Final Fantasy XV dated for September 30th, new demo out tonight
Final Fantasy XV has had a phenomenally protracted development cycle, something on the order of 10 years at this point. It began life as Final Fantasy XIII Versus, but after repeated setbacks and what sounds like some pretty confused internal affairs over at Square Enix, it was rebranded as a new flagship entry. And now, after much hype (10 years of hype), it's happening. It looks great, it's homoromantic as all get-out, and it's coming this September.
The announcement came at the end of an admittedly star-studded yet no less torturously awkward press conference which just wrapped up here in Los Angeles. Square Enix promised us 14 surprises, and very luckily for those of us working at 8pm taking notes on these things, they had a handy recap. In brief:
The show opened with an introduction from Hironobu Sakaguchi, principle designer behind the Final Fantasy franchise.
"I'm here as the father of Final Fantasy," he said. "Like any father, you occasionally wonder if the path your child is on is the right one."
The Final Fantasy series, he said, was traditionally one that embraced challenge, in multiple senses of the word. You can take that to mean we can expect a steeper level of difficulty in Final Fantasy XV, but in broader terms Sakaguchi is also referring to a more ambitious creative vision, with a story and setting we haven't seen before.
I have to admit, I'm drawn to the story of the four men at the heart of the game, and not just because this seems ready-made for shipping fanfic. But as we saw throughout the rest of the press event, Sakaguchi's "new challenges" for Final Fantasy XV more or less resembled the transmedia gambits Square Enix has made (with limited success) in the past. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
2. "Stand By Me" trailer
There's a new trailer. Here it is. It's cute, and then a cover of "Stand By Me" starts playing in the background. If Final Fantasy XV ends up being about the summer these four guys found a body, so help m-- wait, is that Florence + The Machine singing? It sounds like it, maybe next they'll stop and confirm tha--
3. Animated Amano tableau
--Or they could pause to show off a 3D animated tableau based on a painting by series illustrator Yoshitaka Amano, who like Sakaguchi was in attendance at the event tonight. OK, that's very nice! It is a very nice tableau, good job everyone.
4. Holy shit it is Florence + The Machine
They might've followed with this earlier, but OK yes, your ears did not deceive you. The song is included in the game, which by the way has an in-game radio station also populated by rearrangements of past Final Fantasy songs. And that's charming, but I really want this game to go full Phantom Pain on us and have you go around collecting Florence singles on cassettes to unlock some horrifying plot twist.
5-6. We saw some more gameplay videos
Honestly I don't know why this was split into two items, but maybe they just wanted to avoid ending on the number 13. Anyway, one video shows off chocobo riding and the other shows off environments.
7. Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV
WE'RE GETTING A FIVE-PART PREQUEL ANIME MINI-SERIES, YEAH. And it makes slightly more sense than a prequel anime for a Western franchise which has unfortunately been the style for some time.
The animation looks... honestly not very good!!
I am one of exactly three people in the world who genuinely liked The Spirits Within, but at any rate, this seems more in the spirit of Advent Children: a feature-length CGI film focusing on characters King Regis, Luna, and Nyx, in a story which takes place concurrent with the events of the main game. It will be available for download or streaming ahead of the game's release.
9. Product Placement!
Not only was this Audi featured prominently in the Kingsglaive trailer, apparently Square Enix actually went and made this modified R-8. It's one-of-a-kind and not for sale, so I guess it just exists so Audi and Square Enix could say they could?
(Incidentally, this wouldn't be the first time Audi product placement has shown up in a Square Enix property. Audi apparently foot half the bill of last year's Hitman movie, if the number of vehicles on display are anything to go by.)
10. Yeah, Star Appeal!
More important than the goddamn car, Kingsglaive will feature voice work from Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Sean Bean (RIP) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). No, we did not make it out of this segment without a meth joke.
What I want to know is whether Sean Bean will also voice his character, King Regis, in the main game, since we know he at least appears there. I still would rather game companies hire professional voice talent rather than movie actors, but well, at least we know for sure now that King Regis is going to die.
11. Yeah, Apps!
Justice Monsters Five, a mini-game featured in Final Fantasy XV, will also be available as a standalone smartphone app. That's it, really. It looks kind of Pixarish, so... cool?
12. IT'S ALL IN A DREEEEAM, SNAKE EAAAATERRRR
The new "Platinum Demo" is live on Playstation Network, free for download. Unlike the previous demo, "Episode Duscae," which featured a chunk of the main game cut out of context, "Platinum Demo" features a standalone story where you play as young Noctis in a dream.
13. You can preorder it in *checks watch* 10 minutes
In addition to the standard edition, Final Fantasy XV comes with two special editions: a just-OK special edition in a steelbook case, packed with a copy of Kingsglaive, and a really special edition that comes with even more stuff, like a posable Noctis action figure. Preorders go live at 9:00pm, which they stressed a lot because the Super Duper Collector's Edition is limited to a tiny 30,000 units. How many Audis would that buy?
(EDIT: the Collector's Edition retails for $270.00, so if you bought all of them you would have the equivalent of 70 Audis.)
14. The thing you already know: it's coming out September 30th
Director Hajime Tabata closed out the show to confirm the leaks from earlier today, and also get us to believe he had a magic invisible button in his pocket. I honestly don't know if this part was rehearsed or improvised, but either way, he was a good sport about getting his name mangled by the MC.
Kris Ligman is the News Editor for ZAM. I have not had dinner OH MY GOD. Twit at me on Twitters @KrisLigman.