One editor talks about why he plans on taking the plunge with Final Fantasy 15, as someone that’s never really liked the series leading up to the new game’s release.
I think it’s safe to say that many gamers have that one franchise that they missed the boat on. Some skipped over the ever-popular Pokemon, others bypassed the acclaimed first-person shooter Halo, and I missed out on one of the most well-regarded JRPG series of all time, Final Fantasy. For whatever reason, despite being well aware of its existence, the property never interested me in the slightest. It’s not through a lack of trying either.
For example, I downloaded Final Fantasy 7 on my PlayStation 4 as soon as it released. This was done in a bid to see what all the hubbub was about, but even that game didn’t hold my attention for too long following the arrival of other pieces of blockbuster software. I’d officially given up on trying to find even a minute facet of interest for the franchise, but then something funny happened while I was watching the Uncovered: Final Fantasy 15 live stream/conference – I started to get excited.
It’s easy to blame the fanfare surrounding the entire showcase as a catalyst for this newfound excitement. With hundreds of thousands tuning in from around the world to see what Square Enix had spent the better part of a decade working on, anyone could point to a desire to blend in with the crowd as the culprit behind my newfound interest in Final Fantasy 15. I’m sure that deep down that must have something to do with it as well, but it was the promise of what accompanied the game that truly peaked my interest.
For the first time that I can recall with a video game, a company has thrown absolutely everything it has into making it an engaging cross-media experience. With a brand new anime in the form of Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV and a 3D animated feature film loaded with some of Hollywood’s finest voice talents, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, Square Enix has created a multi-media universe that ensures a level of depth in narrative and lore right from the get-go that is unrivalled within the gaming industry at such an early stage.
The foundation in which the fifteenth iteration of Final Fantasy is being built on is rock solid, and that’s an incredibly alluring prospect for unsuspecting gamers that have long been intimidated by the ever-growing number tacked onto the tail end of every core entry in Square’s all too prolific property. These watchable products serve as fan service for those chomping at the bit for more, but they also allow gamers to ease themselves into the universe, and more importantly the characters, surrounding the upcoming narrative.
Couple these with the recently released, standalone Final Fantasy 15 Platinum Demo, and it’s hard to not at least dip my toe in what awaits hopeful players later this September. All in all, with this demo users get a very brief glimpse at how the final title will play, and as an added incentive they can earn exclusives in the full game by doing so. Every single aspect of Square Enix’s strategy is based around drawing in the uninitiated while appeasing the hardcore, which it absolutely needs to do if the publisher plans on actually hitting its immense break even point of 10 million FF15 copies sold. Failing that, it’s possible that another core entry of this scale will never be attempted again by the company.
The size of this company’s ambition for its newest product is impressive, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen for a single game thus far. Even then, this isn’t a guarantee for the firm by any means. As of this writing, Final Fantasy 7 is the most successful entry the series has ever seen, and it has only moved roughly 11 million units over the entirety of its availability – and that number includes every re-release the title has experienced outside of the most recent PS4 version. Keeping in mind that this new game needs to sell 10 million just to break even, and this extravagant initiative really is the only way to make XV the success it has to be.
Perhaps I’m just a sucker for a good conference. Maybe I was just caught up in the social media-based fallout that accompanied several major announcements for a franchise I’ve yet to feel anything overly profound for. Then again, maybe all of this hype and the promise of an entire world’s worth of lore hitting prior to this game’s arrival have excited me as someone that is genuinely intrigued by the brothers-in-arms theme and corresponding war-filled world that makes up the whole of Final Fantasy 15.
Hopping in a car and cruising around an immense in-game world with characters I, by September, will be very well acquainted with is what excites me. It’s the premise of what’s yet to come that has left me wanting to more, and I’m genuinely interested in the events that will unfold and the hardships Noctis and his three best friends will face along the way. The picture being painted by Square Enix is an enticing one about brotherhood and loss, and I want to see it through to the end – for better or worse.
Final Fantasy 15 arrives for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 30, 2016.