Final Fantasy XV has stores that actually look like stores. On the surface, that doesn’t sound like a very groundbreaking statement, but the truth is, the portrayal of shops in video games, particularly in RPGs, have been suffering from a massive lack of progress when compared to the advancements that can be seen in other areas of game development.
With games approaching near photo-realistic landscapes and character faces, constantly having to purchase items from tiny little stands or counters can really start to shatter the immersion. Even the more laudable efforts have been, at best, generic storefronts that look like prop sets, and more often than not, various different shops locations in the game are all virtually identical clones to each other. With what’s been shown so far of Final Fantasy XV, the dark ages appear to be over.
Because of its gorgeous graphic, shops are to scale with the real world, and layouts actually look like they’re supposed to. A clerk mans an actual realistic looking checkout counter, and items are displayed on shelves in brightly colored boxes, plastic packages, bottles, and cans, as one would expect them to be in real life. Only a few locations have been shown thus far, but they all seem unique from each other with different styles, layouts, and sizes.
The Episode Duscae demo provided the first glimpse, featuring the now famous gas station. It bears a striking resemblance to an actual gas station that one would find in real life, not just a miniature video game version. The attention to detail is absolutely astounding from the appropriately sized parking lot and gas pumps, the RV’s camped out back, all the way to the interior design of the inside of the shop.
If this much attention went into a gas station in the middle of nowhere, imagine what can be found in the cities later on in the game. Functionally, the gas station serves pretty much exactly what you would expect from one in reality: selling fuel for automobiles as well as general purpose items, cooking materials in the convenience store, and even a weapon dealer.
The Duscae demo also featured a Chocobo Outpost. Since chocobos are a staple in the Final Fantasy universe, outposts like this should be expected to be scattered throughout the game. While chocobos were not available in the demo, they will be in the final game, and it’s fairly safe to assume that these outposts will have something to do with their acquisition. Interestingly, the items sold at the outpost consists of food ingredients for the in-game cooking recipes rather than anything actually chocobo related.
Considering this is all just from a demo build, who knows if it will remain that way for the final release. As with the gas station, the amount of effort put into the design of the outpost is impressive. The location is large enough that multiple NPCs frequent the area, so perhaps in addition to its most basic function as a transportation hub, there may be other story and quest related reasons to pay it another visit.
Outside of the demo, screenshots have been released revealing a weapon shop set up in the back of a blue armored truck. Considering the number of weapons equipped at a time in Final Fantasy XV’s battle system, weapon shops appear primed to be a regular pitstop for players to check in on.
Another key shop type that has been shown often in trailers and screenshots is the Diner. In addition to selling items, Diners appear to be primary hubs for quests, mob hunts, and information. They also seem to be the location of arcade machines, which is where players can find this iteration of Final Fantasy’s latest in-game mini-game, Justice Monsters 5.
Potential Shop Styles
The Altissia Walkthrough trailer also revealed a number of potential shop styles and types, ranging from kiosks, traditional market stands, street artists, to even a fancy waterside bar. While not a lot of information is known about the in-game function of these shops, it is remarkable how the design for each one oozes with its own unique personality.
Final Fantasy XV is upping the shop game. Everything that’s been discussed in this piece has come from a mere gameplay demo, a couple minutes of trailer footage, and few screenshots. Given the massive scope, open world in nature, and size of this highly anticipated title, one can only imagine what lies in store for the final release.