The Final Fantasy series has been a long-standing video game in the industry of video games, going back as far as 1987, when the very first generation of video game consoles were released. The video games mainly follow sci-fi/fantasy themes while keeping its genre of RPG across the many games it has released over each console generation. After many generations, the franchise finally branched off into other genres such as MMORPG, action, strategy, racing, third person shooter, fighting, and rhythm games. The Final Fantasy video games story lines mainly consists of a hero/heroine, or a set of hero/heroines who set out on adventure to save their world from an antagonist. With these story lines, the Final Fantasy series is also accompanied by its core game mechanics that have lasted over the last three decades, with defining features such as the mascot creatures “Chocobos” and “Moogles,” gods/goddesses based on mythology that are summoned, a job/class system that defines a character’s stats, and the active time battle system that was initially introduced in the Final Fantasy series. The Final Fantasy series is Square Enix’s most prominent franchise of all time with well over 130 million units sold, and is also itself considered one of the bestselling video game franchises of all time.
As a casual Final Fantasy fan who has only played few of the games, the experiences I had whilst playing Final Fantasy XV was very enjoyable overall. Although the FFXV had a very long waiting period of development of ten years, I still think newest installment in the Final Fantasy franchise was a fun experience, with its fast-paced real time combat system, amazing audio and visuals, and a set of main characters that had slowly grown on me as I approached the end of the game. Certainly, the development period of ten years had brought along a set of very high expectations because of this huge time gap for development, so, many people had the shared opinion that the newest installment in the FF series was very lacking, which I do have to agree on. As I reached the end of the game, the content quality had suddenly dropped into something that was not as it was trying to shape it out to be. The steadily paced story soon was hastened to a degree where one could not even enjoy the events that were happening. There is also the fact the writing for the exposition of the game was very lacking, throwing the player into the clichéd situation where a love interest heavily influenced the protagonist’s actions. This love interest as well had little to no back story between the protagonist, with the least amount of script between them being memories.
Final Fantasy XV as a Game:
First, we must consider, is Final Fantasy XV a game? In my eyes, I see this as a question that has an automatic answer, and that is, yes, Final Fantasy XV is indeed a game. But this is no excuse to briefly go over this answer from my opinion and through its credit gained from generations of games, as we can analyze it quickly through the usage of Jesper Juul’s diagram of what defines a video game.
A game is firstly defined by Juul as having a set of fixed rules. Final Fantasy XV’s set of rules is clearly set by its storyline, and then is further expanded through tutorial dialogue as you progress the exposition of the game. We have the clear set of rules that your stats on each of your characters are based on the equipment you have, level, and that your set Health Point (HP) value must not reach zero, or you will be put into a state that is on the brink of Game Over unless recovering through means of usable items. There are many more sets of rules that defines your characteristics and actions, but the list would go on extensively.
A variable outcome is the dependence on results depending on your actions that you commit to during a game. In Final Fantasy XV, there are clear exhibitions of this, such as the variable outcomes on whether you commit to fighting significantly stronger enemies at a lower level, or not.
The negotiable consequences of this games depend on how fast you want to progress through the game’s content. This is very negotiable, as you can choose to either quickly progress, or slowly progress through the game by occupying yourself with side quests, or advancing through the main storyline.
This is where the series’ signature RPG elements kick in, where levels, stats, and equipment are the result of player effort. Side quests are a perfect example of player effort, where if the player takes his/her time out of the story into completing things that are not beneficial to story progression, the effort is instead rewarded in experience to make the player’s party level higher, and in turn, stronger.
Player Attachment to Outcome & Valorization of Outcome
The final characteristics that was unmet by our game three blogs ago! Although, unlike the used game three blogs ago, Final Fantasy XV does meet this requirement of what determines a game. There is much player attachment and valorization to the outcome of this game, as there is ultimately one goal to be met with that the player must work towards to, one that the player must put in hours of work in depending on their difficulty, and their wanted level of completion of the game. Personally, I could feel the attachment to the numerous hours of work I have done just trying to finish the game’s main storyline itself (although, while being distracted by some side quests along the way), with an end game time of approximately 32 hours.
Final Fantasy XV as Art:
From two blogs ago, the idea of what art is according to Walter Benjamin and Roland Barthes is:
“Even the most perfect reproduction of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space.” – Walter Benjamin (29)
“The birth of the reader must be ransomed by the death of the Author.”
– Roland Barthes (6)
Going from both quotes and using the ideas of aura and interpretation once again we can simply perceive FFXV as art because of its beauty in environment. The fabrication of this environment is art as the creators entirely stitched this through their creation and imagination. When roaming around the vast open world Kingdom of Lucis, you truly get an immersion into this Final Fantasy’s world that is purely fictional.