How Versus XIII Turned Into Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV is slowly getting closer to that special moment where the game is no longer just some object to be admired from a distance.

The journey hasn’t exactly been smoothing sailing, though. Having to wait over 10 years for a highly anticipated game to finally launch feels like torture. Eventually, the desire once held for such an awesome looking game soon becomes minutiae and only a small fraction of what was once felt remains. At least, that’s how my experience with Final Fantasy XV has been up until now.

When I first heard about Final Fantasy XV, err… Final Fantasy Versus XII as it was called years ago, I must have been a sophomore or junior in high school. The year was 2006. I had just gotten home from school, did all my homework, and was probably getting my dinner ready before the show started. What show exactly? It was E3 week and my excitement was at an all-time high to see which new games I would want to get at some point.

Turns out, I did manage to get most of the truly impressive titles showcased at E3 2006. Metal Gear Solid 4, Gears of War, Halo 3, and Bioshock are among the best memorable moments of E3 that year. However, there was another title that blew away both the crowd at the venue and viewers at home. When Square Enix unveiled the trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, I remember thinking how dark the game looked compared to other Final Fantasy titles. Just see for yourselves.

The game was initially supposed to be an exclusive for PlayStation 3 consoles and I know a whole lot of folks, including myself, who brought the console just to get our hands on this title. As we all know, this particular title never saw the light of day on PlayStation 3. Or any system for that matter. A few years of total darkness went by when we were finally shown some additional gameplay footage for Versus XIII.

Having already played, and enjoyed both Kingdom Hearts 2 and Crisis Core, when I saw that Versus XIII was also going for the action RPG formula, any doubts I had about the game became nonexistent. Of course, troubled times weren’t too far behind the exciting new Final Fantasy entry.

Along with the information blackout of Versus XIII, what really boggled everyone’s mind was when Square Enix released Final Fantasy XIII while remaining silent on the future of Versus XII. Final Fantasy XIII and Versus XIII are two pieces of the trinity for a sub-series within the franchise called Fabula Nova Crystallis; the final piece being Square Enix’s PlayStation Portable title Final Fantasy Type-0. After seeing two direct sequels for Final Fantasy XIII and a remastered port of Type-0 without any further details in regards to the missing Versus XIII, fans were beginning to lose their cool. To be frank, you couldn’t blame them one bit.

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To make matters extremely worse, around the time of Tokyo Game Show 2012, a rumor was spread about Versus XIII being cancelled due to an assortment of reasons. The most popular belief was that staff members working on Versus XIII were transferred over towards the Kingdom Hearts 3 development team (not officially announced yet but everyone knew it was coming). Another rumor had to do with concerns over stock prices. Regardless of what was actually true or not, these accusations ultimately turned things sour for anxious fans. Their waiting seemed hopeless.

The information surrounding Versus XIII, or Final Fantasy XV as it would eventually become, has been highly sporadic up until the recent Uncovered FFXV event. Fans are now holding their breath for September 30th, the game’s official release date. There’s still the slim chance of Final Fantasy XV getting delayed for developmental reasons (hey, this is Square Enix after all!) but I think most people are just glad to have a solid date to mark off in their calendar. I know I am without a doubt.

What brought back my intense excitement for Final Fantasy XV was the ‘Reclaim Your Throne’ trailer unveiled at Uncovered FFXV. I’d have to be a complete Negative Nancy to not appreciate the jaw-dropping footage shown off at the event.

First off, the game looks phenomenal! From the character models’ movements/designs, stunning environments and white-knuckle combat, Final Fantasy XV looks like a heavyweight contender for 2016’s GOTY.

Visually, this title is impressive and deserves to be showered with admiration. Just the idea of being able to cruise around in the game’s multiple vehicles has me pumped up. By adding in the Final Fantasy Radio to Noctis’s car, which plays an assortment of songs from across the franchise, Square Enix has practically given me every reason to just travel the countryside and chill. Oh, and did I mention the car can fly? It totally can.

When I’m busy cruising with Noctis and his buds, hopefully I will be engaged in combat scenarios often. Being the action RPG fan that I am, Final Fantasy XV’s combat format seems to be my slice of heaven. It’s fast-paced, various forms of strategy, and is completely stylish. I’m all for turn-based RPG titles but I definitely prefer this formula in the right setting. Final Fantasy XV feels like that right setting.

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Adding more hype fuel to my excitement flame is the anime and CGI movie set to accompany Final Fantasy XV. Titled ‘Final Fantasy Brotherhood’, the anime takes place before the events of Noctis’s journey. As a five episode series, each episode goes into detail about Noctis’s relationship with Prompto, Gladiolus and Ignis–his three best friends. The animation is being handled by A-1 Pictures, the Japanese animation studio is responsible for numerous popular animated shows including Sword Art Online.

There’s more, though! As a huge fan of Final Fantasy: Advent Children, I wanted Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV to be available the moment it was announced. Sure, the story in Advent Children contained more than a few head scratching moments, but the action sequences hold up quite nicely to today’s standards. With any luck, the movie won’t have a convoluted plot will contain spectacular fight scenes. The story featured in Kingsglaive will run parallel to the events unfolding in the game with Noctis’s father, King Regis, being the focal point.

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From Versus XIII, the game underwent a number of changes until the final result is that of Final Fantasy XV. The Square Enix team has made a personal goal of selling 10 million copies of the game and if the current progress continues, I see no reason for their goal to fail. Lofty? Sure, but don’t forget that this is a franchise with worldwide acclaim and prestige.

After truly impressing me during Uncovered FFXV, Final Fantasy XV shot way up on my most anticipated list again. There stands a very good chance that the game will be featured on my future 2016 GOTY list as well. Now the only remaining question is this: can it be September already?

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