FFXV is out today. A game we first heard about 10 years ago. We got our first glimpse in 2006, we saw gameplay trailers in 2011, tidbits of story were dropped every few years and while we waited, we got FFXIII, Versus XIII (which was cancelled and reworked into XV), XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. We met Ignis, Prompto and Gladiolus 5 years ago and watched them fight with a battle system a decade out of date.
And we waited.
We read articles about delays and problems, spin off games and new directors and started to give up hope.
But then we read about voice actors,concept art and heard the music…it was starting to feel real again.
The first time we saw Noctis he looked like a boy who strolled out of Kingdom Hearts and into a real RPG (so much shade), much different from the older although just as brooding young prince we now know as the protagonist in FFXV.
Few franchises command the power and bloodline that Final Fantasy does. Die hard fans that spread across generations each with their own idea of the best game in the series, sentimental attachments to characters, tattoos of the symbols, faces and items that have become synonymous with the biggest, baddest JRPG series in video game history. So when rumors of a modern twist on our favorite classic started to circle XV after a line of disappointing entries, the hype got real in a behemoth way.
There was days worth of twitch streams, 15 hour gameplay videos, reviews written up by every commenter under the internet umbrella and months worth of footage uploaded to youtube on every major game channel.
We’ve been drowning in FFXV coverage all year but the real treat has been the Japanese developer’s titan approach to marketing and immersive events for the fans who have waited a decade to find out just what the hell is wrong with the moody, spoiled, Prince Noctis and why do his chocobros bother to stick around?
Let’s go through the list. Just doing a list because there’s a lot and I’m lazy.
March 2015: Episode Duscae demo released with Final Fantasy Type-0, to remind everyone that this game is still a thing and it is actually happening and probably to encourage gamers to get a feel for the FFXV’s new director, Hajime Tabata, who directed Type-0.
March 31st 2016: FFXV Uncovered Event. This was a no holds bar, it’s really happening, pull out all the stops, make it rain gil, bring out the chocobos event for fans held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, a place that has been known to host a little soiree called The Oscars. It was free for fans, live streamed around the world and featured cosplay, youtube stars, and Final Fantasy royalty with more surprises and fan service than you could shake a stick at. (Fifteen, actually. There were fifteen surprises. Because, of course.)
These bomb drops included:
The free Platinum Demo
Epic 3D art collage by Yoshitaka Amano
Free tie-in six episode anime: Brotherhood
Kingsglaive prequal movie reveal.
Free Justice Monsters Five mobile game
Reveal of the one of a kind Audi R8 promo car made irl based on the royal carriage in the game.
Florence and the Machine collab album and new trailer featuring her cover of Stand By Me.
The reveal of the collector’s edition, only 30,000 available through the Square Enix store (and the pre-orders sold out that night.)
And the release date (which was spoiled online earlier that day by some douche at Gamespot.) Thanks, jerk. But you didn’t ruin the epic downpour of confetti, hype, screams and tears that rained down on the crowd when it was OFFICIALLY announced.
After the Uncovered event came all the appearances at the worldwide game conventions where for the first time fans got a chance to play a snippet of the real game. Demos were available at E3, SDCC, NYCC, Gamescon, PAX, Pax East, TGS and Paris Games Week.
August 19th 2016: Limited Screenings of Kingsglaive across the US including at the beautiful Ahrya Fine Arts Laemmle in Beverly Hills.
September 7th, 2016: FFXV live in London at Abbey Road Studios with Yoko Shimomura performed by the London Philharmonic. Tickets were free but extremely limited and the legendary studio was packed full of fans who were able to ask the composer questions. The whole event was live streamed for the peasants left outside the doors.
Japanese Fashion Designer Roen (who designed the costumes for the game) released a real life line of clothes based on the outfits worn by the chocobros so you too can look like an emo, boy band prince. Noctis’ backstreet boy shirt can be yours for $1442, his fancy pants are only $817 and his gloves are a steal for $192. Somehow, these all sold out (WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!?! And do you need a best friend?)
November 22nd, 2016: IGN UK Launch Event. Open to fans who were quick enough to grab some free tickets. The development team was on hand to answer questions in a little tent dressed up like Eos and everyone got a chance to play the new game and score some FF themed cheesy poof snacks. This event was also live streamed around the world so everyone can think about how much they hate where they live.
For a week the upscale restaurant owned by Jamie Oliver, Fifteen (they’ve never been subtle, why start now?) hosted a special menu designed around the game as food will play an important part in boosting stats and recovering after a long day of beating things with your sword with your bros.
November 28th 2016: Japan Launch Event – with a “mystery disc” created for the event that included a battle with the Square Enix CEO against Noctis (watch it here ), countdown animated with the characters, a dropping of banners and a storm of silver confetti. A complete and true celebration because we never thought we’d get here, yet here we are, in the year of impossible failures and defeats we have a victory of brotherhood, friends who stand together and travel across vast lands to fight the great fight in the final battle.
You can rejoice and check out the countdown video here
And then THIS fucking trailer drops and it brought down all the feels and I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING.
Big shout out to all the teams that never gave up on this game and everyone who put together the free fan events throughout the year. Let’s dive in and no matter how you feel about FFXV be excellent to each other. There’s enough bad guys in the world, we don’t need you to be a douche. Chill out and ride a chocobo.