Final Fantasy XV is one of the most anticipated games of all time. It also happens to be a game that fans waited an incredibly long time to play. The game experience a long and very troubled development cycle. Fortunately, Final Fantasy XV has finally been released. To the joy of many, it not only lives up to the hype, but also adds some really cool new features that will surprise fans.
FFXV features an entirely new set of characters going on a new and very exciting adventure that is sure to entertain fans and newcomers alike. FFXV is both a totally new game and a typical Final Fantasy game at heart. Unfortunately, though amazing, it is still not perfect. This is a list of everything those who are deciding whether or not to play need to read. Here is an aptly titled list of 15 Things You Need To Know About Final Fantasy XV.
15. It was originally meant to be part of FF XIII
Final Fantasy XV was originally planned as something called Final Fantasy Versus XIII, a sort of companion piece to Final Fantasy XIII. Square Enix even had a trailer released for it under that name! Due to the massive disappointment that Final Fantasy XIII turned out to be amongst fans in 2009, Square Enix went silent with Versus XIII for a long while, and shifted its focus into creating two different sequels for Final Fantasy XIII.
First was Final Fantasy XIII-2, the second=ever direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game, and after that Lightning Returns, the first-ever direct sequel to a Final Fantasy sequel. Neither of the two sequels was as weak as the first game, but they were still miles away from what the series did in its heyday. These were troubled times for Square Enix. Out of nowhere though, in 2012, Square Enix announced with a trailer that it had rebranded FF Versus XIII into the next main entry in the series: Final Fantasy XV. After the success Square Enix got from the online Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn– a game it had also revamped– the hype for Final Fantasy XV managed to return as well.
14. there are two companion pieces
Even though the game’s story is understandable on its own, it is important to know that there are two companion pieces that help tie the entire thing together in a neater way. The first is a short anime series called Brotherhood and it takes place mainly during the events of the game, but also shows flashbacks detailing the origins of the main characters. Brotherhood is not a particularly good anime, but it does serve its purpose and it doesn’t take too long to watch.
The other companion piece is called Kingsglaive, and it takes place right before the events of FFXV. Kingsglaive is set in Insomnia, during the peace treaty negotiations between Insomnia and Niflheim. The peace treaty is to be sealed by the marriage between Noctis, the main character of the game, and Luna. Unfortunately, the peace treaty is revealed to be just a trap intended to get Insomnia to leave its guard down so that Niflheim could invade. As a result, a large portion of the city is destroyed; King Regis, Noctis’ father is killed; and Luna, Noctis’ bride-to-be, is forced to escape. This is when the game starts.
13. It spent 10 years in development
Final Fantasy XV has certainly gone through a very long and troubled development cycle, but this is not an isolated case, especially when it comes to Japanese games. The last ten years in Japanese gaming can pretty much be summed up by “waiting for that big game.” The very highly anticipated Persona 5 has been in development for over 3 years, and that isn’t all that much when compared to The Last Guardian, a game that enjoyed a development cycle of 7 years.
The champion of making Japanese gaming fans wait is still Kingdom Hearts 3, though. KH3 that has been in development since 2006 and still has no foreseeable release date. This can be a troubling thought, but maybe also one worthy of hope. Why? Because Kingdom Hearts 3 is being developed by Square Enix, the same people who took 10 years to not only make FFXV, but to make it right.
12. The soundtrack is very different, but still great
Final Fantasy games have always been known for their tremendously awesome original soundtracks. Nobuo Uematsu was responsible for the series music right from its first game up until to his departure before Final Fantasy XII. Yoko Shimomura, composer of the iconic Street Fighter 2 soundtrack, was responsible for the music in XV, and is also the very first woman composing for the series. What’s great about her work on FFXV is that, unlike FFXII‘s still awesome but very different soundtrack, her soundtrack manages to be both a departure and still very reminiscent of songs from past Final Fantasy games.
Another cool addition is that Florence Welch, from Florence and the Machine fame, has recorded some songs for the game. The first song players will hear in the game is Florence Welch’s rendition of the very famous Ben E. King original, “Stand By Me”. This marks the first time a Final Fantasy game features a song not originally written for it.
11. The characters and their relationships are truly organic and heartwarming
Final Fantasy games have always been known for their characters. Sometimes for good reasons, other times not so much. What has always been a constant in Final Fantasy characters is that their arcs were always shown to players in the form of long expository cutscenes that always took place at a pre-determined part of the story. What is very different in Final Fantasy XV is that most character development moments take place during the game, or in random places, making everything seem much more organic.
Aside from (or due to) the quality of their development, the characters themselves feel very real and interesting. This is true even for players who didn’t watch the Brotherhood companion piece that was made to flesh out the characters. The game has been criticized for the look of the playable party, but if there is one thing this game teaches is not to judge a book by the cover. This is the best overall ensemble of characters the series has ever seen.
10. Players get to drive a really cool flying car
Final Fantasy XV‘s predecessor, Final Fantasy XIII was critically obliterated due to its very poor game design, with map design being a focal point in criticism. As if having no actual battle gameplay to speak of weren’t enough of a problem! XIII was doomed from the get go. The main problem was that players were forced to walk along a corridor for almost one hundred hours straight. That is not an exaggeration, as 90% of the game was just that, an insanely long and boring hallway.
Fortunately the developers learned from their mistakes, and the proof of that is that for XV they have created an awesome experience that is freely open world for the most part. If players want to walk around they can, but they are advised to drive the aptly named Type F Regalia. The Regalia may look like any other luxury car, but further into the game players will be able to use it to freely fly around the world. The sensation is amazing.
9. The car plays any song from the soundtracks of previous Final Fantasy games
In a time when DLC content is king, it is great to see that such an amazing nostalgia infused feature is in the game, especially right from the start and for free! The type F Regalia radio allows for players to unlock whatever playlist from whatever previous Final Fantasy game players may want to listen to. This is one of the best fan services Square Enix could have provided players who are very likely to already have quite a lot of fond memories from playing previous Final Fantasy titles. Most of them are sure to enjoy reliving some of those sweet tunes while driving through the amazing landscapes present in the world of Final Fantasy XV.
If players want to have all the Final Fantasy playlists available to them, they simple have to buy them with in-game currency. With the success of games like Final Fantasy XV and The Witcher 3, the chances of getting more games full of cool features for no extra price can get higher.
8. The car and clothes can be bought in real life
The car from the Kingsglaive companion film is a CGI customized version of the existing plus Coupé 5.2 FSI quattro. For people who don’t care much about cars, that is a car that can go from 0 to 100 kmh/h in 3 seconds, so it’s not much of a surprise that it costs more than $200,000.
Players who don’t psosess that insane kind of money will be happy to know that the outfits in the game, created by Japanese fashion designer Roen, can all be acquired in real life for a lower, albeit still very high price. The clothes are made from very expensive materials such as high quality denim and leather. The least expensive part of the set are the socks, and even those cost $30. For players who want to experience Final Fashion in all of its glory, the whole set of clothing Noctis wears in the game can be bought for around $2,700.
7. There was controversy over the over-sexualization of a female character
Just like in every single other Final Fantasy game, there is a character named Cid in Final Fantasy XV. This time around Cid is a mechanic– nothing special there, as what drew everyone’s attention was his daughter, Cindy. She is a very sympathetic and a helpful person with a southern accent who, despite also working as a mechanic, isn’t someone who believes in letting shirts or zipped jackets get in the way of her work. This, aside from being an overtly obvious sexualization of her character, is also a very easy way of destroying one’s skin, so something no mechanic would ever do.
This is hardly the first time a game, especially a Japanese one, has faced backlash for this, as even earlier this year MGS V faced the same kind of controversy by sexualizing a female character. But at least this time the character in question is an adult, unlike Final Fantasy X-2’s Rikku, who dressed up just like Cindy and was merely a 16 year old.
6. Conan O’Brien played it with elijah wood (and hated it)
Conan O’Brien has a segment on his show Conan called Clueless Gamer, in which he, a middle aged man who doesn’t have any sort of experience playing video games, decides to go play a video game with a guest. In one of his latest segments of Clueless Gamer, Conan decided invite Elijah Wood, who knows Final Fantasy, to try to play Final Fantasy XV before everyone else.
As expected, the experience was as bad for Conan as it was hilarious for everyone watching. Conan complained about everything, from the fact that players are forced to push the car instead of driving it to the characters looking like N-Sync. Conan got so bored that he even went as far as to say that the game should be called “wait for your death in real time.” When he learned how long it takes to beat the super boss, he completely lost it. It may be a long time before Conan tries another Japanese RPG.
5. There is a boss that (supposedly) takes 15 hours to kill
Fans of Final Fantasy games go crazy over many things, but one of the things that drive them the craziest are insane challenges. Conan was as displeased about the idea of fighting a gigantic turtle as Final Fantasy fans were excited to hunt it down. The super boss in question is called Adamantoise, a turtle-like creature that most fans of the series will recognize.
The Adamantoise has been a commonplace enemy in many Final Fantasy titles, but he has never been so absurdly enormous and resistant. To the disappointment of many, though, the Adamantoise isn’t all that hard, provided that players have patience to fight it. The fight itself is also much shorter than expected– even shorter than the 15 hours the game director claimed it would be, with players generally finishing it in about 1 hour. The Adamantoise is an optional boss that can only be fought after finishing the main questline.
4. There are some really cool dungeons
Players are likely to have their hands pretty full with the main questline, as it may very well take longer than 50 hours to complete. That’s quite a lot of time, considering the average 5 hours of playtime for games nowadays. For those who may not find this long enough, they will find solace in the fact that the game has a large variety of really cool mini games, plus optional dungeons– some of which players don’t even know how to access yet!
There is one dungeon that can only be accessed after finishing the first playthrough which offers a completely entire new game experience; instead of battles, players are faced with platforming and puzzles only! It’s yet another neat treat added for fans who thought there was nothing more that could surprise them in this game. It is pretty cool to imagine just how much awesome content is still left to be found inside Final Fantasy XV.
3. It’s the first Final Fantasy in which the characters get old
Final Fantasy games always try to tell larger than life stories of heroes going against unfathomable odds to save the world. Though the characters always succeed, certain stories hit the mark, while others really do not. But one problem that has always been present in Final Fantasy games up until now was that character development always took a backseat, especially when it came to the main characters.
This is a problem FFXV deals with with a really cool twist: there is an actual timeskip. Players first start to play as a teen, and then slowly grow with him until at one point he is a full grown adult. This is something The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time did very well back in the day, and that FFXV does just as well. The journey of the characters in Final Fantasy XV begins as a an amazingly fun one and goes on like that until it becomes amazingly tragic. Going back for a second playthrough, players will have the chance to get even more value from the fun moments they previously had.
2. it feels like two different games put together
The long and troubled development cycle Final Fantasy XV went through was responsible for some design choices that may feel very strange to players. The one that sticks out the most is that, at some point, the game completely changes in its design. Later in the adventure, it shifts from being an open world adventure, with all sorts of cool places to explore, to a more linear experience. Curiously, this is exactly the opposite of what happened in Final Fantasy XIII. In FFXIII, players basically walk along a very long tunnel for most of the playthrough, only to then find it branching out a bit near the end.
The good news is that FFXV‘s formula is better, as it allows for players to experience first freedom, and then a very concise and specific conclusion to the story. Even better is that even when players reach the straightforward segment of the game, they still have the option to go back to the open world part to complete anything they might have forgotten.
1. Mostly importantly: Final Fantasy XV works
Despite fears that accumulated over the course of 10 very long years of waiting, Final Fantasy XV seems to really have gotten the series back on track. Back on the same track though? Hard to tell. Back on a right track? Most certainly.
Just as the game gives its own characters a chance to live their journeys in such a different way, Final Fantasy XV feels like a very experimental exercise in game design for fans. But fans certainly are enjoying it, and Final Fantasy fans sure are a hard bunch to please. The game has enjoyed the fastest-selling opening in the history of the series and sits at a very comfortable 84 Metacritic score. Most gaming outlets are saying that, despite its weaknesses, Final Fantasy XV still manages to satisfy the thirst for a good Japanese RPG game that players have had for so many years. So it was worth the wait!
Have you played Final Fantasy XV? Tell us what you think in the comments!