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Full Recap of Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report 6.0

June 4th, 2015 by Joey

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Square Enix’s 6th Active Time report for Final Fantasy XV occurred on June 4th. Many details were discussed between Director Hajime Tabata and Marketing Manager Akio Ofuji.

The first thing discussed in the ATR was the survey results from Episode Duscae 1.0. Ofuji revealed that the finalised data from the survey would be uploaded onto an official website, which should be ready by Gamescom (August 5th-9th 2015).

Due to the large amount of text, the recap has been placed under a read more.

Buying and Selling Items in Bulk

Ofuji mentioned that there were four things from the survey that he wanted to address. The first of these was the purchases and selling of bulk items. Tabata agreed that this would be beneficial to all who play Final Fantasy XV and this will be in the final version of the game. He also talked about the different types of items Noctis will collect. These include items just for selling to get Gil, items to customise your car, and items Ignis can cook to give you status boosts.

Background Music and Sound Effects

The second topic of discussion was about the field and background music. Currently, in Episode Duscae, there is no music in the field sections, with music only coming in when battles start or when the retinue reaches a place like Wiz’s Chocobo Ranch. Tabata firstly address the environmental sound effects, saying that the sound team is eagerly working on programming the environmental sounds to change dynamically through AI control. If everything goes well in development then the sounds that surround Noctis will shift organically as the environment changes around them. If they’re unable to achieve this then Tabata says the effects will at least change when Noctis goes to different areas.

They then moved the discussion onto the background music. Using MMO’s like Final Fantasy’s XI and XIV as examples, Ofuji explains that there are areas where there is no music, just sound effects. As you move into new locations, however, music will start to play. In Episode Duscae, music was only included during combat and events but there will be more variety in the full game.

Water Features and Gameplay

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The third point touched upon was movement in the water. In Episode Duscae, the water only reached Noctis’ waist before the player hit an invisible barrier. In the E3 re-reveal, Noctis was seen fully swimming during a battle with Leviathan and fans were wondering if this same water-based freedom would be included in the main game. Tabata was hesitant to commit to including swimming and water battles into Final Fantasy XV, as it would take a lot of time from other priorities despite being possible during the PS1/2/3 generations. Using Noctis as an example, he goes into detail about how every weapon has different motions when being used. In water, brand new sets of animation would be have to be created which would take time out of other parts of Final Fantasy XV. Tabata did say that if it was just Noctis in the water, it might be possible, but fans should not expect this for the final release. He did toy with the idea of it being released as DLC, but this would only be done due to it being made after the initial game was complete so as to not take up time and resources, and is unlikely to come to fruition.

Including a Stamina Gauge in Final Version

The final topic of discussion from the survey was a stamina gauge. Most of the responses came from Japanese fans who would like a visual representation of Noctis’ stamina when running so they knew when he would tire out. While not dismissing the idea, Tabata did say there are other forms of travel in Final Fantasy XV, such as riding a chocobo and the car, but a something like a stamina gauge may be added for the final game.

List of Head of Departments Working on FFXV

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Hajime Tabata and Akio Ofuji then decided to release the names of a few people who have been working on Final Fantasy XV. These people are the heads of their department and oversea a lot of the development of Final Fantasy XV.

This list includes:
Hajime Tabata – Director
Tetsuya Nomura – Produced original idea and designed the world for Versus XIII, designed main characters for Final Fantasy XV.
Roberto Ferrari – Designed characters for Versus XIII, which have now been transferred to XV. He also designed Cidney.
Kazushige Nojima – Wrote the “Original Story” for FFXV.
Yasuaki Nasu – Development Manager
Takeshi Nozue  – Movie Director, previously worked on Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
Tomohiro Hasegawa – Art Director #1. Was original the art director on Versus XIII before the project because Final Fantasy XV. Previously worked on Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II.
Yusuke Naora – Art Director #2. Previously worked as Art Director on Final Fantasy’s VII, VIII, and X.
Isamu Kamikokuryo – Art Director #3. Previously worked on Final Fantasy X and as an Art Director on Final Fantasy’s XII and XIII.
Yasuyuki Matsuami – World Map Director
Akira Iwata – 3D Graphic Director
Hiroshi Iwasaki – Lead Engineer for Luminous Studio. He also worked on the tech demo “Agni’s Philosophy“.
Takeshi Aramaki – Leader of the combined Luminous and Ebony studios.
Masashi Takizawa – Game Designer. Did the level design on Versus XIII.
Masanori Sato – Game Designer. Did the battle design on Versus XIII.
Kenichiro Yuji – Game Designer. Was Battle Director on Type-0.
Prasertvithyakarn Prasert – Comrade Character’s AI and Behaviour Planner from Thailand.
Yuuichi Kanemori – Lead Enemy Designer and programming enemies. Was previously Planning Director on Kingdom Hearts II.
Takayuki Kanbayashi – Programming enemies.
Takeshi Terada – Level Design and Implementation for Episode Duscae. Previously worked on Level Design for Crisis Core and Type-0.
Kunihilo Kimura -Level Design and Implementation for Episode Duscae. Previously worked on Level Design for Versus XIII.
Saori Itamuro – Script Writer. Takes the script written by Nojima and works out the details of how it will play out in the game. Previously wrote the script for Dissida: Final Fantasy.
Toshiaki Hirota– Technical Artist.
Seiji Nanase – Event Artist.
Takaharu Aono – Ensuring Player-Character Connection in XV. Previously worked on Kingdom Hearts II.
Kenichi Shida – Lead 3DCG Animator
Yusuke Tanaka – Lead 3DCG Animator
Norihito Ueno – Previously worked on background environments, visual effects for Final Fantasy XIII.
Keiichi Kurita – Previously worked on background environments, visual effects for Final Fantasy XIII.
Kazutaka Kurosaka – Worked on 3D Characters for the Luminous team.
Yoko Shimomura – Composer for Final Fantasy XV.

Changes from Versus XIII to Final Fantasy XV

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After going through this extensive list, Director Hajima Tabata spoke frankly about the changes Final Fantasy Versus XIII underwent after it became Final Fantasy XV. There were a few main changes he noted, many of which indicate a big change from the original plan for Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

These changes are:

1) Final Fantasy XV’s story is told in one coherent game.

Tabata: “Earlier we touched on the role of Mr. Nojima in creating the original story and so I decided to take this opportunity to properly explain to everyone how that story has changed in the reboot from Versus XIII to XV, as well as what core values will drive how the story is put together. After we switched from Versus to XV, the first decision we made was to make sure that FFXV would have a complete, coherent story in one game. That was an important decision – one made at the company level, too.

“So I started thinking about how we could get a full, coherent story in a single game. And the crux of that was which elements from Versus we could carry over and which could not fit into the new structure as XV. So I went through everything in detail, seeing which areas we would have to change. By that time, a fair amount of information about the Versus story had already been released, so we tried to keep as many elements from it as we could.

“We tried hard in a number of areas but it would have been very difficult to carry over absolutely everything as it was. We considered what was possible with the new-gen hardware, as well as what elements absolutely must be included in XV but might fall through if not given top priority. It was not easy to nail down what was essential for the story to be contained in one title.

“Everyone involved was very sensitive in dealing with this, and we patiently debated numerous times, but we still couldn’t come up with a definitive answer. In the end, we decided to be as faithful as possible to Mr. Nojima’s story for Versus and focus on realizing the original story as much as we could. It goes without saying that I consulted with him on this. And he said that if I valued his original story, then it would still fulfil his vision even if not every single element he came up with was included in the end.

“So that gave us the confidence to set our goal, which was to create a narrative that utalizes Mr. Nojima’s original story as fully as possible.”

2) Stella is no longer in Final Fantasy XV.

Tabata: “Given that, I think many of you are concerned about how the story elements we have already shown for Versus have changed in the switch to FFXV so I want to shed some light on them. There are three main points that have changed from the information that we put out previously.

“The first is the presence of the character Stella. Stella was presented as the heroine to play opposite Noctis in Versus XIII. We wanted to keep her as a heroine in FFXV’s story, and pursued ways to tie her in to FFXV’s design as well, but we found it increasingly difficult to make sense of Stella’s character and role within FFXV. So then we thought, do we want to recreate Stella with a different role and image, or do we want to start over with a new heroine? And after a lot of consideration we decided not to include Stella in FFXV.
“Instead, we have a new heroine named Luna, who has a different role within the story. So we will be talking more about her in the future. “

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3) The Crown City of Insomnia

Tabata: “The second point is about the crown city of Insomnia which has been shown in the trailer as the opening for Versus XIII. There was a scene of a party taking place within the city. Now, if you have been following info on Versus, you may already know this, but there was sequence of scenes right after the party where the city is attacked by the enemy forces of Niflheim. That sequence has been deleted from FFXV. And there is a good reason behind it. Scenes like those had to be regressed because of a very critical factor.

“So now the sequence is: Noct and his retinue leave Insomnia, and then… What was it? Then the Niflheim army attacks the Crown City. There’s an extremely important reasons behind this decision. In fact it could be construed a spoiler, so I can’t tell you about it here. For now, I just wanted to let you know that the sequence at the party where we meet the heroine and the Niflheim army begins its attack is no longer a part of FFXV and that we have an entirely new sequence of events instead.”

4) Gameplay in Insomnia will be included.

Tabata: The third point is not a change. But as I just informed you, we decided to delete the scene of a part in Insomnia, which is a city like Shinjuku. So then we became concerned that the players who were looking forward to some gameplay in that city might worry that they would be losing that gameplay as well. So I thought I should let you know here and now that we are preparing situations that would involve gameplay in the Shinjuku-like city of Insomnia.

“We had previously released information on Versus saying you would begin combat right after the Niflheim army attacks the city, but in the new gameplay would not fall in around the same timeline. As for when and in what kind of situation the combat occurs, we would like for you to wait for future updates, and play the actual game, but we are working on something great, so I hope you will look forward to it.”

5) A Woman with Dark Hair and a Female Dragoon are still in FFXV.

Tabata: “Lastly, as we make these major changes that I just mentioned, there are other characters that we have introduced in the past, like a woman with dark hair, and a dragoon – a female dragoon. I would like to reiterate that these characters are still in the game with their own important roles within the story, so you can look forward to playing FFXV to find out about them. 

“All these things I have been talking about have been the subject of extensive debate, and were decided with a level of utmost resolve in order to make Final Fantasy XV into the best game possible, so, at least in our minds, these decisions are making the game better.

“However, we realize that 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. We will make absolutely no compromises as we head towards finalizing the best possible game, so I hope you look forward to FFXV. Thank you for your attention, and thank you for your continued support.”

Nojima’s Letter

At the conclusion of these changes, Akio Ofuji pulls out a letter written by Kazushige Nojima;

“This is Nojima.

As director Mr. Tabata just announced, the plot was developed during the Versus era has served 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.

Let me play it soon.”

Luminous Interviews

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Square Enix have employed a lot of people from around the world to help work on Final Fantasy XV. In a special video, many people who worked in Business Development No. 2 gave insight into the development of Final Fantasy XV.

Episode Duscae 2.0

Hajime Tabata unveiled the release date for the update coming to Final Fantasy XV -Episode Duscae-. The update will be available on June 9th following a few unexpected schedule delays with fixing the frame rate and a few issues addressed in the previous Active Time Report. A short trailer showing off a number of updates was then played.

Final Fantasy XV Not at E3

In the last Active Time Report, Hajime Tabata said that promotion for the full title, Final Fantasy XV (no more Duscae) would begin at Gamescom. He said that he was hoping to have a short trailer at E3 to tide fans over. Unfortunately the trailer for E3 is not able to go ahead. Tabata did reveal the contents of the no-longer-a-trailer, it would have just been old footage to prepare the viewers for Gamescom where new footage would be shown. He apologises for lying and hopes you are excited for the start of the full promotion.

A Mysterious Artwork

Hajime Tabata and Akio Ofuji had a surprise for the viewers of the ATR this morning. Unknown whether it would be kept in or cut from the Western ATR, Tabata held up a never-before-seen artwork featuring a man holding a young Noctis.

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Tabata unfortunately couldn’t say much about the picture, as Ofuji kept saying not to reveal anything about it, but it appears to be of great importance.

Type-0 HD on PC

Turning away from Final Fantasy XV, the next topic covered was Final Fantasy Type-0 HD coming to Steam, which was unveiled this week at Computex. The main reason Type-0 HD was brought to Steam was from many requests to play the game on PC and not on consoles.

Agni’s Philosophy WITCH Chapter 0 [cry]

WITCH Chapter 0 [cry] was previously shown at Microsoft events to showcase the power of Directx 12. While there are no intentions of making a game based off of Agni’s Philosophy, Tabata says it’s good to get use to future products for when they get around to making games on Directx 12 (Final Fantasy XV is being made with Directx 11).

That concluded the 76 minute Active Time Report 6.

  • Felipe Medeiros

    No more Stella, perhaps no more diving, cars, only male group, what maybe going to be a badass femalle (stella) being switched to a damsel in destress kind of character (Luna), maybe no airship control. Isnt this game just looking better and better?

  • Nick Greeley

    How do you know that Luna is a damsel in distress!? We’ve literally seen one scene of her sitting in a chair. All we know of her is that she’s Noctis’ friend, and is believed to be dead. That’s it.

  • AgitoXIII

    I like the new dual combat options in Duscae 2.0

  • Miqote

    It’s great to know there dedicated to FINISHING the main plot in ONE comprehensive game. Unlike how they handled FFXIII series. Now if we could just get some female playable characters we’d all be happy.

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  • rohieze

    FF XIII was written and presented as a standalone game that didn’t need sequels as well, just like every main series entry in the series have been. The sequels then expanded on that and started their own thing based off of the standalone game of FF XIII.

    Noctis will be the only playable character, I don’t know they haven’t made that clear enough already.

  • rohieze

    We have no idea what kind of a character Luna will be. Swimming gameplay will most likely still be a part of the game (it’s underwater combat that will probably get the axe). There was no airship control promised or present in the first place.

    Do you judge all of your games by the amount of diving in them? (Lol).

  • Felipe Medeiros

    Thees a maybe in there somewhere saying that is the impression Luna gave me. Im not even trolling, just think of how many “we promised that, but we cant do it anymore” we already got, over things that will be implemented in the game. To add that, they also said no World Map, that nomura propose and maybe no airship, something nomura too said will be there. Whats there to be excited about?

  • Nick Greeley

    They never promised us anything. Ever. “I promise” was never once said during development.

  • Gmoyajp

    Very Glad they keep dragoon women so glad and I’d dont mind stella gone and so far am looking forward to all the new changes in XV and look forward to all the news info about FFXV . so far it seems very promising and most hype I’d ever gotten on single player FF, Since X

  • Kara

    Though, it sort of sad to see many things you liked change or get omitted I am still glad they are sharing so much of the developement process. I hope after the realease of the game they reveal more of the initial story of XIII Versus. I am imensly releaved they keep the black haired girl! Whatever they say I still hope there will be a female playable character! I also hope that Luna is at least some really badass character and has a proper story and importance for the story. I wasn’t much interested in Stella but I liked the idea of her being opposite Noctis and her being a fencer! I also thought that the perspective would change between Noctis and Stella. I wish they would do that with Luna! I do hope she is not going to be another whitemage/ damsel in distress and I do hope they add some more proper, well designd female characters ( I am tired of such fanservice characters lige Cindy, she is the most boring character ever designed for ff)

  • stevenm281

    I actually love Cindy, the most boring FF character is Serah as well as Penelo and Vaan.

  • NotCarolKaye

    If Cindy was actually boring, you wouldn’t have singled her out. Of all the things in the demo and from trailers that you could’ve commented on, you zeroed in on her.

    Also, there is no direct correlation between finding a woman attractive and disrespecting women. I like how Cindy looks. I’m not ashamed of that. And unlike all of the people who’ve complained about her appearance, I actually respect the fact that she’s a master auto mechanic. She’s confidently proficient in a typically male dominated profession, but it doesn’t seem to count because she’s attractive. Real nice.

  • Miqote

    Yea but it doesnt help that she has her butt cheeks showing… She could have been toned down. Im all for females being “strong” and competing with males but her design could have been less “in your face”. So its no wonder why people feel she is fanservice.

  • NotCarolKaye

    Oh, so it’s “people” now who think she’s fanservice. You don’t feel like taking personal responsibility for slapping that label on her anymore? Or maybe you think representing your indefensible crapola as being backed by some sort of consensus will make it seem credible.

    There’s nothing wrong with how she looks. It’s disgusting to me that “people” saw some cleavage and closed the book on her. That’s what defined her to them. Then they go and complain that the developers are sexist.

  • Miqote

    First off its been complained about on other forums as well and has been an intense debate for a while now. So i didnt pull it out my rear. Calm the hell down and grow up. And let me tell your something, idont have an issue defending a damn thing ive ever said anywhere. So pull your head outta your ass. You dont know me so watch it.

    Youd be defending her and kissing the devs decisions whether she looked like that or not. Blind fanboyism at its best.

  • NotCarolKaye

    Wow, well you sure showed me. Nailed me with some iron clad logic there.

    If a bunch of people are saying something on an internet forum then it couldn’t possibly drivel. Totally.

    And Yes, I don’t know you. What an incredibly relevant fact to offer as a counter argument. I’ll be sure to watch it all right.

    Finally, I concede that blind fanboyism is the only possible reason why anybody’d claim to like Cindy’s appearance. I tried to sell it, but seriously, what kind of odd human being would like to look at an attractive person? They just put her in the game to test mindlessly deferential fans like me. To see if we’d wrongly defend them against mature intelligent people like you.

    So that’s me put in my place. Whew. I just never dreamed that you’d be able to deliver such an eloquent, factual evisceration of my position.

  • Kara

    What do you mean by singling her out? I was commenting on female characters in FFXV not the trailer so of course I would mention Cindy.
    I dont have a problem with female characters being sexy and attractive, as long as it looks good on them and is not disrespective!
    My problem with Cindy, however, is not her being sexy but her clothes being so simple and tight it actually looks pretty uncomfortable. In comparison, everone else is so damn fashionable…I don’t feel like there was put much effort into designing Cindy’ appearance. You know, she does not have that Final Fantasy flair. FF has always outstanding, recognisable and original character designs and Cindy’s missing that in my opinion.

  • NotCarolKaye

    Wait, so you weren’t saying that you think her design is inappropriate? You meant that you’re concerned that she’s representative of how all the female characters will look? I wouldn’t worry.

    Also, I don’t see how you figure they didn’t put much effort into her design. If it’s so easy, you knock out a character design that looks that good.

  • Kara

    You sir, have a problem! I dont get what you are trying to prove or why you feel offended just because I don’t like her.
    I never said she is representative for anyone! So far ffxv has awesome character designs. Cindy, however, sticks out for me, because she is boring in MY OPINION. If you like her that’s fine by me!

  • Rokan

    Development for this game looks to have been an utter mess. Announcing Versus XIII was a big mistake. They bit off more than they could chew in 2006. I hope the game will release in 2016. And here’s hoping they don’t announce the next big Final Fantasy game ten years prematurely, though it seems they still haven’t learned any lessons, if Kingdom Hearts 3 is any evidence…

  • NotCarolKaye

    Yes I certainly do have a problem. It’s people like you who look for things to complain about. Not everybody is going to like everything abut the game. Maybe focus on positive things.

    And I’d still like you to provide some justification for why you presume to think that they didn’t put much effort into Cindy’s design. Seriously, what makes you such an expert.

  • Weronika Magdalena Demkow

    Why would you ever get rid of Stella, that one heroine I looked forward to seeing so much. I used to check news on this games’ progress almost every single week, however by now I am disappointed and discouraged. The best features seem to have been eliminated. Square, what on earth are you doing.

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