In a private E3 Q&A session attended by our very own Jonty and other members of the press, Final Fantasy brand director Shinji Hashimoto fielded questions on the future of the newly announced Final Fantasy XV.
These questions mostly concerned the title's new gameplay demo video, which features three perfectly coiffed, high-fiving dudebros and fast-paced, action-heavy, hack and slash style combat that looks very far removed from traditional command-based Final Fantasy gameplay. Hashimoto was keen to impress that this doesn't mean the end of turn-based combat for the franchise.
"As you are aware, Final Fantasy series has different mechanics in each title," he began. "Each time the development team for that title review the appropriate game system, and for Final Fantasy XV we have the action-packed system, but that does not mean the next game will be similar. We're very looking forward to feedback from the fans on how they like the action packed gameplay."
"I believe that there's future for both action based RPG and command based RPG. It's not that we aren't thinking about the future of command based Final Fantasy, but we think that the action based combat fits Versus XV."
It's as though he read Ed's mind. Just the other day our dep ed was wringing his hands and asking nobody in particular why Squeenix couldn't just do both brawlers and turn-based RPGs. I'd high five him if he were in the office and not ill.
"Action-based RPG fits Final Fantasy XV and that is why we chose to do it like this," Hasimoto continued. "I want a game that is easy to play and therefore I asked the development team to be flexible with the difficulty, and I want to make sure that fans are not disappointed. I want you to understand that the Final Fantasy is always evolving, and always challenging, and this is a positive change we made for Final Fantasy XV."
He also confirmed that Final Fantasy XV runs on Square Enix' in-house Luminous engine; the same one used for the staggeringly beautiful Agnes' Philosophy tech demo released last year.
What do you think of Final Fantasy XV? Worried about the gameplay direction? Hopeful for the franchise? I'm cautiously optimistic; the older FF titles are among my favourite games of all time, but I've never warmed to the Fabula Nova Crystallis universe. For better or worse, this looks like a breath of fresh air.