Ten years is a long time to wait for anything. We waited for Fumito Ueda’s The Last Guardian for a little over a decade, partly because we had no choice, but also because his games are usually worth waiting for. By comparison, the game that would eventually become Final Fantasy XV – Final Fantasy Versus XIII – wasn’t even the main numerical entry in the series; it was something like the fourth spinoff in the XIII “project.” But now, here it is, in a completely upgraded and revamped form as the official 15th game in the series.
XV finds the Lucian prince Noctis and his band of brothers on an epic road trip unlike anything Square Enix has ever done with Final Fantasy, mixing open-world dynamics with a classic RPG formula. But the real question is: does it work? Glixel’s reviewer Michael Sylvain calls the whole thing “a weird, epic mess,” while others have embraced its open-world and erratic pacing. To dive even deeper into the experience, Glixel contributors Sidney Fussell and James Mielke – both longtime fans of the series – met over chat to discuss what a decade of delay brought to the table.
Sidney Fussell: Final Fantasy XV‘s development feels almost as long and storied as the Final Fantasy series proper, with just as many weird and incomprehensible twists as the games themselves. But for me, the game deferred too heavily to its many, muddled inspirations: Testuya Nomura’s noir, emo-chic stylings, the open world landscapes of Bethesda games, the flashy combat of the Devil May Cry or Bayonetta games, etc. I felt like I was playing lots of games, none of them Final Fantasy.
James Mielke: Sidney, I’m just going to put this out there and preface this by saying that I was turned off by all of the splintered Final Fantasy XIII “hype” and pre-destined sequels and spin-offs (lesson learned from Advent Children, clearly). I had basically zero anticipation for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, nor was I affected any of the delay drama that followed it. So, for me, there’s zero baggage associated with the game, which is probably for the better.
Sidney: I can’t help myself – I love seeing the PR machine churn. I certainly wasn’t willing to chase after every pre-release anime, exclusive trailer, full length feature, and sidewalk chalk mural that came along with XV’s release, but I at least wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt that they were building something big. But scope is the one and only thing Final Fantasy XV seems to have successfully achieved. That, and pushing women to the sidelines. The women are daughters, sisters, fiancés, etc. Everyone wanted to call this Square Enix’s take on N’SYNC or Backstreet Boys, but maybe this was actually Square Enix Does Seth Rogen’s Sausage Party.