Final Fantasy 15: What We Know So Far

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The game’s focus is to examine the characters’ humanity and distinguish it from the fantasy setting in other titles in the series. The story focuses on friendship, destiny and legacy.

Final Fantasy, like many other beloved and long-running series, has developed a strong and dedicated following. At this rate, with 15 titles and years of development and reliable results, it’s terrifying to think of the day when there will never be another Final Fantasy game. It’s kind of like the day I found out Silent Hill was officially cancelled. It’s heartbreaking. But, put those feelings aside, because the end of the Final Fantasy series is not here. Instead, we’ve done our research and this is what we know so far about the newest addition to the Final Fantasy lineup, Final Fantasy 15.

What Is Final Fantasy 15 About
This time, the story follows Prince Noctis, who rules over The Kingdom of Lucis and has been matched with Princess Luna for marriage. On the day of their wedding, The Empire of Niflheim pops in for an unexpected invasion to nab the last-known crystal that will give them ultimate power. It is, of course, up to Noctis and his trusty sidekicks to battle their way to retrieve the crystal back from the hands of the Niflheim in order to save the kingdom.

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Noctis
Noctis is the main protagonist of the story and prince of The Kingdom of Lucis. Most of his good friends refer to him as “Noct.” Lucis is the last kingdom that had possession of a crystal, before Niflheim came barging in. When Noctis was younger, he had an accident which now allows him to predict a person’s death. Noctis grew up with Lunafreya, Prompto, Gladiolus and Ignis and they are all included as party members, except Lunafreya, who is a guest party member. While she isn’t directly playable as far as we know, you will have the ability to go into battle with her and she’ll be more involved than the other guest party member, Cor Leonis. Noctis is generally a shy character and tries to play everything off by being cool, but he won’t be all brooding and gloomy. It’ll be a different kind of player personality in the Final Fantasy games.

Lunafreya
Lunafreya, or Luna, is the updated heroine of the story. In older Final Fantasy 15 trailers, Stella could be seen, but she had to be removed and replaced with Luna due to story conflicts. While she’s not part of Noctis’ group in-game, she does play a prominent role in the game. Lunafreya and Noctis grew up together and created many cherished memories, that was, until the Empire took over her home, Tenebrae. Players will actually get to join Lunafreya in battle, unlike Cor, who is just a guest character. Lunafreya is also an oracle, which is someone who has the power to speak with the gods. She has also been dubbed the youngest oracle in history.

Cor Leonis
Cor Leonis is a 42-year old battle veteran who is obsessed with studying the art of war. He and Noctis might bump heads every now and then, but he is dedicated to protecting the crown from danger. He loves to wield a katana in battle

Gladiolus Amicitia
Gladiolus is the protector of Noctis and is part of the royal circle of Lucis. He is not only sworn to protect Noctis, but the entire royal family. Both Noctis and Gladiolus grew up together so their bond is very strong and special. During gameplay, you’ll be able to spar with Gladiolus to build your combat skills.

Final Fantasy XV, originally known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, is the fifteenth installment in the main Final Fantasy series. It was introduced as another installment of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series alongside the Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 games, though that connection has been reduced to a thematic base upon which original lore has been built.

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The game is currently under development for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It was set to have a simultaneous worldwide release on September 30th, 2016. The release date was officially revealed on March 30, 2016, in an event known as Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV that took place in the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. On August 15, 2016, director Hajime Tabata announced the game will be delayed and will release on November 29, allowing the team further time for development and to avoid a large day one patch.

The story centers around Noctis Lucis Caelum, Crown Prince and protector of Lucis, the last remaining kingdom in the world with control over crystals. The game’s focus is to examine the characters’ humanity and distinguish it from the fantasy setting in other titles in the series. The story focuses on friendship, destiny and legacy.

It was originally said the game would take around 40 hours to complete, excluding optional content, but in an interview in January 2015 director Hajime Tabata said that due to the ever-increasing content of the game, it seems less and less likely players would be able to clear the game in that time. During E3 2016 director Hajime Tabata said that in terms of clearing the main story, the developers anticipate about 40 to 50 hours of gameplay. With all the sidequests, clearing everything was said to possibly take about 200 hours. Tabata reiterated that fans have been waiting for “quite a while,” so they wanted to ensure there would be a lot of content to enjoy.

The chapters go from 0 to 15. The first part of the game is more open, where the player must collect the thirteen phantom swords. Once that’s done, the objectives become specific, and the player is led down a linear path like in conventional Final Fantasy games. The game structure thus consists of both open-world and linear parts.

The game is related to companion projects under the Final Fantasy XV Universe label: the Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV anime series, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV movie, and an in-game pinball minigame that can also be played on mobile devices.

The game is set in a world with one giant land mass, meaning players can cross the entire world.The player party’s car, Regalia, can be either driven manually or put on autopilot. Walking or riding a chocobo are also options. Trains are available and players can explore them freely when riding them.
Monsters wander throughout the field and sometimes hostile ones suddenly appear to ambush the player. The battles are real time action with the player controlling one person, Noctis, the other party members being controlled by the AI with the player able to issue them commands. Lead game designer and AI programmer, Prasert Prasertvithyakarn, has explained that the player can decide the battle style they and their comrades use, but it takes a different form to the gambits in Final Fantasy XII.

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The system has been described as streamlined rather than full of button-smashing, and readily accessible in that with obtaining good weapons and leveling up, players will be able to clear the main scenarios, but further challenges are implied to lie waiting in the optional content requiring more player skill.
The game will support the new-generation consoles’ features, such as sharing, but the remote play function on PlayStation 4 is yet to be decided. With the remote play, the players can play their PlayStation 4 games on the PlayStation Vita anywhere as long as their internet connection is fast enough. The feature is not in the Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae demo, but it might be added to the retail game.

Battle systemEdit
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Battle from TGS14 trailer.
The battle system is called Active X Battle (AXB). Battles are seamless with no load times, taking place in real-time environments using all regions of the field from up-high buildings to down-low streets. Battles can take place in areas with great differences in height, and players have to fight using the full environment. This means fighting what’s both in front of the player and above and below (vertical battles). A “Wait Mode” is also available, which allows players to freeze time during battles and pick targets at their leisure. When the player keeps running and fighting the game flows the same as in active mode, but as soon as one ceases input it pauses.

Battles against huge enemies are carried out in the same fashion as standard battles, but enable exclusive party co-op actions. Yuji Kenichiro, lead game designer and combat planner, has stated players can debilitate enemies by destroying parts of their anatomy, and that it plays an important role in battle. It is possible to make these kinds of attacks against specific areas on gigantic monsters by either striking them directly using the warp ability, or by positioning by the enemy’s vulnerable spots using parrying actions against their attacks.

Players can jump during battles. Smaller enemies are easier to aggravate, but the bigger ones have “aggro radius”, meaning one can approach them within reason without them immediately attacking.[11] Even within the same monster species, the creatures come in different physical sizes, and can have different move sets. What monsters spawn depends on the time of day. Monsters fought at night are tougher, and the battle music is different in the dark as well.

A red encounter gauge appears when enemies are close along with an audio cue. When the encounter gauge fills, battle starts, but the player can run before the enemies engage. Even if a battle begins, the player can still run. Depending on the time and area setting, stealth maneuvering, including performing one-hit-kill sneak attacks, and hiding in the dark, can be performed, allowing players to avoid potentially large scale or one-sided battles.

When a party member falls to 0 HP they enter a “danger” status and are unable to attack or use abilities, and taking damage now depletes the character’s maximum HP. A character can rescue another character from danger status by interacting with them. If the gauge depletes completely, the party member will be Knocked Out. If all party members fall to 0 HP, the party can only run away to recover, and Noctis will recover from danger status after a certain amount of time. The game is over if Noctis dies. The party’s HP and MP regenerate when behind cover, and MP also regenerates by attacking enemies. If the “max HP” has been damaged, then the player may need to camp to heal it.

ManeuversEdit
The combat system uses three buttons: an attack button, a defense button, and an interactive button for abilities and interactions between different party members.Using abilities expends MP. Abilities are tied to equipped weapons. Defending also uses MP, so keeping track of MP use is important. The longer the battle draws, the more chances there are that other enemies will join the fray, and the more damage the party deals to some enemies, the more their bodies fall apart.

Players can continuously dodge while holding down the block button, and auto-attack by holding the attack button, or perform combos by tapping the attack button. A manual warp dodge is also available, as well as a roll-dodge that takes no MP to use. Both styles have their pros and cons, e.g. timing the button presses allows the party to insert parries and co-op moves. Holding a button to continuously guard or evade drains the user’s MP, and thus the player won’t be able to do that indefinitely, and not all attacks can be evaded.

Players can move around while defending. Holding the attack button will invoke the standard combo and the player can change the actions by using it in coordination with the directional buttons. The actions depend on the circumstances—such as when guarding, there might be a chance to counterattack, or whether other party members are close by; it is said this combat feature is easy to pull off as long as Noctis has allies nearby.

If the enemy flashes the following attack is going to be an extra strong one. This is a chance to counter or defend. After parrying, “partner attacks” can kick in automatically. The counter feature lets the player turn some enemy attacks back on their originators if timed correctly. Each counter is unique depending on the foe and the type of reversal. For some enemies the nature of the counterattack is decided by which ally is nearby.
As the party grows closer, new partner moves are unlocked while they are talking at camp. The player can switch position quickly with another character for strategic gameplay, and players can take cover to avoid attacks and recover before returning to the battle. The player can take cover behind large objects, or by teleporting Noctis somewhere so high up enemies cannot reach him.

Ignis set
Skills and Abilities customization.
The party members have their own skill trees and learn new abilities the player can invoke at will, such as having Ignis mark an enemy with a warp point for Noctis, or for Prompto to use a flare that lights up the battle area and may stun some enemies sensitive to light. By pressing the LB/L1, the UI at the bottom left—which is usually the player’s weapons—will change to select abilities from Noctis’s comrades, and the player can manually select which ability they want each member to carry out. There’s a cool-down timer for these commands.

All team members will have different approaches and specialties in battle unique to them. There will be situations where the party will perform co-op attack. Party members will automatically react to situations differently according to the circumstances, but certain abilities, equipment and weapons may encourage the characters to cooperate more likely when the circumstances are right. The co-op moves can be pulled off continuously and although invoking them is automatic, the player must aim their mark. For example, to connect a co-op move while avoiding an enemy attack, the player must keep an eye out for an indication when to invoke it. Party member behavior during battle will be affected by the weapons the player has equipped and the abilities they have at that time.To learn and remember what kind of link attacks are possible is part of the strategy, and until the player learns them, they will experience various changes as they fight.

FFXV Gladiolus In-battle
Gladiolus shields Noctis from a Behemoth.
According to director Hajime Tabata, the combat is not about simply pressing a button once for a single action to happen, but a continuous flow of movements associated with the buttons, and building upon them for actions through the combat system. The gameplay is less about focusing on menus and more about navigating 3D spaces with predetermined moves, similar to the gambit system of Final Fantasy XII. There are few menu commands in combat. The game controls like an action game where players switch between offense and defense. The player can give orders to other party members and swap weapons on the fly. The game will include a growth system where the player can spend ability points on weapon skills, Noctis, the party, bonuses, among others.
WeaponsEdit
Weapon types includes: swords, daggers, lances, firearms, shuriken, shields, royal arms, spells, and machinery. Noctis has a number of different weapons with different methods of attack, and some will be usable as shields. Weapons can be improved and forged from materials the player can collect in the game.Some weapons can have status effects attached to them.There are seven types of standard weapon categories, and each category has a variety of weapons. Combined with the Armiger, there are even more categories within itself.
The player can set four main weapons; “Primary Arms”, and switch among them via the d-pad in real-time. During normal attack combos, weapons will automatically be switched and players can continue their attacks using their four chosen weapons. For the attacks that involve specific timing, such as “Counter” and “Raid” (attacks launched by jumping first), if players do not configure anything the main weapons will be used, but it is possible to set weapons for these attack types and then automatically switch between them.

XV Sniper Mode
Sniper Mode.
Guns will not have combos similar to regular weapons, but they will have rapid fire shots, and will require reloads. Noctis will not be able to equip Secondary Arms, but other party members can. For example, Gladiolus can equip a shield.[24] Players can rotate through various weapons, but party members will switch through their sub-weapons.

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