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Final Fantasy 15 E3 demo shows big performance increase

Plus: the game's director talks frame-rates and resolutions for PS4 and Xbox One.

Frame-rate testing of Final Fantasy 15's Trial of the Titan demo - as seen at Microsoft's E3 presentation - shows Xbox One performance in a much improved state after two playable demos showed the game struggling to hit its 30fps frame-rate target. The E3 segment is taken straight from the main game's story, but moulded into a unique, self-contained sampler for the event - and compared to the poor performance seen in Episode Duscae and the more recent Platinum Demo, gameplay in this Titan battle runs at an almost locked 30fps.

Throughout we see only a small scattering of single frame drops, notably as Noctis and his gang wrap up with an ice spell. This is coupled with a few torn frames, but regardless, it demonstrates a substantial improvement on the struggling frame-rates of past showings that consistently put Xbox One behind PS4. Here it's a solid 30fps - especially impressive given how alpha-effects heavy this whole affair is, with dust clouds and rocket missiles flying across the cliffs all the way through. The final game releases on September 30th, but this is a clear sign Square Enix's optimisation work is paying off.

Reports from VG247 indicate an even newer build may have been circulating the E3 show floor. This would be a more up-to-date demo than was shown at Microsoft's conference, as featured in our tests. This ran on both Xbox One and PS4, and is said to address some of the control issues we're seeing in this demo, though difficulties managing its camera remain.

An interview with director Hajime Tabata also confirms a new user interface, plus improved ally AI are a priority for the team before launch. He also divulges, quite candidly, the full details on Xbox One and PS4 resolutions and frame-rates in use for the E3 build. Talk of its dynamic resolution on console tallies with findings in the Platinum demo, and it finally gives us official confirmation of how each platform is being set up.

Looking much better! A frame-rate test of the latest Final Fantasy 15 sampler, shown running on an Xbox One at Microsoft's E3 2016 conference.

"For the Xbox One E3 demo, dynamic resolution ranges between 800p to 900p, usually closer to the 900p range, and at a constant 30 frames per second," Tabata says. "So it is performing at a more stable and higher level than Episode Duscae and the Platinum Demo. There are times when it still dips, and that's usually when you call on your ally commands, like when you call on Ignis to mark an enemy it dips to 26 to 27 frames, but it won't deter from the experience. But since we're able to achieve this for the E3 demo, we have a positive outlook on the final version of the game."

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He continues: "For the PlayStation 4 E3 demo, it's a dynamic range between 900p and 1080p. Most of the time, it's about 1080p at a constant 30 frames per second. Sometimes, it will, just like Xbox One, dip a little bit when the GPU can't process what's happening on the screen so quickly, but it's mostly 30 frames. But we will continue to fine-tune and optimise the game for as much time as we can."

It's a sign of positive progress for Final Fantasy 15 as we edge closer to its September 30th launch. Our previous looks at the game showed sluggish frame-rates getting in the way of some excellent art direction - and it's great to see change is afoot. However, it's uncertain if this specific E3 demo will be made available to the wider public on PSN and Xbox Marketplace, but either way, fans of the series don't have long to wait to see the final product.

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