• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

FFXV - Combat Patent Analysis

Lady Bird

Matsuno's Goebbels
In this thread, it was posted that the US patent office awarded a patent to Square Enix for an action RPG battle system invented by FFXV's director (Tabata) and one of his battle directors.

Although there is no confirmation to which game it might be from, the document available describes what it seems to be FFXV's combat system and its very divisive "one-button" philosophy, based on everything we know of it so far.

Considering we have very few concrete details about FFXV's battles, and noticing how deep this "patent" seems to tie with it, I felt it was worth reading and analyzing it a bit. There's some interesting notes that shows us the director's worries and solutions for several issues, and if what is written trully is the base design for FFXV's system, then it sheds some light about its control input and level of customisation.

ANALYSIS

Basic Overview
  1. Different offensive actions (called "attack methods") become available when certain "positional conditions" are met (your positioning in the battlefield, and in relation to other characters or monsters);
  2. Thus, the player can determine which action they wish to execute by positioning themselves in the right place;
  3. All attack methods are executed this way by the press of a single button: the one attached to Attack.
  4. The goal for this is to streamline button input complexity, making a single Attack button the trigger for most kinds of offensive actions, so that beginners can enjoy combat immediately, while preserving decision making and choice that advanced RPG players would expect from the genre.

"Gambit" System



The images available show a structured system where attack methods and positional conditions are set up in a way that greatly resembles FFXII's gambit system. On the right side, you have types of actions (Boomerang, Spell A, Spell B, etc). On the left side, you have conditions based on character's positioning (how close or far they are). Those "gambits" are priotized exactly as they were in FFXII: the higher the row, the higher the priority.

Several examples were listed for positional conditions and attack methods.
  • "Nearest from player character", "Nearest from allied character", "Farthest from (...)", "In contact with (...)", etc. FFXII had some gambits like that, too, but this versions expands from it, to the point that it can determine if characters are within 3m or 10m of distance of each other, or if enemies are facing the character or not (you can attack enemies from the front or from the back).
  • "Close attack with sword", "Distant attack with boomerang", "Attack Spell B", etc. (I assume that when pressing the button to attack, if the character is far from the enemy, will make the character automatically switch to/ usa a ranged weapon, or at least if specified in a gambit-ish system.)


When you press the Attack Button, the game verifies your position, picks the correct "gambit" for it, and the attack method attached to the gambit is executed.

More details
  1. Targetting enemies is automatic by default (based on priotized gambits). For example, If your higher priority gambit is using Spell A against a foe within 3m of you, and you press the Attack button exactly when there's a foe within that range, the game will automatically target that foe.
  2. Pressing R and L buttons allows you to manually target and priotize targets, where the game will then pick the highest priority gambit you have that can be used for that target.
  3. This system applies both to allied characters controlled by the AI, and the player character with manual input. So you can have allied characters only do certain actions if the player character is near them.
  4. This system can be customised before and during the battle, through a menu.
  5. New positional conditions can be obtained through the game.
  6. New attack methods can be obtained through the game, whenever the player equips new items, learns new skills, etc.
  7. The number of attack method/ gambit rows can be expanded/ obtained through the game.
  8. While setting up positional conditions, the system will automatically filter the number of actions to those that only make sense. For example, it'll be impossible to set up a close-ranged attack that triggers if you are far from the enemy.
  9. There's the possibility to switch to a more manual input mode, where attacks can be attached to several buttons.

Personal thoughts

Assumption: If the attack method tables (the "gambits") can verify if the enemy is facing the character or not, then we can assume that this might have a strategical importance.

The idea that I'm getting so far for this combat system, is that a system similar to FFXII's gambits determines which action is available with the Attack button, based on the player's positioning (and thus, under the player's direct control), where it then must be manually triggered by the player.

Seems like battles will unfold in the following way:

PRE-BATTLE
1. A "gambit" system determines the actions (customisable) that are available under specific positional conditions (also customisable).

MID-BATTLE
2. You manually position yourself to have access to the actions that you want to have acess to (based on the gambits).
3. You manually trigger said actions by pressing the attack button.
4. You can open a menu and change your "gambit" setups.

While at the surface it should play and feel like a (simplified) action RPG, it also resembles traditional FF combat where actions were mostly executed with a single confirm button and the arrow pad/ analog sticks, except that now the "menu" is the entire battlefield, so to say, and with pre-defined by a gambit system beneath it.
 
I think what got a lot of people was the holding x as opposed to the spamming x from Kingdom Hearts. Overall that made the game feel very autopilot. However, if the battle system is as you think, we could be having some spectacular set pieces. I just hope some environmental interactions happen regardless of what 'gambit' you gave equipped.
 

Corgi

Banned
Man i really hope the dudes at Square Enix like mario luigi superstars more than mario luigi dream team.
 

nynt9

Member
can you really patent somethig like this?

Yes. You can patent gameplay mechanics, you can patent stuff like the scrolling feel on iPhones, basically you can patent software that is designed to be interacted with in a specific way or something.
 

sappyday

Member
Hey something unique and new and interesting that causes everyone to freak out cause they're not sure how it works. In other words, it may be good.
 

DarkKyo

Member
The AI scripting and fighting movements from recent XV footage really remind me of that stuff used in The Last of Us, so it could be dynamic in a similar way.
 

HeelPower

Member
Yes. You can patent gameplay mechanics, you can patent stuff like the scrolling feel on iPhones, basically you can patent software that is designed to be interacted with in a specific way or something.

Does this mean SE is so serious about the control scheme that they don't want anybody else to copy them ?

Have they ever done this before ? This is kind of a super serious move.

OP Thank you very much for your analysis,
 

thuway

Member
I just have a feeling this will become boring after the first few hours. There is a Kinect Bad Assery to being in control of your character while fighting.
 

ZenTzen

Member
I just have a feeling this will become boring after the first few hours. There is a Kinect Bad Assery to being in control of your character while fighting.

thats one of my fears about this, couple that with the apparent no party member control makes it a big No-NO
 

ec0ec0

Member
I am surprised. I have always valued gameplay systems that have a low entry barrier but that, at the same time, have more to offer to the player that spends time learning them. We will se if this is one of those... and if it is fun. That patent helped (unlike tabata) but i (stil!!) dont know what actions can be done with the other buttons (we already know that the "one button thing" is not literal)

I have already accepted that this is not going to be FF versus XIII with kingdom hearts gameplay :|
 

Sir TapTap

Member
Can't you just let go of the button in this case?

Depends how the combat system works. If single press is always a single normal attack or something and holding is a different chain of attacks, that sucks. We need a lot more info about this thing if they're going to go tell us this "one button" stuff.
 
D

Deleted member 20920

Unconfirmed Member
Thanks for the analysis. You're absolutely right to sumise that the menu has been now visually transformed into battlefield positions and that's a really smart way of dealing with having to scroll through menus. The game sounds like it has great potential now. Really liked the Gambit system.

But I have to say that it doesn't sound as casual as it might be. All these menu customisation sounds daunting to people who don't even usually go into menus. Unless they provide an auto customisation option also, along with a manual one of course.
 

BlueTsunami

there is joy in sucking dick
So in the context of Star Ocean where you'd map special attacks to the shoulder buttons and regular attacks to the front buttons, youre essentially mapping all this stuff to one button in a predetermined way via "decks". Hold the button and the sequence of attacks is played out.

As long as the transition from attacking, defending, magic casting and teleporting is responsive I could be ok with this.
 

Arment

Member
FFXII was the beginning of the decline of FF for me. No bueno. Just couldn't muster any like for the combat system.
 

Squire

Banned
This is just speculation. We'll find out in March.

Uhhh, no. A combat system design doc that SE is bothering to legally patent is anything but speculation. They intend to use this or a system incredibly derivative. Tabata certainly does.
 

Damerman

Member
hmmmm, this is incredibly interesting... hahaha. i'm giggling like a little girl.

so in the gambits he must have used a side step for low level enemies and a dodge roll for high level enemies. this is so fucking crazy right now. Its like a perfect blend of kingdom hearts and Final fantasy XII.

and this reminds me of that

so the gambit for this one


must be that he set it up where if he is like 8-10 meters from enemies and hits the attack button, he will do a teleport attack. This is making a lot of sense now. There were so many animations for the combat through out the trailers from E3 last year and TGS that i was like... how are they pulling off all those moves? haha.
 

Rojo

Member
Yes, unfortunately. One of the reasons that nobody uses loading screen minigames is that Namco patented them back in 1995. The good news is that that patent probably expires in November of next year.

Da hell seriously thats bull. So how does nintendo get around this and have that mini game in smash where you can beat the sand bag while waiting for matches online? Does it fall under different rules because of that?
 

fertygo

Member
I think there will be some KH-like menu, you simply hold to attack when the command highlighted and just one glide with d-pad will make you dodge/defense depending on timing.

Personally I think its potentially feel great and snappy as gell.
 

Damerman

Member
I think there will be some KH-like menu, you simply hold to attack when the command highlighted and just one glide with d-pad will make you dodge/defense depending on timing.

Personally I think its potentially feel great and snappy as gell.
its been confirmed that tabata wants to get rid of all menus and it makes sense if the depth that we are speculating on is actually true. also the dodge mechanic is a stance just like the attack stance. it's likely that it will be a face button just like the attack button.
 

killatopak

Gold Member
Yes, unfortunately. One of the reasons that nobody uses loading screen minigames is that Namco patented them back in 1995. The good news is that that patent probably expires in November of next year.

Hmmm.. Didn't one of those dbz tenkaichi games have a mini game on the loading screen using those green monsters that saiyans brought with them? Was it Namco wo made that? I thought it was bandai.

Anyway, I thank the OP for the analysis. This is a goos insight for what the game may become.
 
Da hell seriously thats bull. So how does nintendo get around this and have that mini game in smash where you can beat the sand bag while waiting for matches online? Does it fall under different rules because of that?

That sounds basically like the loading screen in Bayonetta where you can do combos and attacks. NAMCO's patent is literally for mini games from back in the PSone era where they let you play Galaxian during Ridge Racer's loading screen.
 
in a game like this, i want feedback for my actions. i don't want to be holding down anything. It helps with immersion if I have to manually press for every attack.
 
"In a game like this"?

yeah, an action game. one where its based around a single character rather than control of a squad or something. I would like to initiate each sword swing by myself instead of holding down a button. It feels more interactive to me that way, more immersive.
 
This is the first Final Fantasy development cycle I'm spending with GAF, and I have to say, this may be one of the most bipolar group of fans I've ever encountered. I can't keep up with whether I should hate something or love something at this point.

Anywho, FFXII was easily my favorite iteration simply because of the smooth flow between battle and exploration
(and all that GLORIOUS LOOT!!!).
If this game can achieve that with this battle system, then I'm all for it!
 
I thought FFXII was basically just a way to streamline traditional turn-based fighting. I honestly don't see the thrill of turn-based battles by comparison. It just made everything flow better and eliminated some of the grinding slog-- you didn't have to run circles around the same locales waiting for the screen to zap into a battle screen where you just perform the same redundant actions. Instead it was more of a management thing where you setup strategies and let the AI do all the repetitive menu navigation and selection for you.

Some people whined about this making the game play itself, but the way I saw it was that the only real difference is that you're not having to go through the same menu motions; it takes away some button pressing, but you can still play it manually which made it feel more traditional if you wanted, or you could set up AI commands to streamline it. I personally played through the game with a mix of being more hands-on in addition to the gambits because I found especially with tougher enemies that I didn't feel completely comfortable with letting the AI go it solo, so I would set up basic gambits so that the AI would do the typical and redundant actions and I would frequently interfere with my gambits by making decisions based on how the battles would transpire.

That's why I don't mind this approach at all. I don't see them making the combat boring or stale. I think there will be options and strategy involved. I'm fine with it not being totally like Kingdom Hearts or totally like another kind of game. As long as there's challenge and the option to strategize like in FFXII. FFXII was frequently overwhelming later on; I thought that the enemies in that game were great and would sometimes throw a wrench at your direction.
 
Hmm so allegedly you assign actions that differ based on location during a battle to Noctis, and then hold the button to initiate them in battle. Is it just me, or does this remind any of you of God Hands system where you could assign attacks to the specific combos? if so then this could be much more interesting then the "HOLD X TO WIN" thing thats been going around
 

Squire

Banned
yeah, an action game. one where its based around a single character rather than control of a squad or something. I would like to initiate each sword swing by myself instead of holding down a button. It feels more interactive to me that way, more immersive.

This isn't an action game.
 

wanders

Member
An ideal battle system to me would have been something similar to Xenoblade.

There would be auto attacks but with a deck of skills that you use from a set or cycle through. The materializing of the weapons lend to this mechanic. While you focus on your options of skills during battle, the camera can move around cinematically highlighting attacks or zooming in on the bros helping each other or a panned out shot of the battle.
 
All this crap is unnecessary when the series has already built the most loved and copied battle system for RPGs. They shouldn't have to think they must reinvent the wheel here. Just make what you know and make it well. No battle system has been as well reviewed as X or VI or VII or whatever.
 
All this crap is unnecessary when the series has already built the most loved and copied battle system for RPGs. They shouldn't have to think they must reinvent the wheel here. Just make what you know and make it well. No battle system has been as well reviewed as X or VI or VII or whatever.

I dunno I feel like people are way hard on games that aren't very inventive, and when you're on the fifteenth (main) installment, well I do think there's some pressure there. I'm fine with change if it's okay and the core essence of the property remains intact.
 
I dunno I feel like people are way hard on games that aren't very inventive, and when you're on the fifteenth (main) installment, well I do think there's some pressure there. I'm fine with change if it's okay and the core essence of the property remains intact.

These games don't come around often enough for people to get sick of any single aspect of them. How many old school JRPGs exist today that have any chance to sell a million units in the US?

SE would actually be more creative going back to the cinematic ATB system and perfecting it and in the process making it look phenomenal. Just imagine a cinematic summon spell with today's capabilities? Environment that is destroyed and broken from the spells. Shit like that
 
Top Bottom