Are Final Fantasy 15’s visuals really all that incredible? Yes. Yes, they are.
Final Fantasy 15 is a breathtakingly pretty game but unless you’re au fait with development and graphics tech you might not realise just how special it is (despite all those delighted Final Fantasy 15 reviews).
Sure, it has its flaws – notably draw-in and frame pacing problems – but when Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry took an in-depth look at the tech underlying Final Fantasy 15 it came away frothing with delight.
The video above calls Final Fantasy 15 Square Enix’s most technically accomplished game in years, praising it for its “beautifully cohesive world of epic proportions”.
In fact, Final Fantasy 15 is “nothing short of amazing”, and the fact that it fronts “massive seamless maps with a high density of detail while still delivering complex interactions on a micro level” makes it, overall, “truly something special”.
The video goes for almost 15 minutes and discusses a number of different aspects of Final Fantasy 15’s tech, but just to give you an idea of the detail involved, the first part focuses on lighting.
According to the report, Final Fantasy 15 uses a mix of real-time rendered and pre-baked lighting effects, which enable it to present “highly realistic” lighting both indoors and out, at all times of day. Physically-based shading and global illumination combined with sub-surface scattering on all objects and characters and impressive in-house shaders mean everything is lit as you’d expect whether wet or dry.
Elsewhere in Final Fantasy 15, volumetric lighting is employed to produce effects like torchlight and fog, and contact shadows and ambient occlusion result in realistic shadows with minimal artefacts. The real-time shadows are where things fall down a bit, as the draw-in is pretty noticeable.
It must be really gratifying for developers to have their work understood and appreciated by those who know about the sausage-making machine, you know? Especially when so many of us just run around complaining about the flaws we notice and take the rest of it for granted. Final Fantasy 15 took ten years to make, and the team probably could use a bit of kudos to help them recover.