Final Fantasy 15 / XV by Square Enix is currently in development for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but the game was originally unveiled for Ps3 at E3 2006 under the name Final Fantasy Versus 13 / XIII, because it was at the time part of Fabula Nova Crystallis, a series of unrelated RPGs that, however, shared the same underlying mythology. Yes, Final Fantasy 15 has been in development for almost 10 years! What’s changed in the game in this time frame ? What’s different between the old PS3 beta and the PS4 / Xbox One current builds? Continue below to see how the game evolved during the last years with the official trailers and leaked images that show its long development cycle.
The E3 2006 CG trailer introduced the main storyline, which told about a fierce struggle for the control of the last crystal between the isolated but advanced city-state of Lucis and some mysterious invaders from the outside. In a June 2007 interview with Edge, Nomura said that he wanted to give a more realistic feel to the narrative of the game compared to past Final Fantasy titles:
It will be different in Versus XIII because of the intrusion of the real world, and things that are really happening. There will be less fiction and more reality.
An extended cut of the 2006 video, featuring the main character, Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum, inside a car and a longer fighting sequence, appeared on 2007 Dengeki Cloud DVD.
In a November 2007 interview with Dengeki, translated by IGN, Nomura confirmed that Final Fantasy Versus XIII will have airships, towns and a world map:
The other day,” said Nomura, “I saw a test of an airship flying over the world map. (…) It’s the same scale as past FF games, but even then, it’s so wide that you can’t make out the first town.”
In July 2008 someone leaked the Jump Festa 2007 trailer, never seen before in public, revealing for the first time the hero’s father, Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII, the main female character, Stella Nox Fleuret, and Noctis’s new friend Prompto Argentum.
Yet another different version of the first CG trailer was exhibited at DKS3713 2008 party, this time adding some scenes with the main character’s companions (Ignis, Gladiolus, Prompto), and Stella’s meeting with Noctis at a party.
In scans below, originally published in the December 2008 issue of Cloud Message Magazine, we can see some Final Fantasy XIII Versus concept arts and very early gameplay beta tests, probably those which Nomura spoke about in the november 2007 Dengeki interview.
Also, a video of the aforementioned prototype builds was privately shown at TGS 2009:
The new Versus XIII footage showed the game’s main character running around in a town at various points during the day, then out in a field that was populated by large monsters.
Regarding the scene showing the main character walking around town during different times of the day, Nomura said that this was just a test of how far they could differentiate day and night scenes. The NPC characters who populated the town during the daytime were actually borrowed from Final Fantasy XIII.
[Scans by Ameblo.jp]
The most important part of the next trailer, included in the Advent Children Complete DVD (April 2009) , was instead an in-game cutscene of Noctis and Stella conversing at a party.
Finally, at TGS 2010 Square Enix unveiled publicly gameplay footage of Noctis running around various locations and fighting a monster in Lucis.
An interview in Famitsu about three screenshots taken from this beta build was translated by Adriasang:
The screens are all taken off real hardware, Nomura said.
The camera angle is for the most part what’s shown in the screens […] They were originally considering switching to an overhead view when you moved into the outside world […]
The city scene is actually a battle screen. Normally, it would have a command menu and other information. […] In the actual game, you’ll fight as part of a party.
Nomura revealed that you’ll have access to a car. You can board and disembark your car whenever you like.
It looks like you’ll encounter monsters out on the field. Some will be roaming about, with Nomura citing an example of a behemoth walking around on a hill in the distance. In other instances, monsters will appear quickly.
In this week’s “Flying get” column, there was a bullet point about the game featuring both symbol and random encounters. I presume this is where these points come from. Nomura did not specially mention symbol and random encounters, though, so it may be a bit too hasty to picture an RPG-like system.
In January 2011, another trailer was presented at Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere, showing Noctis fighting with his friends, some new cutscenes, notably an encounter between our hero and a yet unnamed female antagonist, and an updated version of the 2009 party scene:
Noctis and Stella’s appearance changed too:
The Prince’s outfit is based on the design by the creative director of Roen. What is the reason for this co-operation?
Normura: This is to express the higher level of realism. If we based it on an actual real subject, it will feel more real.
What will happen to the the initial outfit?
Normura: Initially, we just designed this outfit based on the script to give a visual impression. That’s it. As we create more scenes, the outfit will change. The car will have a new design too and the Prince will look like someone who goes to a high class pub.
Above: FF Versus – Below: Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XII Versus (PS3):
Final Fantasy XV (PS4 / Xbox One):
The new car was eventually shown when the game became FF XV:
Many new details about the game surfaced on two interviews which Nomura gave to Famitsu and Dengeki in January 2011. Both were translated and summarized by Adrisang:
Your characters in Versus will not have jobs. However, your enemies will include dragon knights (or dragoons if you prefer) and summoners.
Your weapon selection will include: swords, axes, spears/lances, hand guns, machine guns, rifles, bazookas, and shot guns. This is just a partial list, though.
The game will have positional damage elements for attacking enemies.
Larger enemies will have weak points.
The game does not have team attacks for your party members.
You can combo your attacks across character changes — that is, you can keep your combo going when you switch the character you’re currently controlling. As an example, you can make the scarfaced character do positional damage with his hammer, then switch to Ignis, or you can make the enemy shrink away in fear from Ignis’s magic then call in another character to attack.
You can bring party members back to life if they die. The exception is Noctis. If he dies, the game ends.
The difficulty is being set towards the high end.
Noctis has great physical ability. But beyond that, he also has a secret power that only the royal family possesses (Noctis is a prince, in case you weren’t aware). When he unleashes this power, his blue eyes turn red. Countless swords appear in his surrounding, and he’s able to control these freely.
The game’s combat system is party based, giving you a party of at most three characters. During the early parts of the story, party members will be swapped in and out for you. However, as you advance in the story, you’ll be able to freely switch out members. Potential party members go beyond the four characters shown in the trailer […]
Noctis is the only character capable of equipping all of the game’s many weapon types. The other characters have unique specialities. One character, the blonde guy from the trailer, stands out. He’s a gun specialist, and when using him you can switch to a third person view for precise aiming at enemy weak points, buildings and other objects.
You can also steal tanks, and ride cars, air ships and Chocobos.
Even when you’re not directly engaged in combat, you’ll want to be on the lookout as you play. The game has a realtime event system in place. As you move about, you’ll sometimes come under attack, or some event will automatically trigger For example, when Noctis reaches a pedestrian bridge, a behemoth beast will attack.
After about two years of silence, in 2013 Final Fantasy Versus officially became Final Fantasy XV and the PS3 version was cancelled.
But, as we can read from this article, in 2011 Square-Enix still planned to release the game for past generation consoles too, finally deciding to make their RPG an Xbox One and Ps4 exclusive only in 2012:
Regarding the name change from Versus XIII and the “feel” of being a numbered title: within the company, about one to two years after Versus XIII was announced, discussions were had on its scale and concept. It was considered that the game may be appropriate for Final Fantasy XV. They talked about it for several years.
Two years ago (sometime in 2011), developers began to hear about next-generation consoles, and the team decided to make Final Fantasy Versus XIII into FFXV. One year ago, they decided that all development will shift to next-generation consoles, and the name was officially changed.
What changed the most in the transition between the old and new generation was the battle system: in the new HUD we can in fact see the new commands “warp” and “link form”. Also, as said before by Nomura in the Famitsu inteview, Noctis can swap weapons on the fly.
Above: FF Versus – Below: Final Fantasy XV E3 2013 build.
However, one year later the battle system got revamped yet again, adding a gambits system, co-op attacks and a guard button but at the same time removing the possibility of using the other characters in battle and to change weapons in real time:
Q: What about weapon selection?
A: You set them yourself before battle. You set each weapon considering what actions you can use with which weapons. You can only determine one weapon from the ones equipped to be your main one, but that weapon will come with techniques which can be invoked at your discretion in battle. Besides the basic assault button (attack), you can invoke techniques with the technique button.
Q: Can you change the operational character?
A: Not in its current specifications. Everyone on the development team thoroughly looked into an Active Cross Battle system that made free use of attack, guard, and co-op functions, but as a result they arrived at the conclusion that changing characters would be too difficult. In order to create a new and interesting battle system, we ended up not being able to put in the character switching.
[Interview translation by Gematsu]
You can’t use Prompto in battle anymore.
Thanks to sjay1994 here are some more comparison screens between the cancelled Final Fantasy 13 Versus PS3 and Final Fantasy 15 PS4:
Final Fantasy 13 Versus on PS3:
Final Fantasy 15 on PS4:
Final Fantasy 13 Versus on PS3:
Final Fantasy 15 on PS4:
Final Fantasy 13 Versus on PS3:
Final Fantasy 15 on PS4:
If you have more info about the development of Final Fantasy 15 PS3 or the PS4 / Xbox One versions, or if you find more interesting comparisons between the two games, let us know in the comments below!
Final Fantasy 13 Versus Image Gallery:
More videos from Youtube:
What do you think about this unseen game? Give your vote!
Would you like to add more info, screens or videos to this page? Add a comment below!
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I put together a pretty comprehensive retrospective on the same subject. Has a feel different details such as why the game took so long and few more behind the scenes details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRuvIWH6IQE
Thank you TheGamingShelf! Really a great video, i added it to the page :)
I really love ffxv and he is gonna be my fav game for sure.
Anyway, i would like to know if you guys know about the private gameplay they made some years ago? I have read in some english article thats at the time people believed that ff13/15 was canceled, square made a private technical demo with a map made in 2 weeks a behemot and npc from FF13 (!!!!!) with noctis running for proving that the game was still alive.
I found about it when i searched for old ffv13 news. A french reviewer called julien chieze at thi s time posted a video on his website (gameblog) (its french)
He called the demo/video really poor in quality
And its really understandable if it was made in 2 Weeks.
Was it the tgs 2010 demo? Its probably around this time since it was when there was huge rumor about the game being canceled.
I wish someone has recorded this.
I gotta search for it on old news on different ff websites.
Sorry for my english.
Oh. My bad its actualy the 2009 tcg demo.
Its more that the concepts from the cancelled game are still alive in FFXV. FFXV itself hasn’t been in development since 2006. The article is a bit misleading.
god bless you. i promise you will play this game one say.
– member of square versus team