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Final Fantasy XV

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Balthier ffxiirwBalthier: I'm afraid the jury's still out on that one.
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This is a fantasy based on reality.
—Tagline

Final Fantasy XV, originally known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, is the fifteenth installment in the main Final Fantasy series. It was introduced as another installment of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series alongside the Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 games, though that connection has been reduced to a thematic base upon which original lore has been built.[3][4][5]

The game is currently under development for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is set to have a simultaneous worldwide release on September 30th, 2016. The release date was officially revealed on March 30, 2016, in an event known as Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV that took place in the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.

The story centers around Noctis Lucis Caelum, Crown Prince and protector of Lucis, the last remaining kingdom in the world with control over crystals. The game's focus is to examine the characters' humanity and distinguish it from the fantasy setting in other titles in the series. The story focuses on friendship, destiny and legacy.[6]

It was originally said the game would take around 40 hours to complete, excluding optional content,[7][8] but in an interview in January 2015 director Hajime Tabata said that due to the ever-increasing content of the game, it seems less and less likely players would be able to clear the game in that time.[9] During E3 2016 director Hajime Tabata said that in terms of clearing the main story, the developers anticipate about 40 to 50 hours of gameplay. With all the sidequests, clearing everything was said to possibly take about 200 hours. Tabata reiterated that fans have been waiting for "quite a while," so they wanted to ensure there would be a lot of content to enjoy.[10]

The game is related to companion projects under the Final Fantasy XV Universe label: the Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV anime series, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV movie, and an in-game pinball minigame that can also be played on mobile devices.

GameplayEdit

FFXV 0330 16

The combat system.

The game is set in a world with one giant land mass, meaning players can cross the entire world.[11] The player party's car, Regalia, can be either driven manually or put on autopilot. Walking or riding a chocobo are also options. Trains are available and players can explore them freely when riding them.[12]

Monsters wander throughout the field and sometimes hostile ones suddenly appear to ambush the player. The battles are real time action with the player controlling one person, Noctis, the other party members being controlled by the AI with the player able to issue them commands. Lead game designer and AI programmer, Prasert Prasertvithyakarn, has explained that the player can decide the battle style they and their comrades use, but it takes a different form to the gambits in Final Fantasy XII.[13]

The system has been described as streamlined rather than full of button-smashing, and readily accessible in that with obtaining good weapons and leveling up, players will be able to clear the main scenarios, but further challenges are implied to lie waiting in the optional content requiring more player skill.[14]

The game will support the new-generation consoles' features, such as sharing, but the remote play function on PlayStation 4 is yet to be decided. With the remote play, the players can play their PlayStation 4 games on the PlayStation Vita anywhere as long as their internet connection is fast enough. The feature is not in the Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae demo, but it might be added to the retail game.[15]

Battle systemEdit

FFXV-Battles

Battle from TGS14 trailer.

The battle system is called Active X Battle (AXB).[14] Battles are seamless with no load times, taking place in real-time environments using all regions of the field from up-high buildings to down-low streets. Battles can take place in areas with great differences in height, and players have to fight using the full environment. This means fighting what's both in front of the player and above and below (vertical battles).[16] A "Wait Mode" is also available, which allows players to freeze time during battles and pick targets at their leisure.[17] When the player keeps running and fighting the game flows the same as in active mode, but as soon as one ceases input it pauses.

Battles against huge enemies are carried out in the same fashion as standard battles, but enable exclusive party co-op actions.[16] Yuji Kenichiro, lead game designer and combat planner, has stated players can debilitate enemies by destroying parts of their anatomy, and that it plays an important role in battle. It is possible to make these kinds of attacks against specific areas on gigantic monsters by either striking them directly using the warp ability, or by positioning by the enemy’s vulnerable spots using parrying actions against their attacks.[13]

Players can jump during battles. Smaller enemies are easier to aggravate, but the bigger ones have "aggro radius", meaning one can approach them within reason without them immediately attacking.[8] Even within the same monster species, the creatures come in different physical sizes, and can have different move sets. What monsters spawn depends on the time of day. Monsters fought at night are tougher, and the battle music is different in the dark as well.

A red encounter gauge appears when enemies are close along with an audio cue. When the encounter gauge fills, battle starts, but the player can run before the enemies engage. Even if a battle begins, the player can still run. Depending on the time and area setting, stealth maneuvering—including performing one-hit-kill sneak attacks—and hiding in the dark, can be performed, allowing players to avoid potentially large scale or one-sided battles.

When a party member falls to 0 HP they enter a "danger" status and are unable to attack or use abilities, and taking damage now depletes the character's maximum HP. A character can rescue another character from danger status by interacting with them. If the gauge depletes completely, the party member will be Knocked Out. If all party members fall to 0 HP, the party can only run away to recover, and Noctis will recover from danger status after a certain amount of time. The game is over if Noctis dies. The party's HP and MP regenerate when behind cover, and MP also regenerates by attacking enemies. If the "max HP" has been damaged, then the player may need to camp to heal it.

ManeuversEdit

The combat system utilizes three buttons: an attack button, a defense button, and an interactive button for abilities and interactions between different party members.[18] Using abilities expends MP. Abilities are tied to equipped weapons. Defending also uses MP, so keeping track of MP use is important. The longer the battle draws, the more chances there are that other enemies will join the fray, and the more damage the party deals to some enemies, the more their bodies fall apart.

Players can continuously dodge while holding down the block button, and auto-attack by holding the attack button, or perform combos by tapping the attack button. A manual warp dodge is also available, as well as a roll-dodge that takes no MP to use. Both styles have their pros and cons, e.g. timing the button presses allows the party to insert parries and co-op moves.[16] Holding a button to continuously guard or evade drains the user's MP, and thus the player won't be able to do that indefinitely, and not all attacks can be evaded.

Players can move around while defending. Holding the attack button will invoke the standard combo and the player can change the actions by using it in coordination with the directional buttons. The actions depend on the circumstances—such as when guarding, there might be a chance to counterattack, or whether other party members are close by;[14] it is said this combat feature is easy to pull off as long as Noctis has allies nearby.

If the enemy flashes the following attack is going to be an extra strong one. This is a chance to counter or defend. After parrying, "partner attacks" can kick in automatically. The counter feature lets the player turn some enemy attacks back on their originators if timed correctly. Each counter is unique depending on the foe and the type of reversal. For some enemies the nature of the counterattack is decided by which ally is nearby.[19]

As the party grows closer, new partner moves are unlocked while they are talking at camp. The player can switch position quickly with another character for strategic gameplay, and players can take cover to avoid attacks and recover before returning to the battle. The player can take cover behind large objects, or by teleporting Noctis somewhere so high up enemies cannot reach him.

The party members have their own skill trees and learn new abilities the player can invoke at will, such as having Ignis mark an enemy with a warp point for Noctis, or for Prompto to use a flare that lights up the battle area and may stun some enemies sensitive to light. By pressing the LB/L1, the UI at the bottom left—which is usually the player's weapons—will change to select abilities from Noctis's comrades, and the player can manually select which ability they want each member to carry out. There's a cool-down timer for these commands.[10]

All team members will have different approaches and specialties in battle unique to them. There will be situations where the party will perform co-op attack. Party members will automatically react to situations differently according to the circumstances, but certain abilities, equipment and weapons may encourage the characters to cooperate more likely when the circumstances are right.[15] The co-op moves can be pulled off continuously and although invoking them is automatic, the player must aim their mark. For example, to connect a co-op move while avoiding an enemy attack, the player must keep an eye out for an indication when to invoke it.[14] Party member behavior during battle will be affected by the weapons the player has equipped and the abilities they have at that time.[10]

FFXV Gladiolus In-battle

Gladiolus shields Noctis from a Behemoth.

According to director Hajime Tabata, the combat isn't about pressing a button once for a single action to happen, but a continuous flow of movements associated with the buttons, and building upon them for actions through the combat system. The gameplay is less about focusing on menus and more about navigating 3D spaces with predetermined moves, similar to the gambit system of Final Fantasy XII. There are few menu commands in combat. The game controls like an action game where players switch between offense and defense. The player can give orders to other party members and swap weapons on the fly. The game will be a growth system where the player can spend ability points on weapon skills, Noctis, the party, bonuses, among others.[6]

WeaponsEdit

Weapon types includes: swords, daggers, lances, firearms, shuriken, shields, royal arms, spells, and something called "machines" which are not revealed yet.[6] Noctis has a number of different weapons with different methods of attack, and some will be usable as shields.[5] Weapons can be improved and forged from materials the player can collect in the game.[6] Some weapons can have status effects attached to them.[20] There are seven types of standard weapon categories, and each category has a variety of weapons. Combined with the Armiger, there are even more categories within itself.[21]

The player can set four main weapons and switch among them via the d-pad in real-time. During normal attack combos, weapons will automatically be switched and players can continue their attacks using their four chosen weapons. For the attacks that involve specific timing, such as "Counter" and "Raid" (attacks launched by jumping first), if players do not configure anything the main weapons will be used, but it is possible to set weapons for these attack types and then automatically switch between them.

Guns won't have combos similar to regular weapons, but they will have rapid fire shots, and will require reloads. Players won't be able to equip sub-weapons, but other party members can. For example, Gladiolus can equip a shield. Players can rotate through various weapons, but party members will switch through their sub-weapons.[22]

Noctis Operate Machine Gun

Noctis operates a mounted machine gun.

Depending on the environment, external weaponry, such as heavy arsenal turrets, will be available for Noctis.

Techniques and ArmigerEdit

Besides the basic attack button, the player can invoke techniques with the technique button. The player can cycle through the available techniques with the left and right d-pad buttons. Combos are automatically formulated based on which weapon is currently being utilized out of the ones equipped. Abilities locked to weapon categories exist, as do weapons with no abilities. Rare weapons acquired from dungeons will have unique properties, some examples being those with hack-and-slash aspects.[16] The player can allocate different weapons to different positions in a combo chain to suit their play style, enabling one to prioritize speed, damage or range based on the player's preferences and the current foes.

Armiger Arsenal is Noctis's "Limit Break." During Armiger all abilities cost 0 MP and Noctis's damage output is increased, but it drains MP until it reaches 0, and Armiger ends. When Noctis unleashes his power, swords will fly around the area attacking enemies and guarding against the damage Noctis takes. In that state his Attack rises greatly and, on top of automatically guarding enemy attacks, he can move at high speed. There will a powered-up state even beyond that.[23] The phantom swords used during Armiger are different from the normal weapons, and give different abilities Noctis can use when Armiger is active.

Noctis can warp around the field and throw his sword and warp to that location. Noctis can warp to a short distance in front of himself, but he can only teleport over longer distances to certain locations marked by glowing icon denoting a warp spot, and also to all enemies. Warping, along with special moves and dodging, requires MP to perform, but the Warp command will be exclusive to Noctis. While using Armiger Arsenal, Noctis can get special warp-related abilities. The warp ability that lets the player teleport to high up locations is a vital part of the battle system. The ability to use multiple warp points in a strategic manner is prevalent in the game's large scale battles over urban terrain. The ability can also be used in aerial battles with flying foes and against gigantic bosses.[24]

A "Link Form" command has been seen in use during the E3 2013 material, which allowed Noctis to grapple with a soldier and slam the enemy into the side of a car, and climb up a Behemoth's horns to reach a more favorable position.[25]

MagicEdit

FFXV-Fire-Magic

Noctis casts a fire spell, setting the surrounding field ablaze.

Magic is available and is divided into two types: one can only be used by Noctis via the royal ring passed down in the lineage of the Lucian king. This type of magic is not available since the beginning, but will be unlocked in the story.

Magic doesn't cost MP. Casting spells has residual effects come into effect in real time. Weather has a tactical impact on battle conditions, with different types of magic having varying effects depending on weather patterns. This reinforces the tactical and situational use of magic, as party members are not immune to the residual effects, e.g. using fire spells on a clear day not only hurts monsters, but also ignites the surrounding area; monsters afraid of fire will be sent fleeing, but it can hurt party members as well.[26] Fire is extinguished fast if it rains, but thunder magic is augmented during this time.

Magic is linked to items and must be equipped like weapons to be used in battle. Though magic can destroy the environment, the effects will be slowly restored back to normal. The game has a magic synthesis feature, which allows players to take magical energies gathered and split them up into mixes of different elements to create new twists on standard spells. More electricity in a standard fireball would allow it to chain the attack to hit other nearby enemies, for example, while other boosts add team healing and slow-down effects to attacks.[27] Party members can also use magic as usable items.[10]

SummonsEdit

Summons are called Archaeans, and are based on a ranking system by their size. For example, Leviathan is one of the top-ranked summons, as shown by its massive size.[28] Archaeans are a symbol of the power of stars and only Noctis can summon them.[16] Some Archaeans must be defeated in battle to obtain them as summons.

When the player calls forth a summon they won't always do the same thing, but their actions depend on the situation. For example, Titan sometimes will run up and melee hit an enemy, sometimes he will throw boulders at the enemy, and it's possible he will even give up and leave. They will also act differently in a dungeon.[6]

Difficulty modesEdit

The equivalent to difficulty level settings is a system where the player can switch between different battle modes. The developers' aim is to make it so that both players who like action-oriented, technical gameplay, and those who want to fight at a slower, more relaxed pace, can all enjoy the combat. The switching system was decided to be introduced based on the feedback received from the Episode Duscae demo.[29]

FieldEdit

The creatures in the world are properly depicted as alive. If you think about fighting something, you can fight it. Just watching the way everything moves is pleasant. Making a virtual world that is so alive is important in making the player feel absorbed in it.
—Hajime Tabata in a Dengeki interview
[7]
Restalm-FFXV

Lestallum in the Jump Festa 2015 trailer is modeled after Bahamas[16].

The world of Final Fantasy XV, Eos, is similar to the real world with modern technology, such as cars and highways, but also contains countries with medieval elements, such as castles and armored soldiers. The game's locations are based on real world places.[30]

The game is seamless open world with vast fields able to be explored as far as the eye can reach, although currently Square Enix can't guarantee the entire game will be entirely seamless, as important scenes will likely require some loading.[12] The player can drive and even fly the party's car seamlessly across the map. The player can also rent chocobos and call them with a whistle and even camp with them.

Depending on the terrain, characters' walking and running animations change and running long distances sees party members tire and catch their breath. Some developers even climbed a mountain to make the game's mountain portions more realistic.[31] At lakes or rivers the party can fish, and in the woods the party can find sheds where NPCs live. Objects and terrain are said to be destructible.[8]

Final Fantasy XV Quest

Behemoth quest.

Sometimes the player can find hints in the environment on where to find bosses, such as large footprints. Party members point things out, and say they want to go to certain places to let the player discover optional stuff organically. The player can set their destination marker, making it easier to navigate. Items found on the field appear as blue shiny things and some items can be traded for cash. Even if the player is free to explore far and wide and possibly stumble upon optional content, such as dungeons, the objectives are laid out clearly so players won't get lost in the vastness of available area.[15] The player can earn gil by taking quests. The player can make branching decisions similar to older games' dialogue choices.[6]

The day and night cycles and cloud formations are done by physical calculations, the lighting and the shadows changing as the day goes on. At night towns are lit up, with people turning the lights on in their homes.[15] It was decided to be made this way to have a smooth change between the cycles and to have a more dynamic lighting system, reflecting the mood of a certain region/place. One in-game day lasts a real-life hour with 40 to 45 minutes being daytime, and the rest being night time. This bit is currently in development, and is subject to change. There will be events where the party must fight for days at a time.[12] Because of the "Plague of the Star", as the days go by, the nights lengthen. The long nights will affect game play and advancing in the story has the nights get longer.[32]

CampingEdit

FFXV-Camping

Party camping.

Camping out is important. Camps are safe havens, making them ideal headquarters when setting out to explore new areas. Camps can be set up at any time of the day, but can only be set up on safe areas marked on the map. Using a camp to rest progresses the time to the next day and when a day is over, accrued experience is calculated to give players an idea of how much they've accomplished over that stretch of time. If the party forgoes sleeping the boosts obtained from food will lose effect.

Players can eat meals at camp for status buffs and obtain ingredients to cook at camp from monsters and shops. The party's "Cooking Level" determines what dishes they can cook. In the Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae demo Ignis cooks independently, but in the final game the player can pick which meal to make. Different meals boost different stats. The "Victory Fanfare" plays when the party levels up as the stat boosts kick in and the dawn arrives.

By properly sleeping, the party will maintain the buffs obtained this way, such as bonus multipliers applied to EXP gain. The party needs to take a break to level up as experience points earned in battle are converted towards level progression whenever the party sleeps. Not sleeping makes it possible to to attempt low-level challenge runs. If the player is knocked out in battle, they lose the accrued EXP.[19] The party can go three days without sleep, but beyond that the party will lose the status buffs.[12] Camps also function as fast travel, as the player can return to the last camp they rested at.

After camping party members sometimes suggest for Noctis to go on a tour with special objectives. Tours are sidequests and the main quest cannot be progressed during them. Tours will have an active role in developing Noctis's relationship with Ignis, Prompto, and Gladiolus. The strength of their bond will depend on doing activities together, which will in turn affect the strength of combo attacks Noctis can execute with his companions.[5]

Monsters in dungeons wander above ground during night, adding extra impetus to camp. The party can camp out in the open, or stay at a hotel while in town, or in a caravan at different outposts. Staying at a caravan or hotel doesn't allow the party to cook, but EXP is earned in an expedited rate.

Minigames and sidequestsEdit

Fishing and chocobo riding will be included. The player will be able to fish in predetermined spots with various baits and catch different fish depending on skill, time of day and location. The fish can then be cooked at camp. There may also be optional missions to take on Niflheim bases.

Monster-hunt-quest-FFXV

Accepting hunts for monsters is a type of sidequest.

The game is said to have four quest types: for fun (minigames: fishing/chocobo race/Justice Monster 5), main story, monster hunts, and regional quests. There will be over 200 quests. However, the quest log is said to not be bloated by "insignificant or uninteresting tasks", but rather to inspire a feeling similar to pre-PS2 Final Fantasies that had huge overworld maps.[6]

Each party member has a "special talent" that improves with use. For example, Prompto will ask the crew to take pit stops where everyone gets out and Prompto will take photographs that can be shared on social media. The more the player does it the better his pictures will be. Prompto's "talent" is photography, Noctis's is fishing, Ignis's is cooking, and Gladiolus's is "survival instincts".[6]

VREdit

Final Fantasy XV VR Experience

The official logo of Final Fantasy XV VR Experience.

Final Fantasy XV will include a virtual reality experience where the player can play as Prompto for the PlayStation VR headset. Square Enix is not thinking of it as a separate product, and VR is part of the whole game, something extra to be enjoyed by the people who purchase the game. It will not be available at the same time as the rest of the game, however as Final Fantasy XV comes out on September 30, and the PS VR headset will be available on October 13. Square Enix will likely release the VR part as DLC later on.[33]

The feature was revealed at E3 2016, where the trailer emphasized the ability to target enemy weak points similar to Prompto's abilities in early development for Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

SynopsisEdit

SettingEdit

O’er rotted Soil, under blighted Sky, A dread Plague the Wicked has wrought. In the Light of the Gods, Sword-Sworn at his Side, 'Gainst the Dark the King's Battle is fought. From the Heavens high, to the Blessed below, Shines the Beam of a Peace long besought. Long live thy Line and these Stones divine, For the Night When All comes to Naught.
—Biblical verse from Cosmogony 15:2, "Nadir" concerning the crystals and the royal lines.
FFXV Genesis

Painting titled Genesis[34] that depicts the world's origin myth.

Noctis Lucis Caelum—the latest in a lineage of kings, and the heir apparent to the throne—hails from the kingdom of Lucis that holds the world's last crystal, beneficial to his country's military, political, and economic standing. Because of its increasingly apparent industrialization in contrast to neighboring nations and the ensuing political tensions, Lucis has isolated itself from the rest of the world behind a magic barrier maintained by the king.

At one time, all countries possessed a crystal, but many lost them due to wars waged between them. They thus pooled their resources into weapons and machines, developing into technological civilizations in contrast to Lucis's magic-centered society. A cold war has gone on between Lucis and the rest of the world about the use and possession of the last crystal, and saw the nations outside exacerbate tensions among one another. It led into conflicts and debates over having the power to match that of Lucis, leading to the rise of the empire of Niflheim that united the many warring nations under its banner. In the wake of the new reign, a recent peace treaty with Lucis was proposed to finally diffuse the situation.

Throughout the world, legendary and great beings known as Archaeans exist in various regions regarded as the protectors of their environment and the manifestation of the powers of the stars onto the planet. Through the powers of the royal family of Lucis, and presumably the crystal, kingdoms have gained their pact through their conduits of astral shards that allow them to manifest into the world. Their existence is said to be tied to the deities of the world and played a role in the creation of the planet, although the Archaeans themselves are mostly indifferent to the affairs of humans.

A global phenomenon known as the "Plague of the Stars" envelops the world into lengthened nights. Those known as Oracles have long protected the world from the plague, and their nation of Tenebrae bears a wider degree of political autonomy in the wake of Niflheim's dominance due to their vital historical and religious influence. The current Oracle, Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, is the youngest Oracle in history, and carries on the task of preventing the world from plunging into complete darkness with her powers.[32]

CharactersEdit

Final-Fantasy-XV-Main-Cast-CG

Noctis and his comrades. From left to right: Prompto, Gladiolus, Noctis, Ignis, and Cor.

Playable characters
  • Noctis Lucis Caelum - A childhood affliction endowed Noctis, heir apparent to the throne of Lucis, with the mystical power to see a heavenly light, through which he can sense others' deaths. Noctis rejects rigid royal conventions and acts as somewhat of a renegade, much to the dismay of those who tend to him. Yet while "Noct" may act brash at times, he does so in defense of those loyal to him.
Supporting characters
  • Ignis Scientia - Ever the unwavering voice of reason, Ignis was weaned on shrewd logic and a classical education from boyhood so that he might one day counsel the would-be king, Noctis. He applies the deep mutual understanding and trust they have built over time to help smooth over Noctis's brusqueness with others.
  • Gladiolus Amicitia - As lord of the noble House Amicitia, Gladiolus continues a line sworn to protect the crown. "Gladio" shares a friendship with Noctis that transcends birth and title, and his loyalty to his liege is born not of duty, but of brotherhood.
  • Prompto Argentum - The puckish playboy Prompto befriended Noctis in his school days. He wears a chip on his shoulder as an outsider to the royal circle, but remains eager to do all he can for the cause.
Guests
  • Cor Leonis - A living legend of Lucian lore, Lord Commander Cor Leonis's devotion to the art of war is surpassed only by that to his king. Little love is lost between the ill-starred stalwart and Noctis's retinue, yet honor binds him to keep watch over the group all the same.
  • Lunafreya Nox Fleuret - A childhood friend Noctis and his fiancée in a political marriage. Possessing the ability to speak to gods, Luna is the youngest Oracle in history.

There might be other guest characters, such as possible female characters who could change the party's dynamics on the field.[35]

StoryEdit

In a matter of days, the Kingdom of Lucis is to sign an armistice, ending a long and bitter conflict with Niflheim. Ahead of the ceremony, Prince Noctis, heir to the Lucian throne, sets forth from his homeland to formalize the union of states through his marriage to the Lady Lunafreya of the imperial province of Tenebrae.

The offer of peace, however, is no more than a ruse to lower the Lucian shield, and the imperial army takes the crown city and its sacred crystal in one fell swoop. En route to his destination, Noctis is shocked to learn that he, his father the king, and his betrothed are believed dead.

Overnight, the dream of peace has faded into a distant memory. His world crumbling around him, Noctis has naught but his resolve and his loyal companions to see him through the trials to come.
—Official synopsis
[36]

After a years-long war between Lucis and Niflheim, a peace treaty is agreed upon to end the conflict. As part of the treaty, Lucis' crown prince Noctis Lucis Caelum is to marry Lady Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, an oracle from the imperial province of Tenebrae. After Noctis sets out on a journey to meet with Lunafreya in Altissia, the truth is revealed: the treaty is a ruse engineered by Niflheim's ruler, Iedolas Aldercapt, to bring down Insomnia's magic barrier so his army can seize control of the city's crystal. Niflheim's forces lay waste to the crown city, and King Regis, his son Noctis and Lunafreya are all reported to have perished. After the attack Lunafreya wanders the streets of Insomnia and eventually makes her way to Altissia.

The report that Noctis has been killed is false. When the prince realizes that Iedolas Aldercapt and the rest of Niflheim want him dead, Noctis and his vassals—his royal advisor, Ignis; his bodyguard, Gladiolus; and his childhood friend, Prompto—flee across the country. Their car is wrecked by Prompto when he and his friends reach the Duscae region, and they take it to Cindy for repairs. They end up needing to take on local bounties to raise the funds for the bill, but when the car is fixed, Noctis and his friends begin a road trip towards Altissia to rendezvous with Lunafreya.

MusicEdit

The soundtrack of Final Fantasy XV is mainly composed by Yoko Shimomura, who is known primarily for her work in the Kingdom Hearts series. Shimomura is in charge of 80-90% of the total soundtrack, the rest being variations of her works or themes handled by others. Shimomura is also contributing the theme song for Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and overseeing the music for parts strongly tied between movie and game. Some of the themes in Final Fantasy XV aim to encompass "friendship" and "filial bonds."[37]

"Somnus" is the main theme of Final Fantasy XV, performed by Aundréa L. Hopkins[38]. The title refers to the Roman god of sleep, who is often depicted as a sleeping, male youth; this matches the artwork used in the Final Fantasy XV logo.

"Omnis Lacrima" (Latin for "every tear") is the boss theme in Final Fantasy XV. It was the second piece from the game's soundtrack to be publicly released; it was a bonus track on Yoko Shimomura's 2014 compilation album, memoria: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura.[39] Prior to the release of "Omnis Lacrima," the piece was used in three trailers for Final Fantasy XV: the DKΣ3713 trailer released in 2008, the Square Enix 1st Production Department Premier trailer released in 2011, and the gameplay trailer released at E3 2013.

A new piece from the soundtrack of Final Fantasy XV was used in a trailer for the game that premiered at Tokyo Gameshow 2014. It was a collaboration between Yoko Shimomura and the Video Game Orchestra, which previously collaborated with Masashi Hamauzu during the production of the soundtrack of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.[40]

At the Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV event held on March 30, 2016, it was revealed that a cover of "Stand by Me", performed by Florence + the Machine, would serve as the theme song of Final Fantasy XV.

DevelopmentEdit

Development for the game started as Final Fantasy Versus XIII to be directed by Tetsuya Nomura for the PlayStation 3 as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series. The game eventually transitioned into Final Fantasy XV with a new director and reorganized development team, now for a new generation of consoles. With the change of name and platform and thus the game engine and Hajime Tabata taking the reins, it would no longer be the exact same game as some things had to be re-evaluated to fit the change of circumstances. When the change from Versus XIII to XV happened, the team looked at the elements that were intended to be in the former and the plan for that game, and how they would fit into the new plan as Final Fantasy XV trying to preserve as much as possible. When Final Fantasy Versus XIII became Final Fantasy XV, it was around 25% complete.[41]

Final Fantasy XV uses Square Enix's Luminous Studio game engine. The modernistic art direction for Final Fantasy XV derives inspiration from real world locations, as opposed to the more fantasy-futuristic feel of Final Fantasy XIII. The cars driven in the game resemble modern cars rather than the various fantasy vehicles utilized in Final Fantasy XIII, and the main characters' clothes are designed by the clothing brand Roen rather than being designed by Tetsuya Nomura. In its strive for a more corporeal-looking world, the style is somewhat reminiscent of Final Fantasy VIII, although darker and more monochromatic. While the beginning of the game takes place in a more contemporary setting, as the story progresses the player will find various fantasy environments and atmospheres similar to what past titles like Final Fantasy VII did.

The new team went on trips in small groups, undertaking activities like mountain climbing, cave exploring and visiting a zoo, to get practical references to draw upon. The challenge of Final Fantasy XV has been said to lie with setting the fantasy within the boundaries of reality as the team wants the world to feel simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar. The towns are designed to walk a balance between delivering a culture shock while still being rooted in familiar culture; the depiction of 2015 in Back to the Future II has been mentioned as inspiration for this style.[42] This goal required a lot of resources that had to be allocated, or even outsourced. A lot of the game's architecture and feel was inspired by the area surrounding Square Enix's old office in Kyoto.[43]

Kazushige Nojima wrote the original Final Fantasy Versus XIII scenario and the plot developed during the Versus era served as the basis for the Final Fantasy XV story whose theme is said to be "a road trip" and adventure focusing on brotherhood.

Square Enix is aiming for a multi-regional game and revealed on 23rd March 2016 that for the first time in Final Fantasy history Final Fantasy XV would be localized into Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese text. German and French versions were also announced to have their respective voice overs, players able to switch between German/French, English and Japanese audio.[44]

On March 30 2016 Square Enix held a big promotional event called Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV, where the game's release date was officially unveiled, among the unveiling of Kingsglaive -Final Fantasy XV- movie and the Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV anime series.

ThemesEdit

Final Fantasy XV was announced in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The "Versus XIII" name comes into play in juxtaposition to Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels that take place in fantastical worlds that are literally and culturally disconnected (Cocoon and Gran Pulse in Final Fantasy XIII; the different eras and timelines in Final Fantasy XIII-2; and Nova Chrysalia and the new world in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.). For Versus XIII Square wanted the world to be different from the original Final Fantasy XIII by presenting one whole, connected world.[11] In further juxtaposition to Final Fantasy XIII and its white overall color scheme, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and thus Final Fantasy XV, had the theme of black, shown in the cast's clothes, the Kingdom of Lucis, and even the name of the original game engine, "Ebony" (the original name for the engine for Final Fantasy XIII was "White Engine").[45]

The game is thematically centered on war.[46] As stated in a tagline in the "Uncovered" trailer from the March event, another theme is defying the will of divine beings.[47]

According to Hajime Tabata, the gameplay revolves around three themes: Journey, Companions, and Car.

We initially decided on three keywords: 'Journey', 'Companions' and 'Car. 'For the 'Journey' element, we aimed to offer the user the feeling of an actual road trip. We spent time experimenting with how to convey a sense of travel, making the world as seamless as possible and offering the player a panned-out vantage point. The most transformative element of the journey is the presence of your "Companions." Ensuring each of the characters feel real will help the player become emotionally involved with the party, enabling them to share the joys and hardships that await the group on their travels. That's why we paid a lot of attention to details such as small habits and behaviors, all the way down to the sense of distance maintained by each character in their relationships with Noctis. This kind of development doesn’t happen in leaps and bounds, needing a lot of time and effort in AI and animation, but I think it's shaping up into something we can be proud of. It's a lot of fun to hang out with Noctis and the gang.
The 'Car' has its roots in our core theme, 'parent and child.' Noctis and his companions are traveling in Regis' car. The car connects the son and his father. It's both pivotal to the story experience, and a means of travel. It can also be customized as a game mechanic.
[48]

SequelsEdit

During E3 2013 it was talked how Final Fantasy XV would likely have sequels.

In the trailer, there was a line that read 'A World of the Versus Epic,' which suggests that it will be part of an epic. While Final Fantasy XV will have one climax, as a story, we plan to continue it further.
—Tetsuya Nomura
[49]

However, in a later interview at Japan Expo 2013 Nomura was more cautious when talking of sequels.

Obviously we haven't decided yet. We don't have any concrete plan for a future sequel of FFXV, it would be good if we could do that but we can't announce it or say anything into detail for the moment.
—Tetsuya Nomura
[50]

The Final Fantasy XV Universe sub-franchise was revealed at the Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV event in March 2016 to expand the story and world of Final Fantasy XV to other media, such as anime, movies and mobile gaming. This expansion of the narrative was designed to negate the necessity of releasing Final Fantasy XV as a series of games, something the team had firmly decided against.[51] In the Game Informer story focusing on Final Fantasy XV that went live April 5 2015, Hajime Tabata said they have no plans to create sequels for Final Fantasy XV.[6]

ReleaseEdit

The game will release world wide 30 September 2016. During Gamescom 2015 it was revealed the game would release "before 2017" and that the release date would be given during an event in March 2016. This materialized as Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV, although the date had been leaked weeks earlier by Gematsu and hours earlier (by accident) by Gamespot. Hajime Tabata has claimed the release date, September 30 2016, was settled for as soon as he became the project's director in December 2013.[52]

For $59.99, the "Day One Edition" will include a copy of the game and Masamune weapon DLC. Xbox Store Pre-order incentives are two Xbox One Avatars including Noctis Special Outfit and Carbuncle pet. PlayStation Store pre-order incentive is a dynamic theme for PlayStation 4. The $89.99 "Deluxe Edition" includes a copy of the game, a SteelBook featuring artwork by Yoshitaka Amano, Kingsglaive -Final Fantasy XV- on Blu-ray, Royal Raiment DLC outfit, Masamune DLC weapon, and Platinum Leviathan car recolor for Regalia.

A $269.99, 30,000-unit limited run, Square Enix Online Store-exclusive "Ultimate Collector's Edition" will include a copy of the game, SteelBook, Kingsglaive -Final Fantasy XV on Blu-ray, Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV on Blu-ray, special soundtrack, exclusive Play Arts Kai Noctis, hardcover 192-page art book, "Royal Raiment" DLC outfit, "Masamune" DLC weapon, and "Platinum Leviathan" car recolor, as well as in-game item packs: Travel Pack, Camera Kit, Angler Set, and Gourmand Set. More copies were eventually made available,[53] and Square Enix restricted buyers for only one copy per person after controversy of them appearing on eBay scalped at inflated prices right after they were sold out.

SalesEdit

Speaking with European press following the Uncovered: Final Fantasy event, director Hajime Tabata said Final Fantasy XV needs to sell upwards of 10 million units over its lifetime. In a statement issued to Famitsu, Tabata clarified the 10 million figure is but a goal for the team. He said the number is probably exaggerated, but was put out to demonstrate the team's ambitions.[54]

The 30,000-unit limited edition of the game sold out within 30 minutes of the pre-orders going live.[55] Only 30,000 Ultimate Collector's Editions were produced because only 30,000 Noctis Play Arts Kai figures could be made. The figures have to be shipped to various regions, and it takes three months for them to arrive in Europe. Square Enix said they would look into what they can do about the edition being sold out so quickly.[37] On 21st April Square Enix tweeted more Ultimate Editions would be produced worldwide, although they may not be able to make them all available on September 30th.[53] In the day's Active Time Report it was revealed they'd be producing 10,000 new copies.[56] The second batch went on sale 23rd May 2016 with North America and France going to people who missed the first round on a waiting list, and the rest of Europe being able to pre-order from the Square Enix Store; the European batch sold out immediately.

During the 21st April 2016 Active Time Report it was said the game's Japanese pre-orders were doing better than expected.[56] In May 2016, Square Enix's financial briefing outline had a comment by CEO Yosuke Matsuda saying the company expects Final Fantasy XV to be their biggest FY2017/3 title, having already racked up an impressive volume of pre-orders worldwide.[57]

Packaging artworkEdit

Final Fantasy XV will have a reversible cover with just the logo art on the reverse side, and the picture cover on the other.

DemosEdit

A live demo called Final Fantasy XV: The Overture was featured during the Tokyo Game Show 2014.[58]

FFXV-Episode-Duscae-Logo

A demo of Final Fantasy XV came bundled as a downloadable code for players who purchased Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. The demo is known as Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae, named after a location, which shows off the early stages of the game. The demo is available for a limited time,[59] offered with the first print editions of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. The demo was available on the day Type-0 HD released in all regions, and has dual audio and various language options.

Square Enix planned a free demo set in the same location as "The Overture" tech demo.[60] During Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV the new Platinum Demo – Final Fantasy XV was revealed that showcases the game's engine as well as the updated battle system since Episode Duscae, the player taking the role of young Noctis.

Square Enix will be preparing other opportunities for users around the world to sample the full version of the game, but there are no plans for another downloadable demo. The opportunities to try the full game will start summer 2016 and include the game making one last stop at Tokyo Game Show just 15 days before release.[37]

At E3 2016 the demo Trial of Titan was playable, showing a battle against the Archaean Titan.

Production creditsEdit

StaffEdit

Producer Shinji Hashimoto
Director Hajime Tabata
Original Concept
Main Character Designer
Tetsuya Nomura
Character Designer Roberto Ferrari
Image Artwork Yoshitaka Amano
Mechanical Concept Takayuki Takeya
Clothes Design Hiromu Takahara (Roen Creative Director)
Scenario Writer Saori Itamuro[61]
Original Story Kazushige Nojima
Music Yoko Shimomura
Theme Song Performer Aundréa L. Hopkins
Florence and the Machine
Main Programmer Takeshi Aramaki
3D Graphic Director Akira Iwata
Art Director Yusuke Naora
Lead Art & Art Manager Yuki Matsuzawa[62]
World Art Director Isamu Kamikokuryo[62]
Monster Art Director Tomohiro Hasegawa[62]
World Map Director Yasuyuki Matsunami
Lead Animator Taisuke Ooe[63]
System Design & Battle Director Takatsugu Nakazawa
Game System Director Masashi Takizawa
Lead Game Designer (Culture System) Wan Hazmer[64]
Lead Game Designer (Buddy System) Prasert Prasertvithyakarn[64]
Lead Battle Designer Kenichiro Yuji
Lead Environment Artist Hiromitsu Sasaki[65]
Movie Director Takeshi Nozue
Team Development Manager Yasuaki Nasu
Animation Engineer (Luminous Studio) Witawat Rungjiratananon[66]

Voice castEdit

Originally, Square Enix had cast actors for both the film and the game, but due to scheduling and costs they were unable to use the movie cast for the game.[67]

Character Japanese English France
Noctis Lucis Caelum Tatsuhisa Suzuki Anatole De Bodinat [68]
Ignis Scientia Mamoru Miyano Julien Allouf [68]
Gladiolus Amicitia Kenta Miyake Gilles Morvan [68]
Prompto Argentum Tetsuya Kakihara Alexandre N'Guyen [68]
Cor Leonis Hiroki Tōchi
Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII Tsutomu Isobe
Iedolas Aldercapt
Lunafreya Nox Fleuret Rina Kitagawa
Cindy
Gentiana
Ardyn Izunia Keiji Fujiwara[69]
Aranea Highwind Miyuki Sawashiro

GalleryEdit

AllusionsEdit

Final Fantasy XV has references to the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos and the numbers 13 and 15, due to its origins as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. It also has references to other Final Fantasy games, real world locations and products and popular culture.

TriviaEdit

  • The game is said to have many small details, such as Noctis drinking his coffee "properly" because he is a prince, compared to the way his companions do it.[31]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Final Fantasy XV showcases new train station area at Taipei Game Show — Gematsu.com
  2. HexaDrive Also Helping Develop Final Fantasy XV — PanGamers.com
  3. 『ファイナルファンタジーXV』発売時期を示唆、『Just Cause 3』との技術協力も決定【gamescom 2015】 QUOTE:
    ――ではもうひとつ。神話や神についての設定は、『FFヴェルサスXIII』から『FFXV』への移行により変更があるのでしょうか。
    田畑: 『FFXV』にする段階で、そこまでに固まっていた設定については、神話とは強く絡めず『FFXV』の設定として取り込んでいます。ファブラの神話として出てくるものではありませんが、ベースとして活きています。
  4. http://www.finaland.com/?rub=site&page=news&id=5516
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 16 More Things We Learned About Final Fantasy 15 (Accessed: August 30, 2015) at Gamespot
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Game Informer, The Clearing Storm; Final Fantasy XV emerges from its long development with hopes of reclaiming the RPG crown, April 5 2016
  7. 7.0 7.1 TGS 2014: Dengeki Interviews FF Type-0 HD and FFXV Director Hajime Tabata — SQEX.info
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Final Fantasy XV debuts new details and footage at Paris Games Week — Gematsu.com
  9. Meet The New Man In Charge Of Final Fantasy — Kotaku.com
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Final Fantasy XV director answers 16 fan questions at E3 2016 (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Gematsu
  11. 11.0 11.1 Final Fantasy XV’s Map Is One Giant, Connected Land Mass — Gamespot.com
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Final Fantasy XV: Tons Of Details From Jump Festa — Siliconera.com
  13. 13.0 13.1 Final Fantasy XV devs reveal more combat details (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at pixeldynamo
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Final Fantasy XV director addresses fan concerns, new gameplay — Gematsu.com
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 http://squareportal.net/2014/09/22/all-in-one-final-fantasy-xv-article-five-interviews-and-tons-of-new-information
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 Final Fantasy XV further detailed in Famitsu — Gematsu.com
  17. Final Fantasy XV Will Have A Pause Mode
  18. French Q & A with Final Fantasy XV team
  19. 19.0 19.1 Final Fantasy 15 Isn’t Afraid to Innovate to Find Greatness — UK IGN
  20. https://youtu.be/7fACw0LnW0k?t=22s
  21. Final Fantasy XV Japanese community questions answered (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Gematsu
  22. TGS 2015: New Final Fantasy XV story beats, chocobos, fishing and more in latest ATR (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Nova Crystallis
  23. More Final Fantasy XV Details From Famitsu — Gamerampage.net
  24. Will large buildings have multiple warp points to allow Noctis to scale and explore rooftops? (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Final Fantasy XV Official Forums
  25. http://squareportal.net/2013/06/20/new-final-fantasy-xv-details-and-interview/
  26. http://gematsu.com/2014/09/final-fantasy-xv-director-talks-development-open-world-combat-demo
  27. Ars spends two hours driving and battling through Final Fantasy XV (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Ars Technica
  28. http://www.ff-xiii.net/index.php?page=article&article=Leviathan-Is-A-Top-Rank-Summon-in-Final-Fantasy-XV--1939
  29. How will the difficulty modes compare in terms of XP gain, enemy stats, damage and A.I? (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Final Fantasy XV Official Forums
  30. Final Fantasy XV - Location Hunting (Accessed: September 16, 2015) at IGN UK
  31. 31.0 31.1 Subtitled "Walkthrough" Trailer from Paris Games Week at YouTube.com
  32. 32.0 32.1 All the Final Fantasy XV details from Famitsu (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Nova Crystallis
  33. Final Fantasy 15 on PS4 Will Include VR Experience, But Not Right Away (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Gamespot
  34. Tabata Talks Chocobos, Tonberries, Cities and Story With Famitsu (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Final Fantasy Union
  35. Final Fantasy XV May Have Female Party Members As Guests — Siliconera.com
  36. http://www.finalfantasyxv.com/
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Final Fantasy XV staff talk Kingsglaive, music, Collector’s Edition and more (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Novacrystallis
  38. http://squaremusic.blogspot.com/2008/05/m4g-interviewe-yko-shimomura.html
  39. Yoko Shimomura 25th Anniversary album Memória
  40. http://vgo-online.com/news/vgo-soundtrec-worked-on-final-fantasy-15-music
  41. http://www.novacrystallis.com/2015/08/final-fantasy-versus-xiii-was-around-25-complete-when-it-became-final-fantasy-xv/
  42. PAX East 2015: How Back to the Future 2 Influenced Final Fantasy 15 — IGN UK
  43. Yusuke Naora's SMU Lecture Recap – Featuring New FINAL FANTASY XV Concept Art
  44. A bunch of multi-language support for Final Fantasy XV was just announced (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Nova Crystallis
  45. Final Fantasy XV On Noctis’ Age, Brotherhood Episode 2, And Other Questions From Fans (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Siliconera
  46. Final Fantasy 15 Director Talks About The All-Male Party and Bringing Type-0 To the West
  47. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX5D4Fenz5g
  48. http://www.famitsu.com/matome/ff15/interview01_EN.html
  49. Final Fantasy XV Will Have Multiple Direct Sequels (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at IGN UK
  50. http://finaland.com/?rub=site&page=news&id=4865
  51. http://www.gamespot.com/articles/15-new-things-we-learned-from-final-fantasy-15s-di/1100-6436138/
  52. Final Fantasy XV’s Release Date Was Already Decided Back In 2013 (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Siliconera
  53. 53.0 53.1 https://twitter.com/FFXVEN/status/723133163158028289
  54. Final Fantasy XV 10 million unit goal isn’t about profit, but the team’s personal ambitions (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Nova Crystallis
  55. Final Fantasy XV Ultimate Collectors Edition Sold Out After 30 Minutes Of Pre-Orders Going Live (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at This Gen Gaming
  56. 56.0 56.1 Final Fantasy XV Tidbits From The April Active Time Report (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Siliconera
  57. Outline of Results Briefing held on May 12, 2016 (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Square Enix Holdings
  58. http://squareportal.net/2014/09/20/everything-about-final-fantasy-xv-the-overture-live-demo/
  59. SEP - FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 HD Character & Story w/ Hajime Tabata at YouTube
  60. All New Final Fantasy XV Details From Jump Festa 2015 + Videos + Screenshots — Squareportal.net
  61. http://www.finalfantasy.net/xv/full-recap-final-fantasy-xv-active-time-report-60/
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 http://s16.postimg.org/y6h5cck8l/FFXV_Art_Staff.png
  63. The Secrets Behind Final Fantasy XV's Animation (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Game Informer
  64. 64.0 64.1 http://www.finalfantasy.net/xv/final-fantasy-xv-pax-east-2015/
  65. Final Fantasy XV interview with environment artist Hiromitsu Sasaki (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Square Enix Official Blog
  66. http://www.4gamer.net/games/075/G007535/20151104067/
  67. Final Fantasy XV staff talk Kingsglaive, music, Collector’s Edition and more (Accessed: June 29, 2016) at Novacrystallis
  68. 68.0 68.1 68.2 68.3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jYg6oPQRKc
  69. http://www.siliconera.com/2013/06/28/director-nomura-talks-similarities-between-final-fantasy-xv-and-kingdom-hearts/

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