FFXV Luminous Studios Developer Interviews Part 1

Last month Famitsu started a weekly editorial interviewing developers of Square Enix’s Luminous Studious, the engine used to develop Final Fantasy XV. So far there are five parts confirmed, and I will be translating each one in time. This is part one, discussing the very basics of FFXV’s graphic specs.

Read below and if you share it’s contents or just appreciate my work, please give me a shout on Twitter, thanks!



  • Remi Driancourt, Senior R&D Engineer and General Manager of Advanced Technology Department
  • Akira Iwata, Senior Manager and Lead Artist in Advanced Technology Department
  • Takeshi Aramaki, Senior Programmer in 2nd Business Division


Luminous Studio is the development base of FFXV

The upcoming new RPG Final Fantasy XV is being developed for next generation systems,  PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Even though it’s in mid-development stages, in November 2014, several videos that summarized what the next-gen of Final Fantasy will be like have been publically released, exciting fans of the series. Development of FFXV is progressing with Square Enix’s next-gen game development engine Luminous Studio as it’s base.

Luminous Studio was revealed by Square Enix in 2011 and introduced new technology that was difficult to implement on the PS3 and Xbox 360 hardware, so the target platforms became next-gen systems and the latest PCs. The concept of only supporting next-gen technology is similar to Capcom’s next-gen game engine “Panta Rhei.”

Now, speaking of Luminous Studio, many people remember Agni’s Philosophy, the tech demo meant to simultaneously demonstrate the engine and introduce it’s abilities.

In fact, it was produced to illustrate the future of the Final Fantasy series coming into the next-gen. It was a huge project not only the engine development team, but also involved many roles that mainly handled prerender work. Are those high level visuals that we saw in the Agni’s Philosophy tech demo what we should expect from FFXV?

Driancourt: Agni’s Philosophy operates in real time, with an established stream of cinematic content where the viewpoint can be changed while it’s in action. In contrast, the player controls the action in FFXV, so we have to make it even more dynamic than Agni’s Philosophy.

In FFXV, we took techniques from Agni’s Philosophy, but there is also new developments, and we are introducing various new techniques. if you actually look at the recent FFXV trailers, quality-wise we’ve reached a level that is not at all inferior to Agni’s Philosophy.

Iwata: Luminous Studio is in version 1.4 at the moment. The FFXV demo included with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD will be ver. 1.5 and the plan is for the final production of FFXV to be ver. 2.0, upgrading as needed. Currently, the FFXV development team and the Luminous Studio engine development team are working as one on FFXV. At the current stage, I can’t speak concretely about titles in development using Luminous Studio besides FFXV, but I can firmly say that it isn’t an engine build solely for FFXV.

Agni’s Philosophy was the first project we did to practice using Luminous Studio, but as for the first release title using this engine, that would be FFXV. It’s my hope that through the experience of developing FFXV, the game development team gains know-how using Luminous Studio as a base and the engine development team grows stronger seeing their engine come to life as a game.


What are FFXV’s graphic specs?

We’ll look into the technique details of the components used in FFXV in our next segment, but for now I want to introduce the basic graphic specs of FFXV.

First off, the game’s resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p), with a 30fps frame rate. There are a lot of PS3 and Xbox 360 titles that had their output upscaled from the original 1280×720 to 1920×1080, but it seems that many next-gen titles like FFXV have original output at 1080p.

As for polygon numbers, visible and occluded polygons combined, there is about 5,000,000 polygons in just one frame. That’s roughly the same amount as Agni’s Philosophy. By the way, many PS3 and Xbox 360 titles had about 100,000 including occluded polygons, and FFXV has about 5 times that.

A main character’s appearance utilizes 10 levels of detail, and within that there are about 100,000 polygons in the extremely detailed 3D models. In PS3 and Xbox 360 titles, most had about 20,000 polygons, so here as well it’s 5 times that.

However, the number of polygons in Agni’s Philosophy was even more than FFXV, approximately 300,000 to 400,000. That difference is likely due to the fact Agni’s Philosophy is a visual product and not a game and there was more opportunity to upgrade the character and use high definition modeling. Especially since in Agni’s Philosophy, the number of polygon’s split between the character’s hair and clothing etc. is more than usual, thus the difference.

What is surprising, is that among the 100,000 polygons composing a character, 20,000 is just for hair. Like I mentioned before, that’s about the same amount it took to create an entire character on previous generation titles.

Additionally, a character is made up of about 600 bones combined. Compared to the average PS3 and Xbox 360 titles (there are discrepancies depending on game type and character)  having about 50, that’s a considerable increase of about 10 fold.

Aramaki: To breakdown where all the bones are located, about 150 are for the face, 300 for hair and clothes, and 150 for the body. In order to give them detailed movement, the number of bones in the body increases, but having that many bones for the face, hair, and clothing is something characteristic. There is a bone-based physical simulation technology applied so that clothing reacts to the body’s movements.

I’d say the capacity of just one character’s textures is about 30 megabytes. On PS3 and Xbox 360, the texture capacity of an entire scene of most titles was between 50 megabytes to 100 megabytes. So if we put a FFXV character in that environment, the capacity would be used up in no time. The PS4 is equipped with memory capacity that is 16 times that of the PS3/Xbox 360, so we can spend that much capacity-wise. Furthermore, we are using 2048×2048 texels and 4096×4096 texels for HD textures in FFXV.

When you realize these things, that you could make an entire character on the past gen out of just the polygons used in a FFXV character’s hair, that animations are made up of 10 times the number of bones used on the PS3 and Xbox 360, and that just one FFXV character’s texture capacity would quickly exhaust one scene on the past gen… I think the next time you see footage of FFXV you’ll be even more moved by the technology that goes into it.

To be continued…


  • JeySigma

    very interesting read.

    thank you for your translation =)

    cant wait to see what the engine’s version 2.0 will look like

  • tongs

    Keeping my hopes up but i am 90% sure that square enix couldnt build a good RPG anymore. I hope they prove me wrong I really do miss Final Fantasy

    • exhem

      Totally agree

  • Hiroyuki_Ito_XVI

    Just as I expected, FFXV is not the only game in development using Luminous Studio. FFXVI by Hiroyuki Ito, people! Get hyped! :)

    • anticky64

      I do enjoy a good Ito game, easily my favourite Final Fantasy director. :)

      • Hiroyuki_Ito_XVI

        Agreed. Fingers crossed his next mainline FF will return to series to greatness.

  • Noctis Pendragon

    I really want alot more bones in de body ( or a bigger ratio).
    Anyway it is promissing.

  • EX+

    Already got 1080p? Great!

    • Noctis Pendragon

      Maybe the 2.0 ll also be 1080 p and 60 fps.

      • vishmarx

        id rather it isnt.
        ff doesnt need 60fps.

        • Noctis Pendragon

          *30 fps. sry typos
          It couldnt be 60 fps anyway.
          30 fps seems already like a miracle.

          • vishmarx

            well its only the best looking right now, console or otherwise.30fps is acceptable 1080p is a miracle

          • Noctis Pendragon

            Clearly .

          • JeySigma

            personally i’d rather have 1080p/30 than 720p/60fps.
            60 fps is soo damn overrated.

            Crisp, detailed graphics are more important than blurry ones that just run more fluid

          • vishmarx

            exactly, i dont know people care so much about it .60fps is fine in games like gr, bayonetta, dmc,musou but everywhere else its a stupid fad from pc fanboys to downplay consoles.
            i played both versions of tlou at launch, and honest to god the ps4 version wasnt different at all.
            itd be a shame if ff sacrificed (even uncharted) cg like visuals to please a few hipsters

          • EX+

            I agree.

      • EX+

        It most likely will be.
        2.0 will be further optimised with better SDKs and all later this year.

    • http://www.fidehito.com/ André Mackowiak

      Lets not forget that this interview is already a few days older than Tabata’s recent “1080p 30FPS is our target” comment. I think it’s too early to be sure, the engine is not Final yet and they keep adding stuff an expanding locations. I would not be surprised if they scales down 1080p to a lower resolution for framerate reasons. I think they might sacrify something.

      • EX+

        They’re not going to need to sacrifice anything I think.
        This is SE we’re talking about.
        The game has loads of time to be upgraded and optimised.

  • vishmarx

    hair have more bones than the body an face combined
    only in jrpgs

  • Kumomeme

    it seems there might be another game use luminous studio…wherever the game already in production or not,kind of waste that kh3 didnt use it…lot more reason than engine issues only it seems

  • Fenmari

    I hope this game will be better than FFXIII. Kinda miss the old series :(

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  • caius

    Will you translate the other parts, too, by any chance? That’d be awesome :) Thank you very much!