Last week, we were treated to the news that Final Fantasy Versus XIII had been reborn as Final Fantasy XV. After getting sucked into a black hole for the longest time, Versus was back with a whole new coat of paint. But, apparently, the paint wasn't all that new.
"Between one and two years after we announced FF Versus XIII, it was suggested that the company shift directions towards FFXV," helmsman Tetsuya Nomura revealed in an interview with Weekly Famitsu. One to two years after its initial announcement would place the title change at around 2007 to 2008: Five years before the E3 announcement and four years before we learned about it.… Quite a long time to keep such an important announcement a secret. (So I guess this wasn't a typo after all.)
Nomura himself found the title change hard to accept. By the time the company decision was made, he had already spent over a year with Versus as the title, and while the direction had been readjusted, it was not set in stone. Nomura clung to the hope that the decision would be reversed for quite a while before coming to terms with it. "It was when FF Agito XIII was officially re-branded as FF Type-0 [in 2011] when I finally accepted that FFXV as our new title." Nomura admitted.
After accepting the new direction of FFXV, Nomura approached one of the game programmers with the possibility of developing with next-gen in mind. "The programmer said, 'I thought you might say that, so I prepared something for you.' and showed me video of what the game would potentially look like on a next-generation system." Nomura recalled. "I felt something very solid in what I saw in the video, so we proposed that we make the game for both current-gen and next-gen consoles."
However, development on current-gen consoles hit a brick wall, due to limitations of the hardware, forcing alterations in the system that conflicted with Nomura's vision of the game. After an initial alpha version was produced in 2012, Square Enix decided that tying the game to current-gen was holding back its potential and made the switch to release for next-gen consoles only. This freed the developers from their initial spec-limitation shackles and allowed the to create a more voluminous game with the potential for sequels.
Square Enix also changed how the game was developed. Much like with Kingdom Hearts 3, instead of restricting themselves to console specs, the development team is creating an over-spec version of the game with the Luminous Studio engine, that will be subsequently ported to the PS4 and Xbox One.
Developing the game on the PC also has the added benefit for the potential of expanded gameplay on outside devices. "We're currently considering new expansions we've never done before in other Final Fantasy games, like compatibility with not just the PlayStation Vita, but smartphones and tablets." Nomura stated.
While it's not presently in consideration, this development style also opens up the possibility of a PC release of the game. However, Nomura points out that due to the system requirements, such an iteration of the game would end up being for a pretty expensive machine. Nevertheless, Nomura stated that, "If there are enough people who want to play the game at full spec, we could consider it."