I talk about Final Fantasy XV a lot. I am so ready for the game, like bursting at the seams. I haven’t felt this way, a mix of giddy glee and nervous anticipation, about a Final Fantasy since VII. It’s not hype, I won’t be boarding another train anytime soon, it’s something more. Square Enix is creating a universe with Final Fantasy XV, and it’s one I’m buying into. 100%

The Universe Outside the Game

The gaidens of FFXV have contributed the most, namely the “Brotherhood” anime series on YouTube, to the way I feel. I wrote a lengthy review on the series elsewhere, so I won’t rehash that here, but I highly recommend the series as essential viewing prior to playing the game.

Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV explores the histories behind the relationship of the main cast. You see Noctis prove himself to Gladiolus. Prompto goes through a metamorphosis, one physical and in confidence, in order to befriend Noct. Ignis is like a male Nanny, trying to make Noctis’ favorite dessert. Even as a prelude to the game the 5 episode series has an arc and tells a complete story, a satisfying one at that.

The point is: “Brotherhood” gave me insight to the story Square Enix is trying to tell with Final Fantasy XV. The four leads are obviously the best of friends. Their connections are deep and believable. This series did a lot to draw me into this world and make me care about its characters. Noctis isn’t just some brooding, whiny protagonist, he’s a young man that has a heavy burden placed on his shoulders. He cares about Eos and its future.

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As for Kingsglaive, well another Jason already talked about that, and I agree with his assertion.

...as an introduction to the lore of Final Fantasy XV, one that sets the stage for Noctis’s epic road trip and offers a cursory look at some of the characters that he may meet along the way, Kingsglaive is a lovely little film, one I’m glad Square produced.

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The film’s bombastic action scenes and urgency kept me enraptured, it drew me into the world of Final Fantasy XV. It’s the perfect precursor to the game proper. Honestly, Square Enix timed the release of Kingsglaive, and the completion of “Brotherhood” to perfectly coincide with FFXV’s original official release date.

Dipping My Toes In

The two, 2.5 if you count the Duscae update, demos offered me a little taste of what to expect from Final Fantasy XV when I finally get a controller in my hands. In them I see the ground work for something amazing, and November 29th can’t come soon enough.

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The apprehension comes in when I’m real with myself about how a game can turn out versus how I imagine it on its marketing campaign blitzkrieg. I’ve seen the live demos, and there are issues I cannot imagine ever getting fixed. The most pervasive of them? It’s cliche at this point, but it’s the camera.

When it comes to immersion, gameplay is essential. Wonky AI, an unwieldy camera, or a mess of glitches can destroy an otherwise immersive world. If Square Enix can’t get the camera right, something they’ve been struggling with since the inception of Kingdom Hearts, then I can see many getting turned off by Final Fantasy XV. No one wants to fight a camera and goblins at the same time. In the above video, it frankly becomes impossible at times to see what’s even going on.

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The rest of the shown of contents are promising. The inclusion of mini-games, especially the Chocobo racing, is nice. We can already get a sample of two others in Justice Monsters five, and the soon to be released King’s Knight. The first seems like it could be a fun diversion in the main game, but is very little fun as is to me. The latter looks to be a decent stand alone mobile game. How these will actually work in the main game is a mystery to me however.

There is also another game coming out alongside the main game, King’s Tale.

These mini-games help build the world within the game, and to me, so do the recently revealed partnerships with real world businesses.

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Buying In

All these components add up to me being not hyped about Final Fantasy XV, but something else entirely. Honestly, it’s hard to pin down exactly how I feel. I feel like I already have spent so much time with these characters and the world, and I haven’t even played the full game yet.

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It’s rare that a game stirs something this deeply in my gaming soul. It reminds me of reading and re-reading the preview of Chrono Trigger in an early issue of “EGM” when it was announced it was coming state side. My imagination ran wild, I absorbed every bit of lore and information available, and when I finally played it, I was in love.

Square Enix is setting up the building blocks to engage us all in one of the deepest and most immersive Final Fantasys yet. So far, I’m invested. I’m buying in.

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Is the world building immersing you, or do you just want to play the damn game already? Are you buying in?