During TGS last week, Square Enix announced that Hajime Tabata is now directing Final Fantasy XV. That wasn’t the only big news about the game; the publisher also revealed a playable demo called Episode Duscae will be available for free to those who buy Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. If Square Enix wants to reignite enthusiasm for Final Fantasy XV and demonstrate the game is moving in the right direction, these announcements are a perfect start.

However, even with two big pieces of news hitting recently, we still wanted to know more about Final Fantasy XV. We sat down with Tabata to get his thoughts on a wide range of topics pertaining to the highly anticipated RPG and its associated demo releasing in 2015.

On The Name “Episode Duscae”:
Duscae is the name of an area within the world of Final Fantasy XV. So, we took that as the name of the episode for the playable demo.

On The Reason For A Demo:
It is the first time that fans who have been waiting for XV get a chance to try out the game. I can’t say what their reaction is going to be. The reason I wanted to make a demo is to let players see whatever portion is available right now and to understand that XV is still coming and we’re still working on it.

On The Length Of Episode Duscae:
If you just play straight through the story, it’s about one hour worth of gameplay. If you go and explore the world map or go into a dungeon, it would be somewhere upwards of three to four hours.

On FF XV’s Progress:
In terms of development, about 50 to 60 percent of the game is complete. We kind of started from the beginning of the game, so the first part is more complete than the others.

On The Open World:
Not literally everything is open world, but it is pretty vast, and you will be able to freely explore. You may have noticed that they’re traveling in a car. You can technically walk around the world, but we recommend using a vehicle, and it’ll be a journey driving through the continent.

On Encounters:
In XV, it’s all seamless; you’ve got enemies that are roaming around in all areas…there’s not an “encounter,” per se. It’s all seamless.

On Stances:
We won’t go into too much detail, but you can switch between an offensive stance and a defensive stance with the push of a button.

On The Final Fantasy Icons:
In creating a new game, if you throw in familiar elements just to please the fans, it gives an impression that we’re very shallow. I’m very careful that. With each element of a familiar Final Fantasy icon that I include, I have to think about how it applies to the setting of the particular Final Fantasy numbered title, and make sure that it’s there because it’s necessary. In Episode Duscae, there is a sort of surprise element incorporated toward the end.

On Release Dates:
During the “Versus era” – though it might be weird to refer to it that way – we weren’t able to reveal any information on release timing because that was a project in which we had to overcome so many different problems that arose. Unfortunately, while we were trying to work through the issues, the timing never matched. But about two years ago, when I officially joined the project, we did a pretty major directional change when we decided not to go with the previous generation. I also had to talk with Nomura-san about the direction FF XV is going to take. Unfortunately, it’s still going to take a while, but I’m hoping people will reset their timers from when I joined the team and restart the count from there.

On Fan Reaction To XV:
We can’t gauge very well quite yet. Now that we have decided to put out a demo version, I’m hoping that the fans will come back to us with their input and feed us the passion that everybody has and let us know how they feel about the game.