As it turns out, Final Fantasy fans have OPINIONS. And Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata is listening very closely to those opinions.
In a presentation last night that was chock full of interesting details about the upcoming 15th Final Fantasy game (for Xbox One and PS4; no release date yet), Tabata and Square Enix marketing manager Akio Ofuji read through a list of the most common criticisms of Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae, the demo they released last month. They nailed just about every legitimate complaint — and remarkably, Tabata promised that almost all of them will be addressed, not only in the final game but possibly in a patch that they hope to release for the demo in late May.
Yep, a patch. For a demo. Final Fantasy!
The video's really long, and I imagine most of you don't have the time or energy to sit through an hour and a half of subtitles, so I put together the full list of criticisms Tabata addressed. (If you do want to watch the whole video, it's on the bottom of this article.)
Here's the list:
1) "The lock-on is useless" - Lock-on doesn't keep enemies on screen; the camera doesn't follow them properly. Tabata agreed, noting that you could press R3 for a better lock-on option, but that the demo never quite made that clear. Things will be FIXED.
2) "The camera is too close, I can't tell what's going on." Especially during battles and in confined spaces. "Not being able to tell what's going on in the game is unacceptable," Tabata said, promising that they have got a lot of work left to do on the camera. "...Ultimately, we may consider allowing the player to choose from different camera distances."
3) Poor/"heavy" camera control: "We'll make sure the camera is smoother."
4) "The AI is dumb. Allies get in the way." Players say that party members get in Noct's way as they try to move around. For the final game, Tabata said he wants to get more feelings of camaraderie — bros broing out — so they're doing plenty more work on the AI, and adding a lot more of the types of bro interactions you see in the demo. "The demo is just a glimpse of what might be possible," he said. So this will presumably become less of a problem.
5) "The jaggies. But the drop in frame-rate is even more concerning." They're going to add anti-aliasing to fix the jaggies. Frame-rate — which they say was the #1 complaint from players in North America and Europe — is a "high-priority issue," Tabta said. They're going to prioritise it during optimisation. Their goal is "full HD" (1080p) and 30FPS, but frame-rate is more important to them than resolution. (Smart!)
6) "So I get that motion is realistic. But because of that, it feels slow." Heavy weapons will feel sluggish, Tabata noted. "We are highly focused on footing, or being connected to the ground." Immersion is a big thing for them, which might have led to these complaints. Tabata wondered if this particular gripe drew from people watching the E3 2013 trailer — which Tabata admits was a target, not a reflection of real gameplay — and thinking combat should look more like that.
7) "Can you at least add a minimap or compass?" That's the plan. They're also looking into a radar of some sort to show where enemies/allies are on screen, although Tabata won't promise that.
8) "I want a dodge action that doesn't rely on MP." There actually is a dodge roll, Tabata said — that will be your default dodge action. The "warp-dodge" that was in the demo is a higher-level dodge; the normal dodge-roll couldn't be implemented for Duscae.
9) "A game that's all about hiding behind rocks and replenishing MP." Huh. "That's one way to put it," Tabata said, laughing. I guess the real complaint here is that people had to spend too much time regenerating their MP, which Tabata says won't really be a problem, because in the final game you'll have many more options in combat — magic, combos, etc. — and battles will be shorter, so you won't have to replenish MP as much. But Tabata said he likes the strategy of running away and recovering MP when you're in a pinch. "It will be about how you construct your battles with the available MP."
10) "Battles are too difficult. No, battles are too easy." Japanese players said the game was too hard; Western players said it was too easy. "I think the best solution is to include difficulty options," Tabata said. They're planning on a simultaneous worldwide release for FFXV instead of releasing first in Japan and then in the rest of the world.
11) "It's too monotonous." Battles felt repetitive, players said, both because of control issues and because they were way too lengthy. The devs said they're thinking about adding button remapping. "The monotony is probably due to battles feeling long," Tabata said, adding that in the real game, you'll have more options, so battles won't feel as repetitive.
12) "The stamina needed for dashing is annoying." Tabata and Ofuji both agreed that this isn't really a problem, although they said that dashing distance and speed could be improved by eating certain foods at camp.
13) Players would like to see warping usable as a regular means for moving around. "Until some part of February, this was actually possible," Tabata said. That was the plan, but it caused a lot of bugs, so they scrapped warps for regular field movement. All that said, Tabata noted that the final release will offer a lot more warp points, especially in battles — "It will become part of your strategy."
14) "Please let me cancel attacks by evading." Tabata agreed. "I was actually screaming inside for this too." In the final game, you'll be able to evade mid-attack.
15) "Lots of bugs."
Ofuji: "We're very sorry."
Tabata: "Who would have thought you could get to Titan like that?"
You can watch the entire presentation with English subtitles right here: