Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae (ファイナルファンタジーXV エピソード ダスカ, Fainaru Fantajī Fifutīn Episōdo Dasuka?) is the playable demo of Final Fantasy XV for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. It is included as a downloadable voucher with purchased copies of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, which released worldwide in March, 2015. The demo is available for a limited time, included only with the first print versions of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD.
The premise of the demo is that the party must make enough money to pay for their car to be fixed. It was created around a sequence in the full game where the party loses their car, but the plot is original to the demo and does not spoil the main story.
A free update to the demo arrived on June 9, 2015.
The demo became available on the day Final Fantasy Type-0 HD released in all regions, and it has dual audio and various language options. It is 5.27 GB in size and uses the full processing memory of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The download code for the demo is available in the first print of the physical launch edition of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, and it is also available with the digital edition "for a limited time." The code will be valid until March 20, 2016, one year after the release of the European edition of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. Players can keep the demo for as long as they choose to keep it on their consoles.
While the final game is intended to run at a resolution of 1080p, the demo runs at 900p on PlayStation 4 and somewhere between 720p and 800p on Xbox One. Additionally, Shareplay is not usable.
While demo progress could be saved, the save file is not compatible with the final game in any way.
When you've spent your entire life looking out at the serrated city skyline, it's easy to lose yourself in the sprawling Duscaen landscape. The prince and his retinue were halfway to Cauthess when their daydreams came to a sudden, screeching halt—the Regalia's last gasp before giving out to the unpaved backroads. Now they were truly lost in the landscape: broken down by the side of the road with the Disc well out of walking distance. The Archaean, Titan, would have to wait. He'd been dormant for ages anyway. The first order of business was getting back on four wheels.Official Backstory
Stranded in Duscae without their car, Noctis and his party set out on foot to find a way to procure the gil needed for repairs. An opportunity presents itself as a bounty: a half-blind Behemoth named Deadeye has been terrorizing the area, and the locals have put a price of 25,000 gil on the beast's head. To earn enough gil to repair the Regalia, the party must hunt the Behemoth down and kill him.
After locating clues from the tracks Deadeye has left behind, the party tails the beast to its habitat in the local ruins. They attempt to fell Deadeye using a diversionary strategy, but Deadeye survives and the party is forced to flee after a futile attempt at fighting it. Deciding to ask the locals for more clues, the party learns from the Stablemaster at Wiz Chocobo Post about a cavern filled with goblins: Fociaugh Cavern. After the party fights their way through to the end of the cavern, Noctis is granted with the power to summon Ramuh when he is weakened, which guarantees the defeat of Deadeye when the party confronts it a second time. The party sells the Behemoth's horn for the gil needed to pay the mechanic Cindy, and before heading back out on the road, they promise to visit her and her father, Cid, soon.
During their time in Duscae, Noctis can also venture out with a friend. Gladiolus teaches him a new technique when the two run into a herd of Garula. Prompto asks Noctis to accompany him in hunting for rare mushrooms for Ignis, but he drops the mushrooms when the pair is chased off the lake by a giant Catoblepas. Ignis and Noctis find a spot where to watch the meteor shower at night, and later on invite Prompto and Gladiolus to join them. Prompto wants to take a picture of the four with the backdrop of the starry sky but the camera topples over before the picture is taken.
The demo ends with a show of artwork and audio connected to the core story: Noctis learns of the fall of Insomnia from Ignis and Gladiolus, while an official broadcast reports the deaths of King Regis, Prince Noctis, and Lunafreya Nox Fleuret from Tenebrae. Regis tells his son to never back down from what he has begun, and as one who carries the royal blood and name, to always carry his head high.
- Battle Controls
- Camera - Right stick
- Movement - Left stick
- Jump - /
- Dash (free run) - L3 button / Left stick button
- / - Lock onto enemy when held.
- R3 button / Right stick button - Lock onto enemy "permanently"
- Attack - /
- Combos - Continue holding down the attack button or tap repeatedly.
- Shift (Warp) and Shift Break - / – Warp towards the locked-on enemy/warp point and attack (if warping to an enemy). This consumes MP.
- Guard - / – Avoid normal enemy attacks at the cost of MP. It's a matter of timing. The blue light that shines when evading is the MP being spent.
- Ability - / – Each weapon has its own pre-set abilities. By using button and left/right sticks, the player can change the ability without stopping the attack. MP is consumed when using abilities. The player can shuffle the attacks with .
- Summon - Hold / when in 0 HP
- Armiger Arsenal - and / and when on full MP.
- Pressing the touchpad opens the battle menu. The battle is paused while in menu.
- Field Controls
- Battle Controls
- Camera - Right stick
- Movement - Left stick
- Jump - /
- Sprint - /
The controls cannot be customized in the demo, but it is planned for the final version. As this is an action game, the developers want to know what type of customization players want to see. The control scheme is the same worldwide, except the usual inversion validation and cancellation keys for Japan and some parts of Asia ( swapped with ).
According to Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata, players get two hours of gameplay out of Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae; this can be increased to three or four hours if they really dive into it. The demo takes place in the Duscae region near the beginning of the game, which has been showcased in the E3 2014 trailers. The area includes roads, a gas station, a chocobo outpost, and wilderness with wild animals, grassy plains, and marshes and forests, as well as mountainous areas overflowing with trees and a remote cave. The demo doesn't have towns. Chocobos are in the demo but the player won't be able to ride them.
Episode Duscae limits open world aspects, but is still wide-ranging. Players can fight monsters and explore dungeons, although dungeons are optional. The passage of time (a day being 45 minutes long) and camping will be present in the demo. Night time is dangerous and different monsters lurk during in the dark. The demo focuses on battle. Noctis's Armiger is usable.
The demo has a prototype summon system and an Astral, Ramuh, to show players how to tame and use one. One quest in the demo is finding phantom swords for Noctis's Armiger. The party members point out details from the environment to uncover the quests. After beating the main scenario there is an ending and more things are unlocked for the player to go back and do.
If the player uses a glitch to venture too far outside the intended demo area they get an error message and a Game Over. It is possible to venture further with the menu open, which bypasses the error message, but the areas are unfinished. There is, however, an out-of-bounds area where the moon turns red.
Gladiolus hosts a tutorial to give the player a handle on the combat system. When encountering an enemy, a red gauge appears when an enemy is targeting the player. The party can escape before the gauge is filled to avoid the battle. The battle background music generally doesn't play when roaming the field, but when the red gauge is activated the battle music begins.
The battle style is attacking, avoiding enemy attacks by guarding, and then attacking again. If the player runs out of MP they can recover by taking shelter in cover points. Sometimes the enemy will shine according to the timing, giving an opportunity to counterattack with parry. Players can change Noctis's equipment and use items but in the demo, the rest of the party's equipment is locked.
Equipment can be assigned to "Crush," "Ravage," "Vanquish," "Counter," and "Descend" roles which execute automatically during the situation in battle. Crush weapons are used to strike with first, while Ravage weapons can be set for continuous attacks after the initial strike. Attack speed, among other things, is an important factor when fighting evasive enemies. The player can change their equipment on the fly according to the enemy they are fighting.
The normal weapons are different from the "Phantom Sword" summon weapons. When starting the demo, the player has a set of regular weapons and will not find new ones, but players can obtain the phantom swords scattered around the map. There is only one co-op move in the demo as co-op moves are strong and could disrupt the balance, because they are gradually learned during the full game as the party levels up.
It is a game over when Noctis is unable to battle. If a character's HP drops to 0 he enters a "danger" condition where a red gauge is displayed representing his maximum HP, which receives additional damage reducing the maximum value and leads to a KO if depleted. Before the gauge depletes the player can use items or be "rescued" by party members to recover from the state, and camping can restore maximum HP to its normal value.
When not in battle players can open the Travel Menu to check the map and determine their next location by changing the position of the marker on the map. The blue points indicate safe havens where the player can set up camp. Obtained items can be sold for gil. At camp, Ignis can cook and different dishes give different status buffs. In the demo Ignis chooses what to make, but in the final game the player will be able to choose the dish. The status effects weaken as the number of days elapses, until expiring and the player must set up camp again if they want to regain the buffs. Players accumulate experience by camping, and level up if they meet the requirements. It is not possible to level up outside of camp. The level cap is the maximum LV99 in the demo. If the player is knocked out in battle, they lose the accrued EXP.
After camping the game will auto-save, and it will be morning. After camping at a location once, the player can return to it at any time from the Travel Menu.
The player can also rest at a caravan at Wiz Chocobo Post, or at the gas station. If the party stays at the caravan, Ignis will not cook, but sleeping at the caravan levels the party up faster than sleeping at a camp site. Caravans cost money to stay in.
The reason for releasing the demo was because Tabata wanted to let players see the portion of the game available at the time, and for them to understand Final Fantasy XV is deep in development despite the long wait. The main point was not to gather feedback, but the staff tried to respond to any feedback on the demo. Square Enix wanted to avoid releasing two Final Fantasy games simultaneously as standalone titles as not to damage each other's sales, and decided to release the demo packaged with Final Fantasy Type-0.
After the Tokyo Game Show 2014, the systems going into the demo were slightly changed as a result of fan feedback. The demo's volume was exceeded from what was originally expected and the team needed more time to implement that.
With Episode Duscae, the team avoided having players play through the main story; the concrete demo is designed around playability and enjoyment on its own. The part of the game featured in the demo is related to the main story and thus may feel unnatural to players who miss out on the larger context, but these portions were included so that players would easily be able to provide feedback on them.
The party's car was planned to be included, but it was removed. Hajime Tabata explained that he did not want the demo to deviate too far from what the fans expect from a Final Fantasy game by making it driving-focused. Originally, the plan for the demo was to let players drive in a vast world and get off every now and then to explore the vicinity. However, the developers felt it was important to show the battles, given Final Fantasy XV is the first action-oriented game in the numbered series. Thus, rather than driving long distances, exploration on foot was made the priority.
While the team was considering a driving demo, there was to be about an hour of normal gameplay. After altering the structure of the demo so players could walk freely in the field and battle monsters, the demo's length extended to approximately two hours of content.
The biggest aspect of Final Fantasy XV that is not included in the demo is magic, for developmental reasons. The combat system in the full game has magic, but the graphics are not polished yet. When choosing to polish either the magic system or the summon system for the demo, the developers chose the latter. The developers wanted to put the weather system in to the demo, but couldn't as the different types of rain weren't finished in time. Many other features, like equip-able armor, are intentionally withheld from the demo to not overwhelm players and give everyone a fair chance to explore everything about Episode Duscae and form their opinions on the base game.
The slowdown effect when weapons strike enemies was tweaked due to fan feedback.
Releasing Episode Duscae 2.0 was not planned, but it was many team members' first experience releasing their product and many were disappointed they couldn't include everything they would have wanted. Players also gave feedback, and the team wanted to answer to those voices as well.
- Patch file size: 3.464 GB
- Release date: June 9, 2015
- New features in quests and combat
- Improved camera and animations
- Various bug fixes
- Saved games must be updated to work with the current version of the demo.
- Updated games will not work on the former version of the demo.
The demo's patch update features new additional content while adjusting the mechanics. One of the large Catoblepases in the lake can be fought. It gives 9999 EXP if felled.
Noctis's Techniques had their MP cost reduced by about 60%. The dodge was changed aesthetically and the player can now hold down / while doing a combo to dodge without having to time it. The same effect happens if held down while in a combo: mid-combo the player can press the left stick back to get out of it. A new dodge, a roll-dodge, that takes no MP, has been added.
The dodge roll wasn't included in the first version due to memory constraints. Since the memory that can be used is physically limited, developers must make trade-offs. To add the dodge roll, all the resources and gameplay coding associated with avoidance had to fit into memory, and that's why it was added only in 2.0.
Prompto's stop bullet color was changed from purple to white. A new Cross Chain technique has been added where Noctis can team up with his friends to take on toppled over enemies that are off their guard.
Camera has been improved. The lock-on feature now keeps the enemy centered on the player's screen. Framerate and aliasing have also been improved.
Resting opens up possibilities to go on tours with one party member. The player can now do a number of tours in the demo with different party members.
A week after the latest release date of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Square Enix opened a survey for those who had played Episode Duscae, asking for player input. One could take part in the survey by using the download code they used to download the demo. The results were discussed in the Active Time Report broadcast on 28th April 2015 where Tabata himself answered to the results.
The global average score determined by everyone who played the demo was 8.3. In North America, the game scored 8.6, in Japan 8.0, and in Europe 8.3. The survey had different aspects of the demo for players to rate. The cast of characters was more popular in North America and Europe. Japanese players found the demo harder and its goals more difficult to discern. American and European players associated the demo more with a "Final Fantasy feel" than Japanese players, and also enjoyed the game's art design more.
The number one issue players had was the "useless" lock-on system where the camera didn't focus fully. Tabata responded that the lock-on system was implemented imperfectly, and that the developers would improve it. Other common issues were the camera being too close making it difficult to understand what was going on, and that moving the camera felt clunky. Tabata responded that the system is designed to pull away to give a wider view when needed, but it wasn't functioning as well as the developers had hoped and there were times where it wasn't functioning well because of the terrain. Tabata promised this issue would be fixed, and toyed with an idea of letting players choose their preferred camera settings.
The allies' AI and how they frequently either got themselves knocked out or got into Noctis's way was also criticized. Tabata responded that the system was being improved, and the goal was to have the allies feel like Noctis's friends. He said the issue of them getting into the player's way was being addressed from the programming end.
"Jaggies" and frame rate drops were the most common complaint from North America and Europe. In regards to the jaggies, the team wasn't able to implement anti-aliasing in the demo, but it will be implemented in the full game. The frame rate was considered a high priority issue. Tabata said the only option was to persistently optimize and that currently, the bottleneck during battles was the VFX and UI. It was said that during mastering the team would repeat the process of optimizing, and re-evaluate how objects are being rendered. The goal was always full HD, but from the survey it became apparent the frame rate was more important to players than the resolution. Tabata said prioritizing resolution by sacrificing frame rate was unacceptable for Final Fantasy XV, but that the team was still aiming for full HD.
Another criticism was the gameplay feeling slow due to realistic movement. Tabata said they need to make the weapon system clearer, as heavy weapons attack slow and lighter weapons fast. When it was brought up that players were expecting the speed seen in the E3 2013 trailer, Tabata said the Armiger system makes Noctis a powerhouse and all of his movements warps, however, it also makes him able to take on any challenge alone. Because one of the game concepts is cooperation with allies, the Armiger system is intended as a temporary spurt of power for specific situations when the player needs a boost, and is not representative "normal gameplay" that is intended to include co-op moves with the AI allies. The game is also intended to feel "grounded" with the player a corporeal part of it.
Tabata said that a mini-map will be added, but what exactly will be included into it (relative position of enemies/allies, more detailed info of the environment) was still to be determined. Some players wanted a dodge action that doesn't use MP, and Tabata said the game's default dodge is a dodge roll, and the demo's warp-dodge was a higher level dodge action. Why there was only warp-dodge in the demo was because the developers couldn't prepare the UI elements for switching up abilities, so it came down to dodge roll or warp-dodge, and because the demo was nearing the memory limit, the team had to watch the resources to prevent things from getting too sluggish. In the last minute it was decided to go with warp-dodge as it doesn't require as much of a load as dodge roll. However, Tabata assured a dodge action that doesn't rely on MP exists.
Some players complained the game was more about hiding behind rocks to replenish MP than battling. Tabata responded that the amount of recovered MP and the time needed to recover is something that was balanced within the context of the demo, and that for the final release, before even worrying about MP use, there will be other included features to shorten each battle. As magic and more co-op attacks will be included, the full game will have more tactics at the player's disposal, and the amount of time spent recovering MP should go down in proportion. He said that, since the player has full control, they can construct their battles with the available MP and in a pinch distance themselves and recover MP, but that the need for that would decrease.
Many Japanese players deemed the demo too hard, while a lot of western players said it was too easy. Tabata said the answer would be to implement difficulty modes. Some had deemed battles "too monotonous." Tabata said that the features of the full game should give more variety, and allowing players to choose a difficulty setting would allow skilled players to use well-timed moves to best enemies, making it more interesting.
Some players were annoyed Noctis got tired from dashing, and that the dash was too slow. Tabata would prefer to keep the corporeal feel in showing the characters can't just speed to the end of the world, but envisioned a system where food items would give better dash. Players also wanted to warp as a regular means of moving around. Tabata responded that until February 2015, this was possible and was the original plan, but it caused too many bugs. Thus it was decided to limit it to battles. To be able to warp through an open world, seamlessly reading data, was something the team hadn't been able to achieve without bugs. Tabata couldn't promise free warping in the final release, but if a breakthrough were to happen, it would be implemented. Tabata said battles will have more warp points and there would be a need for vertical warping. Dynamic warping was to be an essential part of battles, whether to gain advantage or to avoid enemies. Tabata said some of this was seen in the Behemoth battle, but that they were trying to incorporate it into normal battles.
Players had asked to be able to cancel attack sequences by evading. Tabata said that was a feature he wanted himself, but the team would have had to work in action cancellation frames and fine tune that, and it wasn't possible to include due to time restrains. The developers' version, however, had evades cancelling attacks, such as dodge rolling mid-attack, but cancelling out every attack wasn't going to be possible.
Tabata apologized for the bugs found in the demo. Tabata said that the team's know-how wasn't affluent yet when it came to action in an open-world environment, and thus they were faced with many unforeseen bugs, but that they were going to iron them out for the final release.
Many western players had complained about Noctis's voice. Tabata responded the team had cut the recording close in terms of the schedule and after recording the voices were implemented before going straight into testing, so by the time Tabata realized Noctis's voice direction wasn't quite right, it was too late to make changes. Tabata said the team is aware he sounds strange and that his "charm" isn't coming through with the current acting, and that he feels too old. He said they had already done more takes to make him sound younger, while also bringing out his sense of ennui.
A lot of feedback from Europe was that Cindy was "too sexy," and many also wanted a female party member. Tabata said Cindy was not meant to be an erotic character, but energetic and outgoing, and he didn't want to change the current concept. He talked about moderating the way she's presented, rather than covering her up. Tabata also explained the game's concept being following the foursome's journey in an environment where they can be themselves, and thereby allowing the player to feel like they are traveling with them, and thus replacing a party member with a new female character would not work. Guests join the party from time to time, however, and Tabata hinted that "if a female character gets thrown into the mix, you can expect things to be a little different than usual."
Tabata concluded that he wanted the players to experience the improvements. The plan had been to keep improving Episode Duscae and make it available in different events, but said there were also plans to patch the demo so all players could experience the changes. Tabata was unsure if this was feasible as demos are not usually patched, but if it could be done, he would like to see "Episode Duscae 2.0" come out in May. The improvements would include AXB enhancements, camera and targeting system enhancements, additional combat actions/overall re-balancing and bug fixes, more joint attacks, possible dodge roll inclusion, the range of actions for each weapons improved, MP recovery and usage adjustments, and the Titan bug fixed. Under consideration were individual quests where all four party members may not partake. The mechanics were in place and working, so Tabata thought it possible to implement along with the quest data. For example, when the player decides what to do in the morning after camping, depending on the choice, Noctis could be paired with one or two party members for that day. Those days might have different conversations, and in-battle dynamics would also change. At night everyone would reconvene at the camp, bringing all that they had acquired. Tabata was unsure frame rate could be added, as the team was still still re-evaluating data allotment and how objects were being rendered.
The demo was eventually updated with the promised additional features. Hajime Tabata later said the most important part about gathering feedback was to test the elements the developers think good, to see if the emotional response to players is the reaction that were looking for.
The survey gauged which characters were popular, and Prompto was last by a huge margin. The team thus tried to come up with ways to make him more likable, and attached the automatic snapshot system to his character so that players would appreciate having him around.
- Titan can be found in the demo by leaving the boundaries.
- Upon the release of Episode Duscae, some feedback targeted Noctis's unusual voice, which "resembled Batman." Instead of recasting him, voice director Keythe Farley worked with Ray Chase and had him redub Noctis's dialogue for the full game, with his voice becoming higher and more emotional.
- Some of Ignis's lines were redubbed with different inflections as well, such as "my pleasure!," "you're surprised?," and "must say I'm amazed." He also says "Noct" more often rather than "Highness."
- Some incidental party banter that was used in Episode Duscae, but not in the main game, is included in Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition, such as the bit with Noctis and Prompto talking about dreams.
- On top of some party banter getting scrapped, several lines were repurposed (i.e. Prompto exclaiming "sorry about that!" when his phone accidentally rings becoming his friendly fire quote.)
- A bill for Deadeye the Behemoth in the demo describes it as "one-eyed, one-horned, purple, people-eating." This alludes to "The Purple People Eater," a novelty song written and performed by Sheb Wooley, which reached #1 in the Billboard pop charts in 1958.
- During the party's time in the cave in Duscae Prompto says "Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?" referring to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the titular character utters the quote when he ends up in a tomb full of snakes.
- There is an old vending machine in the gas station that used to sell "Great Glacier Cola," an allusion to Final Fantasy VII.
- Cindy has a moogle toy in her yellow Hammerhead truck.
- The Cherished Frog sidequest in which the player must find the frogs scattered around the map, each with a description of "Frog from fond childhood memories. Never caught more than nine." This is a reference to the frog catching minigame of Final Fantasy IX.
- After Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who left Square Enix in 2002, played Episode Duscae, he contacted Hajime Tabata to offer detailed feedback. Sakaguchi found the demo enjoyable and interesting and the two discussed the battles and the different ways of playing that are expected from a franchise like Final Fantasy: Many gamers want to play a more traditional role-playing game, while others prefer something more active. Tabata talked with Sakaguchi about finding a way to make both groups happy.
- In A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV, Regis switches weapons as he executes combos. This resembles Noctis's fighting style in Episode Duscae.
- SEP - FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 HD Character & Story w/ Hajime Tabata at YouTube
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- Final Fantasy XV Demo Will Be Yours Until Deleted from Your PS4/Xbox One; Code Valid Until 2016 — Dualshockers.com
- FFXV Episode Duscae Runs At 900p On PS4; XBO Screenshots Reveal Sub-800p Resolution - Gearnuke
- NEW FINAL FANTASY XV –EPISODE DUSCAE– SCREENSHOTS AND INFORMATION REVEALED — Square Enix press release
- All the details from today's London Active Time Report — Novacrystallis.com
- TGS 2014: Dengeki Interviews FF Type-0 HD and FFXV Director Hajime Tabata — SQEX.info
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- Meet The New Man In Charge Of Final Fantasy — Kotaku.com
- Why the Final Fantasy 15 demo isn't letting you drive its meme-worthy car — Polygon.com
- — Final Fantasy XV Director Reveals Cover System And Explains What’s In Episode Duscae
- Many Features Will Be Withheld From Episode Duscae So As Not To Overwhelm Players — FinalFantasyUnion.com
- Uncovered: 4Gamer interview translation (interview with Tabata-san and Nozue-san) (Accessed: UnknownError: See this for how to archive.) at A Bit Of Laughter
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- EDGE #287, p.73 "An Audience with Hajime Tabata"
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