By Tom Tolios / February 20th, 2015
Square Enix and Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata held an event earlier today where they showed off the gameplay and many of the features of the playable demo, titled Episode Duscae. The demo will be available to all day-one buyers of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD for the PS4 and Xbox One. The Active Time Report is essentially a ‘let’s play’ with Square Enix staff talking at length about the aspects of the demo that show the strengths of Final Fantasy XV and gives the fans a taste of what they can look forward to. The video is long, but very informative.
The video shows the first revealed live footage of the game running on Xbox One but the bulk of the preview focuses on the PS4 build. It was confirmed that the demo would not run in 1080p/30 fps, and no weather effects were included in order to show the strengths of the game play. They promised to do their best to make sure that the retail release of Final Fantasy XV did not experience those performance limitations. The developers also said that the demo would take roughly three hours to complete and that there was post game content to explore once players were finished with it. It’s a spoiler free demo so people afraid that it will reveal too much of the final game release need not worry.
Square Enix announced that the game’s map would be somewhere between 10 and 20 times bigger than the area in the Episode Duscae demo, but as Final Fantasy XV is only about 60% complete, they weren’t able to state what the actual size of the world would be. Tabata explained that this number could be a little misleading as everything is finished but needs polish and play testing to ensure it is ready to go. That complete percentage could jump drastically at any time but for now they are providing conservative estimates. And while there are no plans to allow for save data to carry over from the demo to the final game, they may include something special as a “thank you” to fans that finished Episode Duscae and then played Final Fantasy XV on the same platform.
In terms of gameplay, at least for the demo, the player will only control Noctis while the AI handles the actions of his companions. They will move at your speed and stay close during exploration, helping you and each other autonomously during battles so that you can focus on winning the encounters. Most of the special abilities consume MP, which can be healed over time while roaming the countryside or with the use of items. Battle transitions are seamless, with a warning meter foretelling of incoming threats that can either be avoided or attacked headlong at the player’s discretion. Once battles are finished, the expected victory screen with rewards will appear to tell you how well you did.
The demo’s storyline is that Noctis is gathering the cash he needs to restore his car to fully-working order, so he’s out and about doing odd jobs towards that end. As he roams the countryside looking for ways to profit, his companions will point out areas of interest and provide plenty of hints on what might merit further investigation. Some enemies will attack the heroes while others are docile unless provoked into conflict. Long fights can be dangerous as potential threats roam around and may join in against Noctis and his pals. At night, monster behavior may change as they become more emboldened to venture forth under cover of darkness to do their hunting and in some cases may be stronger after sundown. They also hinted at the possibility that there will be swimming in Final Fantasy XV, but up to this point it has not been programmed.
Camps are essential to succeeding in the game. They are where players can level up, prepare and eat food that provides buffs for the coming day’s journey and even act as fast-travel points after they’ve been discovered on the map. Noctis and his merry band are going to need to take advantage of these rest stops if they want to succeed against their primary target, a notorious behemoth that is blind in one eye and is worth a considerable reward. Which, one might surmise, would go a long way towards repairing that car so they can get back on the road. That has to be one heck of an automobile if you have to kill a behemoth in order to afford the repair bill.
Episode DuscaeFinal Fantasy XVSquare Enix