Why are the technical ambitions of FFXV so overlooked by the gaming fandom at large?

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Ikkin

Warrior of Light
Oct 30, 2016
1,093
1,694
#1
I think the thing that confuses me the most about the general reception of FFXV -- particularly in light of the reception of FFVIIR -- is the way that its tendency to push boundaries in ways that most AAA games wouldn't think of seems to be completely overlooked when discussing the most technically impressive games of the generation.
What's particularly bizarre is how often I see people mentioning things that FFXV already did when talking about things that could be possible next gen. To name a few:
  • A completely dynamic time of day system that can keep up with most (if not all) non-dynamic time of day systems when compared under similar conditions
  • Edit 1: On a related note, realtime global illumination!
  • Very high AI demands, including both the three complex AI partners who are present constantly throughout the game (with the possibility for a fourth AI partner to accompany you in most locations) and the unusually high numbers of enemy AIs present in regular fights
  • Ridiculously high streaming demands, including the ability to warp long distances during combat, the ability to fly over an open-world map, and the near-universal possibility of massive deities appearing and zooming the camera out to show large swathes of the surrounding area.
  • The ability to see points of interest from miles across the map
  • Incredibly detailed character and enemy models that are shared between cutscenes and gameplay (and aren't massively different in shader quality, either)
  • The ability to completely change the gameplay mechanics in the middle of a fight
  • An absurd dedication to ensuring that everything exists within the game's open world, including massive setpieces and train rides across a non-explorable countryside
  • Edit 2: Downright silly amounts of high-quality animation for all player characters, allies, and enemies
Very few AAA games do any of these things, much less all of them simultaneously. And yet, while FFXV is still in the highest echelon of AAA games visually speaking, it still gets compared unfavorably to FFVIIR because... FFVII? I'm honestly baffled.
 
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Ikkin

Warrior of Light
Oct 30, 2016
1,093
1,694
#3
I just LOL hard when people compare VIIR sidequests to XV.

Yeah NPC sidequests suck on both games, but XV has optional dungeons and rewards like flying over the map.
Hah, if we're talking sidequests, one of the biggest advantages XV had is that it didn't make significant story scenes contingent on doing menial tasks for hours. If you were playing sidequests in XV, it was probably because you wanted to be playing sidequests in XV.

With that said, I still think the difference technical ambition is much starker than even that. To compare point for point, VIIR has a non-dynamic time of day system that still can't really match XV in daylight, practically no AI demands for party members (of whom there are frequently significantly fewer), much lower enemy counts, obvious streaming issues in the form of constant slow-walk sections, a strong tendency to make everything more than ten feet off the beaten path into a skybox/groundbox, much simpler enemy models, very limited differences between party members, and a very obvious tendency towards discrete levels over the single coherent world model.
 

Nova

Warrior of Light
Jul 14, 2015
1,736
2,533
#4
I'm up to chapter 9 of the game and after experiencing daylight Midgar (and certain other areas included) this game has to have one of the most astonishingly inconsistent visual output I've ever witnessed at on a AAA current gen project, night time sections often being the best looking. A user on Era booted up the game to compare with FFXV and....wow.

https://www.resetera.com/threads/di...autiful-but-not-flawless.180602/post-31036635

This is happening on a licensed engine running exclusively on a single console hardware with more narrow level design.

With all things considered, looking back at this 2017 quote from Kitase makes it hard for me to think he was referring to the same game, party models and night time sections aside I'm genuinely more impressed by FF7R's performance side of technicalities i.e. stable framerate:

 
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Storm

Warrior of Light
Oct 26, 2013
3,327
5,961
28
Switzerland
#5
I think FFXV stumbled a bit and had more missteps because of it's high ambitions. The first release was great but was inconsistent and a bit janky sometimes.

FFVIIR feels less ambitious structure-wise and it came out in a better shape, better realized.

Personally though, FFXV ends up more original content-wise.
 
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Jenova

Keyblade Master
Oct 28, 2013
726
583
#6
What baffles me is the comparisons made between the two games at all. Sure, they're in the same franchise yet that doesn't really qualify them for a 1:1 comparison. Each Final Fantasy entry is treated as a franchise unto its itself for the most part. Not to mention each game has different design philosophies and developmental goals. Thanks in part due to the different creatives involved. The way Ito views how games should be made isn't the same as how Toriyama views how games should be made. It should be expected then that games by them will be completely different. Qualify control issues notwithstanding.

Anyway, to answer the main topic, I would say that at large the general gaming masses are not impressed by niche, minor and nuanced technical triumphs. I mean, just look at the recent next-gen console reveals. Cerny has revolutionized I/O overhead with his forward thinking SSD solutions yet they get ignored in favor of a few additional TFLOPS on a spec sheet as that's considered more triumphant and understandable. The Remake also didn't suffer under massive betrayal of goodwill and highly public developmental issues. Square-Enix kept the game close to the chest for the most part. More so than their other recent titles. Comparatively, XV in the public eye was a PR nightmare.
 

Ikkin

Warrior of Light
Oct 30, 2016
1,093
1,694
#7
I'm up to chapter 9 of the game and after experiencing daylight Midgar (and certain other areas included) this game has to have one of the most astonishingly inconsistent visual output I've ever witnessed at on a AAA current gen project, night time sections often being the best looking. A user on Era booted up the game to compare with FFXV and....wow.

https://www.resetera.com/threads/di...autiful-but-not-flawless.180602/post-31036635

This is happening on a licensed engine running exclusively on a single console hardware with more narrow level design.

With all things considered, looking back at this 2017 quote from Kitase makes it hard for me to think he was referring to the same game, party models and night time sections aside I'm genuinely more impressed by FF7R's performance side of technicalities i.e. stable framerate:

Wow, those screenshot comparisons are incredible. o_o

Part of it is obviously still a texture thing -- XV's gorgeous photogrammetric textures have well-done normal mapping and shaders that make them look higher poly than they actually are -- but the difference in environmental poly count in the screens comparing environmental junk is practically a generational leap.

I do have to wonder whether the team might have run into some technical issue with UE4 that they might have felt the need to rectify by using lower LODs for everything... but it's hard to imagine something so bad that it would require the game to look like it was optimized by Low Spec Gamer. Maybe they needed a longer delay but corporate refused to give it to them?


I think FFXV stumbled a bit and had more missteps because of it's high ambitions. The first release was great but was inconsistent and a bit janky sometimes.

FFVIIR feels less ambitious structure-wise and it came out in a better shape, better realized.

Personally though, FFXV ends up more original content-wise.
I mean, FFXV definitely had a bit more jank, but I wouldn't exactly call VIIR free of it. Even apart from whatever the heck happened to the visuals, there were a number of elements that felt poorly implemented (like the constant forced slow walk and every single monkey bar segment), and one incredibly obnoxious game crashing bug.


What baffles me is the comparisons made between the two games at all. Sure, they're in the same franchise yet that doesn't really qualify them for a 1:1 comparison. Each Final Fantasy entry is treated as a franchise unto its itself for the most part. Not to mention each game has different design philosophies and developmental goals. Thanks in part due to the different creatives involved. The way Ito views how games should be made isn't the same as how Toriyama views how games should be made. It should be expected then that games by them will be completely different. Qualify control issues notwithstanding.

Anyway, to answer the main topic, I would say that at large the general gaming masses are not impressed by niche, minor and nuanced technical triumphs. I mean, just look at the recent next-gen console reveals. Cerny has revolutionized I/O overhead with his forward thinking SSD solutions yet they get ignored in favor of a few additional TFLOPS on a spec sheet as that's considered more triumphant and understandable. The Remake also didn't suffer under massive betrayal of goodwill and highly public developmental issues. Square-Enix kept the game close to the chest for the most part. More so than their other recent titles. Comparatively, XV in the public eye was a PR nightmare.
I'd argue that you can make technical comparisons between any two games. ;)

I'd also argue that most of the things FFXV did aren't minor technical triumphs -- almost all of them significantly impact what the game is able to allow the player to do. Though I guess that most players probably aren't thinking about the challenge involved in doing some of those things.
 

Jenova

Keyblade Master
Oct 28, 2013
726
583
#8
I'd argue that you can make technical comparisons between any two games. ;)

I'd also argue that most of the things FFXV did aren't minor technical triumphs -- almost all of them significantly impact what the game is able to allow the player to do. Though I guess that most players probably aren't thinking about the challenge involved in doing some of those things.
I can agree to that. Technical comparisons are valid enough because all games should be competently designed, coded and debugged across an industry standard. Internet discussions go far beyond that, however. The evidence speaks for itself in many different places.

I guess it's because it's an open world game and anytime your game is "open world" is gets unfairly held against GTA. So basically if you aren't re-inventing the GTA wheel or providing a near-perfect executed experience from beginning to end people's response will likely end up being "Been there. Done that." Undermining all of the technical and developmental advances you made that the consumer just doesn't appreciate.
 

Ikkin

Warrior of Light
Oct 30, 2016
1,093
1,694
#10
I just laughed hard when people compare VIIR sidequests to XV.
To be fair, most of XV's sidequests are pretty simple... the difference is that XV has a ton of unique locations to send you to, while VIIR manages to repeat locations within a set of a half-dozen sidequests.

Actually, the amount of unique content XV has might be nearly as overlooked as its technical chops. Looking through a list of locations, its explorable environments include three completely different city types (modern megacity, tropical industrial city, classical European city), several unique major settlements (Hammerhead, Galdin Quay, Wiz Chocobo Post, Cape Caem, Tenebrae), a number of different terrain types (desert, beach, badlands, grasslands, forest, elevated shoreline, river, hot springs, farm, snowfields, swamp, ruins, canyon), several different military base variants, and a ridiculous amount of unique dungeon types (including mines, sewer, ice caverns, stony caves, several different types of forest, volcano, underwater, crystal-covered valley, abandoned open-air quarry, crazy puzzle tower, and even crazier puzzle platform extravaganza).