In a developer interview with Famitsu, director Hajime Tabata and Tetsuya Nomura revealed that Final Fantasy Type-0, originally slated to be released this summer in Japan, would now be released in the fall. Tabata attributed the delay partly to the long PSN downtime in Japan.
Development is currently at 80% completion as of Famitsu’s article. Most of the game is finished except for multiplayer, and the ad-hoc component is currently being worked on. If you host a game, others can join in randomly. Other players choose from a list of hosts and are booted when the host reaches a save point. If the host does not reach a save point, the game continues until the time limit is over. Multiplayer is not mandatory to finish the game.
Some details on the controls and gameplay were elaborated on. Pressing L and the d-pad switches characters, triangle button uses base attacks, square and circle unleash magic and physical attacks respectively, X defends and uses defensive magic. You can hold down a button to repeat a move instead of mashing it. Some fighting game elements like move cancellation will also be incorporated. Each character specializes in a different weapon and element and have their own summons, so swapping them out based on the current mission will be necessary. Weather affects aspects of battle, like weapon power and range and the power of summons.
Final Fantasy Type-0 can be beaten in 30-40 hours, though completists will have to burn about 100 hours to find everything. There are 14 protagonists, though at one stage in development there were 40. Like with the 3rd Birthday, there will be Square Enix Members connectivity, such as being able to see stats of character use and enemy kills for other members. The game also features a music collaboration, but it was not revealed with who.
The game will be released in Japan in Fall 2011 on the PSP. No release date has been given for regions outside of Japan, though Tetsuya Nomura stated that they were looking into downloadable (even though the game takes up two UMDs) and overseas versions.
Analysis: The delay is unsurprising, especially given Japan’s PSN downtime and the size of the game, both in terms of file size and content (judging from the quoted hours). While making the game available for download would circumvent the hoopla that surrounded Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep going UMD only (not to mention let it be playable on the Vita), I have to wonder just how big the download would be given that one UMD can hold up to 1.8 GB. The battle system sounds similar to Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (another UMD only game, incidentally), although with some turned based elements with the ATB system. I have mixed feelings about the school theme, given that it’s so heavily used (like in Valkyria Chronicles II), though I would at least like to see how it’s executed here. Having 14 characters to control sounds like it would leave room for variability in battle if it doesn’t end up with a few characters being strong and the rest lacking. It does sound like the game does have longevity going for it, though hopefully none of it is padding to get the game that big.