After nearly a decade of tumultuous development, Final Fantasy XV (no Final Fantasy vs. XIII) has a worldwide release date for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One: September 30, 2016.
Not only that, but publisher Square Enix is going all out to promote the highly anticipated game by a stranger as well Platinum Demo which is now available to download on PS4 and Xbox One; called a free, five-part anime series Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV that goes out on YouTube (you can watch the first episode here); called a full-fledged CG movie Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV; and a FFXV-themed pinball for Android and iOS Justice Monsters Five. In addition, there are two collector’s editions of the game, the most expensive of which is the Ultimate Edition– goes for a cool £189.99 ($269.99) and is limited to 30,000 units worldwide. British artist Florence + the Machine provides the title track with a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”.
Where to start? What about Platinum Demowhat – unlike its counterpart which can only be pre-ordered Episode Duscae– is not taken from the main game at all, but is instead a standalone experience, complete with its own strange story. FFXV protagonist Noctis stars, but as a young boy, where he encounters the returning guard/call Carbuncle, a fox-like creature who can only communicate through a smartphone. You shrink down and drive toy cars, collect gems and turn into an adult to fight a boss. The crystals you collect unlock panels that offer weapons and items, change the time of day, and change weather effects to showcase the game’s beautiful engine.
Few if any of these mechanics will be in the full game, but there’s an opportunity to test out the combat system, albeit with just one character, which is a hybrid of older games’ menu-based systems and the action-based ones. that of the kingdom hearts series. Those who the Platinum Demo receives Carbuncle to use in the main game as a free DLC character.
As if one FFXV release date and demo were not enough excitement for the hardened FF fan (read: me, the most excited person in the world right now), there’s also a full CGI feature film on the way that will be released on Blu-ray and digitally downloaded sometime before the game arrives. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV stars Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones) as King Regis, Lena Headey (300, Game of Thrones) as Princess Luna and Aaron Paul (Break bad) as Kingsglaive soldier Nyx. The plot revolves around the evil Niflheim trying to steal a crystal from Lucis’ “magic kingdom”. Naturally, this results in some epic battles. And there is also a king, and a prince, and a wedding.
Hopefully Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV will outperform the technically brilliant, but weakly scripted one Final Fantasy: The Spirits Withinwhich was released way back in 2001.
The free anime series, Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV, is a prequel of sorts to the game, with its five episodes delving into the “extraordinary friendships between Crown Prince Noctis and his three comrades.” The first 12-minute episode is available to watch now, with subsequent episodes to be released in the lead up FFXV‘s launch. I haven’t had a chance to watch the first episode yet, but at first glance the animation itself looks pretty neat, while also using the original Japanese voice acting with subtitles – because dubs are sacrilege, don’t you know.
Finally, there are the collector’s editions of the game. Those who have already shelled out £43.99 ($59.99) to pre-order, or are pre-ordering now, will receive the “Day One Edition”, which includes an exclusive downloadable “Masamune” sword to place in the game to use. Those with a bit more money to spend can pick up the £69.99 ($89.99) “Deluxe Edition” which includes steelbook packaging along with a bonus outfit, weapon and skin for Noctis’ car.
For the ultimate Final fantasy bragging rights, but you need the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition”. Limited to 30,000 units worldwide, the £189.99 ($269.99) set includes a hardcover artbook, a soundtrack, an exclusive Play Arts Kai Noctis figure, four in-game item packs and the same bonus content as the Deluxe Edition.
The Ultimate Collector’s Edition is exclusive to the Square Enix Online Store and also includes a mysterious sixth installment of the Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV anime not released online. Well, until someone rips it up and whacks it on YouTube, which is estimated to take about 0.5 seconds for someone to open the shrink wrap.