The lights are on
If you've never heard of Final Fantasy Type-0, you can be easily forgiven. The title originally launched on PSP in 2011 and unless you're into importing games, you never really had a chance to play it. It was released in Japan and never made it to Europe or North America.Now, Square Enix is updating the game for new-gen systems and packaging it up for release here within the next 12 months. This is Final Fantasy of a different stripe, and even if you're not into turn-based gaming or the even the more action-oriented entries that have been released in the main series, you might want to give this a look.Final Fantasy Type-0 stars 14 different members of Class 0, each of whom is a magic user. We sat down with producer Hajime Tabata (who is also co-director of the long anticipated Final Fantasy XV) to find out more about the title.Tabata tells us that unlike other titles in the Final Fantasy series, there's no singular protagonist in Type-0. Each of the 14 characters, all of whom are available very early in the game, offer something to the story and to combat.The tale pits a nation of advanced magic users against a technological empire. While the story sounds rote, Tabata promises a story more mature and realistic (even within the fantastical setting) than we've seen from the Final Fantasy series.Type-0's action is entirely real time, and you'll command three members of the squad in the field at any time. You can control any of the three with the press of a button, while the other two provide support. Because Class 0 members are essentially weapons, the approach to magic in this game is unlike others in the series.For instance, fire can be used as a rifle, shotgun, or rocket launcher. This allows you to tune and upgrade your characters via the game's currency. The different attacks and skills are all mapped to face buttons, which makes this a true action game (unlike Crisis Core or Kingdom Hearts, which still utilize an active menu system).Should one of your teammates fall in battle, you can swap in another of the squad. This limits your options on the field, but gives players a chance to recover from a misstep during combat. This time out, Type-0 will have four different difficulty levels, as some players of the original PSP release found the game too difficult.Other than that, the content will be identical to the PSP release. This isn't a "final mix" version of the game.Visually, the team is using what it's learned so far developing Final Fantasy XV to improve the textures and models, lighting, and reflections for new-generation hardware. It doesn't look like a game that started as a PSP title. "This isn't an asset-based HD remaster. It's technology based," Tabata told-us, explaining that Type-0 isn't just a fresh coat of paint.While we didn't get to wrap our hands around the controller this time, it wasn't hard to see that Final Fantasy Type-0 takes the franchise in a wildly different direction. Even with that, the core tenets of what defines Final Fantasy are in place, making for a familiar looking experience that dares to be different.