We know Final Fantasy 15 (opens in new tab) includes an extensive open-world road-trip with main character Noctis and his bros, but it sounds like that's just the first half of the game. FF15 game director Hajime Tabata told Famitsu, via Siliconera (opens in new tab), that the rest of the game will be a more linear tale.
“The entire game structure for Final Fantasy XV consists of both open-world and linear parts,” Tabata said. “The first half keeps going as an open-world, but the story in the second half’s is led by a linear path.
"That way, you won’t get bored of an open-world as the rest of the game gets tightened up, so we made it in a way that you’ll also get to advance through it as you have in conventional Final Fantasy games. If you play through the first half and only the main route of the second half, I believe the estimated play-time sits at around 40 to 50 hours.”
That open/linear split sounds about right for me. When I'm going into a game fresh I love to explore and find all the secrets, but after I've sunk a good number of hours in I usually just want to follow the main path and get the story moving toward its conclusion. Building FF15's story structure to directly address open-world fatigue is a pretty cool idea.
It also reduces that usual third-act RPG problem of "the end of the world is nigh but Geralt's decided to piss off and complete his Gwent card collection back in the intro zone". Unless there are Triple Triad cards to grab, in which case all bets are off.
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