For years, fans of Final Fantasy thought that the strangely-named side project Versus XIII was lost forever. Then, after years of absolutely no word on the game, it re-debuted as Final Fantasy XV...only to go dark again for almost a year and a half. The game made another grand re-debut, and since then, Square Enix has been releasing information on Final Fantasy XV regularly. It's uncharacteristic for the game, but any news on Final Fantasy XV is definitely appreciated.
However, Square Enix has been rather conservative about what parts of Final Fantasy XV were shown. At first, it was more of the game's cityscape that fans had already seen. Then, the new combat mechanics were introduced, along with details about the characters. While the game looked amazing, it wasn't until the Tokyo Game Show 2014 trailer that fans could see the true scale of the game. Final Fantasy XV went from a game in a city to an experience throughout a massive world...but even then, barely any gameplay was shown, and just like that, fans were back in the dark.
Anyone waiting for a demonstration of Final Fantasy XV's open world will be pleased to hear that Square Enix has finally pulled back the curtain on the game's new sandbox. Nearly 10 minutes of footage was released earlier today, and it's there is plenty to get excited about.
First and foremost, Final Fantasy XV is gorgeous. Yes, fans knew about how good the game looked thanks to previous tech demos and trailers, but to see the game running in such a massive open space without losing any of the little details with no performance issues is amazing. There have been games on Final Fantasy XV's scale, but nothing can touch the game's visual fidelity.
Even if the game is beautiful, it's the open world systems that really stole the show in the demo. This isn't some huge overworld with nothing to do in it; this is an ecosystem. Herds of wild animals don't just wander around, they interact with other animals and the player in unique ways. Some animals may run, others may ignore the player and others will attack on sight. It takes the realistic nature of a game like Far Cry and imbues it with the fantasy and scale of Final Fantasy XV.
What's interesting is that the world doesn't stay the same when the sun goes down: it's far more likely that the player and his allies will encounter hostile creatures during the night, and while fighting isn't out of the question, it may not always be the best solution. The developers even mentioned setting up shop near a campfire or other small settlements throughout the world.
Speaking of smaller settlements, the demo gives players the first look at small towns in Final Fantasy XV. In previous games, towns were separate from the main overworld, but that doesn't seem to be the case here: the gang drives past a gas station and what appears to be a small home with no transitions whatsoever. While it's not the most exciting news in the world, in past Final Fantasy games, such structures would have been simple set-dressing or behind a loading screen.
It's clear that Final Fantasy XV is on an entirely different scale than the rest of the series. Many complained that the Final Fantasy XIII series was too constrictive and linear, but Final Fantasy XV is anything but. Thankfully, fans won't have to settle for simply watching the video: the section that debuted today will be a part of the upcoming Final Fantasy XV playable demo that's due out next year. It goes a long way towards making the world feel truly seamless.
It's been nearly a decade since Final Fantasy XV made its debut, and after so much waiting, it's nice that Square Enix is giving fans a chance to play the game early. There's no solid release date for Final Fantasy XV quite yet, but players will get access to the Episode Duscae demo alongside Final Fantasy Type-0 next March.