After making an appearance at Gamescom, the Final Fantasy XV team traveled to Seattle to hold a special session of its Active Time Report show at PAX Prime. The two speakers were the game's director, Hajime Tabata, and the marketing manager, Akio Ofuji. Aside from updating fans on the development process, both men also talked about the game's release date and showed new gameplay footage.
One of the initial topics during the discussion was about Tabata's comments at Gamescom regarding the game's release date. Rumors surfaced at the show, claiming the game was set for release next year. Tabata neither confirmed nor denied the rumors, only saying that he would not be pleased if the game arrived in 2017.
At PAX Prime, he clarified his comments, saying that he only said it to address concerns, adding that the heads of Square Enix were not happy, to say the least, that he said anything about the release date at all.
In less than a month, the company seems to have reversed its mood about the release date statement, and although specifics were left out, Tabata confirmed that the game will be available some time in 2016.
More details are bound to appear in the coming months, specifically during the Tokyo Game Show, as well as other announcements in the winter. The exact release date, however, won't be revealed until a special event slated for March 2016. This allows the team to coordinate its collaboration efforts as well as to continue to improve the game.
During development, it's uncommon for developers to reveal the intricacies of the overall progress. Still, this didn't stop Tabata from showing fans various portions of the game that still need work from the team. With the help of a few video clips, he showed the status of a few parts of the game in progress, such as making the fire effects more realistic, enabling party members to follow the protagonist (Noctis) when he climbs a ladder, and fine-tuning combat gameplay.
There was also a series of concept artwork that was shown at Gamescom, but fans watching the livestream a few weeks ago couldn't see it due to technical difficulties. Tabata and Ofuji also made a point to show the artwork as well as a few comparisons to the final product in-game -- which was nearly identical, with the only difference being changes to lighting and enhanced details.
The Open Road
The focus of the new, revealed gameplay was the Regalia, the car frequently used by Noctis and his friends throughout the story. Previously owned by Noctis's father, King Regis, Tabata highlighted a few features of the game's driving aspect.
The player can choose from one of two modes of travel with the Regalia, auto or manual. Auto puts one of Noctis's friends as the driver, leaving the player, as Noctis, to sit in the back seat and just admire the scenery. Manual implies that Noctis will take over the wheel and drive the team. Both modes allow Noctis the ability to get out at anytime, putting a stop to the trip to explore areas, restock supplies or fight enemies in the vicinity.
While the car is moving, players can choose from one of four views -- driver, joyride, tail and scenic -- to see the characters and the world around them. Tabata added that the car is obviously fueled by gasoline, and players need to be mindful about it during the game as it can run out, forcing players to get out and push the car to a safe location while searching for more fuel.
Next On Agenda
With March 2016 firmly set as the release date reveal, Tabata and the rest of the development team will continue to talk more about various aspects of the game in the coming months. Fortunately, we know that the next Active Time Report show will be at the Tokyo Game Show in a few weeks. Tabata will talk about another character, Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, as well as the game's fishing activity and the ever-popular creature known as the "chocobo."