (and the name change) played a big role in its absence over the past two years. It’s also possible that Nomura’s new philosophy on game development lended itself to the game’s development time, but whether or not he was specifically referring to XV or modern games in general wasn’t made clear.

Stay tuned for more E3 updates as the week continues!

About the Author

John Sotomayor John Sotomayor is a writer from downstate New York. He graduated from university in 2012 with majors in creative writing and Asian studies. John is currently working on a number of creative writing projects (novels, short fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics) and is also a published science writer. As a gamer, John enjoys JRPGs, particularly the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts franchises. He also likes dogs, comic books, Joss Whedon shows, and the San Jose Sharks.