Square Enix shared new information on Final Fantasy XV during its Active Time Report panel at PAX Prime in Seattle this evening.
Get our summary below. (Update: View new screenshots and artwork here.)
■ Release Window and Release Date Announcement Event
Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata confirmed a 2016 release window for the game.
“Sorry I wasn’t very straightforward in making those comments at the previous event,” Tabata said. “I want to take this opportunity at PAX Prime to announce that we will officially release Final Fantasy XV in 2016.”
Square Enix will hold a major event in March 2016 where it will announce the official release date of Final Fantasy XV. The reason for the March timing, according to Tabata, is that Square Enix has many collaborative efforts that they need to make sure are in place, as well as to ensure the game is at the level of quality they want it to be.
■ Final Fantasy XV Progress Report Vol. 1
Square Enix rolled a video highlighting various areas and features of Final Fantasy XV worked on by different staff members, indicating the progress of each area. Tabata notes that there are some things in there that he can’t discuss further because they contain spoilers. It’s worth noting that it’s the first time we see Cor Leonis in game, a samurai enemy, and Noctis wielding a gun.
Here’s an interesting screen cap from the video, showcasing the game’s still in development main menu for the first time. In it, we see various options, including “Map,” “Drive,” “Quests,” “Strategy,” “Equipment,” “Abilities,” “Magic,” “Summons,” Items,” and “Collection.”
■ Concept Art
Altissia is a town modeled after Venice, Italy. The quality of the in-game Altissia will be on par with the pre-render, according to Tabata.
Hammerhead and Lestallum
Hammerhead is a maintenance shop modeled after the hammerhead shark. Cindy is shown in the artwork, but she is not the owner of the shop.
“I think any Final Fantasy fan will get the idea if I say ‘that mechanic’ from the Final Fantasy series [is the owner],” Tabata said. “Did you notice the little old man taking a nap on the right side of the screen?”
In the center of Lestallum, there is a large structure that plays a major role in the town. That structure is how the town gets its power. Within the structure, there is a huge crater, and within that, the meteor is still burning.
The following art showcases the open, seamless world where players can stop at any time, make camp, and bond with their party.
This is a “very important” piece of concept art, according to Tabata. Noctis and his friends use this car to go on their journey. The owner of the car is King Regis, Noctis’ father. The key theme in Final Fantasy XV is the “bond between friends,” but another key theme is the “bond between father and son,” so while Noctis is traveling with his friends, he is indirectly bonding with his father.
Eidolons in Final Fantasy XV have their own personalities, are smart, and play a “vital role” in the story. The Leviathan pictured here is female and connected to Altissia in some way.
This artwork depicts how the world of Final Fantasy XV came to be. The old fatherly figured pictured on the right side of the screen is Ramuh. He and other Eidolons are involved in the creation of the game’s world. While the artwork may look very western, Tabata notes that all the concepts that are included have a “very Japanese background.”
Lunafreya Nox Fleuret
This artwork depicts Luna fleeing a town after it’s been invaded.
“We’re actually going to reveal some more information concerning Luna at our Tokyo Game Show event, but what I really wanted to get across is that she’s a very strong character, a very strong woman,” Tabata said.
As a bonus, a tiny new piece of Luna concept art can be found here.
This is the Caem Outpost. Right behind this outpost is the ocean. During the course of their adventure, Noctis and his friends will arrive here and take a boat across the ocean to a town called Alcordo.
Asked if the boats will be rendered in real-time and with seamless travel, Tabata said: “Yes, of course, everything will be rendered in real-time. You’ll get in the boat in real-time, seamlessly. Your travel across the ocean in real-time, as well… But you won’t be journeying on the boat, as well. It’s sort of a one-way trip, in that sense.”
■ Driving Gameplay
Square Enix debuted new footage of Final Fantasy XV focused on the game’s driving aspect. Tabata notes that they changed the position of the steering wheel from the right side of the car to the left side as a result of discussions with the team.
When you get in the car, you can choose between auto and manual mode. When you choose auto, you set a destination and the car will begin running towards that destination. Ignis takes the wheel in auto, but you still have control and can stop the car when you like. There is also gasoline. If you run out of gasoline, you’ll need to get out and push your card to the nearest gas station.
In auto, there is a “Joyride View,” which lets you travel along as “one of the guys” and see how the characters interact, as well as a “Driver View” which lets you see the road through Ignis’ eyes, and a “Scenic View” that lets you see the drive from a more cinematic perspective.
You can stop the car and get out at any point to explore to your liking. Your car will sit where you last get out until you return to it.
Spots that are labeled with a “P” are parking spots that you can have your car drive to and automatically park.
In the video, Noctis and friends drive to the Caem Outpost, which is showcased in the concept art above. Prompto proceeds to yell “Yahoo!” over the ocean winds, telling Noctis he has to try it. Noctis doesn’t try it. (Come on, Noct, live a little.)
■ Avalanche Studios Collaboration
Square Enix shared a video message from Avalanche Studios’ Christofer Sundberg who briefly discusses the collaboration between Square Enix and Avalanche Studios regarding sharing technology for the development of Final Fantasy XV. Discussions are still early, so there’s not much else to say at this point, but Avalanche Studios has a mutual desire to work with the Square Enix development team.
■ Official Twitter Account
■ Tokyo Game Show Active Time Report
Square Enix will host another Active Time Report at the Tokyo Game Show in mid-September where it will reveal more details about Luna, as well as the game’s fishing and chocobo features.
Watch the full Active Time Report below.