After a decade in development, Final Fantasy Versus XIII finally released as Final Fantasy XV. I think a lot of Final Fantasy fans welcomed the news, and just about as many remained disappointed. From the look of the trailers, Final Fantasy Versus XIII promised to be a mature, thinking man’s Final Fantasy. Noctis would have taken drugs, saw hallucinations of the girlfriend he murdered and killed people. We would have seen blood, guys! BLOOD, in a Final Fantasy!
Yet, when Square Enix rebranded Final Fantasy Versus XIII as Final Fantasy XV, most of the heavier themes feel by the wayside. Sure, Final Fantasy XV still has traces of some concepts. However, many of the overarching themselves from the Fabula Nova Crystallis series didn’t make to the finished product.
What were we to see in Final Fantasy Versus XIII may never come to fruition? The Fabula Nova Crystallis series seems to have ended with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. However, that doesn’t mean that Final Fantasy XVI, or even subsequent titles, won’t incorporate some of these themes if lacking for inspiration. My thought was that as Final Fantasy XV was a “fantasy based on reality” Final Fantasy XVI would be the opposite: “reality rooted in fantasy”. This would perfectly match many of Final Fantasy Versus XIII’s themes, both in setting and subject matter.
Consider that, in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, we saw the political struggle between Nifleheim and the Lucis Kingdom. However, we rarely saw firsthand the consequences or aftermath of war throughout the game. Sure, “Insomnia fell”, but we had to read that in the paper. The Nifleheim army killed Jared in Lestallum, but we had to hear about it secondhand. We saw the aftermath of Tenebrae’s destruction. And an Astral battle commences with the Nifleheim army.
Yet, most of the other towns in Eos are suspiciously safe. We don’t really see the effect the Nifleheim army has on these other places. Final Fantasy XVI could change this by showing us the harsh realities of war. They might need a darker story to do it in. I’m sure it would have been difficult for Final Fantasy XV to maintain a relatively happy bro trip while contemplating the horrors of war. However, many of Final Fantasy Versus XIII themes would fit a darker dystopia.