(Warning! Spoilers for the end of Final Fantasy XV are present in this article. Read at your own risk.)
It’s almost hard to believe that it has been over 5 months since Final Fantasy XV released worldwide, 5 months since the long wait finally ended, and 5 months since we saw the toll its long development took on its story. It’s no secret that the story we got in the final game was not the one we were originally promised, the one that was teased once more in 2013, one that was more than likely far more depressing than the final iteration. Yet, here I am, still thinking about the story the game did tell, in addition to what I wish it had told.
The story of Final Fantasy XV was one of loss, of love, and of brotherhood. When you think about all of the Final Fantasy protagonists, you have to ask yourself what they lost over the course of the story. And just thinking about it, I can’t think of a protagonist whose story is more heartbreaking than that of Noctis. I’m sure I’ll get twenty comments telling me I’m wrong, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. Noctis’ story is the kind that I love, that resonates with me. Of course, it helped that the animation team put their all into making the characters expressions realistic and believable, and the voice actors gave it their all.
The fact that the story has stayed with me for months is a testament to just how strong it was despite the fact that it was clearly stitched together. They banked heavily on Noctis’ personal tragedy and it paid off. So much was sacrificed in his name and for his destiny that it feels unfair and that is a strong point for the story. Rather than the world moving the characters, the characters move the world and it responds. I look forward to going back when all the DLC has been released.
All of that said, I wish that Lunafreya was more present in the story. While her impact, even off-screen, is far reaching, the romance between her and Noctis is not entirely felt by the player. We get some semblance of a connection, but it’s hard to believe in a love story where the lovers hardly see one another and barely speak outside of journal entries. The header image of this article exemplifies what I had been hoping for. The game makes heavy use of lighting and nighttime in particular. A moonlit stroll along a quiet river bank and a kiss beneath the stars. So much potential for unique moments that only a story with Final Fantasy XV’s atmosphere could pull off.
And lets not forget the impact Noctis has had on the world. From Point A to Point Z, he traveled across the land and helped those in need and they would never forget the future kings kindness. So when Noctis returns 10 years later, with humanity barely holding on, having him appear before them in Lestallum would have been a prime opportunity to show just how much of an effect this nobody prince had had on the world. While the ending implies that the people of the world recognized him as the true king posthumously, the viewer never really gets to see how his people remember him, how they viewed him, and what the news of his return would have sparked in hopeful populace.
The story of Final Fantasy XV is strong enough to remember and grow on you the more you think about it, and while it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever get more of this story, I think I can be content imagining it. The real question I have to ask now is this: Will the inevitable Final Fantasy XVI be able to top it?