Final Fantasy XV

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Final Fantasy XV
FF XV cover art.jpg
Developer(s) Square Enix Business Division 2[a]
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Director(s) Hajime Tabata
Producer(s) Shinji Hashimoto
Artist(s)
Writer(s)
Composer(s) Yoko Shimomura
Series
Engine Luminous Studio
Platform(s)
Release PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • WW: November 29, 2016
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: Q1 2018
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Final Fantasy XV[b] is an open world action role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. Being the fifteenth main installment in the Final Fantasy series, the game was released for the PS4 and Xbox One in November 2016, and will be released for Windows in early 2018. The game features an open-world environment and action-based battle system, incorporating quick-switching weapons, elemental magic, and other elements — such as vehicle travel and camping.

Final Fantasy XV takes place on the fictional world of Eos. All the world's countries, bar the kingdom of Lucis, are under the dominion of the empire of Niflheim. Noctis Lucis Caelum, heir to the Lucian throne, goes on a quest to retake his homeland and its magical Crystal after it is seized by Niflheim on the eve of peace negotiations between the two nations. However, he soon discovers that the Crystal is at the heart of a much greater threat to Eos, and that his role as the future king is key to averting an apocalyptic event from taking place. The game shares a thematic connection with Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy, a subseries of games linked by a common mythos which includes Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0.

The game's development began in 2006 as a PlayStation 3 spin-off titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Tetsuya Nomura served as the original director and character designer, creating the characters and overall concept. After a development period of six years, it was officially rebranded as the next mainline title in the series in 2012, with Nomura being replaced as director by Hajime Tabata, with it also shifting development to eighth generation platforms. To expand upon the story without developing additional games, a multimedia project called the "Final Fantasy XV Universe" was created: its products include two mobile games, an anime series, a feature film, and a virtual reality-based game. Upon release, Final Fantasy XV received generally favorable reception for its gameplay, characters, emotion, and visuals. It was also a commercial success, breaking franchise sales records, and shipping six million copies worldwide by the end of 2017.

Gameplay

Final Fantasy XV is an open world action role-playing game where players take control of main protagonist Noctis during his journey across the world of Eos. While accompanied by his three companions Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto, Noctis is the only character directly controlled by the player: he can navigate through simple movement, jump over small obstacles, sprint for a limited time, and perform context-based actions such as taking cover behind objects.[1][2] The kingdom of Lucis is a large connected landmass that can be explored on foot, by using the party's car "Regalia", or chocobos, recurring galliform birds in the Final Fantasy series.[3][4] Both the Regalia and chosen Chocobos can be customised by the player, and Chocobos can join in battles if their connection to the characters is strong enough. While Chocobos are controlled manually, the Regalia can be either manually or automatically controlled. The party can also fast-travel to areas unlocked on the world map. The Regalia must be refueled periodically at petrol stations.[5][6][7] In towns the party can visit, there are inns and hotels where they can stay, shops where items and equipment can be purchased with the in-game currency gil, and local tipsters, non-playable characters (NPCs) who provide information on quests, from main story missions to side quests. Side quests are also available from individual NPCs found in towns.[1][7] During some story sequences, dialogue choices appear for Noctis, with the selected option altering the response from NPCs.[7] The game also contains two difficulty modes, Easy and Normal, with players being able to switch between the two.[8][9] In Easy mode, the summon Carbuncle will appear once per battle to revive Noctis when he is defeated.[10]

Battle system

The Active Cross Battle system in action: Noctis attacks a hostile soldier in one of the game's open environments.

The game uses an action-based real-time battle system, dubbed the Active Cross Battle system. Instead of using a menu interface, the player selects commands directly mapped to buttons on the controller, such as "Attack", "Defend", and "Item".[2] Battles take place within the current environment rather than transitioning to a separate arena, and can range from open plains to enclosed building interiors.[1][11] When approaching enemies, a threat meter appears on the top of the screen, growing in intensity the closer the party gets to the enemy. When the party gets close and attacks or is detected, the battle begins. Running away from enemies and out of the combat zone in normal battles ends combat. During battle, each character has health points (HP), and Noctis also has magic points (MP). HP is depleted whenever a character is attacked, while Noctis’ MP recovers over time when not in combat or when not using associated abilities such as warping or special weapon skills. If a character's current HP reaches zero, they enter Danger Mode, during which the maximum HP cap steadily decreases; the character is defeated when all of their maximum HP is lost. Some enemies, such as Daemons, are able to lower the HP cap with their attacks. If Noctis is defeated, there is a brief period where a revival item must be used. Should the player fail to do so, the game ends.[1]

Noctis can perform four actions in battle: the standard attack; defending, which blocks and parries attacks; warping, which takes Noctis to a targeted area such as another enemy or an out-of-the-way warp point, and using items. There is a "Wait Mode" option available, where if all player input stops the battle pauses, and players are able to select new enemies to attack or actions to take within a time limit.[1][11] An option available for both Noctis and Ignis in Wait Mode is Libra, an ability which displays an enemy's health, strengths and weaknesses.[1] Noctis has access to a wide range of weapons, including single and double-handed swords, polearms, axes, shields, firearms and daggers. The weapons manifest from thin air as Noctis fights, and can be manually shifted by the player. The type of weapon equipped determines the attack speed and the amount of damage on normal attacks. In addition to normal attacks, there are attacks that deal more damage based on Noctis' position such as "Side Strike" or "Blindside", in addition to the Warp Strike attack. Attacks from enemies can be parried, and depending on the quality of the parry Noctis can counterattack. If wielding a shield-type weapon, a successful block staggers an enemy, leaving them vulnerable to attack.[1][6] Story-related weapons are the Royal Arms, which Noctis can summon for a special attack called "Armiger", when the meter fills during combat: while more powerful than standard weapons, Royal Arms consume HP with each use.[5] Noctis can also use two classes of firearms—Guns, which range from handguns like pistols to rifles; and Machinery, powerful weapons that have varying effects depending on the type used, from generating a powerful shockwave to dealing high melee damage.[12]

Noctis' companions, while controlled by the game's artificial intelligence, can perform contextual commands. When Noctis successfully parries an enemy attack, or performs a Side Strike or Blindside, cooperative attacks between him and his companions called Link-strikes can be triggered. During battle, a meter called the Tech Bar fills. When full, Noctis can command his companions to perform special moves called Techniques: Gladiolus performs a sweeping attack with his sword, Ignis uses his daggers to mark enemies so Noctis can perform a warp strike attack, and Prompto uses his firearm to launch a flare that distracts enemies and damages Daemons. After each of these, Noctis can initiate a follow-up attack. Noctis can also trigger an Armiger Chain, where he splits his Royal Arms between his companions before launching a single attack.[5][13]

Magic is separated into two types: Elemancy and Ring magic.[13] Elemancy is separated into three types: Fire, Ice and Lightning. Elemental energy is drawn from points across the world map, being absorbed into special flasks and used to craft magical bombs that can be used on enemies. Elemancy can also be combined with specific items to add new effects, such as healing party members while damaging enemies. Both Noctis and his companions are able to use Elemancy.[1][13] Ring magic, accessed when Noctis has acquired and equipped a story-related item called the Ring of the Lucii, has access to more powerful magical abilities such as "Death", which drains an enemy's health.[13] After a certain point in the game, Noctis can call upon summoned monsters called Astrals, which aid the party by launching a devastating attack. The summons featured are series regulars including Titan, Ramuh, Leviathan and Shiva. Their types of attack, and even whether they assist at all, is dependent on the environment: for instance, Leviathan can only be summoned in the open when there is a body of water nearby.[6][13][14] At certain points in the story, Noctis is joined by guest characters who have their own Link-strikes and Techniques.[15]

Character progression

After each battle, characters earn experience points (EXP), but they do not automatically level up when a certain amount of EXP has been gathered. Instead, the party must go to safe zones called "Havens", namely rest sites like inns or campsites. When the party rests at night, each character gains levels depending on the amount of EXP earned. If defeated in battle, all EXP gained up to that point since the last level up is permanently lost. Activities in the overworld earn the party Ability Points (AP). AP is spent on the Ascension, the game's leveling system, which is divided into skill trees called "Astralspheres". Each Astralsphere is sorted by type, being associated with magic, combat or passive abilities. Spending AP opens up nodes within the Astralsphere, which in turn grants access to further nodes which require higher amounts of AP to unlock.[1][6]

Noctis' companions each have their own skills which themselves level up based on usage, and affect equipment. Noctis' fishing ability improves the more times he fishes and the better items he uses, which in turn spreads to his equipment. Gladiolus' Survival skills increase based on the distance the party has travelled in a day, which improves the quality of their equipment and items. Ignis' cooking can be improved based on ingredients either purchased at shops or found in the wild, and his meals grant stat boosts to the party. Prompto takes photos during the party's journey, and the quality of his own skills increase over time.[1][6]

Synopsis

Setting

Final Fantasy XV takes place on the Earth-like world of Eos,[16] which is divided into three continents: Lucis, Accordo, and Niflheim. Lucis, located in the northeastern part of Eos, is a kingdom in possession of a magical artifact known as the Crystal, gifted to the reigning Caelum dynasty by the world's deities in antiquity and accessed through the hereditary Ring of the Lucii.[17] Accordo, located in the southern part of Eos, is an island nation formed through a union of free trading cities. The western continent is home to the technologically-advanced empire of Niflheim and the nation of Tenebrae, which is ruled by the Oracle—a priestess with the ability to commune with the world's deities and halt the Starscourge, a plague that absorbs all natural light and allows nocturnal monsters known as Daemons to roam the world.[18][19] Central to the lore of Eos are the Astrals, six divine beings who serve as the guardians of the natural world and are divorced from human affairs,[6][20][21] and the True King, a legendary figure prophesied to appear when darkness threatens the world.[22]

For centuries, Lucis has been at war with the militaristic Niflheim, who has subjugated most of Eos; Tenebrae retains limited political autonomy due to the Oracle's influence, while Accordo is free to conduct its own affairs provided that they do not interfere with Niflheim's interests.[23] Meanwhile, Lucis’ capital city of Insomnia remains unconquered due to the Wall—a magical shield powered by the Crystal that keeps Niflheim's Magitek army at bay, but drains the king of his life-force.[24] At the game's beginning an armistice is declared between the two nations, and as part of the peace agreements, a marriage is arranged between Prince Noctis of Lucis and Lady Lunafreya of Tenebrae.[25]

Characters

Promotional artwork featuring the main cast of Final Fantasy XV. From left: Gladiolus Amicitia, Noctis Lucis Caelum, Ignis Scientia and Prompto Argentum.

The two main characters are Noctis Lucis Caelum, the crown prince of Lucis and the sole playable character who lost his father in the Niflheim invasion, and his fiancée Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, an Oracle and a former princess of Tenebrae. Noctis is accompanied on his journey by three others: Gladiolus Amicitia, Noctis’ bodyguard; Ignis Scientia, a prodigy military tactician and Noctis’ advisor; and Prompto Argentum, a friend of Noctis from a lower social class. Guest characters include Cor Leonis, a legendary warrior of Lucis who acts as a guardian to Noctis’ party, and Iris Amicitia, Gladiolus’ sister. Other key characters are Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII, king of Lucis and Noctis’ father, Gentiana, Lunafreya's attendant; and Cid Sophiar and his granddaughter Cindy Aurum, mechanics who maintain the party's car. The empire of Niflheim is ruled by Emperor Iedolas Aldercapt. Aldercapt's allies include Ardyn Izunia, the imperial chancellor and the game's main antagonist; Ravus Nox Fleuret, Lunafreya's brother and the high commander of the imperial army; Verstael Besithia, the empire's head researcher; and Aranea Highwind, a mercenary dragoon in service to Niflheim.

Plot

In Lucis, Prince Noctis and his friends Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto are en route to Accordo's capital city of Altissia, where Noctis is to wed Lunafreya.[25] Along the way, they receive news of Niflheim's attack on the city of Insomnia and theft of the Crystal, and that the Lucian king Regis has been assassinated.[26][27] They meet up with Crownsguard commander Cor Leonis, who tasks Noctis with retrieving the weapons of the Lucii—the ancient kings of Lucis—in order to rescue the Crystal and reclaim his throne. The party also comes across Niflheim's chancellor Ardyn Izunia, who guides them to the Astral Titan at the Disc of Cauthess. After he fulfills Titan's trial and fights off imperial forces attacking the Astral, Noctis learns that Lunafreya persuaded Titan to lend him his power. They continue to travel across Lucis, retrieving Noctis’ ancestral relics and meeting the Astral Ramuh with assistance from Gentiana, Lunafreya's spirit attendant. Over the course of their journey, they discover days are steadily growing shorter, accompanied by the Daemons increasing in number. These phenomena are part of the Starscourge, which if left unchecked, will see Eos plunged into eternal darkness and overrun by Daemons.

The party eventually arrives in Altissia, where Lunafreya has taken up sanctuary. Lunafreya awakens the Astral Leviathan so Noctis can obtain her power, only for Leviathan to go on a rampage when Niflheim attacks. Ardyn reveals his true colors by mortally wounding Lunafreya, disrupting the ritual; however, she succeeds in awakening Noctis’ powers, allowing him to defeat Leviathan. While unconscious, he is visited in a dream by Lunafreya's spirit, who gives him the Ring of the Lucii. Noctis wakes to find Altissia in chaos, and that Ignis was blinded during the battle. The party continues towards Niflheim's capital of Gralea by train, while Ignis' blindness and Noctis’ prolonged mourning of Lunafreya cause friction between Noctis and Gladiolus until Ignis forces a reconciliation. Ardyn tricks Noctis into throwing Prompto from the train, and holds Prompto and the Crystal captive in Gralea's main fortress, revealing that the Crystal's power can destroy the Daemons. Noctis continues to Gralea—receiving the Astral Shiva's blessing from Gentiana, who reveals herself to be Shiva's human form—where the party finds that it has been overrun by Ardyn's Daemons. Noctis’ powers are suppressed, forcing him to don the Ring of the Lucii. After rescuing Prompto, who is revealed to be from Niflheim,[28] the party continues to fight their way through the fortress, encountering Lunafreya's brother Ravus and Niflheim's emperor Iedolas Aldercapt, who have been transformed into Daemons by Ardyn.

Forced to separate from the party, Noctis finally reaches the Crystal, only to be slowly pulled into it. Ardyn then appears and reveals himself to be Ardyn Lucis Caelum, a former healer and king of Lucis who was chosen by the Crystal two thousand years ago.[29][30] Ardyn had saved Eos by absorbing the Daemons into himself, only to be demonized by Noctis’ ancestors.[31] Rendered immortal by the Daemons' power and denied ascension by the Astrals, Ardyn has since sought revenge on the royal bloodline and the Crystal, hastening the onset of the Starscourge while waiting for the True King to appear so he could destroy them both.[32][33] Within the Crystal, Noctis encounters the Astral Bahamut; he learns that he is the True King of prophecy, who will cleanse the Starscourge and restore light to Eos. Noctis prepares himself to fulfill his destiny, knowing that it will cost him his life; upon his return to the mortal realm, he finds that ten years have passed.[34] He reunites with his friends, who have been keeping the Daemons at bay since Eos’ descent into eternal darkness, before heading to the ruins of Insomnia. After the party defeats the rogue Astral Ifrit, Noctis confronts Ardyn alone and kills him in single combat. Noctis then ascends the throne, and using the power of the Lucii and the Crystal's light sacrifices his life to purge the Starscourge and the Daemons from the world. In the spirit realm, Noctis—with the aid of Lunafreya and the Lucii—destroys Ardyn's spirit.

In a mid-credits flashback, Noctis tells Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto how much they mean to him during their last camp together. In a post-credits scene, Noctis and Lunafreya reunite in the afterlife, as a new dawn rises over Eos.

Episode Gladiolus

The Episode Gladiolus downloadable content focuses on Gladiolus and runs parallel to the main story. During the party's travels, Prompto asks Gladiolus about a scar he acquired during a time when he took his leave of absence. Gladiolus recalls his encounter with the legendary warrior Gilgamesh. Disturbed at how easily the party is defeated in combat by Ravus, Gladiolus begins to question his ability to protect Noctis in his role as the King's Shield. Seeking the means to acquire greater power, he calls upon Cor Leonis to accompany him to the Tempering Grounds, a network of millennia-old caverns where generations of Crownsguard soldiers have sought to prove their strength against Gilgamesh, the Blademaster. Cor agrees, but warns Gladiolus that by venturing into the caverns he faces certain death and that even if he survives, he may have nothing to show for it.

As Gladiolus and Cor enter the caverns, the disembodied voice of Gilgamesh taunts them while they encounter the bodies of fallen soldiers reanimated by their souls. Cor reveals that the souls swore fealty to Gilgamesh in both life and death, and that the souls of fallen soldiers remain trapped the caverns. Gladiolus passes each of Gilgamesh's trials and gradually learns more about Cor's previous expedition to the Tempering Grounds thirty years ago. Headstrong, reckless and arrogant, Cor confronted Gilgamesh in his inner sanctum, but fell from the cliffs into the waters below without defeating him. When he returned from the Tempering Ground he was dubbed 'The Immortal'. When Gladiolus reaches the inner sanctum, he must go on alone and face Gilgamesh in combat. Gilgamesh challenges him once again, repeating Cor's warning that he may be risking his life for nothing. The two fight and Gladiolus emerges victorious, but not before Gilgamesh scars him. Gilgamesh reveals that there is no ultimate power, but reminds Gladiolus that he must have been a capable warrior to defeat him and so should be reassured of his ability to defend Noctis. He offers Gladiolus his favourite sword, which is revealed to have been Cor's. Gladiolus and Cor leave the Tempering Grounds, with Gladiolus planning to reunite with the party while reflecting on the experience.

Episode Prompto

The Episode Prompto downloadable content focuses on Prompto, and as with Episode Gladiolus, runs parallel to the main story. As the party travels by train to Gralea, Ardyn appears and tricks Noctis into throwing Prompto from the train. Seemingly abandoned by his friends, Prompto spends several days wandering the frozen wastes. He very nearly freezes to death before being picked up by a magitek patrol, who bring him to the First Magitek Production Facility. When he awakens, Ardyn reappears and reveals that Prompto was intended to be a vessel for a magitek soldier before he escaped. He encourages Prompto to confront the empire's chief magitek researcher, Verstael Besithia, to learn more. As Prompto works his way through the facility, he unearths more information about Verstael's disturbing experiments with magitek. Initially intending to create an unstoppable army for the Empire by infusing soldiers with Daemonic essence, his repeated failures led him to experiment on infant children and later on clones of himself. Prompto is horrified to learn that he himself is a clone of Verstael. Verstael's exposure to Daemonic essence has driven him insane and he plans to achieve immortality by infusing himself with Daemonic energy. Prompto kills him and flees the facility, aided by Aranea Highwind.

After making camp for the night, Prompto struggles with the knowledge that he is a clone who was intended to become a weapon. He admits to Aranea his fear of being rejected by Noctis if Noctis learns his secret and divulges his plan to run away. Aranea chastises him for being too concerned about what other people think as she was enlisted by Noctis to find him. She reveals that Verstael created a new model of magitek weapon called Immortalis that she intends to destroy, but refuses Prompto's help so long as he doubts himself. Prompto is visited by the spirit of Lunafreya who reminds him of the bonds he shared with his friends, and Prompto resolves to rejoin them.

Teaming up with Aranea, Prompto infiltrates a secondary research facility located underground. They learn that Verstael found a way of binding his soul to another body, allowing him to live on in Immortalis. Verstael intends to kill the last remaining Astrals and overthrow the Empire so that he can rule Eos. Prompto and Aranea destroy the last remaining magitek prototypes, but are unable to locate Immortalis. An announcement from the system mainframe leads to Immortalis being activated, and Prompto and Aranea race back to the surface. There they witness Immortalis emerge, taking the form of an enormous magitek-infused mechanical worm. Immortalis heads towards Gralea as Prompto and Aranea try to destroy it with a machine gun mounted to a snowmobile. In destroying Immortalis, they successfully kill Verstael. Prompto and Aranea part ways, with Prompto venturing on to Gralea and Aranea returning to Tenebrae to assist in the refugee effort. They are watched by Ardyn, who sings to himself and smiles.

Comrades

The Multiplayer Expansion: Comrades downloadable content focuses on new characters and, like previous DLC campaigns, takes place alongside the main story.

Comrades takes place six months after Noctis and his party depart for Gralea. While the Niflheim Empire has fallen, the Starscourge has begun to take effect and humanity is faced with the final few days before the onset of eternal darkness. The player takes on the role of an amnesiac Kingsglaive soldier arriving in Lestallum for the first time. Without a king to serve, the Kingsglaive have regrouped and dedicated themselves to recovering shards of the meteor that was destroyed when the Niflheim Empire attacked the Astral Titan as these shards can be used to provide power and light. However, the situation is complicated as the people of Eos no longer trust the Kingsglaive as the search for Noctis is called off and rumours of treason by the Kingsglaive during the Siege of Insomnia take hold.

As the Kingsglaive work to reconnect Eos' major settlements, rescue refugees, secure supplies and hunt dangerous Daemons, King Regis' boat—last used by Noctis when he left for Altissia—is recovered off the coast of Galdin Quay. Individual Kingsglaive soldiers start reporting mystical visions of Angelgard, an island prison between Galdin Quay and Altissia, and the decision is made to launch an expedition there. Meanwhile, the player character gradually recovers their memories and recalls Regis ordering the Kingsglaive to protect Lunafreya during the Siege of Insomnia, saving her but leaving the city defenceless and thus allowing the Niflheim Empire to conquer the city and steal the crystal, setting in motion the events of the main game. The player character is visited by the spirit of Noctis' ancestors who reveal that Regis' actions were necessary to allow Noctis to rise as the True King, and that Noctis—who by now has been drawn into the crystal—is alive but in need of the Kingsglaive. The player character travels to Galdin Quay to join the expedition to Angelgard.

When the player character arrives at Angelgard, the surviving Astrals surround the island. Bahamut demands that the Kingsglaive atone for humanity's sins and challenges the player to mortal combat, implying that the Kingsglaive had forgotten their purpose. Once defeated, Bahamut is satisfied that humanity is worth saving and unseals the prison, allowing Noctis to return to Eos. Gentiana reveals that the Astrals remained on Eos to defend Angelgard in preparation for the True King's arrival and that the Kingsglaive were created to prove humanity's worth and to meet Noctis when he was released. Now freed, Noctis meets the Kingsglaive to continue his mission to destroy Ardyn and end the Starscourge.

Development

Final Fantasy XV was primarily developed by Square Enix's Business Division 2 studio.[35] Additional studios that helped with development included HexaDrive, XPEC Entertainment, Plusmile, Umbra, and Streamline Studios.[36][37][38][39] Staff included director Hajime Tabata; producer Shinji Hashimoto; main writer Saori Itamuro, who wrote the scenario based on the original draft by Kazushige Nojima; and art directors Tomohiro Hasegawa, Yusuke Naora and Isamu Kamikokuryo.[40][41] Character designs were by Tetsuya Nomura and Roberto Ferrari, with later revisions by Naora.[40][42][43][44] The main characters' clothing was designed by Hiromu Takahara, lead designer for Japanese fashion house Roen.[42] The soundtrack for Final Fantasy XV was composed primarily by Yoko Shimomura, while both real-time and CGI cutscenes were directed by Takeshi Nozue of Visual Works, Square Enix's in-house CGI production studio.[40][45] Logo illustration was by regular series artist Yoshitaka Amano.[19]

Development began in 2006 as a spin-off title for the PlayStation 3 called Final Fantasy Versus XIII. It was announced as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy, a subseries of games linked by a common mythos, and ran in Square Enix's proprietary Crystal Tools engine. Developed by the team behind the Kingdom Hearts series, it was intended to be a darker entry in the Final Fantasy series than allowed in the main series.[46][47][48] Nomura was the original director, designer, and created the initial concept and scenario.[40][42] The project suffered from a prolonged and troubled development, only making fragmentary appearances over the following six years.[49][50] As early as 2007, the project's scale prompted talks of rebranding it as the next mainline entry. With the internal unveiling of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it was decided to change it into a mainline entry, with a proposed PS3 version being scrapped due to technical troubles. The game's engine also changed, shifting to the company's new proprietary game engine Luminous Studio.[2][51][52] At the time of its rebranding and shift to next-generation consoles in 2012, Versus XIII was described as being on 20-25% complete, with Tabata saying it never took shape.[53][54]

When Tabata took over from Nomura, the entire development team was reshuffled and development started over again, although he worked as a co-director with Nomura until late 2013 to ensure the project remained as true as possible to its original vision.[2][49][55] Among the changes were the removal of the original story's opening, and the replacement of original heroine Stella Nox Fleuret with the similarly named Lunafreya.[56][57] The connection to Fabula Nova Crystallis was also reduced, with branding and mythos-specific terminology removed to aid in the game's marketing. Thematic, aesthetic and design elements were retained due to their core place in the world and backstory.[19][20][53][58][59] The main concept behind Final Fantasy XV was "a fantasy based on reality", with the world being very similar to Earth and having fantasy elements gradually intruding into an otherwise normal setting. In pursuit of this, locations in Eos were based on real-world locations such as Tokyo, Venice and the Bahamas.[4][19][36]

Initially announced in 2006 alongside XIII and Type-0, the game was publicly rebranded at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo, with regular updates on the title beginning the following year.[50] A game demo titled Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae was released in March 2015 as a limited addition to Final Fantasy Type-0 HD.[60][61][62] Its initial worldwide release, September 30, was announced in March as a big event in Los Angeles titled "Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV".[63] Despite initially being scheduled for September 30, further polishing work resulted in the date being pushed back to November 29.[64][65] Story and gameplay-based downloadable content, in addition to patches to improve the game's performance were also announced.[66][67][68] On November 15, 2017, an online cooperative multiplayer expansion entitled Final Fantasy XV: Comrades, set alongside the events of the base game with player created Kingsglaive soldiers participating in battles against monsters and restoring the power grid around Lestallum. In August 2017, a version for Microsoft Windows was announced, planned for release in early 2018, which will support high-end hardware features such as 4K resolution, Dolby Atmos, Nvidia GameWorks, and a first-person perspective camera option.[69] An episodic Pocket Edition made specifically for Android, iOS, and Windows 10 mobile devices was also announced to be released in 2017.[70]

Universe

At the "Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV"[63] event, it was revealed that Final Fantasy XV had multiple pieces of tie-in media, used by staff to expand upon the story without developing multiple games.[71][72][73] Dubbed the "Final Fantasy XV Universe", it includes:

Marketing

In 2017, Square Enix announced a series of promotional tie-ins between Final Fantasy XV and other franchises. In March, the Regalia was made available to players of Forza Horizon 3, while in August another announcement was made to promote the upcoming release of Assassin's Creed Origins. Taking the form of an in-game event, the promotion introduced Assassin's Creed-themed content to the game.[74]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic PS4: 81/100[75]
XONE: 83/100[76]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 9/10[77]
EGM 7.5/10[78]
Famitsu 38/40[79]
Game Informer 8.5/10[80]
Game Revolution 4/5 stars[81]
GameSpot 8/10[82]
GamesRadar 4.5/5 stars[83]
IGN 8.2/10[84]
Polygon 9/10[85]
Digital Spy 3.5/5 stars[86]
Hardcore Gamer 3.5/5[87]
PlayStation LifeStyle 8.5/10[88]
Time 4.5/5[89]
US Gamer 4/5 stars[90]

Final Fantasy XV received "generally favorable" reviews from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[75][76]

Various game designers stated Final Fantasy XV was their favorite game of 2016, including Final Fantasy series creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Atlus' Shigeo Komori, Koei Tecmo's Takashi Morinaka, and Sony Interactive Entertainment's Teruyuki Toriyama and Shuhei Yoshida.[91][92]

Awards

Final Fantasy XV won numerous awards from various gaming publications, including "Game of the Year" from DualShockers,[93] CGMagazine,[94] RPG Site,[95] RPG Fan,[96] Drago D'oro (Italian game reviewers) and GameFAQs,[97] "Best RPG" (People's Choice) from IGN,[98] MMORPG,[99] RPG Site,[100] Spazio Games,[101] and PlayStation LifeStyle,[102] "Best Soundtrack" from IGN,[103] RPG Site,[104] LaPS4,[105] RPG Fan,[106] and US Gamer,[107] and "Best Cast" from Game Informer,[108] RPG Fan,[109] and US Gamer.[110] At the 2017 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards the game won Game, Franchise Role Playing and Song, Original or Adapted.[111]

PlayStation Blog awarded Final Fantasy XV awards in the categories of Best PS4 Game, Best Use of Pro, Best Soundtrack, and Best Visuals.[112]

Sales

Within the first twenty-four hours, Square Enix reported that Final Fantasy XV had shipped five million units worldwide in both physical shipments and digital sales—a figure which allowed the game to "break even" on development costs.[113] This gave Final Fantasy XV the biggest launch in the franchise to date. It received the most first day digital sales in Japan for a game up to that point, and set records for physical shipments and downloads in mainland Asia.[114] In Japan, the PS4 version topped Japanese gaming charts, selling 690,471 units. The Xbox One version sold 3,791 units. Total sales of both versions came to 694,262 units, down from Final Fantasy XIII but up from A Realm Reborn: Final Fantasy XIV. Second week sales in the region were 79,792 units,[115] down 88% from launch week. The game's release boosted console sales for the PS4 over the previous week by 42,102 units.[116] In the United Kingdom's all-format gaming charts ending December 3, Final Fantasy XV was the second biggest Final Fantasy launch after Final Fantasy XIII.[117] According to Square Enix, shipments had reached over six million worldwide by January 2017.[118] In May of the same year, Square announced the game and Rise of the Tomb Raider helped to increase sales and profits.[119] By September 2017, the game had sold over 6.5 million copies worldwide.[120]

References

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Notes
  1. ^ Additional work by HexaDrive, XPEC Entertainment, Plusmile, Umbra and Streamline Studios
  2. ^ Known in Japanese as ファイナルファンタジーXV (Fainaru Fantajī Fifutīn).

External links

  • Official website
  • Final Fantasy XV on IMDb
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