Game director Hajime Tabata has spoken up about the ease of developing Final Fantasy XV on PC compared to consoles, claiming the console version was “100 times more difficult” to develop.
Tabata admits the development team at Square Enix knew a PC version was the right idea shortly after the development of the console version of Final Fantasy XV began (presumably after the game was rebooted). In preparation, they began working on strengthening the games’ engines with Nvidia as far back as 2016 “in anticipation of any projects that might come after the console version.”
Actual development of the PC version of FFXV only started this year, yet it will be ready to launch in early 2018. “The console version, which required reconstruction from the very start for both the game itself and the engine, was more than 100 times more difficult,” explained Tabata. Comparatively, PC development has been a breeze, no doubt helped by the significant performance advantage offered by dedicated gaming PCs.
On the PC front, Square Enix is adding a dedicated first-person mode which it hopes will appeal to some PC gamers. It’s only 50% done right now, but when it’s finished they claim folks are going to be able to play the entire game in first-person, aping the Western RPG style. “We feel the gameplay has a certain freshness to it and it’s been well-received among those in the development team. In providing this mode, we needed to make some large adjustments, like the player character’s VFX, displayed animations and camera movement. Even now, we’re still making small, daily adjustments.”
4K support is obviously the other big selling point on PC, but plans are also in place for 8K support for Final Fantasy XV a little further down the line. “By collaborating with Nvidia, we weren’t just able to make a PC version of the game; we were able to challenge ourselves in ensuring that we had the latest technological graphics.”
The end result is a game which looks better than anything the current crop of consoles are capable of. Final Fantasy as a series has long been known for technical excellence, and the best place to achieve that now is undoubtedly on high-end desktops. The aim, according to Tabata, is to firmly entrench the Final Fantasy franchise as a PC series also, rather than just the core console audience the series typically caters to. It seems the surging popularity of the global PC gaming market is rubbing off on the Japanese gaming industry.
The next step for Tabata and the rest of the team is optimising Final Fantasy 15’s performance so it can run on lower-spec PCs also. In its current incarnation, it’s looking fantastic, but those with weaker rigs should have a wide range of graphics settings which can be tweaked to achieve the desired performance.
Final Fantasy XV is out in early 2018 for PC.