The latest update on the official Final Fantasy XV blog introduces fans to Environment Artist Hiromitsu Sasaki. Community Manager Tajima – or Taji as he refers to himself on the blog – met up with Sasaki to discuss his role on the project and what role the environment team plays during development.
Final Fantasy XV‘s map is divided into three sections – world map, locations and dungeons, with staff dedicated to each. Sasaki is responsible for the dungeon parts, including cave structures and drawing up backgrounds.
The environment team abbreviates themselves as ENV. Sasaki explains that they’re currently working on improving visual quality and balancing light and shadows and additional adjustments such as the smoothness of the ground. Taji notes that graphics in games these days are beautiful, so adjusting for the final game’s quality is important.
As for the dungeons themselves, Sasaki says the team has worked toward making the environments beautiful but also dark and frightening. Their goal is to make them memorable to everyone.
Sasaki’s team is also responsible for regulating the rules of the dungeon. Within the game world there are more and more rules and so they have to adjust them. For Final Fantasy XV, the team regulates things such as walking height and the angle of slopes that can be overcome. For example, the angle. Normally most games place their monsters on flat surfaces but in FFXV it has become possible to have battles on tighter, more sloped surfaces.
Because of this, they considered adding in tougher rules to control monster AI behavior but ultimately decided to prioritize the player’s comfort during gameplay. Sasaki says these types of discussions result in improved game quality.
The next blog update is scheduled to go live on February 23rd and will include the conclusion of Taji’s interview with Hiromitsu Sasaki. Final Fantasy XV is due out on PS4 and Xbox One some time this year. Square Enix will be announcing a release date for the game on March 30th.