The prospect of Noctis and co. coming to a PC is already intriguing enough. But the thought of gamers being able to mess around with Final Fantasy XV with an official mod editor? Oh boy.
In my chat with Hajime Tabata at Gamescom, we touched upon something PC gamers hold near and dear to their heart: mods. Mods aren't traditionally something that naturally sits side by side with the FF universe, given their console roots, but Tabata explained via a translator FF15 on PC wasn't a port - and part of that meant including features that PC players know and love.
"The policy we want to have is as few limitations as possible, so what we're looking into now and the direction we're considering is a dedicated mod editor and releasing that to users," he said.
Tabata clarified that the team was still "investigating the right way to go" and that nothing is set in stone. So everything could come undone still. But Square's policy is that they want to afford as much freedom to users as possible - much like the first-person mode - and an official mod editor was the best way to do that.
I also chatted to Tabata on other topics, including visiting Australia, Square's collaboration with NVIDIA, why they introduced the first-person mode, and more:
How the PC version was developed
Tabata: The technical development actually started last year, a separate development line from the one that we used to work on the console version. Around the beginning of this year we split out the teams, we started moving members over to this new PC development team, getting the system and environment to run the PC game on. So it was really two separate lines with a bit of a switch-over.
NVIDIA's role in development
Kotaku: When it comes to proprietary code, like NVIDIA's Hairworks technology and the new grass tech, does NVIDIA write the code for that, or do they make suggestions for the code and that's implemented, how does that work?
Tabata: In the usual way of doing these things, it's the second option, where they give advice and we follow it. But this time around it's a very different way of working. So we've got NVIDIA engineers come to work together in the same team as our guys, and they go directly into our engine and work on what they need to do within that engine framework. So it's quite a unique way on working.
On not being a PC port
Tabata: In order to go against the idea of a port completely, we've moved one hardware generation beyond where [consoles are] now. We looked at the situation - there's a lot of consoles out there, but there's an equally large group of people who play on PC as well. What we wanted to do was to create a version of FF15 just for them, what PC players would expect.
And we felt rather than doing a direct port from the console one, we should spend that extra time, that year or so doing those technical investigations and improving the specs and everything, and then release a version which was tailored just for what a PC gamer would expect.
On not having a break
Tabata: I'm still busy this year, of course, but it's not as bad as it was last year. I couldn't even take one day off last year, but it's getting better.
On visiting Australia
Hajime Tabata: There was a PAX Australia last year, an event I was really looking forward to but I couldn't go to it in the end. We really want to do a lot more PR stuff in Australia in the future, but unfortunately the schedule is so tight sometimes it doesn't allow.
Why FF15 is launching on Origin
Tabata: We felt that there's a lot of users, players on Origin who would have not had an experience with Final Fantasy in the past. So we were really looking for a chance to do something like that, which is why we approached EA and asked them to help us with that and allow us onto their platform. They were very open to it, very positive, they loved the idea, so that's why we decided to go on Origin.
I mean really, we're looking at different groups in different ways. So you've got the people who traditionally follow FF a lot. And we tried to create FF15 as a game that would work for them, basically give them a new and improved, innovative, new generation FF game, and we wanted them to receive it in that way. But at the very same time we very much valued the people who never had any experience with FF before, don't follow the series, and to be a game that they react well to and see as something they would be interested in and would like to play too. Both opinions are very important to us.
The author travelled to Gamescom as a guest of NVIDIA.