Square Enix has been dabbling with virtual reality (VR) for some time now, with their debut technical demonstration, based on 2014’s Thief reboot, appearing alongside the PlayStation VR head-mounted display (HMD) at the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) the same year. Since then we’ve seen numerous other demonstrations and the release of Hitman GO: VR Edition. Now however, Square Enix has confirmed that their biggest franchise will support VR: Final Fantasy.
Final Fantasy XV is due to launch later this year, and with it will bring Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience for PlayStation VR. The preview trailer offered at Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) press conference hinted at a grand experience in-line with that of the core videogame, but sadly in reality the spin-off is a far different affair.
VRFocus learned long ago that PlayStation VR was likely to be supported by traditional PlayStation 4 releases packaged with PlayStation VR extras, and Final Fantasy XV is likely to be one of the first titles to do this. The Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience stands alongside Final Fantasy XV as supplementary content opposed to diving head-first in with a fully playable version of the videogame akin to Resident Evil VII: Biohazard. This might be disappointing to some, but the truth of the matter is that Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience does not present a good argument for playing the entirety of Final Fantasy XV in VR.
Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience is essentially a light-gun style videogame within VR. The player is equipped with PlayStation Move controllers and must target various points on the videogame’s huge enemies in order to take them out. This, essentially, is the full limit of what Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience offers.
Though official word on the matter is yet to be offered, VRFocus was informed that there will be no connection between Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience and Final Fantasy XV aside from shared characters and locations. Success in Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience will not be reflected in Final Fantasy XV, nor vice versa. It’s essentially a demo of what Square Enix views as the potential for VR blindly rolled into a product with the hope of success being bred from the attachment of a powerful franchise. A cynical view perhaps, but one which is hard to avoid given the poor quality of the Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience preview build on offer.
It’s a shame that Square Enix appear to be taking a less than respectable approach to PlayStation VR given the high quality of their adaptation of Hitman GO, and yet the public reception to Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience is likely to cause a greater stir due the nature of its exclusivity on a PlayStation format. Hope remains that Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience will be fleshed out into something greater before launch, but at present there’s nothing to suggest that it’s anything more than an afterthought created for the sole intention of jumping on the PlayStation VR bandwagon.