Final Fantasy 15: Ride along through the adventure
The Final Fantasy series has allowed players to ride and control a host of interesting conveyances over the series’ long history, including motorcycles, airships, and the bird-like chocobos. The sleek, Art Deco-esque convertible prominently showcased in the recently-released Final Fantasy 15 demo, though, is something new for the series.
While high tech devices frequently show in the series, the Final Fantasy 15 car appears closer to something from our own world than most machines seen in earlier games. More significant than its eye-catching aesthetics, though, is what the striking black two-door implies about 15’s gameplay.
As we’ve known for quite some time, the game will be the first entry in the series to feature an open world style of play. This is a major departure for the series. Prior games were typically very linear: the player was led from battle to battle, event to event in a direct, pre-planned sequence. While different paths could sometimes by taken and certain encounters engaged in at various times, the overall narrative followed a very set path.
Open world gameplay will make this sort of linearity impossible. The player will have a much greater freedom to decide where to go and what to do. Consequently, the game’s designers aren’t able to lead the player step by step through the story the way they typically could in past Final Fantasy games. Instead, they’ve had to find a different approach to telling 15’s (undoubtedly long, involved, and epic) story.
The car is the clearest sign yet shown of this new way of doing things. Just like the real world they are attempting to mimic, open world games typically involve a good deal of moving from place to place. Traveling is a big part of the experience. Consequently, vehicles and/or mounts are a standard fixture in the genre.
The car does give 15 a bit of a “fantasy Grand Theft Auto” feel at first glance. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Having free reign to explore the game’s lush, beautiful environments should be a very exciting prospect to Final Fantasy fans. While past entries in the series have offered limited exploration, 15 should take this aspect of the game to a much higher level. The big question is: will the new game be successful in maintaining the distinctive feel of a Final Fantasy title while simultaneously giving the player an unprecedented level of freedom? Story has always been central to the series. Open world games have historically not been the easiest format for telling a detailed, well-constructed tale.
Disappointingly, you won’t actually be able to drive the car in the upcoming demo. “You’ll be able to experience the starting point of what an open-world Final Fantasy would potentially feel like,” stated game director Hajime Tabata recently. “You’ll really be able to experience that seamless Final Fantasy world within the demo itself, but then if you play it, you’ll still really get a sense that it’s a Final Fantasy game. You’ll get that balance within the demo.”