Final Fantasy XV PAX East 2015 Coverage!

It’s the end of Day 2 here at PAX East 2015, and we got to experience some awesome stuff from Square-Enix today. In addition to being able to play a demo of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (which was super fun and looked amazing), we also got to sit in on a panel all about the game development of Final Fantasy XV (calm your inner fangirls, there’s still no release date)!

Final Fantasy XV Panel at PAX East 2015

The panel was led by lead game designers Prasert Prasertyihyakarn (or “Sun” for short) from the “Buddy Team” (in charge of developing the interactions and relationships between your AI companions and you) and Wan Hazmer (affectionately dubbed “Haz”) from the “Culture Team” (in charge of developing the towns, locales, histories, and cultures you’ll encounter as you play).

To start things off, we were treated to the most recent trailer for the game. Next, we were guided through some of the key elements that were considered in the development of Final Fantasy XV. When making a new Final Fantasy, especially a full numbered title, the team strives to make it the best Final Fantasy to date, providing rich, new experiences while still retaining the charm the franchise is known for.

Next, the developers covered the premise of the game, and more specifically, the upcoming Episode Duscae demo that will be included with the release of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. To quote Sun from the panel, “Final Fantasy XV is a game about a road trip with your best buddies in a fantastical, yet believable world.” The demo only covers a tiny little piece of the much larger, expansive region of Duscae, and centers around a portion of the game in which your car is broken down and you must pay Cidney, the mechanic to fix it. Your objective is to collect money by hunting down and defeating the vicious Behemoth and collecting the bounty. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as the demo features a fully explorable world with many different nooks and crannies to investigate.

Final Fantasy XV Poster

Sun and Haz then treated us to a bit of a combat tutorial, showing off some of Noctis’s swordsmanship skills and abilities. Using his Warp ability for example, can provide a huge tactical advantage against certain foes, and can aid in dealing massive damage, but if you rely on it too heavily, it can backfire and leave you stuck with no defensive skills. It’s an interesting balance that leaves a lot of room for trial and error.

Camping serves to level up your characters, providing stat increases and buffs. Camping is also a necessary part of the game in order to avoid getting into more dangerous and often deadly encounters with much more powerful enemies when night falls. Case and point: camp, or you will die!

We were then introduced more in depth to the characters traveling with you on your journey, affectionately referred to as “the buddies”. Your companions were designed to make you feel like you, the player, are on this road trip with them, and make you feel comfortable and welcome. They’ll point out things of interest in order to move current quests along, or in some cases, they can lead you to the starting points for new quests.

Finally, we were shown one of the new locales that will be featured in both the Episode Duscae demo and the full game, the Wiz Chocobo Post (you can see the concept artwork below). Chocobos were confirmed to be in both the demo and the finished game, though sadly, they won’t be ridable until the final version is released.

Final Fantasy XV - Chocobo Ranch Concept Art

While a release date would have been absolutely amazing, it’s still awesome to see how much Final Fantasy XV is progressing. It’s certainly built up the hype for us, and we definitely can’t wait to get our hands on it! In the meantime, be sure to check out Final Fantasy Type-0 HD for the PlayStation 4 and X-Box One, coming out March 17th in the US. Not only does it come with the Episode Duscae demo, but it’s also a highly enjoyable game in and of itself (we played the demo on the show floor for a full hour and thoroughly enjoyed it).

For more news on Final Fantasy XV, as well as other Square-Enix news, be sure to keep it here.