Final Fantasy 15 is a game that could generously be described as malleable. The title has been in development since 2006, and with no concrete release date for Final Fantasy 15 in sight, there’s still plenty of time for what we know about the game to change. That’s not necessarily a negative – game director Hajime Tabata was able to backpedal away from gender controversy earlier because of the delays – but it also means that what gamers see in the Episode Duscae demo might not make the final cut.
Given the dearth of content that Square Enix has unveiled already, fans might expect some of the minor nuances would be the first to go. Although that may still happen, a forum post by Hajime Tabata on the official Final Fantasy 15 forums suggests that a major change has already occurred during development.
According to Final Fantasy 15 news site Nova Crystallis, Tabata confirmed today that the automatic weapon change system from the Episode Duscae demo has been fully removed from the final version of the game. The news sounds like a dramatic departure from the previous system, but in reality, it’s a change that makes a lot of sense. For a game that is prioritizing the ability to make nonlinear gameplay choices in its travel and quest systems, having a battle system that took something as important as weapon configuration away from its players seemed unintuitive.
Originally, the automatic system consisted of different attacks in a combo or outside of a combo that featured a different weapon on each link of the combo chain. The replacement system enables players to freely switch weapons at any time during their attacks, with each weapon assigned to a directional button on the game controller. Tabata notes that this prevents weapons from being automatically changed accidentally, and also allows players to get creative with their combinations of real time weapon switching.
Those who delved deep into Episode Duscae will also note that the “Counter” and “Raid” attacks will be executed based on the weapon currently equipped, but players can set a specific weapon to use for those attacks in the customization menu of the game. That kind of philosophy seems to fit Tabata’s vision of the game much better than its previous iteration, which strayed uncomfortably close to the oft-maligned battle systems from Final Fantasy 12 and Final Fantasy 13.
For a franchise renowned for its masterful storytelling and gorgeous visuals, the hottest discussion topic in the Final Fantasy community has been the need for redesigned battle systems. It appears that Tabata is fully aware that Square Enix needs to bring their classic J-RPG series into the future, and Final Fantasy 15‘s latest changes are a concession to that pressing urgency.
Do you prefer your Final Fantasy games to have a classic turn-based combat system? Do you just want the game to release already? Let us know how you feel in the comments section.
Final Fantasy 15 is estimated for release in 2016 for PS4 and Xbox One.