With E3 less than two weeks away, perhaps the most disappointing news Final Fantasy fans could hear is that for the second year in a row, Final Fantasy XV will be missing from the show. Not even a shiny, new E3 trailer will be shown. Instead, Square Enix is giving fans a pre-E3 hands-on preview of Final Fantasy XV through an update to the Episode Duscae demo. The unprecedented demo patch will launch Episode Duscae 2.0 on June 9, 2015, at 8:00 PDT. In the meantime, Director Hajime Tabata and Marketing Manager Akio Ofuji answer fans’ top questions from the original Episode Duscea demo experience, delve into development progress, outline key changes to the game’s storyline, and unveil a mysterious new character in the latest Active Time Report livestream.
Clocking in at over an hour, Active Time Report 6.0 offers a meaty helping of juicy Final Fantasy XV development reveals. Tabata outlines key changes that have come about in the game’s story as it has made its transition from Final Fantasy Versus XIII to Final Fantasy XV. First off, fans, say farewell to Stella. Her character is no more. Stella’s replacement is a heroine named Luna. No further details are provided other than the role she plays is completely different from what was planned for Stella. Providing some consolation to those concerned about the predominantly male game cast, Tabata assures the audience other characters previously seen in Versus XIII promotional materials, like the female dragoon and woman with dark hair, will be in the game.
In addition to Luna, another mysterious figure appears to be planned for the game and, like many Final Fantasy characters, he carries a big sword. Tabata takes a moment during the presentation to showcase a “rough” preview of key art for a character whose final artwork is planned to be revealed at Gamescom later this year.
Second, the Niflheim attack on the crown city of Insomnia (which the director mentions is modeled after Shinjuku, Japan) will not be Final Fantasy XV‘s opening act. The timing of combat sequence no longer happens in the timeline as seen in the 2011 trailer. Noctis flees Insomnia before the attack begins. The director could not elaborate more without spilling some spoilers, but promised players will get to fight in the gloomy city streets at some point in the final game.
“However, we realize there are fans who had been looking forward to Versus, and can’t help but think that this game is turning out to be different from Versus. So, I wanted to take this time to tell you, before we start promoting FFXV at Gamescom, that this is indeed a different game now, and that we will be taking steps to promote FFXV to you — our fans — with confidence from here on out.”
The reason for some of these changes? Tabata notes it was decided at a “company level” to ensure the story of Final Fantasy XV would fit into a single game. After much debate, it was decided to be “as faithful as possible” to the original Versus story, but to make the changes necessary to achieve the self-contained story goal. Writer of the original story, Kazushige Nojima, delivered a special comment for the livestream, addressing the changes.
“As director Mr. Tabata just announced, the plot that was developed during the Versus era has served as the basis for the story in FFXV. I am sure they will have to make many changes as they adapt my draft into a more detailed script, but I believe that the important things I wanted to express will be taken to another level by the XV team. As I express my support, I will be waiting with all my heart for XV to be completed just like everybody else.”
Letting go of what Versus XIII could have been may be a little easier for gamers to digest with a look at what Final Fantasy XV is becoming. The overview video for Episode Duscae 2.0 shows off changes made to the demo, based on player feedback.
Is getting the Episode Duscae 2.0 demo enough tide you over until the next Active Time Report broadcasts live in August at Gamescom? Or would you have liked more to be detailed and revealed at E3? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images courtesy Square Enix]