I just finished watching the ATR (Active Time Report) from Square Enix with a fresh amount of info for Final Fantasy 15. I can honestly say, that I am officially ready for this game to be released. The event wasn't extremely long, just about an hour in length, but it showed a decent amount of content and information to the direction that the game is going, as well as a decent amount of confidence in their ability to keep with a 2016 release.
The first thing that was showed was magic, and I feel that this is the most orginal take on Final Fantasy magic in a long while. They discussed that there are two types of magic that is used by your party, one is elemental magics (specifically Fire, Thunder, and Blizzard) that seem to realistically react to the environment and the characters that are around when it is used. Tabata-san specifically noted that as an example, when fire magic is used it will naturally spread to areas and objects that are flammable, it will also scorch objects and characters that are inside its area of effect. This invarriably has the added effect of allowing even the starting magic to affect a larger area. Other examples are that if you use thunder in a wet environment it will of course increase the power and effective area of the spell, same goes for blizzard, it has the capability to slow opponents, and even the possibility to freeze your opponents to death.
You will have to be careful of course due to the magic also damaging your party members, thankfully it seems as though they will react accordingly if they are caught in the area of effect. Another difference is that magic will not be "cast" in the normal sense, but rather it will be thrown as a sort of magic 'grenade' that will explode in magical magnificance, they are not items that can accumulate in your inventory, that is just the way magic is used in the lore of this game. The other magic is the 'ring magic' that is the sole domain of the Royal family of Lucis. They were of course light on the information pertaining to this but they did say that while regular magic will be given to you rather early in the game, 'ring magic' will reveal itself reasonably well into the game.
After the explanation on magice Tabata-san started to give a bit of a look at what was the story behind the main antagonists of the story, that being the Empire of Nilfheim. In short he said that Nilfheim is a technologically powerful expansionist Empire, who at the beginning of the game has its sights set upon the magically powerful, Crystal using Lucis. The leaders of Nilfheim are Iedolas, and Ardyn, while Iedolas is at the top of the leadership chain, it seems as though Ardyn is the one who is making the decisions that move them forward. The other major power players in Nilfheim that they have revealed thus far are Verstael, the main researcher into the further development of their magitek weapons, and materiel, and the Military General, Glauca. An interesting thing of note, is that the common footsoldiers in their military are all of magitek construction, while all the commanders are human. After that they introduced the Mercenary Dragoon, that serves as commander of the Empire's Third Army Corps 87th Airborne Unit, known as Aranea Highwind. She seems quite mysterious currently, and personally cannot wait to see what they do with this character.
After that they showed some new gameplay, that was a mixture of stealth, and combat. A new addition to the combat was the stealth warp kill, and you could apparently chain it together as long as you were unnoticed by your enemies. The UI on the screen was also changed along with the altering to some of the action buttons, they also re-introduced the spinning weapon swapping that was in many of the earlier trailers, but not in Episode: Duscae. Overall I was majorly impressed with what was shown and feel confident that what will release will help to bring Final Fantasy back to prominence among JRPGs and hopefully put some more faith that Square Enix has what it takes to make good games, that are not Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, or any of the other Western properties that they have been making lately. Also at the end they announced the event to where they will announce the final release date for the game, and also news about a new playable demo. The event will be on March 30th at 7Pm PST, on their twitch and youtube channels, hope to see you there.
If you would like to watch the presentation, or the gameplay that was at the end I will drop some links as the bottom.
Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report January 2016:
Final Fantasy XV - Nilfheim Battle Footage: