I was thinking about what my first real post would be on here for a few days. Would I just wait until I released a new video or try and force some sort of journal type post? What I ultimately chose to do is write about the one thing that is consuming most of my time at the moment: Final Fantasy XV but more specifically the stuff that came out before the game.
Now for the obligatory spoiler warning that must be put everywhere so nobody gets butt hurt. I WILL BE TALKING ABOUT KINGSGLAIVE AND BROTHERHOOD. IF YOU DO NOT WANT ANYTHING SPOILED, LEAVE NOW!
So now that that’s cleared up, let’s begin! To start off, I will say that I am thoroughly enjoying this game. I still can’t believe it is finally out after 10 years so I am taking this slow and steady, enjoying every little bit of it. That doesn’t mean it is a perfect video game in any way. I will most likely make other posts about the positives and negatives of the game but for now, I will focus on the tertiary media for the Final Fantasy XV universe.
Is That World Building I See?
If you have even bothered to look at some other write ups about this game, you will have most likely encountered the debate about how important the tertiary media released alongside the game is. For those who don’t know, before the game was released, there was a five episode anime series called “Final Fantasy XV: Brotherhood” and a full fledged CGI feature film called “Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.” Both came out during the summer. You can jump into the game without watching either of these and still get a good grip on the world and what is going on (especially now since they patched certain clips from Kingsglaive into the game to give further background.) However, I strongly recommend watching at least Kingsglaive before starting the game. You may be asking “…but why? I just want to play the game.” Well good sir, the rest of this post will aim to answer that very question! The simple answer is both the anime and movie builds a world and characters you care about but the movie gives just a bit more. Before we go any further, I will not be doing in depth summaries of both pieces of media. That would make this post way too long and would destroy the point I am trying to make. Let’s delve into the two pieces of media one at a time to truly show off what Square Enix pulled off.
Kingsglaive – The Opening Cutscene To Our Journey
Without question, Kingsglaive is well worth the watch and will make you enjoy the game more. I’m able to say that with such conviction because of a few reasons we will look at. First things first, how is Kingsglaive solely as a movie? For one, the movie is beautiful, the voice acting is great, and the fight scenes are quite an impressive feat. If this was made to be a stand alone, it would be above average for a CGI film but also nothing spectacular. However, as previously stated, the biggest reason to watch the movie is the world development and explanation that Kingsglaive delivers. As one of my favourite Youtubers Jesse Cox said, it’s basically an opening cutscene to prepare you for the game to come. This is a good thing because:
- It allows for lore nerds (like myself) to get the sweet sweet world building tidbits that we look for
- Lets the actual game start more quickly and avoid the whole “let’s make the player watch the game for an hour instead of actually playing it” (I like to call this the Kojima effect)
- The player will be able to relate to characters faster than if they came in fresh
- When the player encounters characters from the movie in the game, they will have a different, more informed view on them and events happening at that time
One pet peeve that comes out of watching this movie before playing the game is that Sean Bean and Lena Hedley’s voices clearly fit better with King Regis and Lunafreya’s characters than the voices used in the game. I understand why this change had to occur but the first time either characters speak in the game, the weight and gravitas that the characters held in Kingsglaive weakened considerably. While a small issue, I still noticed it.
Brotherhood – Not Just A Fluffy Anime Series
As for the anime series, it leans more towards the meaningless fluff spectrum compared to Kingsglaive but surprisingly holds some great character moments. The anime centres around the four main characters in the game.The first and last episode don’t hold much worth to them but from episodes two to four, each of the prince’s friends are given time to explain their backstory. You learn about how Ignis has been Noctis’ confidant/butler since they are both young and how they bonded throughout the years. Similar story beats can be found in Gladiolus’ episode but instead of confidant, Gladiolus is a guard/trainer for Noctis. My favourite episode is the one centred around Prompto and his journey from fat civilian to the skinny Cloud wannabe he is now… all to impress Noctis. Now, do you need to know all of this to understand the world and enjoy the game? No, not really. From what I have played of the game so far, there has only been one scene with Prompto where they touch upon his background. You are not even assured to get that scene however, due to the fact that it seems you can only activate it if you rest at a particular outpost. Perhaps the game will delve into the backstory of the three bros more later on but I cannot say due to the fact that I am only on chapter 4. The reason why I recommend watching this is the fact that the game does nothing to tell you why these three particular people are with you. So in essence, Brotherhood is still a valuable series, just a bit less than Kingsglaive.
Alright, Now You Can Play The Game
Hopefully after all of this, I was able to explain why someone should watch three hours of content before even loading up the game. Like I said at the start of the post, you don’t have to watch anything but I believe you will be missing out on the full experience. Square Enix might have had purely business reasons to make a movie and anime series (more money never hurts after all) but still still made great assets to the game regardless.
Anyways, this is the first time I made a blog post that just has my thoughts in it in a kinda journalistic fashion (all professional journalists would most likely laugh in my face for saying that.) Thanks for reading, I am now going to go back and debate between fishing or becoming best buds with Titan.