Final Fantasy XV officially delayed to November
You may have heard some murmurings about this over the weekend, but now it looks to be official: Final Fantasy XV is delayed again.
Director Hajime Tabata confirmed the rumors in a new video posted to Final Fantasy XV's YouTube channel, embedded above. You can activate the subtitles and read Tabata's message for yourself, but here's the gist of it:
We have [already] completed the master version, but when it comes to that highest possible quality, we felt that we had not quite reached this standard yet. Accordingly, in order to make this master version an even better project [we planned on releasing] a 'day one patch.' However, a patch is not something that can be applied by all players who have bought the game. it is impossible to provide this patch to everyone who plays without connecting their games machine to the internet. On top of that, the day one patch has pretty substantial content on it.
In case you were wondering, what Tabata is describing here is actually a pretty common phenomenon in game development, where a game often passes certification (in this case, Sony's) using a test build months before the actual street date. So, many studios use the intervening time to continue to refine the game, releasing these updates -- which could not be printed onto discs in time for store distribution -- as a downloadable update. It's not a perfect system, but it's become a ubiquitous compromise, a way for developers to deliver the best possible version of the game while still hitting all their deadlines.
However, it seems clear that a day one patch wasn't acceptable for Tabata, for a couple reasons: it'd be a large download, and not all players would have the fast connection needed to download it. The latter is honestly kind of refreshing in an industry increasingly emphasizing "always-online" features, even in ostensibly single-player games.
"We have put our whole lives into developing this game, with the intent of bringing the highest quality of game experience to every single player who buys it," Tabata continues in the video. "I personally started developing Final Fantasy XV from a desire to let everyone play a Final Fantasy that was so outstanding and amazing, it would send other games running in panic. I came to think that it might be a mistake just to deliver the master version."
No doubt this comes as a disappointment to fans, especially those awaiting special preordered editions. Final Fantasy XV -- which began life as Final Fantasy Versus XIII -- has already suffered an unusually protracted development and countless delays, so seeing the game on the verge of release only to be pushed back a further two months has to sting.
On the other hand, Tabata is clearly not making this decision lightly, and it's a testament to Square Enix's commitment to this game that it still, ten years on, is not content to make this thing a rush job. The entire process of certification, printing, and distribution is long and involved, so the development team isn't asking for another two months to finish its work here. The work is done, they just want it to ship on the disc, rather than ask players to sign on for a hefty download when they stick the game in their machines.
Final Fantasy XV's revised release date is November 29th for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.