Console Games,  PC Games,  Tech Stuff,  Visual Effects

Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition – What we know so far

As many of us already anticipated, the PC version of Final Fantasy XV has been announced at Gamescom this summer and it is scheduled for early 2018. The game is already listed officially on Steam, Origin and Microsoft and we might have an idea of what we should expect from it in terms of technology and special additions.

Just like any other Final Fantasy game (except the ones specifically connected like X and X-2 or the XIII trilogy), XV is completely standalone and not related to the previous chapters in any way, if not for some cameos, mentions and creatures/monsters encountered in the other titles.

What we know about the PC port so far is that every additional content such as Season Pass DLCs and free updates will be added to the final version. We got three episodes dedicated to the main character’s companions (Episode Ignis is still in development and set up for its final release on December 13th. Episode Gladio and Episode Prompto are both available on the PS Store), a Carnival that recently expired and a Lestallum Festival, crossover between FFXV and Assassin’s Creed available until January. A new downloadable multiplayer content, Comrades, is currently in the work for its final release on Halloween after the recent closed BETA, while Monsters of the Deep, the VR fishing game, will come out next month.

Update 10/20: The official FFXV Twitter account let us know today that the MP DLC Comrades will be released on November 15th instead, due to final adjustments and to be sure we are going to get the best experience.

The hardware

The port will also have an incredible boost in the graphics, pumping it with 4k textures, hair/fur simulation and a detailed open world with effects normally hardly available on console. It will be possible to adjust the settings and push up the resolution to 8k, all specifically crafted for the NVIDIA technology (ouch, too bad for AMD users).

Now, since we’re talking about super high graphics and ultra details, I wouldn’t be surprised if just the minimum requirements will be a bit over standards. We had to deal with a very frightening list of possible hardware needed right after the announcement, which was apparently a false information spread online due to a misunderstanding caused by what Square Enix was using to run the demo.

The free space supposedly required was around 170 GB. Although the content included on console so far may actually reach that size it is still quite rare for a PC game, since usually you only occupy around or less than 60GB on the HDD (mods and other content aside, of course). The amount of VRAM used to run the game on highest settings during tests was 11GB with the high-end GTX 1080ti, once again a real monster compared to the always suggested 4GB.

Square Enix is in fact working hard to make FFXV run nicely even on low-end machines, although I’m not exactly sure how much that will affect the overall visuals… considering the lower your settings are, the less detail you usually get. Seeing how heavy it looks on PS4 and the random stuttering I get there from time to time while playing, I can only assume a 4GB card would be barely enough to make the game run smoothly on 60fps with maximum settings even on more powerful computers, but these are only suppositions and I’m honestly curious to see what our devs will come up with once the product is ready for the market.

See the full presentation video here.

Update 11/27/2017: Apparently some official possible requirements have been revealed recently, which can give us an overall idea of what we may expect from both the minimum and recommended hardware:

CPU: i5-2400 or FX-6100
GPU: GTX 760

CPU: i7 3770 or an FX-8350
GPU: GTX 1060

This means that even if you don’t have a high-end computer you still may be able to run it as long as you have the indicated physical memory and a 4GB graphics card. It also looks like the game will only be compatible with Windows 10 and that may be a problem for WIn7 users *raises hand* (although in some cases we can have a boot option with both systems installed where we can choose what to run, so that could be a valid solution in case we don’t feel like giving up on Seven).

Source: PC Gamer

The official Steam shop page is not yet updated though, thus I personally prefer to take this with a grain of salt (even if I’m sure the final reveal won’t be too far from what we know at the moment).

The gameplay

In terms of gameplay, we can already get an idea of the differences between the Windows Edition and the console version. In fact, it is planned a first-person view along with the standard third and they had to completely re-build the game specifically for it in order to make adaptations. Hajime Tabata, the game’s director, stated this new mode just reached about 50% of completion, since a lot of work is still required for camera adjustments, animations, VFX changes, etc.

The first-person mode has become very popular in the past few years and is now the default option in many other games such as Resident Evil 7, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Mirror’s Edge and Skyrim. In my opinion, however, this feature may sometimes present itself with a few downsides; the movement can be limited especially during fast running to the point it doesn’t feel as realistic as it should be and the camera could easily cause a very annoying motion sickness while turning your “head” around or moving it up and down due to the shaking effect. It can definitely be very immersive and works quite well in open world games where you have huge maps to peacefully explore, though.

Tabata also admitted the PC port of FFXV is at least 100 times easier than the optimization they had to do from scratch on console.

The Modding

Another thing that’s making a lot of fans happy, is the official mods support that will be integrated into the game. Square Enix has in fact confirmed that we are going to get a specific tool for the installation of custom content and also the Steam Workshop feature.

We don’t know what kind of modding possibilities we can expect yet; if the game will be as moddable as Skyrim or if we can only swap parts among existing meshes and make texture recolors. A thing that concerned many players and the developers themselves, is the fact nowadays too many people seem mostly interested in adult content, which always leads to nude variations on characters and even sexual animations carefully crafted.

However, the fans of naked mods had the chance to celebrate since Tabata is going to allow us all the needed freedom to create what we like without limiting us too much, even if he clearly asked the fans to be at least a bit discreet and basically keep our thirst for sexual content under control (insert loud laughing here). The future of FF modding may depend on this, he added, and I think it’s not really excluded that FFXV itself will have a short modding life if we get carried away more than intended.

Sadly I am fully aware of nowadays’ mentality, just reading the amount of comments regarding people’s wishes to see the famale characters in all their glory proves the fandom will hardly have filters while modding, but at this point we can only wait and see how it goes.

From that statement anyway, what I understand is that we’ll probably have more freedom than what we got with the Frostbite Engine (Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, Battlefield, etc), where we can only replace clothes/hairs/objects with other meshes present into that same game or make retextures. Square Enix’s Luminous Engine goes beyond my current technical knowledge and I can’t tell if it is as customizable as the Creative Engine (Skyrim, Fallout 4), where new scripts and animations are possible as well along with standalone packages for outfits and general equipment.

Regarding the characters customization, I’m pretty sure mods can turn out useful especially for the character creator in Comrades.

New informations regarding FFXV will most likely be revealed in November at the Paris Game Week, but I will keep this post up-to-date until the release date is officially announced and, all we need to know about it, out in the wind.

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