Final Fantasy XV’s Director Talks About the Future, New AI Design

Director Hajime Tabata has done some impressive work with Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV, which [...]

Final Fantasy XV

Director Hajime Tabata has done some impressive work with Square Enix's Final Fantasy XV, which continues to be a pretty hot game for 2018, especially with the Royal Edition set to arrive in just a few weeks. With that, he's already lined up what he's working on next – and it promises to be even a more ambitious project.

While speaking with SBS, Tabata admitted that he's hard at work on a new game design "that further explores possibilities of AI." He didn't reveal that much beyond that, but he did talk about the lessons that were learned from Final Fantasy XV.

"Initially, I wanted to make everything open world. However with this being our first attempt at creating an open world, we realised that would be impossible when taking into account the amount of time required in developing the technology and contents for that," he explained.

"In game development, it's always essential to clarify what we're going to, or not going to, implement from both a technology and work-based perspective. So the moment I decided that we were going to make Final Fantasy XV an open world, I had to make the decision to remove Nifelheim from that open world."

He also discussed how the team is looking at downloadable content in a different way as well, noting it was more of a service to fans. "By the time we had finalised our plans for a simultaneous global launch, we had decided that we'd be providing the game as a service, including the post-launch DLC. The reason for this choice was that we wanted to establish a long-lasting rapport with players who purchased the game so they'd enjoy the game for an extended period of time. While this move is definitely for the fans, at the same time, I also thought it was a necessary reform for our future business model."

So, back to the new project. Tabata explained more about the idea behind AI, noting, "We are focusing on a new game design that could further explore the possibilities of AI and procedural technology. We are now aware that an entirely different development process is going to be required for a large scale global development project."

But what real changes will come? Tabata concluded, "We also know how our game engine must evolve in the future. All these elements that we acquired from Final Fantasy XV will form the basis of what we will apply in our next project; which I believe will be a game that only we – with this foundation to draw upon – would be able to accomplish."

Final Fantasy XV is available now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and is coming soon to Windows PC.