A Deeper Look At Final Fantasy XV's Characters
Having an interesting, likeable cast can make or break any gaming experience, but especially RPGs. After all, you're spending hours with these personalities, so you should enjoy their company. The Final Fantasy series has had its share of great party members through the years, such as the empathetic and selfless Tifa, the stoic and train-suplexing Sabin, and the cool and collected Auron. Not to mention leading protagonists like Cloud and Lightning who have become ingrained with the franchise's identity.
Final Fantasy XV is shaking things up by having four male leads who are already good friends before they embark on their crazy adventure, but it also has some intriguing side characters players meet along the way. While visiting Square Enix, we discovered more about these integral personalities and what they'll add to the journey.
The main protagonist and future king of Lucis has a lot on his shoulders, and things are only about to get heavier on his road trip. While it may seem like Noctis is less expressive and a bit distant than his buddies, there's a reason for that. The prince is a complex character who has dealt with a lot of emotional turmoil in his life. His mother died when he was young and his father had to cater to the demands of the kingdom. "Noctis always has this sense of aloneness and solitude," says director Hajime Tabata.
However, Noctis isn't harboring a grudge over it, realizing that sacrifices had to be made. "He doesn't have dark or ill feelings for [his father], it's more that he's holding it in and living with the circumstances," Tabata says. Noctis is still trying to figure out who he is, and his fate to eventually become king is only adding to that difficult process. He has trouble articulating his feelings and keeps a lot bottled up, which might be why he's not too smooth with the ladies, especially with confronting how he feels about childhood friend Luna.
Gladiolus - often called "Gladio" for short - brings the muscle to the group. "Gladiolus is just as you see him," Tabata jokes. Gladiolus comes from a family that has always been protectors of the Lucis royal family. A warrior at heart, Gladiolus is the only party member with a militaristic background. He's trained heavily to protect the prince at all costs, which serves as his ultimate goal. But you'd be mistaken to assume his friendship with the prince is out of duty.
Although he's the strongest party member physically, he also isn't shy about expressing his opinions on what's necessary for the group. "Without him we don't have someone who can say the right things in the right moment, and just be clear with conviction in what the team needs to do," Tabata says. "He's a real pillar in ensuring that the team doesn't sway every which way." This also comes with a cost; Gladiolus often gets into arguments with Noctis because he's harsh and direct about what needs to be done.
A more serious and nurturing character, Ignis can be seen as the Noctis' right-hand man. Noctis has known him since childhood, and they are incredibly close. Ignis is extremely loyal and will do anything for the prince. Because Noctis lost his mother at an early age, he's filled some of those duties for him, such as learning to cook and making sure he eats his vegetables and chauffeuring him around in the Regalia. "He's always at your side," says character specialist Marie Iwanaga. "We wanted to communicate that through the battles as well, so you might have noticed from [Episode Duscae], Ignis is always kind of near Noctis...and always in this pose where he's kind of covering for him or protecting him."
He also functions as the brains of the group, making sure they stay on task and ensuring they have the best avenue to success. "He's kind of the guiding light. Essentially, he's the commander." Tabata says. He might be the more austere and intelligent character, but he has difficulty at reading people's intentions, especially when something is clearly a joke. He's also a perfectionist who tends to lose his composure when things don't go his way, which we could see causing some drama on this turbulent adventure.
Click on the next page to learn about the group's happy-go-lucky guy, the leading lady, and Noctis' father...
Prompto may not be a combat-hardened warrior, but he's got a knack for cheering people up and keeping things light-hearted. "Prompto's definitely the mood-maker of the bunch," Tabata says. However, there's a reason Prompto is always trying to bring joy to the group. He had a sad and lonely childhood, which is further explored in the Brotherhood anime series. "He looks like he's a jolly type of guy, but in actuality he's trying really hard to be that happy-go-lucky type of guy, especially since he has a sad past," Iwanaga says. "He does seem like a very light-hearted character, but he's actually a very deep thinker," Tabata adds.
The team put a lot of thought into all of his animations because of this duality, making him always moving and being more reactive than the other group members on screen. "He's always exaggerating and overreacting to things," Iwanaga says. Prompto is also good with machines, and tuned into technology and the latest trends. Yes, this means he's into video games and anime.
Luna is bold, determined, and extremely intelligent. She's also an Oracle - someone who can commune with the gods. She and Noctis have a complicated relationship. They're from different kingdoms and are childhood friends, but as you learn in the beginning of the game, they're getting married for "political reasons" - to bring both of their kingdoms together. "There is love from Luna, but Noctis probably doesn't have the confidence to respond to that love," Tabata says.
Luna isn't along for the road trip, and glimpses of her are mostly through cutscenes, but that doesn't mean that you won't feel her presence. "Through Noctis' dialogue, we're trying to elevate Luna and what she means to him and why he grew to like her," Iwanaga says. She also plays an important role for Noctis that goes beyond merely being a love interest. "She is the presence that supports Noctis throughout in order for him to fulfill his destiny," Tabata says.
If you've been paying attention to Final Fantasy XV, you already know a big theme of the game is the father-and-son relationship. Royalty makes this even more complicated as you'd expect. "Noctis [seeks] the love of his father, but also understands his fate and duty as prince and the upcoming king," Tabata says. Similarly, Regis does everything in his power for his son - protecting him from the dangers of the world, but also showing him how to be a good and loving king. King Regis' presence will be felt throughout the journey, as he's been by far the most impactful person on Noctis' life.
When Noctis begins his journey, King Regis is at home handling the peace negotiations between Lucis and Niflheim. In the upcoming full-length CG movie, Kingsglaive, we'll discover just how complicated this process gets. As the Episode Duscae demo showcased, we already have a hint that something goes awry when Noctis, Luna, and King Regis are reported dead and see Luna walking through destruction. We obviously know Noctis is okay, but Kingsglaive and the game will reveal more what happened to Regis and Luna in these catastrophic moments.
What do you think of the cast? Let us know in the comments below.
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