You read that right. According to an interview with Famitsu and translated by Siliconera, Hajime Tabata confirms that first half of Final Fantasy XV will be an open-world experience. The second half of the game will be a linear experience much in-line with a more classical Final Fantasy game.
The game itself will consist of 15 chapters, and will go from 0-15 at launch. The Japanese magazine had the chance to sit down and play Final Fantasy XV for three hours, finishing at chapter 3, or roughly 15% of the story.
“The entire game structure for Final Fantasy XV consists of both open-world and linear parts,” said Tabata. “The first half keeps going as an open-world, but the story in the second half’s is led by a linear path. That way, you won’t get bored of an open-world as the rest of the game tightens, so we made it in a way that you’ll also get to advance through it as you have in conventional Final Fantasy games. If you play through the first half and only the main route of the second half, I believe the estimated play-time sits at around 40 to 50 hours.”