By far the biggest announcement to come out of NVIDIA’s Gamescom 2017 presentation is the upcoming Windows PC port of Final Fantasy XV, developed in partnership with NVIDIA. Digital Trends sat down with game director Hajime Tabata (via translator) after the show to learn a bit more about Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition, which is slated for an early 2018 release via Steam and Origin.
Digital Trends: How has developing for the PC compared to consoles?
Tabata: I don’t have any experience developing for PCs. Final Fantasy is traditionally a console franchise, with some subsequent ports over to PC (with the obvious exception being XI and XIV the online MMOs). But we really felt that we hadn’t done a game that was truly designed for PC gamers and what they want, so that’s a new challenge we wanted to take on for Final Fantasy XV.
“In a lot of ways handheld consoles and home consoles are not that different from a developer’s perspective. Spec-wise they’re not that different.”
In a lot of ways handheld consoles and home consoles are not that different from a developer’s perspective. Spec-wise they’re not that different. Certainly PC gaming is another animal entirely, though. Beyond the different setting in which you’re playing, you’ve got lots of different spec levels–people playing on different kinds of machines–which is something we obviously don’t have to take into account developing for console.
Personally, in my past I’ve loved playing a lot of great PC games, and so I know that there area ton of great games out there in that market, so if we really wanted to compete we couldn’t bring PC gamers the same experience they had on console: we had to add something new for them.
Can you elaborate on those new features?
The minimum level of what we had to do for PC is provide the best possible graphics experience with the technology we have. Then PC gamers really want to be able to enjoy the best experience they can have with the spec available to them, so we had to introduce a lot of graphical options, tuning and customization abilities so they could have the game at the best performance they can on their machine.
The other thing we really value is the way people relate to games. On PC, a lot of players really like first-person gameplay, so we decided to introduce a first-person view mode as well. We didn’t just want to have the camera change and everything else stay the same. Rather we’ve had to make sure that the whole experience really works as a first-person game as well.
One of the other things that we’re really looking into at the moment — something that’s quite important to the PC market — is the idea of adding mods to the game so players can enjoy the game the way they want to have fun with it on their own.
Mods will be supported on release?
We’re looking into that very much at the moment. We’ll probably have details about that — what the plan is and whether we’ll incorporate mods or not — some time around autumn this year, so you’ll have to hold out until then.
As a 30-year-old franchise there are a lot of people in the position that they were big fans of Final Fantasy in the past, but maybe moved away and don’t play anymore, or who used to be console gamers, but are now PC gamers, and we really wanted to create the opportunity for those people to come back to the series and play Final Fantasy XV the way they want to on PC.
A lot of the focus in PC gaming is on the highest graphical settings–what are your considerations for low-spec machines?
For graphics cards I believe GeForce is on their 10th generation now, and we’ve allowed so that the game will work quite well three generations back, so that’s the 760, I believe. You still need a 4-core CPU, but not necessarily the kind that just hardcore PC gamers have–we’ve done several tests, and it should work well on the quad-core processors that more regular PC users have as well. The way we’re approaching development, and we’re still working out the details, is we set the high bar of the top possible spec we could go for, and now we’re doing the work on how far down we can expand the range of how low we can push that and still get a good gaming experience. Though at the current spec we’re at the moment, my personal PC at home won’t play it, and that’s quite sad for me!
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