Final Fantasy Type-0 Detailed
Producer and director comment on the name change, the battle system, and the unique multiplayer component.
There's a common theme in the new Fabula Nova Crystallis series art that's appearing in the latest magazines. The images for Final Fantasy XIII-2, Versus XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 all have mysterious English phrases. XIII-2's image has main character Lightning saying ""In the world where I once existed, time's path is no longer certain...." Versus XIII's image has main character Noctis saying "Fools set the rules in this world. Just take a look around. It's Undeniable." For the Type-0 image, newly introduced characters Machina and Rem say "It was their destiny, and theirs alone to decide. Free from fear of fate, gazing undaunted into the eye of death."
In an interview that appeared in Dengeki PlayStation this week, Type-0 director Hajime Tabata and producer Yoshinori Kitase were thankfully a bit clearer about the content of the new game than Rem and Machina's mysterious quote might suggest. The two discussed the game's name change, its battle system, and what looks like a unique multiplayer component.
Type-0 was previously known as Final Fantasy Agito XIII. According to Kitase, they decided to change the name due to the growth the game has seen in the five years development following the original E3 2006 announcement. Over that time, the game took on a direction and world view that is very different from that of Final Fantasy XIII. The play style was also following a different path from the sister Fabula projects, as Agito attempted to be a portable multiplayer game that allowed player to experience extremely realistic war.
The staff wanted to use the 1st Production Dept. Premier event as a chance to restart the game and also relaunch it as a new series, so they showed it as having separated from the Final Fantasy XIII family.
Regarding the specific choice of "Type-0" as a name, Tabata explained that because multiplayer is built into the game's basic design, its focus differs from a numbered Final Fantasy game or the Final Fantasy XIII group. They used Type-0, or "Reishiki" in Japanese, to mean "zero," and indicate a separate genealogy of Final Fantasy games -- a sort of underground numbering system.
Outside of the name change, Type-0 hasn't seen any major changes, Tabata said. Even though the 13 is gone from the name, the core mythology remains in place. Type-0 is still a Fabula Nova Crystallis game, and it will explore the mythology of the series. The focus here will be on the people side of the mythology.
Tabata noted that, as Kitase said during the Premier event, all titles in the Fabula series are free to interpret and use the base mythology of the series as they please. As a result, you will see some areas that differ from FFXIII, the previous and currently only Fabula game (Type-0's release will precede that of XIII-2 and Versus XIII). For instance, even the same l'Cie word can have different levels of significance for each title.
As previously detailed, Type-0's story begins with an invasion of the main characters' country by the neighboring Milites Empire (ruled by Type-0's version of Cid!). The main characters attempt to resist the invasion. The characters are students at a magic school which the government has set up to protect the nation's crystals.
You have a total of 14 characters who form your party of playable characters. This includes twelve students from the magic school (it was announced long ago that the game has six male and six female heroes from the school). Machina and Rem, responsible for that mysterious quote above, are the other two characters. They seem to fall into a different part of the story from the 12 "main characters," but they are also playable.
The basic framework of the game has your party receiving orders from the army to execute some sort of operation. Via the game's world map, you move to the assigned battle field where you carry out the operation. You can place the emphasis on defeating all the enemies in the area, or you can try to first carry out the operation objective.
In general, all 14 party members go to the battle field together. However, you only have three characters out in battle with you at a given time. When someone dies, you can have other party members come in for support. If you're about to lose all your party members, that's where the game's multiplayer component will come into play.
As mentioned by Tabata, multiplayer is part of the basic design of Type-0. Back when the game was first announced as a cell phone game called Agito XIII, the plan was to build upon the multiplayer components from Before Crisis Final Fantasy VII. The change in platform to PSP brought about changes to some areas, but the multiplayer concept is unchanged from the original plan. Type-0 can be considered a Final Fantasy game where multiplayer is an option for battle.
You don't continually play multiplayer with others here. The main concept is actually that you don't need to have everyone gather together to play. You play the game in single player, and can cooperate with others for brief periods. To put it simply, when you're about to die, you can have other players come in and help you.
When other players come in to help out, they're limited to three minutes. You can extend the time for this multiplayer part through good play, but Tabata stressed that the game is not played continuously in multiplayer form. Think of it as having a single player who's gradually joined by a variety of other players. In terms of the game's war storyline, the other players can be considered support armies who assist in battle.
Tabata did not share specifics on how this unique system will work. He joked that there's a reward for helping other players: you'll receive "good person points."
Also a bit vague at present is the game's battle system. It will have high levels of action, with a focus on magic. The key word for the battle system is "Magic In Action." While you can use weapons, magic is main.
Type-0 seems to have some unique systems in place -- so much, in fact, that there's quite a bit that's still unclear. Famitsu is expected to have its own report on the game later this week, so we can hopefully expect more details then. The game's Premier event trailer will also see official release on Thursday, allowing us to scrutinize the footage now that the game has been given a clearer description by Tabata and Kitase.
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