Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata was given a fresh interview by Famitsu about the state of the game and what players can expect from it when it appears November 30. Unfortunately, what he revealed isn’t going to make everybody happy.
“The first half keeps going as an open-world, but the story in the second half is led by a linear path,” Tabata said. “That way, you won’t get bored of an open world as the rest of the game gets tightened up, so we made it in a way that you’ll also get to advance through it as you have in conventional Final Fantasy games.”
“Linear” has become a dirty word for Final Fantasy fans after the remarkably bland FF13, which was little more than running down a set path from beginning to end. Tabata would know better than us if it’s possible to get “bored” of the open world halfway through the game, but from an outsider’s standpoint, this doesn’t feel like a good decision.
Any displeasure could be avoided, though, if a strengthening storyline makes us WANT to abandon the open field, similar to how it was done with the FFs of old. Likeable characters and a strong story have been some of the most lacking elements of recent FF titles, and when you’re dealing with an RPG, a good story is one of the most important elements (in my opinion). It’s your reason for exploring the world. It gets you involved.
Unfortunately, with the exception of the Zero Escape trilogy, I haven’t experienced a good story from any Japanese game in a long time. It would be nice if FF15 broke that trend. None of us will know for sure until the end of November.