Perhaps in response to the widespread fan backlash against Final Fantasy XIII’s linearity, recent Final Fantasy XV trailers have put a heavy emphasis on just how much the game allows you to explore the world. From driving along scenic paths with friends to eating out at trendy restaurants, the game screams road trip — albeit a road trip populated by massive monsters that loom large against lush environments. It is only natural, then, that Tabata and his team decided to use one of the staples of road trips as a new gameplay mechanic: camping.
Details of this mechanic remained vague for quite some time, but a recent question and answer segment at the Jump Festa 2015 stage event shed some fascinating light onto the subject at hand.
Final Fantasy XV features a prominent day/night cycle, with each in-game day coming and going in approximately one hour of real time. During the day, the party can ride in the car or run along the wayside, fighting any monsters that enter their sight as they will. When night approaches, the player is given the option to camp out for the night or suffer the consequences.
Like many of the features of Final Fantasy XV, camping in-game takes a lot of inspiration from camping in real life. Just like how staying up for extensive amounts of time can affect humans in the real world, refusing to sleep in Final Fantasy XV will affect your characters’ status in a negative fashion. Any buffs a character might gain from a healthy lifestyle and sleeping cycle, such as increased spirits or a positive attitude, will cease to be applied if they stay up too long. The characters become more alive like this, Tabata explains, and so the player will gain more empathy towards them. The party can also engage in typical campfire activities while camping, such as cooking up a meal with ingredients purchased in towns or salvaged off of wild monsters.
On a more necessary note, camping is the only way for players to use up any experience they might have gained during the day and level up. If a player doesn’t ever take a moment to give Noctis and his friends a quick rest, they’ll find themselves paying the price as their under leveled characters struggle to make ends meet. This is, however, a great mechanic for any savvy players who might want to try out a low-level or challenge run. Options are always welcome in video games, and with the way camping in Final Fantasy XV is shaping up, it looks like the best is yet to come.
It’s also revealed that cooking can help the team level up. This might be quite different from what FF vets are used to, and it might sound ridiculous, but it somewhat makes sense. Combat gives you XP points, that’s a given. This time, camping converts your party members’ collective XP into gained levels. This could also mean that your party can be stuck at a specific level over a period of time until you can camp. Meals will be prepared by Ignis, the group’s driver and chef. These meals will give your group replenished HP, status buffs and other bonuses. There will also be a Cooking Level system for Ignis to learn different kinds of meals as the game progresses.