As you may have heard, Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata has plans for expanding the game. No, not just the paid DLC or PS4 Pro performance updates! Phrases like “gameplay satisfaction” and “story changes” were used, which freaked some people out who vowed not to play XV until these were implemented.
I think that would be a mistake, so let’s break some of what he’s actually saying down with as few spoilers as possible.
“Adding gameplay enhancements for Chapter 13.”
Chapter 13 is right near the end of the game, and deals with a section that just features Noctis, sans party. It has a little bit of action and a little bit of stealth, and operates almost like an underground section in an old-school Resident Evil game. You start off with a limited arsenal of attacks, and gain more as time goes on.
It’s not difficult, but since “buffing ring magic” was specifically stated, they seem to want to make this section easier. If you’ve made it this far (and beaten bosses like Quetzalcoatl), you’re going to be fine. Just stock up on Elixirs at the shop in Chapter 12 just in case.
“We’re hoping to delve deeper into the story, adding scenes that will give you new insight into character motivations.”
Ravus, a somewhat ambiguously aligned character, is mentioned in the blog post.
This phrasing strongly hints that they’ll give you a little more insight into the Empire, including a breakdown of a revelation that happens midway into in Chapter 13. Now, some folks were confused when it came to Ravus, but I felt like the game made it pretty damn clear. It might have been delivered in the form of a brief, minute-long cutscene and a possibly overlooked letter on the ground, but it’s clear nonetheless. This section could be cleaned up, but it’s not essential that you wait for Square Enix to spell it out for you.
Plus, once you’ve reached this point in the game, you’ve unlocked the ability to go back to the past — which could easily be expanded to add a cutscene theater in the future. Or, just YouTube them. Waiting months for a potential string of 10-minute cutscenes that merely fill in the already cohesive story probably isn’t necessary.
“We are looking at making certain key characters playable, and even considering the possibility of customizable avatars, in addition to other features over time.”
This sounds an awful lot like post-game content to me. XV already has several guest characters that enter your party for a limited time, usually for 30-45 minutes. The “playable” bit kind of throws me for a loop since only Noctis is technically controlled by the player, and the impact of the “avatar customization” is highly suspect as well given how closely intertwined each member of Noctis’ crew is with the story (maybe they meant more outfits?).
This is likely either going to be a New Game+ option or a post-game tool, and since it’s mentioned as a long-term goal, it could take months before we even see a blog post about it.
“Other features we have in mind include letting you carry over stats from a previous playthrough, and adding items that introduce new playstyles, such as low-level runs and god mode.”
Since most Final Fantasy games don’t have a New Game+ option, I doubt very many of you expected one here, but it sounds like they’re working on it. Also, the “cheat code” mechanics from the Steam/PC ports are making it in too.
All of that is “multiple playthrough” material for the dedicated few.
This whole situation is a little weird, but it is Square we’re talking about after all, and Final Fantasy XV didn’t follow a typical development cycle. Growing up on Final Fantasy since the first game (and seeing all sorts of misfires since then in this inconsistent series), it’s strange seeing a mainline game launch like this and I’m not sure they should have waited until right after people bought it to announce all of these enhancements. Is it a stupid strategy? Sure, but the sky isn’t falling.
Then again, this series has never been normal with its use of sequels to provide crucial character development and DLC to sell critical portions of story (XIII-2) before it was cool. You kind of have to take each Final Fantasy game with a grain of salt individually, but XV, as a whole, is worth it — especially in its current state. There’s no need to wait, but ultimately you should make the decision for yourself.