Video Game: Final Fantasy XV

aka: Final Fantasy Versus XIII
Oer 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.
Cosmogony 15:2, "Nadir"

Final Fantasy XV, formerly known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, is the fifteenth Numbered Sequel in the game-delayingly popular Final Fantasy series. It was originally the sixth entry in the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy series, sharing a common mythology with Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0, albeit with no direct connection. However, the changes made during the transition from Versus XIII to XV resulted in its mythological canon being virtually separate from that of Fabula Nova Crystallis, and it was removed from the subseries altogether.

Noctis Lucis Caelum is the Warrior Prince of Lucis, a kingdom whose royal family patterns themselves after The Mafia. For generations, his family has been tasked with protecting the Power Crystal which grants their kingdom prosperity. But now, Lucis is being invaded by its neighbouring countries, who lost their own Power Crystals to warfare and see Lucis's crystal as either the key to saving their own homelands...or a weapon that will conquer the others.

The gameplay of XV uses Action RPG mechanics along the lines of Kingdom Hearts, such as Implausible Fencing Powers, Spontaneous Weapon Creation, Weaponized Teleportation, taking cover and massive video game setpieces. This makes it the first main series Final Fantasy title to not have a turn-based battle system of any kind.note  It will also use Square Enix's next-generation development platform, Luminous, which is being developed alongside the game.

A Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty-esque demo, Episode Duscae, was released with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD in March 2015 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A full release on both systems is expected to follow in late 2016.

In June 2015, an update to the demo was released as Episode Duscae 2.0, and adds new gameplay features and tweaks to the game (notably, the update tells the player outright that a lock-on function exists; it was present in the original demo, but the game never told you about it).

Previews: E3 2013 trailer, TGS 2014 trailer, Jump Festa 2015 trailer, 2015 "Dawn" Trailer, "Dawn 2.0" Trailer

This game provides examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel: Final Fantasy XV is an Action RPG, unlike the previous Final Fantasy games, which used turn based battle systems.
  • Action Girl: There's no female protagonist in an FF game that hasn't been badass in some way. Although the tone of the recent trailers, as well as the stinger at the end of Episode Duscae, do begin to throw some questions on just what form this will end up taking.
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Cindy/Cidney, the mechanic who assists the protagonists, is this game's Cid. Maybe. There's also an actual Cid who is Cindy's granddad, but it seems likely that Cindy will be the "on the ground" character who helps with your mechanics throughout the game.
  • Animal Motifs/Animal Theme Naming
  • Arranged Marriage: Between Noctis and Luna.
  • Art Evolution: Both character art and the model designs became cleaner and softer over the game's transition from Versus XIII to XV.
  • BFS: As ever for Final Fantasy.
    • Gladiolus uses oversized greatswords.
    • Noctis also has access to greatswords through his Hyperspace Arsenal.
    • Monsters like Iron Giant carry 20-foot-tall swords bigger than they are; and as evidenced by the E3 2013 gameplay demo, the party can use these swords in finishing moves against the monsters carrying them.
  • Bishōnen:
    • Noctis, an attractive young man with a tall, slender figure and beautiful blue eyes.
    • The chocobo-blond-haired Prompto has a similarly svelte build and delicate features.
    • The pair of them are frequently compared to members of a boy band by fans.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Despite fighting an invasion of your country, you're essentially the heir to a family of crime lords.
    • Although a lot of the scenes shown to date with Regis make it more "Black-And-Light-Grey"; Regis himself is clearly shown to be the very opposite of a ruthless crime lord (going so far as to help young Noctis enjoy some bad soup so that the chef isn't fired), despite what his family history may be.
    • Somewhat subverted. The family aren't crime lords, but operate in a similar manner. The only stated details are that Noctis's friendship with Ignis, Prompto and Gladiolus had been compared to the "brother" concepts.
    • It should be noted that, at face value, the game has not shown any of the mythology or any of the roots of the characters. At worse case scenario, given what happened in Lightning Returns and the sister games, the perspective is currently locked in "Black-And-Dark-Grey", although it is even more likely to switch between Grey and Grey Morality and even Evil Versus Evil.
    • The Episode Duscae stinger makes it appear that this element of the earlier pitch has been abandoned entirely. There's no discussion of "gang war" or anything like that at all, and Niflheim has reduced much of Lucis's crown city to smoking, flaming ruin. It's hard to imagine the Lucians appearing "grey" against opponents who are willing to wage aggressive total war on civilians. Moreover, the stinger implies the Lucian royal family has religious underpinnings for their history and role.
  • Blade Brake: Noctis has no problem stabbing his swords through concrete, and uses his warp powers to climb buildings this way.
  • Bloodier and Gorier:
    • You can draw blood from enemies in XV, something unseen in other Final Fantasy games.
    • Your party will similarly have cuts and other wounds on their body when their Hit Points are low.
  • Cool Car: The Regalia, Noctis's family ride, which he and his friends use. In game, you actually control that car as one of the modes of transportation. (Well, outside of the occasional breakdown and Cindy having to put it back together.)
  • Crapsack World: The world of FFXV is posited as seeing a fair bit of conflict over resources, and being a Final Fantasy setting, the rural areas still have problems with monsters, which runs the gamut from the humorous (such as people complaining about thieving goblins) to the deadly serious (such as Deadeye the Behemoth causing substantial destruction and ecological disruption in Duscae). The stinger suggests things get far more crapsack as the game goes on, once Niflheim reduces much of Lucis's capital to a smoking ruin and plunges it, Lucis and other states into open warfare.
    • The earlier, 2007/2008-era trailers also made it appear as if much of the world outside Lucis's capital city had been laid waste. Even in the 2011 material, however, this appears to have been abandoned in favor of a more "standard" Final Fantasy setting with varied locales. Post-rebranding material, especially, has made the fact that you can visit these places freely, road-trip-style, a significant selling point.
  • Dark Action Girl: The armor-clad female mooks.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Noctis is dark-haired and wears all black, but is the friendly and affable hero of XV. Hell, all of Team Noct wear mostly bit of black, and you're not likely to meet a friendlier set of bros, in a game or in reality.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    Tetsuya Nomura: The game's going to be more human than the science-fiction caricature... and will focus around current world events - in that sense it's darker.
    • The Jump Festa '15 trailer and Episode Duscae stinger, taken together, strongly suggest this will be the darkest Final Fantasy story yet, with the main thrust of the plot not about defeating the enemy utterly but just surviving and trying to claw some kind of victory out of the ruins of Noctis's old life and preventing Niflheim from doing anything too awful with Lucis's Crystal. It is perhaps most comparable to Final Fantasy VI in this regard.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: You have to unlock new Summons by defeating them in a boss fight.
  • Doomed Hometown: Played with. It's not often that this trope is applied to a major metropolitan area, with all the horror and conflict that implies.
  • Empathic Weapon: Noctis's powers partially respond to his emotional state.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The lyrics of the main theme, "Somnus", talk about a sleeping god in a city of eternal night guarded by children, and how even if tragedy destroys everything, eventually the dawn will come. Weirdly, more recent material hasn't used the vocal version at all (although a piano version of the first half serves as Episode Duscae's title theme).
    • It's especially odd since the shift to a much more blatant War Is Hell footing, as shown in the Jump Festa '15 trailer and Episode Duscae stinger, along with the seeming plot focus on trying to achieve some kind of victory out of enormous tragedy and loss, makes "Somnus" even more thematically appropriate, if anything. Hell, from what can be inferred from the stinger and trailer, at this point the song practically narrates the game's opening act, with the "children" (mankind) lighting the "inextinguishable fire" (war) and tragedy separating those who hold each other dear (Noct losing track of his loved ones in the conquest of Insomnia).
    • The song becomes even more appropriate with the revelation that the world is slowly being enveloped in literal darkness.
  • Faceless Mooks: Many of the human enemies you face wear armored helmets that cover their faces.
  • Good Bad Translation: One of the earlier trailers had random, amusingly nonsensical Italian phrases flash on the screen.
  • The Grim Reaper: Presumably the patron deity of Lucis, if its image appearing on the kingdom's emblem is any indication. In an early trailer (back when the game was still Versus XIII), a stone carving of the Reaper is holding Etro's portrait.
  • Hold Your Chocobos: Much like its stablemate, Final Fantasy XIV, the English version features a fair bit of this. Titan is invoked as part of a joke at one point, and Cindy makes reference to Ramuh at one point.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: All four party members, in fact; everyone can manifest and de-manifest their weapons. The trick is that, while the others are limited to a single specific weapon (like Gladio with his greatsword, Prompto's pistol, etc.) Noctis can draw from an enormous pile of weaponry, often all at once. He can manifest so many it essentially shields him, switch weapons at will for special attacks, and so forth.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In spades, if the 2013 E3 Trailer is to be believed. Though some of it is Noctis applying Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me through his Armiger powers.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Noctis and his friends wear boots with glowing red soles for some reason. And despite getting attacked by tusked jackals, goblins, garulas and a behemoth, their clothes never get so much as torn.
    • Possibly justified; those clothes are part of Lucis' battle gear.
    • The Duscae stinger tears this trope down savagely, however, for Luna. It depicts her in the cool, beautiful white outfit she's been seen in previously... but in the apparent chaos of Niflheim's invasion, it's been so thoroughly soiled, ripped apart, and undone that it barely qualifies as clothing anymore. Even her shoes look ready to slip off at any moment.
  • Jump Scare: In the Episode Duscae Demo, Noctis and the party have to explore a cave. Right when you go through a crevice, hordes of angry goblins will come out and attack you.
  • Just for Pun: In the 2015 trailer, Cindy says she'll service your car. In Japanese, she uses the English word "service", which usually refers to Fanservice. Guess what half of Cindy's role is going to be...
  • Last Chance Life Gauge: Characters who fall to 0 HP have their HP display replaced by a draining red gauge, where they are given a chance to heal themselves back out of the red. If the gauge empties completely in this state, the character dies. It's also the condition for summoning Ramuh once you get him in Episode Duscae.
  • Let There Be Snow: Done in the cruelest way imaginable in the Episode Duscae stinger. There's something like "snow" falling in the second image of the stinger, where the crew learns that Insomnia has been sacked by Niflheim and we see Luna wandering the streets in a daze... but the fires in the background suggest that's ash, not snow.
  • Light Is Not Good/Man in White: Idola and some of the other antagonists wear white clothing, in opposition to the heroes' black outfits.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: The first half of "Somnus", which is a single melancholy piano melody playing slowly and softly.
  • Low Level Run: Invoked with the game's unique leveling mechanic, which only allows characters to level up when they take a break, which allows them to collect the EXP earned in combat. Word of God states that this was specifically designed so that players could play the game at a low level.
  • The Mafia/Yakuza: Noctis and his enemies come from crime families with Italian names and stylings. However, elements of Japanese criminal organizations are featured as well.
  • Mana: Unusually, not used to cast actual magic, like Fire. It is instead consumed when dodging or guarding, and when using Techniques such as Tempest.
  • Meaningful Name: Most of the characters' names relate to their roles or personalities:
    • Noctis Lucis Caelum is an incorrectly translated Latin phrase for "light of the night sky." He's actually supposed to contrast both Sora and Cloud.
    • Luna means "moon" and Freya is the Norse Goddess of fertility.
    • Nox means "night" and Fleuret is French for "foil", a type of rapier.
    • Ignis Stupeo Scientia means "amazing fire of knowledge", since he's The Smart Guy who specializes in fire magic.
    • Gladiolus Amicitia means "little sword of friendship", ironically referencing his use of greatswords and his position as Noct's best friend.
    • King Regis' name is Latin for, well, "king".
    • Idola is Latin for "phantoms", befitting his eerie quality and white clothing, as well as the game's overall theme of death. It's also related to the Greek word Eidolon.
    • Gentiana is the name of a species of flower named after King Gentius of Illyria.
    • Insomnia (the capital of Lucis) is a modern metropolis, perhaps echoing the phrase "the city never sleeps".
    • Tenebrae (Luna's home country) is Latin for "darkness", and Lucis (Noctis's home country) means "light."
    • Other countries mentioned are Niflheim (The Empire) and Solheim, which are Old Norse for "home of mist" and "home of sun"; Accordo is Italian for "agreement", while Altissia is Latin for "most high".
  • Meaningful Rename: The title's re-branding is presented as this in the trailer shown at E3 2013. When the logo of Final Fantasy Versus XIII appears, the following quote is spoken, and then it shatters and is replaced with the new letters of Final Fantasy XV.
    "The legend meets its match. But, the world is ever changing... For the fifteenth coming."
  • Medieval Stasis: Lucis's neighbours have regressed to this, due to the loss of their crystals.
  • Mini-Mecha: 12-foot-tall robots serve both as enemies and rides you can the 2011 trailer, at least. They haven't been seen yet in the post-rebranding material.
  • Missing Mom: Noct's mother died when he was a baby.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Gladiolus, a muscular and attractive Walking Shirtless Scene.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The scantily clad mechanic, Cindy. Tabata however explained that she is not meant to be an erotic character, but outgoing and energetic, so they're going to try and moderate the way she is presented rather than change the concept.
  • Neck Snap: Noctis memorably breaks one soldier's neck with his legs in some of the original trailers.
  • The Night That Never Ends: The world is steadily approaching eternal darkness, which is even reflected in the gameplay, where the nights slowly grow longer.
  • Obviously Evil: The elderly blond guy leading the soldiers in the E3 trailer. Doesn't help that he seems incapable of smiling.
  • Power-Up Food: On the occasion Noctis and the gang drive by a gas station, they can go to the nearby diner and munch on a meal while the car gets gas. This in turn grants status buffs in combat. You also get to chow down when camping, as Ignis is a pretty dapper cook...assuming you have the ingredients.
  • Power Walk: An early promotional image of Noctis and his friends walking away from a smoking building.
  • Product Placement: Gladio is a fan of Coleman outdoors gear.
  • Random Encounters: Being an Action RPG, all battles take place on the field, which means the lack of a signature Fight Woosh for this game. How close you are to one is denoted by a red "Encounter Gauge" that appears when you approach an enemy; when it's full, the fight starts and the battle music starts playing.
    • Also, in Episode Duscae, small squads of Niflheim Magitek Troops will airdrop on you every now and then, more or less at random, if you're in an open area. It's a bit unclear how much this'll happen in the full game. "Normal" monsters also spawn in from time to time.
  • Reality Ensues: This is a "fantasy based on reality", after all. Various gameplay elements are designed to simulate the limits of actual human beings. For example, running for an extended period of time causes Noctis to run out of breath and get tired, and going for days without sleep causes sleep deprivation and incurs status penalties, while getting regular rest and eating properly gives you long-lasting, often potent, buffs and allows you to level up.
    • You want to avoid Imperials air-dropping on you, as mentioned above? Just get into a wooded area. They aren't going to air-drop into trees.
  • Ring of Power: One of the ways magic is cast in the game.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Noctis and Luna contrast each other at Faux Symbolism levels: male and female, black and white clothes, dark-haired and blond-haired, and so on.
  • Scenery Gorn: The empty and ruined landscapes outside the cities, such as crumbling desert highways that have sunk into the sea. Though it is worth noting that this only appeared in early trailers; more recent trailers, and Episode Duscae, suggest the "ruined landscapes" element will be heavily downplayed in the final game. The gorn is much more likely to come from devastated, war-blasted cities, if the Duscae stinger is anything to go by.
  • Scenery Porn: Altissia features gorgeous Renaissance-style architecture based off Venice, and Insomnia is a haunting neon cityscape based on the Shibuya district of Tokyo.
    • There are more than 5 million polygons per frame, 100 thousand for each character, 20 thousand of that for the hair alone.
  • Serial Escalation: One of the main reasons why the game was moved over to the next generation of consoles? The game was too big. Set pieces now involve fighting giant sea serpents, dozens of airships and entire armies, a far cry from self-contained turn based battles of earlier Final Fantasy titles. In addition, the "Luminous" next-gen rendering engine has made in-engine gameplay indistinguishable from the pre-rendered CG of earlier FF games.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The first trailer was dark, violent and bloody, but set to a beautiful piece of music.
  • Star Power: In a Q&A session about the game, the Summons in this game are astral-based. Though when actually invoked, they briefly manifest as building-sized beings who lay waste to the target area. Or at least Ramuh does.
  • Stepping-Stone Sword: Although he'll initially dangle helplessly after warping halfway up a building and stabbing his blade into the concrete, Noctis can also swing himself onto the sword and continue throwing weapons to create a sort of ladder.
  • The Stinger: Episode Duscae has what is perhaps the single cruelest stinger Square-Enix has ever produced, and in some ways turns a number of the previously-discussed concepts of the game completely on their ears. It begins with a passage from the scriptures of one of this world's religions which seems to discuss the place of the Lucis line in the world which is paired with an illustration similar to a medieval illuminated manuscript, and then leads into a shocked, disbelieving Noct hearing from Gladio and Iggy that the Crown City's been invaded while Noct and the crew were away and that the city's been laid waste, and a radio broadcast stating that any and all peace negotiations are in the dumpster with Regis, Luna and Noct all reported dead - with a paired visual of Luna wandering the ruined streets of the Crown City in a daze, her clothes torn and charred and a ring barely held in her hand, while Niflheim troops assert control of the still-flaming, ruined city in the background and ash rains down on the scene like snow. Square then literally tells viewers to look forward to the full game, which seems almost excessively cruel.
    • To emphasize/explain the ear-turning: up to the release of Duscae, the trailers and whatnot seemed to imply that Noct And Friends would be defending their city and kingdom against an encroaching enemy (and would feature a bit of the horror of war, but nothing to really conclusively say that "war is hell"), that the conflict was generally all secular and would be somewhat "gangland-style" in execution, and that Stella and Noct would be severely at odds. Now there's a major religious bent being implied, the only way the War Is Hell element could be any more pronounced is a pile of dead babies, the gang-war elements have disappeared entirely in favor of almost world-war-scale conflict and devastation, it seems like the villains are basically going to win right out of the gate and the thrust of the plot will be attempting to claw some kind, any kind, of victory out of this near-total disaster, and Stella has been replaced by Luna, whose role may be vastly different than what was originally pitched.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The gameplay has as much of this as it does actual fighting.
  • Take Over the World: Niflheim has all but accomplished this; Lucis is the only independent nation left, due to its crystal's protection.
  • Technology Porn: By the Goddess and all the Archaeans, the cars. Every single motor vehicle has stylings harkening back to the 1940s or so, with lots of chrome trim, wide rounded bodywork and impressive grills. While Noct's Regalia looks cool, to be sure, even the humblest of trucks or family cars look like a retro-motorhead's sweetest dream.
    • Of course, the Regalia, being the party's Cool Car, deserves special mention, and it's given lots of loving camera attention in cutscenes, even in the Episode Duscae demo.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The blades Noctis throws, no matter how unwieldy, always land pointy side in.
  • True Companions: Prompto is stated to be an "old school friend" of Noctis, while Ignis and Gladiolus are his childhood friends. They have such a close friendship that they informally advise Noctis that he's not strong enough to handle himself in a proper fight.
  • Urban Fantasy: The essential conceit of the game is that it's a "Final Fantasy setting", but with civilizations that have all reached basically equal levels of development to the real world. The game has metropolitan cityscapes based on modern Shibuya, gorgeous 40s-styled cars and paved roads, modern-style clothing, cellular telecommunications and modern forms of media (such as radio, newspapers and television), and convenience stores even in rural areas... right alongside power crystals, magitek, sword fighting with weapons conjured out of pure magic, chocobo rental stops just down the road from the fuel station, government-posted signs notifying you of Garulas in the area, the aforementioned newspapers reporting people's demands that the local government do something about the hideouts of goblin thieves, and hunting a Behemoth in a marshland to pay off your auto repair bill.
  • War Is Hell: A fair number of the trailers seem to run with the theme of warfare being a terrible, brutal thing. The Duscae stinger is utterly blatant about this.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: Noctis has the ability warp to weapons he's thrown at walls and enemies, allowing him to dodge gunfire or surprise opponents on the fly.
    • As of Episode Duscae 2.0, his warp opportunities have been expanded considerably, including but not limited to natural rock formations now. He can even warp over open stretches.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: As the only controllable character, it's game over when Noctis dies.
  • Wham Line: From the E3 trailer:
    The legend meets its match. But, the world is ever changing... For the fifteenth coming.

Alternative Title(s):

Final Fantasy Versus XIII