It’s very rare for game trailers to have any sort of emotional impact on me, especially trailers for games I’m relatively uninterested in. But the latest trailer for Final Fantasy XV has awoken feelings within me. Warm, comforting feelings and a renewed interest in a game that I was ready to write off as Final Fantasy XIII 4: Backstreet’s Back.
Let me preface by saying I’ve never been a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series. I’ve played almost all of the games in the series and for the most part I’ve had a jolly good time crusading about the phantasmal landscapes grinding for xp and spending way more hours than I should have trying to re-acquire all the Triple Triad cards that I lost in a particularly annoying rule change. But I don’t have the kind of fervent love for it that many do. After playing the recent demo for Final Fantasy XV, it didn’t feel like anything had changed on that front. I was somewhat underwhelmed as I played around with the new combat and traversal mechanics and was confident in telling myself that this was surely a game I could easily pass on. Until I watched the latest trailer that is.
Yes it’s in Japanese, there’s currently no English cut of the full version that I’m aware of, but it really doesn’t matter. There is a shorter version that cuts straight to the goods, but I recommend the full version for maximum impact.
Did anyone else get chills? I’m a big bag of chills right now. The first half is impressive enough: Massive swords, giant snakes, an even more gigantic hand attached to what we can only assume is the most gigantic person. Intense stuff indeed. However, it’s the 2nd half of the trailer that really presented the game in a new light to me. If you haven’t watched the movie Stand By Me, just go and do so immediately for 2 reasons. 1, I’m going to be talking about it and I won’t be worrying about spoiling an almost 30 year old movie, and 2, it’s fantastic and you owe it to yourself.
I assume everyone is now caught up to speed and is now wondering why I’m even mentioning the movie. Well, the obvious is that both the movie and the Final Fantasy XV trailer prominently use the classic song of the same name, Stand By Me by Ben E King. The song in itself is a fantastic choice and when you’ve heard the song in the context of the movie, the trailer starts giving off familiar vibes. Stand By Me is one of my favourite movies of all time, I honestly couldn’t even guess the number of times I’ve watched it. A wonderful tale of a group of friends setting off on an adventure to make use of what would turn out to be their last summer vacation as friends. It’s emotional for all the right reasons and as I’ve grown up, I’ve began to appreciate just how close it hits to home (aside from all the business about finding a dead body, that’s not what I’m referring to).
It sets a tone that’s totally different from what I’ve come to expect from Final Fantasy games. They were never games I played for the story and characters (although I know many did so please don’t jump on me for that) and I didn’t expect Final Fantasy XV to be any different. As I watched a child in an emotional embrace with his father, stunning landscapes, a group of friends walking down a deserted road and engaging in what appears to be the wittiest of banter, my expectations for the game suddenly changed. It invoked all those feelings Stand By Me gives me every time I watch it. The feeling of adventure, bonding with your closest friends and creating memories that will most assuredly last longer than the friendships themselves. It’s a odd mixture of melancholy and fondness, a feeling not easily described or invoked but one that leaves you wanting to recapture the sort of friendships and adventures that are lost as you move into adulthood.
By no means am I sold on Final Fantasy XV just yet. As I mentioned before the gameplay demo left me feeling like the game was holding back, but I’m now much more interested than I was previously, at least from a narrative stand point which is saying something because character building and story are not something I’ve ever found impressive in a Final Fantasy game. It’s amazing what a good trailer can do, and I’m eager to see if Square Enix continue to push this theme leading up to the games release.
Ryan enjoys any and all games he can get his freakishly small hands on. When he’s not drafting 1-3 Arena decks, or scoring own goals with his Delorean, he can often be found scouring the web, keeping on top of the latest industry news and goings on.