‘Final Fantasy XV:’ Tech Demo, Aranea Highwind Revealed During ATR

Today, Square Enix Presents hosted the first Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report live stream event since the Tokyo Game Show. After a four month break, Director Hajime Tabata and Global Marketing Director Akio Ofuji returned to deliver a game development progress report and revealed the latest Final Fantasy XV gameplay news.

Final Fantasy XV Progress Report

Tabata opened the Active Time Report with a brief progress report detailing the development progress thus far. As detailed in November on Twitter, the Square Enix team has kept PR and other marketing initiatives to a minimum to knuckle down on Final Fantasy XV‘s development.

During today’s Active Time Report, Tabata confirmed the pre-beta version of Final Fantasy XV was complete in November, and that the game development is currently in a beta status.

“From November onwards we have been working on the beta build and the end is pretty much in sight for that now.”

Tabata elaborated on the definition of a beta build to ensure viewers were all on the same page.

“A beta build has all the final content that will go into the game and describes the state where all that is left to do is the final debugging, polishing and localization work. And according to Square Enix’s official rules, we are allowed to announce the release date for a game once it gets to this stage in development.”

From that statement, fans can infer the possibility of a Final Fantasy XV beta by March 30, when the Final Fantasy XV release date is confirmed to be unveiled.

Playable Tech Demo Inbound

While Episode Duscae was an actual snippet of the game for players to sink their gaming teeth into, and something only made available to those who purchased Day One editions of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Tabata says that something a “wider audience can enjoy” is going to soon be made available. Ofuji teased it would include some variety of “new, original features.” When will information on this playable tech demo be released? During the upcoming, much-hyped March event.

March Final Fantasy XV Event Unveiled

The official title of the March event is “Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV.” It is scheduled to take place on March 30 at 7 p.m. PST and held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. Ofuji invites those fans eager to enjoy the festivities to attend the event, which will also be live streamed globally. Tabata confirmed that the release date, price, and contents of the game will all be revealed during the presentation.

Playing With Fire

The ATR live stream event also gave fans some enlightening details about how magic is implemented in Final Fantasy XV. Recently released screenshots show Noctis wielding fire magic. Tabata explains that specific objects and bits of the environment are classified as flammable. If those areas or objects are targeted with fire magic, they burn and the flames gradually spread to other flammable things. However, if it’s raining outside the flames won’t catch or spread. When players choose to use Fire magic against enemies, they have to think strategically about the consequences since friends and foes alike take damage from it. Ofuji explains how it all works in terms veterans can appreciate.

“In Final Fantasy, Fire is usually one of the earliest spells you use and affects just a single enemy, right? And it slowly increases in power and becomes a wide-area attack… but Fire in FFXV is an area-effect spell that affects the environment right from the start…”

Fire won’t be the only magic available for Noctis to wield. He will also have Blizzard and Thunder magic at his disposal. This level of detail extends to all magic spells in FFXV; although, the spell selection will be limited. While the limitation may be disappointing to some fans, Tabata explains his vision for magic in Final Fantasy XV.

“Our policy for magic was to make each individual spell have great meaning and purpose in the game. So the design philosophy of going for quality over quantity applies equally to both the elemental and ring magic.”

Final Fantasy XV is host to two distinctive types of magic; one discipline is created from natural elements (i.e. Fire) and the another discipline, called ring magic, is only available to members of the royal family. The details on ring magic have yet to be revealed, but Tabata has confirmed it only becomes available later in FFXV‘s storyline.

Political Ladder of Niflheim

Tabata also gives fans a closer look at the characters central to the political hierarchy currently presiding over Niflheim in Final Fantasy XV. Iedolas Aldercapt is described as a “semi-retired” emperor, who may be a simple figurehead. Chancellor Ardyn Izunia is the “slightly humorous,” “incredibly shrewd” man effectively running the political side of the empire. Under his charge are the governors and researchers. Verstael is a researcher responsible for inventing the Magitek armor used by the military. The imperial military forces consist of captains and a Magitek Infantry led by General Glauca, who looks like quite the tank.

Meet Aranea Highwind: The Female Dragoon Character

Finally, fans can call the mysterious female dragoon character by her name: Aranea Highwind. Tabata is still keeping most of her details under wraps, but Aranea has officially been introduced. What the FFXV director would say is that Aranea is a human military officer from Niflheim. She seems to be a fierce warrior judging from her latest appearance in the video clip and her confirmed role is the captain of a Niflheim mercenary unit called the Third Army Corps 87th Airborne Unit.

What do you think of the latest Final Fantasy XV news? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Image via Square Enix]