Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Adds Easy Mode, Cuts Co-op

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Adds Easy Mode, Cuts Co-op

This past week in Tokyo, Kotaku was able to sit down with Final Fantasy Type-0 director Hajime Tabata and talk with him about the game's upcoming HD remaster — what's new, what's cut, and why the game is so damned hard.

In the West, there is no doubt Final Fantasy Type-0 is one of the most anticipated of Square Enix's upcoming titles — especially since the original PSP version never left Japanese shores. Tabata never expected his game to be so desired by foreign audiences.7

"I was surprised and I am continuously surprised by the reactions of the Western audience." But he was even more amazed by the reaction he received when it was announced he was directing Final Fantasy XV. "I got comments that said 'you're going at it in the wrong order' so I was surprised about how passionate people were about having Type-0 come to Western audiences."

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Adds Easy Mode, Cuts Co-op

Even though most Western gamers have not played Final Fantasy Type-0, I personally played it back when it was first released in Japan. And when I did, there was one thing I felt more than anything else: This game is unforgivingly difficult.

A nearly complete lack of resurrection spells and phoenix downs means that the deaths of characters are quite final; you can't simply bring them back. And while you have 14 characters to cycle through, once they are all dead, it's game over.

Moreover, if, for example, a dungeon's boss can fly and you have no ranged characters left alive or have no ranged magic equipped, you cannot win. You will likely have to start the dungeon over completely — losing 30 minutes to an hour of progress. While I found this more than a bit frustrating, Tabata explained that this was by design.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Adds Easy Mode, Cuts Co-op

"The whole setting of Type-0 is that you are in a war and these kids form a special ops team," he said. "And you've got these very talented individuals who are very proficient in their given weapons but are also capable of equipping magic as they progress. So you are kind of strategising on which character and what equipment combination would be most suitable for a particular mission and executing that activity.

Continuing, Tabata said, "I wanted to emphasise knowing the characters you have in your party. You have 14 students and each of them has his or her individual abilities. So it's a combination of skill, weapons, and magic — trying to understand your characters... so that you can fully equip them appropriately — so you can send them into the mission. Of course, there is an ideal way of beating your monsters, but you also want to be faced with the reality of if you don't plan appropriately, you've got the reality of failure of the mission. And I felt it wouldn't be right to spoon feed the direction — it kind of spoils the fun of being able to strategise and go into battle and execute your plans seamlessly."

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Adds Easy Mode, Cuts Co-op

However, that's not to say that Tabata was unsympathetic to players who might find the game unenjoyable because of its difficulty. Not only has the PSP game's annoyingly long loading time for a mission retry been vastly improved, he has opted to create a new easy mode for the HD version of the game.

In the PSP version of the game, normal attacks do little damage. As Tabata put it, "The main mechanic of [the game] is not just hitting the enemy and attacking the enemy, it's more about strategising and getting the enemy off guard and knocking them down." However, he understands that this can be difficult. So in the new easy mode, characters do more damage, level up quicker, and have higher defence. However, he hopes that once people master the easy mode, they will play it on normal mode as it was originally designed.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Adds Easy Mode, Cuts Co-op

Yet, while some features have been added or tweaked, others have been cut in their entirety — namely coop. The original PSP game allowed you to play ad-hoc with up to two other human players in your party. However, to do that in the HD release, the coop mode would have had to be entirely redesigned for online play; so the feature was removed.

"The reason why we made this decision was because what prompted us to make a Western version of Type-0 in the first place was the demand from the fans. So we wanted to deliver the game as quickly as possible to the fans. So rather than taking time to remake [the coop mode], I would rather keep as many of the original elements as possible but still deliver a game as quickly as possible to satisfy the demands of the fans."

Final Fantasy Type-0 will be released in North America and Europe on March 21, 2015 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It will include a playable demo of Tabata's other upcoming game, Final Fantasy XV.


    The fact that he said the horrible design was "by design", is why squeenix cant make it anymore.
    Also the fact they make a game for like 10 years, probably remaking it and stumbling around for yonks, that turns out to be crap, like ff13 (and possibly ff15).

      I don't know about that. Tabata seems to actually know what he's doing. It's not poor design if the game is difficult when you don't plan correctly or play badly.

      Tabata being attached to FFXV is why I'm actually fairly confident it will actually get released. While the rest of the company was busy fucking around for decades on FFXIII and Versus XIII, he was one of the guys actually shipping completed games. Also both the FF entries he directed - Crisis Core and Type-0 - were actually good, in stark contrast to the three installments of XIII we ended up getting.

        How can you plan for the unknowable though like in these circumstances? I did like the combat in crysis core, thought the story was still pretty bad though with tons of cliche anime/jrpg tropes.

          Just in regards to this and the bolded texts in your other comments, I find that design to be quite enjoyable.
          As Tabata said it was by design, it wasn't meant to cater for everyone. You know its perma-death per mission so players are supposed to be careful and ration the usage of each characters. And its only 'difficult' not 'impossible' - even when you have no ranged characters you can still beat flying enemies with magic and evade+attack when they're close (and frankly I don't remember there being a flying boss that flies all the time).
          Having lost your ranged characters doesn't mean its game over.

      People like feeling superior and fail to understand why or how fun and enjoyment can be gained in ways that don't test your strength at something. I think for me the "by design" comment is irritating because losing half an hour to an hour in a handheld game is insane. If i have half an hour to play on a train i'd rather not feel like i've accomplished absolutely nothing and then have to sit through an overly long loading screen.

      What i don't understand is why people argue against even the option of an easy mode. Makes no sense. I loved persona 4 on ps2 and played it on normal, on the vita it was a different story, the difficulty that was endearing in a home setting suddenly became irritating. Hence; easy mode.

      I applaud a game for being intentionally hard. It means that you have to plan and coordinate a strategy and spend time thinking about how to Beat it

    ^ I don't understand why you're being so pessimistic about this? They've had so long to polish it up, it's not like Watch_Dogs or Destiny mate. Cut them a bit of slack, considering they've had different directors in these 2 games than their previous 4-8 (Including Spin-offs).

    FFXV Was remade once - due to them being able to develop for the PS4 and X1. For a company that are incredibly money hungry, do you not think that if they were stumbling around for yonks, they would have cancelled the project already? No?

    And your horrible design comment... Lol, So you find a game that's difficult and challenging is 'horrible design' because you can't beat it? Hahaha. Not trying to be a dick, but seriously?

    Last edited 23/09/14 8:01 am

      I'm just not part of the large circle jerk that is dark souls I guess. If you want a game to be hard, you put in an appropriate difficulty curve, it only makes sense. Throwing someone who cant swim into the deep end is archaic and the only people who appreciate it nowdays, are a very small group of certain kinds of gamer. Not entirely sure what makes you think I can't beat a hard game, I'm just complaining about squeenix's design choices. Your epeen is clearly showing in that last comment. Also what is wrong with multiple difficulty levels to begin with? You appease all audiences that way.

      Also I dont see how you can say its not poor game design, if your ranged characters are dead, you cant beat a boss, so why didnt the game end when your ranged characters died before the fight? Instead your standing there, while some thing flies around you and you just sit there I guess, taking damage till game over - did you even know the boss was going to require ranged characters? How is this even debatable?

      They have already said, they didnt just "remake ff15 it for ps4/xbone" it got massively changed when the new director came on. In a similar way, FF13 ended up being a wishy washy pile of garbage with the worst story in any barely recent final fantasy, most of squeenix's last gen rpgs, like Star ocean TLH, infinite undiscovery and etc, also horrible, horrible games. I have severe doubts, esp with anything that has been in development hell for 10 years, is going to end up good.

      Last edited 23/09/14 8:12 am

        Tetsuya Nomura has been the games only director for the last 8-9 years since the game has been in development, with the ONLY Director change being this recent announcement at TGS.

        I've never played Dark Souls - so I'm not sure of that kind of learning curve. However as the article mentioned, the only difficulty in this game is the fact that there are no Resurrection spells or phoenix downs (or rather, little to none PD's). That means you have to think about what team mates you have out for the fight... It's not hard, it's strategy. FF13 is not as bad as you are making it out to be. Yes it was no where near as glorious as 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 - but it's not as shit as "you are making it out to be".

        EDIT: I've been following this game since '08 so perhaps I'm just optimistic. It's really appealed to me in terms of setting and lore and with the gameplay looking like a really fine mix between Kingdom Hearts and FF... I've got a lot to look forward to. Tetsuya did great with Kingdom Hearts. He hasn't disappointed me so I haven't got any reason to be pessimistic about 15.

        Last edited 23/09/14 8:27 am

          I think the story and characters in ff13 are as shit as I am making it out to be. The gameplay, while fluctuating quite a lot in it's difficulty, was ok. Also, I think the other squeenix rpg's from last gen are def as bad as I made them out to be.

          Like I said, having no revives means that you effectively sit there against a boss you cant fight, while you may consider it a difficulty issue, I consider it bad game design, maybe it's a bit of both?

          "Director Hajime Tabata estimates that Final Fantasy 15 is currently around 55 percent complete, though the game changed drastically after he took over the project two years ago." quote from an article today on another major gaming website about ff15, Not entirely sure we are allowed to link to competitors in kotaku comments tbh? But more than happy to if it's acceptable here. From my understanding Nomura was the old director, from about 2 years ago, but moved due to something about kingdom hearts 3 needing his help.

          Last edited 23/09/14 8:27 am

            Personally, story in 13 was great - characters, yeah agreed - they were cxnts ;) But I'm glad that there are characters that I don't like more than others in a game. It creates diversity. Haven't played any of the RPG's you've mentioned from their latest gen (Let alone heard of them) so I can't comment in regards to those.

            Yeah please link that site or even PM it to me, I'd be interested in reading it.

              I dont think you can PM on this site. If you google the quote, I'm sure you'll find it.

              Last edited 23/09/14 8:36 am

                In regards to that article. I'm surprised that no other site has covered it, IE: Ign, Gamespot, Polygon, Gametrailers or even Kotaku itself. To be honest I'm taking that with a grain of salt, but don't find it impossible.

                Regardless, He's (Nomura) done the base story (whether that's the entire story arc, I do not know) Character concept, and design concept.

                As a director he would have a lot of things on his plate, IE: co-ordination of programming, story, character design, world design, monster design, etc etc. You've seen the trailer? I'm not sure if you are aware of how much work as to be put in for the animations that this game has - it looks so dam fluid it's unbelievable.

                EDIT: And upon reading this I've seen it on Kotaku. Wish Kotaku AU got the same articles...

                Last edited 23/09/14 10:18 am

            Nomura sat on it for the better part of a decade, but when they made the decision to rename it to XV and move it to PS4 & Xbox One, they brought Tabata in as co-director so things would actually get done. And now they've had Nomura move off it completely. It sounds like they basically threw away most of what they'd done and started over as well.

              Nomura's been shifted onto projects that can't be completed without Nomura, IE: Kingdom Hearts 3. That's good news. Tabata can easily push this forward.

            So having no revives will effectively make you plan a strategy and play smart to protect those who can hurt flyers, wouldn't you think?

        I'm quite pleased Tabata has the directorship and it gives me reasonable hope for FFXV. As FF14 players know, directorship made a world of difference there - Yoshi-P took a broken, boring MMORPG and turned it into something worth playing.

        Very glad to see FFT0 hitting our shores too. Bit sad that we're losing Co-op, but glad to be getting the game at all. :)

      Lol, So you find a game that's difficult and challenging is 'horrible design' because you can't beat it? Hahaha. Not trying to be a dick, but seriously?

      You are trying to be a dick and are. Not everyone plays game for the benefit of internet pissing contests. It's like saying only difficult movies to understand are worthwhile because the story is theoretically richer; ignorant and idiotic.

        "Not everyone plays game for the benefit of internet pissing contests." No idea how that even comes across in my question? I was asking a genuine question, I apologize if your jimmies were rustled in the midst of it.

    I am super keen for this game, CAN't WAIT!

    I bought the PSP version of this game and now I'll finally be able to play it in English! Still wish it was on PS Vita though...

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