Latest on Final Fantasy Type-0
Producer and director discuss next Fabula Nova Crystallis title.
We've already delivered a summary of Famitsu's recent interview covering Final Fantasy XIII-2 and the Fabula Nova Crystallis series. Versus XIII should be coming soon (a complete version of the magazine's interview is expected at Famitsu.com later today). But first, a game that will be released ahead of both, Final Fantasy Type-0.
Famitsu got commentary from producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Hajime Tabata.
Before getting to the interview, let's take a look at the screenshot that was released at the Premier event. Famitsu reveals the identity of a couple of mysterious icons.
The bars to the lower left are your current characters, in this case Rem, Machina and someone named Cinque.
The mysterious number to the right of Cinque's name is the number of remaining main characters, in this case 9.
The four commands to right are: Fire ST (circle), Dancing Dagger (triangle), Thunder MW (square) and Cure (x).
Above those four commands, the circle and triangle icons are for summoning. In this case, Famitsu says, you can summon Odin.
Final Fantasy Type-0 was known until last week as Final Fantasy Agito XIII. Just as Dengeki asked in its interview last week (see here for a summary), Famitsu asked about the name change, specifically the use of kanji in the name.
The Japanese version of the name uses the kanji form of zero: "零." The standard Final Fantasy numbered games, and most other games, use more familiar 1, 2, 3 and such (although written in roman numerals sometimes).
The reason for the use of kanji is to contrast with the standard FF numbered games, giving the game a sort of backside numbering scheme. Additionally, Kitase noted that the game itself has some unique kanji used throughout the official story descriptions. Also, writing Type-0 in kanji as "零式" (pronounced "Reishiki") gives the game the feel of being a war chronicle.
The kanji in the game's logo, incidentally, was drawn directly by art director Yusuke Naora. Kitase recalled asking Naora if he was going to draw it himself, and Naora responded angrily, "I drew Final Fantasy VII's 'Shinra' myself, you know."
Type-0 is set in a world of four countries, listed in the game's Wikipedia entry as Milites, Rubrum, Anaze, and Kogai. Crystals serve as the power and energy source for the countries. Each country protects their crystal in a "Peristerium," a magic academy.
The story begins when the Milites Empire invades Rubrum. Their ultimate goal is the crystal in Rubrum's Peristerium. They plan to use their new weapon, the "Crystal Jammer," to make the crystal powerless, leaving Rebrum vulnerable.
Students at the Rebrum Peristerium band together to defeat the invaders. These are the characters you control.
The Milites Empire has developed a mechanized civilization. Its troops equip not just guns, but warships and mecha as well. Rubrum, on the other hand, is a country of magic and summon beasts. The Rebrum students face off against he imperial army and its mecha through magic and summons.
The Rebrum Peristerium can be considered the equivalent of both a city and a base of operations, according to Tabata. You get your orders from the Peristerium. Once you've gotten your orders from the academy, you select the place you'd like to go from the world map, and the mission starts once you've arrive.
At a broader, Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology level, Type-0 places the focus on mankind, born from the blood of the goddess Etro. It's a "war chronicle drama" that shows how the gods are part of people's lives, and how this is seen in the eyes of history.
You can read more about the FNC mythology here.
As originally announced long ago, Type-0 has 12 main characters, all academy students. These 12 are the characters seen raising the Rebrum flag in the recent artwork.
The game's Wikipedia entry lists some of the names as Cinque, Seven, Trey, Eight, Nine, Jack and Queen (some of these names can be seen in the screenshots in Famitsu).
There are two other principal characters: Rem and Machina. They're shown in the new image artwork (shown below). While Rem and Machina are not considered "main characters" as far as the game goes, from a historical perspective, they will be viewed as the story's main characters. During the game, they will fight alongside the main characters and will be party members (screenshots seem to confirm that this means they'll be playable).
Much of Type-0's battle and growth systems still remains a mystery, but Famitsu did get a few additional details from Tabata.
Type-0 will have an experience system, where your characters will level-up by earning experience. Your characters can also be strengthened through abilities and accessories.
The key point, however, is "magic customization." Type-0's magic system is a bit different from other Final Fantasy games. In the case of Fire magic, for instance, you can achieve the more powerful Fira or Firaga spells by holding the button down. If you customize the fire spell, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to cast Fira, and also change speed and power of the fireball itself.
In the screenshots, you see things like "Fire ST" and "Thunder MW." Those are the names of customized magics.
In the world of Type-0, magic is used like weapons. They're like guns, explained Tabata. You can fire away like you would a gun.
As indicated by the recent trailer (see it here), summons are another central element in the combat system. Summons in Type-0 aren't unique -- that is, there are multiple copies of all summons. They're like weapons, and the army has them stocked up. If your Bahmut is killed, there's nothing to worry about, as there are plenty.
When heading out to battle, you select the summon you want to carry out with you. At the start of the game, you aren't allowed to select from all the summons, though.
When you call out a summon, you take full control of it. Tabata says that the summons are very powerful and feel good to control. They can appear for only a limited time, presumably the counter that appears next to the screenshot here:
As detailed in our summary of the Dengeki interview, Type-0 has a unique implementation of multiplayer. Basically, you don't play extended multiplayer sessions with other players. Multiplayer takes place in three minute bursts with other players joining in to support you.
The basic single player battle system has all twelve (actually fourteen, but Tabata kept on saying "twelve" during the interview) head to the battle field together after you get your mission assignment. However, you only select three characters to take part in battle at a given time. When one of your characters is defeated, the other members come in as support. You loose the battle when all twelve members are defeated. Said another way, you can continue with the mission if at least one person remains alive.
Tabata said to think of multiplayer as being like your other party members coming into battle in support, except in this case the other characters are from other players. After three minutes of playing like this, the support player sees a "Mission Ended" and disappears. You can, of course, have another player join in. (Famitsu joked that this sounds like Ultraman.)
Support players get some sort of bonus depending on how much they help the host player over the three minutes play time. In the Dengeki interview, the two also said that it's possible to increase the play time beyond three minutes through good play.
The multiplayer, incidentally, appears to be ad-hoc. This is the only form that's listed in Famitsu's information box on the game.
One big surprise from the recent Premier event is that the game uses two UMDs, making it the first Square Enix title to do so. The reason they went with two UMDs, said Tabata, is that if they'd gone with one, they'd have to get rid of some of the things they wanted to do. They're aiming for quality that matches HD systems, even making event scenes into movies. This requires space.
Development on Type-0 is currently 60% complete, Tabata told the magazine. Because the game is being prepared for summer release, Kitase said to expect information updates to gradually accelerate from here on out.