mogffxiv – We watched the first 10 minutes of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

Dies ist die englische Version des Artikels, die deutsche könnt ihr hier lesen.

One of the big happenings at Japan Expo last week in France was the arrival of Final Fantasy XV. During the event, fans were treated to a spread of new content, including an exclusive world premiere featuring the first 10 minutes of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV in English. We had the chance to catch the full 90 minute show – brought out as a bit of a surprise by the film’s director Takeshi Nozue.

While on stage, Nozue shared further insights into Kingsglaive‘s development and how he took on a much bigger role than his work on Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

The preview below may contain some minor spoilers and minor story inconsistencies as I’ve summarized the plot from memory and there was quite a bit happening in the first 10 minutes. Please be advised.

The film begins with a series of flashbacks, clueing viewers in on the magical power of the last crystal which has always protected the Kingdom Lucis, but attracted the envy of the enemy kingdom Niflheim. Soon after, soldiers from Niflheim invade the autonomous region of Tenebrae — the home of Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. Here we learn a young Noctis is recovering from a serious injury and has been confined to a wheelchair.

Both Noctis and Luna are seen in a forest area as enemy soldiers rain down from the sky and surround them. Mighty swordsmen back the pair into a corner and are nearly killed until King Regis shows up and saves them at the last minute — striking with his sword and casting a massive fire spell to repel the attackers. Regis makes a hasty decision and takes young Noctis on his shoulders, fleeing along with Lunafreya.

Ravus Nox Fleuret, Luna’s older brother, was encircled by the fire spell and begs Regis to help him tend to his fallen mother. Regis, however, is in a hurry with enemy soldiers hot on his heels. Luna suspects their escape would be futile and, suddenly, she stops. She heads back, allowing herself to be captured by Niflheim so that her friends valuable time to escape.

Many years later, the Niflheim army is staged just outside Insomnia, the capital of Lucis. Although the Crown City is under the protection of a powerful magic barrier maintained by the crystal, we’re left to wonder how long it can withstand enemy attacks.

At the edge of the city, enemy troops have already taken the first suburbs along the city wall under attack by heavy airstrikes. Niflheim drop-ships are throwing soldiers off, shots flying back and forth across the battlefield and corpses are piled up among the ruins. The enemy not only fights with machines or Magitek armor but many monsters from the Final Fantasy series pantheon in their battle against Lucis. During the chaos a Behemoth charges through, creating a path of destruction through ranks of Lucian soldiers while a whole army of giant insects similar to Antares scuttle across the battlefield.

A huge firestorm is gathering on the horizon and slowly approaches Insomnia. High on the walls, the Kingsglaive master mage Crowe Altius desperately tries to maintain the protective dome over the city with her allies, but these exhausted magicians begin to fall on their knees.

Libertus Ostium, best friend of main character Nyx, thrusts himself into the action and attempts to flank the enemy’s ranks. His uniform and the ornaments on his head bear resemblance to the typical Final Fantasy ninja – Libertus uses a cloaking technique strike down multiple enemies at once while practically invisible.

The ground shakes, buildings collapse, and cracks in the earth open up as the bombardments become stronger. As the storm moves near, we realize even more hostile airships are hiding and even more hazardous ground enemies emerge, such as a Cerberus.

An officer from the Niflheim army gives the order: “Unleash the demon!” It turns out there is much more hidden in the storm than previously thought. An enchained, massive monster enveloped by smoke gets dragged to Insomnia by airships. It goes wild and tears several ships and its chains apart, falling onto several foot soldiers.

Libertus manages to slay an onrushing Behemoth with a long cut along its neck while Crowe loses her final bit of strength and can no longer support the magic barrier. Realizing they’ve lost, Drautos, the leader of the Kingsglaive, gives the order to retreat. Libertus encounters the fire-breathing Cerberus and tries to distract him using spells to no avail. He becomes trapped by collapsing debris, with his blades out of reach.

Opposing Drautos’ command, Nyx rushes to aid the fallen Libertus — his blades allowing him to teleport short distances using warp magic. He expels the Cerberus, collecting Libertus’ blades so his friend can warp through the combat zone to safety.

The Kingsglaive are happy to be reunited, but Drautos admonishes Nyx for disobeying orders and reminds him that his strength is borrowed from King Regis. It’s here the preview clip ends.

Although there was only 10 minutes of footage, I could probably spend hours singing praises about the visual splendor of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. This movie looks absolutely astounding.

Years ago when I first saw Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within back in theaters, it was already apparent Square Enix was at the forefront of CGI talent and that movie marked their first steps into photo realism. They took things a step further with the action-packed Advent Children a few years later and now Kingsglaive, which tops everything. To achieve incredible visual quality, the team at Square Enix’s own Visual Works collaborated with several Western studios such as Digic Pictures and Image Engine – known for their work on Assassin’s Creed, Jurassic World and Game of Thrones.

The characters in the film look so life-like that sometimes you completely forget they’re computer generated. Because of this cohesiveness, the movie universe becomes a lot more believable than traditional film actors in front of a green screen. Even the look of typical Final Fantasy elements such as the Behemoth, Cerberus and spell effects have been wonderfully implemented.

In particular, I really liked the warp effect. It’s similar to the game but with a flourish of sparks around the characters and combined with the right sound, it’s simply iconic.

Kingsglaive sells the concept of “A fantasy based on reality” surprisingly well. Parts of the architecture, clothing, technology or cars remind us of our real world, but these things become married with spells, magitek armor and monsters. The meeting of these two worlds make Final Fantasy XV very interesting not only as a game, but also as a movie targeted to a wide audience.

At first I was skeptical about the soundtrack, which was composed by John R. Graham in collaboration with Yoko Shimomura. The first preview tracks seemed too drab and gloomy, but the background music for the first ten minutes felt very consistent, to say the least.

In that short amount of time, I came away with the feeling that Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV will tell a more complex and exciting story. The action scenes were great and like Godzilla, the progressive revealing of beasts and summons was great.

The characters seem to be the focus of the story and I’m curious what happens to Nyx and how Lunafreya will connect with both the film, anime, and game. It’s clear such a project deserves to be seen on the big screen.

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