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This is a fantasy based on reality...—Tagline
"Fools set the rules in this world. Just look around. It's undeniable."—Noctis
The fifteenth entry in the stupefyingly popular (and increasingly delayed) Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was supposed to be a spiritual sibling of Final Fantasy XIII, but was not a sequel, prequel, or related to it in any way other than sharing mythos elements, and was supposed to take place in a different world. Versus XIII was part of a "ten year project" called Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy, which is a Pretentious Latin Title meaning "The New Tale Of The Crystal". This particular game was being developed by the same team who does Kingdom Hearts.
As the game's name changed, references to such project were mostly dropped from the final product.
The story of Versus XIII centered around Noctis Lucis Caelum, mafia prince of an isolated kingdom and protector of the last crystal, in a world where crystals are no longer used. Together with his loyal True Companions, Noct works to defend his homeland from neighbouring "barbarians" who seek its power for their own in the growing conflict. He also meets Stella Nox Fleuret, a young woman from the rival country of Tenebrae and his unwilling enemy. All this is overshadowed by legends of Etro, goddess of death, and her relationship with humans.
In the final product, however, though the basic premise of Noctis and his friends fighting for their homeland remained, Stella was completely replaced by Luna, a character with similar physical characteristics (blonde hair, white skin, female, thin figure), but who serves as ally in their fight against the The Empire of Nilfheim, who are the antagonists of Final Fantasy XV.
Versus XIII was planned to be a Play Station 3 exclusive, and was an Action RPG along the lines of Kingdom Hearts, although it was purported to also have Third-Person Shooter elements. Final Fantasy XV, its final denomination, was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
- Arc Symbol: Etro herself. Not just in this game, but in the other times it has been featured because of the common mythology. Remember that those under Fabula Nova Crystallis share a common myth, but are separate games themselves. Etro shows in this game as a painting, and as the representation of death that is worshipped in Tenebrae. The other times, it shows as a transferring airship which eventually kicks off the main plot, and as a giver of the powers to the Big Bad Caius and hero Lightning, both of which happened slightly after plotline deaths.
- Anti-Hero vs. Anti-Villain: Noctis vs. Stella, respectively. It is widely known and confirmed by Word of God that Stella is of the major antagonists, and there are major hints that an important battle will occur between them. When you see them in the trailers, however, they are able to talk casually with each other. It should be noted that Noctis' family perform actions that are like The Empire, while Stella's side are those you would play in previous titles.
- Because Destiny Says So: In the latest trailer, Noctis' meeting with Stella has the prior caption: "A meeting predestined by the divine."
- BFS: Gladiolus has one. Most of Noctis' weapons are pretty large too.
- Bishonen: Noctis. He is the main character of a Final Fantasy game, after all. Also Prompto.
- Bittersweet Ending: The world of Eos is saved from the daemon plague, but a good part of mankind and Noctis and Luna died in the process.
- Black and Grey Morality
- Blob Monster: Flans, of all different kinds.
- Book Ends: A meta example: this is one of the first games to be announced, and will most likely be the last game to be released.
- Cool Car: Noctis has a very nice one.
- Crapsack World: This game's world seems to consist of a grim metropolis where it is always night, and barren wastelands. The plot on the supernatural level is about a goddess of death and on the human level it's about power politics with much backstabbing and paranoia. Even Noctis' love life appears to be heading toward tragedy. The only bright spot is the camaraderie between Noctis and his male friends. The place names aren't helping things, with examples being "Tenebrae" (Shadows), "Vallis Acerba" (Harsh Valley) and "Nihilsomno" (Dreamless).
- Darker and Edgier: Square Enix has stated that this may be the darkest Final Fantasy yet. What little footage has been revealed seems to support this.
- Bloodier and Gorier: The first snippet of gameplay footage has Noctis drawing blood from a Behemoth with his weapon, something unseen from other Final Fantasy games. There actually was a rumor that the game will be the first M rated in the series.
- Dark Action Girl: The mysterious, armored woman fighting Noctis. We later find out she's just a standard Mook.
- Dark Is Not Evil:
- Etro, the Grim Reaper-type goddess of death, is supposedly benevolent and kind to humans.
- Also, Noctis, who wears black and other dark colors, and whose kingdom is very... shady. He's also pretty brutal.
- Empathic Weapon: The main characters' runes seem to be this.
- Faceless Mooks: Our hero takes down whole battalions of them in the trailers.
- Fighting Your Friend: Noctis and Stella will be forced to fight against their will.
- Five Second Foreshadowing: Noctis reads about sabertusks immediately before getting attacked by one.
- Good Bad Translation: One of the trailers has random Italian phrases that flash on the screen. Thing is, they all have terrible grammar. Heck, the entire Fabula Nova Crystallis compilation seems to be butchering the Latin language every chance it gets.
- God Is Good: The little information we have tells us that Etro gives people their "heart" and protects them. Bhunivelze seems to represent God Is Flawed though, as He sends His mother into the World of the Dead, stripped Etro of her power and created the fal'Cie as immortals because He is afraid of death.
- Have You Seen My God?: We have, actually, and she's not good at her job.
- Humongous Mecha: Both as enemies and available to ride in. Some sabotage appears to be involved.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes:
- Noctis and his friends have boots with glowing red soles for some reason.
- While made by a Gothic clothing designing company, you can Noctis' clothes for sale before the game is even out!
- Instant Runes
- Lonely Piano Piece: "Somnus", which is slow, soft and melancholy. The lyrics refer to a sleeping god in a city of eternal night, and how tragedy will destroy everything. However eventually dawn comes, which may leave hope for a happy ending.
- The Mafia/Yakuza: Apparently the royal family of Noctis' kingdom function in a similar way. The game in general seems to carry a very heavy mafia theme, from Family politics and characters having Italian names, to the party members displaying elements of mob movie archetypes.
- Man in White/Light Is Not Good: The nameless man in white robes who fights Noctis and later the king in the trailers, suspected to be a villain. This can also be a Shout-Out to Barthandelus, who also wore similar clothing.
- Meaningful Name: Noctis Lucis Caelum is probably meant to be "light of the night sky", but his name is declined incorrectly. Stella Nox Fleuret, with Stella Nox meaning "night star" and Fleuret being a reference to fencing and her weapon of choice, the rapier. Ignis means "fire" (magic he's seen using in battle), and Gladiolus means "small sword" (ironic considering his weapon of choice) and is also a flower. Tenebrae, the country where Etro is worshiped, is Latin for "darkness."
- Megane: Ignis, one of Noctis' friends.
- Milestone Celebration: With a release date being most likely 2012 (since Square Enix has recently announced full development for this game), this is entirely possible. 2012 is the year Final Fantasy turns 25, and Kingdom Hearts turns 10. This game is also made by developers who play major development roles in both series, so a Fall-Winter release date can be expected.
- Estrogen Brigade Bait: NOCTIS. And his friends too.
- Ms. Fanservice: Stella, but very mild version, mind you. The female Dragoon screams it.
- Near-Death Experience: The trailers imply that both Noctis and Stella have suffered one, which allows them to see the "light" and/or "Etro."
- Ojou: Nomura said that Stella is a rich girl. She mixes with Noctis' lot and knows how to fence after all.
- Orcus on His Throne: The picture, which is now unintentionally funny.
- Power Walk: Noctis and his friends walking away from the smoking building.
- Rule of Symbolism: Stella and Noctis are contrasting each other drastically, dangerously approaching What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic levels. With a Shout-Out/To Shakespeare in the trailers, many fans have assumed a Star-Crossed Lovers theme, and it helps that the both Stella and Noctis are part of opposing factions in a family Mob War.
- Scenery Porn: Most Final Fantasy games are known for it, but this one deserves a special mention because nearly everything qualifies, even the fight scenes and the interiors of buildings. It's not surprising when some areas are based off Venice, of all places. The game is also using Square Enix's next-generation lighting engine Luminous, of which a tech demo can be seen here. Apparently when Famitsu were shown real-time screenshots of Luminous working in-game, some of their staffers did not believe that they weren't CGI.
- Scenery Gorn: Most of the landscapes aside from Noctis' kingdom are empty and ruined. One shot in particular shows what appear to be the remains of a highway that has sunk into the sea.
- Serial Escalation:
- Again, the cutscenes. Word of God wasn't lying when they compared it to Advent Children.
- A lot of the games technology seems to be leaning towards this, from the randomly-generated cloud formations to the lighting engine, so advanced that it had Famitsu writers second-guessing if the screens they were shown were CG or not.
- Shout-Out: That picture up there? Who else made that pose for a promotional material? Here's a direct comparison.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: From what we've seen so far, it looks like it's firmly lodged on the cynical side.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The trailer is extremely bloody, but set to a beautiful piece of music.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The gameplay has as much of this as it does actual fighting.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Noctis will have a cellphone camera, allowing him to take pictures at (apparently) any point during gameplay.
- True Companions: Prompto is stated to be a "recent" friend of Noctis', while Ignis and Gladiolus are stated to be Noctis' childhood friends. They have such a close friendship that they informally advise Noctis that he's not strong enough during a fight.
- Urban Fantasy: Some of the fantastic locales Noctis will be visiting include a scenic gas station and a quaint downtown bicycle crossing.
- The cityscape of Noctis' kingdom is based on the Shibuya district of Tokyo.
- War Is Hell
- Weakened by the Light: The daemons are damaged by different kinds of light. In fact, they take automatic damage if they spawn and you wait until the sun appears, to the point the party can "kill" a demon of a level much higher than theirs.
- We Cannot Go on Without You: Even though the player can switch between characters on the fly, it's an instant game-over if Noctis dies.
- Whole-Plot Reference: The Fabula Nova Crystallis has very close relations to all of the involved games. If we go the mythology explained here, then the assumed plotline is:
- Big Bad Mywnn and The Dragon Caius (since he has the Heart of Chaos) vs. Lightning as the follower of Etro (for more obvious reasons pertaining to the ending of Final Fantasy XIII and 'XIII-2) vs. Noctis as the follower of Bhunivelze (in crystal stasis). Lindzei is the only one not even featured in a game so far, so she's bound to come very soon.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Possibly. Noctis and Stella are able to see an unspecified "light," believed to be the Goddess Etro opening the gate to the afterlife for deceased souls. Noctis guesses that they're both dying.
- Zettai Ryouiki: See Dark Action Girl.