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Scott Clay
Final Fantasy XV Live Stream Details, Tabata Responds to Feedback
Episode Duscae will get an update!
04.29.15 - 4:13 AM

Square Enix recently held a live stream where they discussed all the feedback they received on Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae. The development team is not only planning to implement changes based on the feedback into the final version of the game, but also will be releasing an update to the demo sometime in May. Episode Duscae 2.0 will feature the following improvements:

  • Active Cross Battle enhancements.
  • Camera and targeting system enhancements.
  • Additional combat actions / overall re-balancing and bug fixes.
  • More joint attacks (the current demo has one - and in terms of triggering it, it might be different to the currently available one).
  • Possible dodge roll inclusion.
  • The range of actions for each weapons has been improved.
  • MP recovery and usage has been adjusted, like not using MP for perfectly timed evades.
  • Titan bug will be fixed.

FFXV Noctis

If you're looking for a number by number breakdown of all the feedback Square Enix has received on the demo, then look no further. Check out the number crunch below.

Global Breakdown

  • Average - 8.3
  • Music - 9.3
  • World design - 8.9
  • Event scenes - 8.8
  • Graphic quality - 8.9
  • Open-world gameplay - 8.6
  • Voice acting - 8.6
  • Character dialogue - 8.5
  • Main character design - 8.5
  • How much did you like Noctis' personality? - 8.4
  • How much did you like Gladiolus' personality? - 8.5
  • How much did you like Ignis' personality? - 8.4
  • How much did you like Prompto's personality? - 7.9
  • Sub-character design - 8.1
  • Story - 8.4
  • Map design - 8.3
  • Tutorial - 8.2
  • Navigation - 8.2
  • Game difficulty - 7.9
  • Battle system - 7.7
  • Amount and variety of content - 7.8
  • Controls - 7.4
  • Weapons design 8.9

North America
Did you complete the demo - No (10%) / Yes (90%)

  • Average 8.6
  • Music 9.4
  • World design - 9.0
  • Weapons design - 9.0
  • Event scenes - 8.8
  • Graphic quality - 9.1
  • Open-world gameplay - 8.8
  • Voice acting - 8.2
  • Character dialogue - 8.4
  • Main character design - 8.6
  • How much did you like Noctis' personality? - 8.3
  • How much did you like Gladiolus' personality? - 8.5
  • How much did you like Ignis' personality? - 8.4
  • How much did you like Prompto's personality? - 8.1
  • Sub-character design - 8.1
  • Story - 8.6
  • Map design - 8.3
  • Tutorial - 8.2
  • Navigation - 8.1
  • Game difficulty - 8.0
  • Battle system - 7.6
  • Amount and variety of content - 7.7
  • Controls - 7.5
  • Weapons design 9.0

Japan
Did You Complete the Demo? - No (28%) / Yes (72%)

  • Average - 8.0
  • Music - 9.4
  • World design - 8.9
  • Event scenes - 9.0
  • Graphic quality - 9.0
  • Open-world gameplay - 8.4
  • Voice acting - 9.1
  • Character dialogue - 8.8
  • Main character design - 8.4
  • How much did you like Noctis' personality? - 8.6
  • How much did you like Gladiolus' personality? - 8.6
  • How much did you like Ignis' personality? - 8.6
  • How much did you like Prompto's personality? - 8.1
  • Sub-character design - 8.3
  • Story - 8.5
  • Map design - 8.5
  • Tutorial - 8.3
  • Navigation - 8.4
  • Game difficulty - 8.0
  • Battle system - 7.8
  • Amount and variety of content - 8.0
  • Controls - 7.1
  • Weapons design 9.0

Europe
Did You Complete the Demo? - No (11%) / Yes (89%)

  • Average - 8.3
  • Music - 9.3
  • World design - 8.7
  • Event scenes - 8.7
  • Graphic quality - 8.6
  • Open-world gameplay - 8.6
  • Voice acting - 8.6
  • Character dialogue - 8.4
  • Main character design - 8.4
  • How much did you like Noctis' personality? - 8.2
  • How much did you like Gladiolus' personality? - 8.3
  • How much did you like Ignis' personality? - 8.0
  • How much did you like Prompto's personality? - 7.7
  • Sub-character design - 7.9
  • Story - 8.2
  • Map design - 8.0
  • Tutorial - 8.2
  • Navigation - 8.0
  • Game difficulty - 7.9
  • Battle system - 7.6
  • Amount and variety of content - 7.6
  • Controls - 7.5
  • Weapons design 8.7

Final Fantasy XV Survey Results 1

Final Fantasy XV Survey Results 2

During the rest of the live stream, Tabata responded to some in depth issues people had with the demo. Some of the most notable questions are highlighted below.

#1 The lock-on is useless.
Tabata's Response:

"Honestly, there were many instances where we also felt that that the targeting system wasn't behaving as we had envisioned. We do take it seriously that this was the #1 criticism. Right after the demo was released, our team was able to play it from a consumer standpoint, and concerns about the targeting immediately came up. The most common internal criticism was that the targeted enemy would go off-screen. We wondered 'Is is still considered a lock-on if the enemy goes off-screen?' There are two rationales for this, and for the first one regarding the targeted enemy getting lost off-screen, this was due to an imperfect implementation of the system. We've already begun addressing it.

The other thing, for example on the PS4, I think it's the R3 button. The lock-on can be triggered by pressing R3, but this was not specifically explained within the demo, so there were many people who weren't aware of this feature. Even internally, a lot of us weren't aware of this feature, so there were problems trying to stay locked on to a single target. We've already started working on fixes to the issues regarding players not being aware of this feature and the feature not being up to par with our expectations."

#2 and 3 The camera is too close. I can't tell what's going on.
Tabata's Response:

"When fighting a herd of garulas, there are times when the players keeps getting hit, and I agree that it's difficult to understand what's going on when that happens. And, near the entrance to the dungeon, there's an enemy called the saberclaw. When facing saberclaws, it gets pretty difficult to see what's happening.

There's also issues with the terrain. In the woods, the camera movement is limited, so it's even tougher when fighting there. It's the same with goblins, too. Especially when you're in a confined space. So these issues, we need to make sure the camera pulls back in these situations to make it easy for the player. The system is designed to do so, but it wasn't functioning as well as we had hoped. There were also times where it wasn't functioning well because of the terrain, and we've all made note of it already.

So it can definitely be improved, and we will improve it. Not being able to tell what's going on in a game is unacceptable, so much like the previous criticism about not being able to target enemies, basic functions such as these will be addressed, so that you won't feel that the game is difficult to play. Ideally, we would have one camera programmed to adjust to every situation, but in the demo, we noticed many instances where the camera wasn't able to fully adapt to various terrains. So ultimately, we may consider allowing the player to choose from different camera distances."

FFXV Gameplay

#4 The AI is dumb and allies get in the way.
Tabata's Response:

"First, in regards to getting in the way of the player, that's a hindrance to the game experience. So we will probably properly address it from the programming end so that the party members avoid getting in the way of each other. On the other hand, as far as the AI being dumb, I don't think it's that everything about the AI is dumb. There should have been times in Episode Duscae where you can feel both camaraderie and a sense of self-awareness from the AI characters.

So our goal is to be able to really feel each character's personality and the feeling of being with friends, but we're not quite there yet. Some of that is there, but the demo is just a glimpse of what might be possible. I'd like to take the time to really polish this aspect. So we're fully aware that the AI is dumb. I get upset too when they go and get themselves knocked out."

#5 The jaggies and the even more concerning frame-rate drops.
Tabata's Response:

"The frame rate was the most common feedback from North America and Europe, wasn't it?

The jaggies and frame rates are two separate issues, but in regards to the jaggies, we weren't able to implement anti-aliasing in the demo. That's why the jaggies stood out a bit, but anti-aliasing will be implemented in the full game. The amount of jaggies will be reduced, so for the demo we apologize. They shouldn't be in the full game, so please rest assured.

Well, in terms of whether it can be immediately implemented... We're currently in the midst of determining how we'd address it and the engineer working on the real-time rendering is looking into this. So it's hard to give a definitive answer on when it will be implemented.

As for the frame rate, that is a serious matter. We consider it a high priority issue. If we simply reduce the number of objects that need to be rendered and computed, like reducing the number of monsters or limited AI behavior, we can reduce the processing load on the CPU. Reducing the number of processes would naturally result in a stable, higher frame rate. But achieving a high frame rate by doing so isn't going to satisfy our fans.

So the only option is to persistently optimize. Currently, the bottleneck during battles is the VFX and UI. As we head to mastering, we'll probably repeat the process of optimizing as much as we can and re-evaluate how objects are being rendered.

We are working towards full HD. It's not just me. The engineers and artists are all aiming for full HD. But from hearing the honest feedback from players who tried the demo, it becomes apparent that the frame rate is more important than the resolution. It's pretty easy to understand, actually. Prioritizing resolution by sacrificing frame rate is presumably unacceptable for our game, so our highest priority will most likely be the frame rate. Based on that, our approach will be to increase resolution as much as we can. So, ultimately, this may be the order of priority on which our decisions will be made. But we're not raising the white flag just yet. We are aiming for full HD."

FFXV scene

#7 Can you at least add a mini-map or compass?
Tabata's Response:

"Ah, yes. We will.

"So normally when you think mini-map, it's there so that you don't get lost in the field, to identify which direction you're facing, to know where your objective is, and to get a rough grasp of the relative position and distance. Now, within that, the request is to include detailed high resolution information about your surrounding enemies, right?

We'll look into it.

To be fully transparent, there are plans to include a mini-map in the final release. A radar was not in our plans. But once all the battle elements are finalized, like the formation of enemies and the number of enemies in any given battle, our idea was to make sure the player can have a good understanding of their surroundings, like the position of your enemies and party, within the 3D environment without the need for a radar. So that's why it hadn't been considered. But feedback is feedback, so if there is a need for a radar, we will think about how we'd implement such a feature."

#8 I want a dodge action that doesn't rely on MP.
Tabata's Response:

"You're talking about something like a dodge roll, right? So, there actually is a dodge roll. I think it was in the E3 trailer, too. That's the default dodge, and the warp-dodge that was in the demo is a higher level dodge action.

So why was there only warp-dodge in the demo? There are two reasons. First is, we couldn't prepare the UI elements for switching up abilities. So it came down to dodge roll, or warp-dodge. Second, we were nearing the memory limit, so we had to really watch the resources so that things wouldn't be too sluggish. It was at the last minute, but we decided to go with warp-dodge since it doesn't require as much of a load as dodge roll. So we had to axe the dodge roll, but if you want a dodge action that doesn't rely on MP, it exists."

#11 The overall controls weren't good, many felt battles became repetitive were "too monotonous."
Tabata's Response:

"When you say controls are bad, I think one way to look at it is that the response is bad, and another is when you thought you did something, but nothing happened on the game side. So either it's not doing what you wanted to do, or something feels like it's not working the way it should.

I think there are multiple ways to look at this, so I'm not sure which is the right one. But one thing we were thinking about is allowing players to remap the button configuration to their liking. But there is probably more to it, so I would like to dive deeper into this and get the full picture. It did stand out a lot earlier in that earlier diagram... so we will look at each one.

Now, about the 'too monotonous' criticism... The monotony is probably due to battles feeling long. Yes. That probably also contributed to making the battles feel long. And also, for players who are seasoned action gamers, the demo didn't include a lot of situations to take advantage of your skills, so you probably couldn't carry out battles the way you wanted to, thus making it feel too monotonous overall.

As I said earlier, resolving the issue of battles being too long will also resolve the issue of battles feeling too monotonous, so I think it'll change things a lot. Especially because you'll have the tools to shorten battles so that'll have a great effect on the experience. In that sense, I feel like it will become less of a problem. And then, if we were to add the difficulty settings, maybe it can bring out the more technical skills.

Yes, currently perfectly timed evades even use MP, but it will make it easier to do things like making the gameplay significantly difficult, but eliminating the need for MP.

I think we should allow the option of players choosing an easy mode.

#13 I want to warp as a regular means of moving around.
Tabata's response:

"Yes, yes. So, until some part of February, this was actually possible. That was our plan. But it caused so many bugs. So ultimately, we felt it would be pretty tough and prevent us from mastering. That's how many bugs occurred as a result of this feature. So we decided to limit it to just battles. This isn't something I want to tell our players. Although I just did.

Well, here's the thing. Since this is an open world and we're seamlessly reading data, to be able to warp through that would be a pretty outrageous feature. So honestly, at this point we haven't found a breakthrough to be able to achieve that without resulting in bugs. If we did find a way, it would've been in the demo, but we didn't. I can't say with absolute confidence that we'll be able to manage it in the final release. If a breakthrough happens, I'm sure we'd implement it so you could use warping as a means of getting around, but there's a good chance it will be left as is.

But, well, even if we had to limit warping to just battles in the final release, I would like to find a way to open it up a bit in some fun way. That, at least, I think would be possible. Warping does feel good, and I want players to experience that as much as possible, so if you could allow us to be more flexible with how we could possibly allow warping, then we would like to come up with something.

There will be many more. The final release will have many more warp points, and there will be fights where there are numerous warp points, making you take advantage of them to clear enemies. It will become part of your strategy.

Yes, there will be a need for vertical warping. Dynamic warping will be an essential part of battles, whether you use it to your advantage or to avoid enemies. There was a little of this in the Behemoth battle, but we're trying to incorporate it into normal battles, too, so that it's not limited to specific sequences. I think players can look forward to it."

FFXV Noctis

#14 Please let me cancel my attacks by evading. Please.
Tabata's Response:

"I was actually screaming inside for this, too. 'I totally just dodged!' But I'm still attacking, and I get blasted away. We're going to let players evade mid-attack, right? Right? Let's do it. Let's make sure you'll be able to evade mid-attack.

So it's not whenever, wherever. We did have plans to make attack-canceling evades a feature. Um, why didn't we put that in the demo again? So simply put, we would've had to work in action cancellation frames into that motion and fine tune that, but for various reasons, we couldn't invest that much time into the demo, and that's why it wasn't included. Now that we have delivered the demo, we're already able to cancel attacks. It's already in that for sure. We were dodge rolling mid-attack, right? Yes. But you can evade out of every attack? No, right? I see, so you can't cancel out every single attack. So this is going to require some strategy and technique. I'm not fully aware of all the details at the moment, so I'll go over this once we've locked in the final features."

If you would like to watch the entire live-stream, and listen to all the questions asked, then check out this video.

Even though this is great news for the game, unfortunately Final Fantasy XV will not have a big showing at E3, according to Tabata. Instead we will be seeing a lot more of the game starting at Gamescom in August. So it might be a while before we start seeing some new information on the game.

Final Fantasy XV is still in development for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.


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