Features / Weekly Musings

With Kingsglaive, Final Fantasy XV Story Cuts Make More Sense

With Kingsglaive, Final Fantasy XV Story Cuts Make More Sense

Written by Darryl — 31 Mar 2016

I don't know about everyone else, but we're still trying to recover our breath from Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV! It was a rather stunning show that still managed to keep plenty of surprise announcements, even if some of them were leaked beforehand.

One of the strongest announcements was that of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, a full-length feature film starring Lena Headey, Sean Bean and Aaron Paul. It will focus on King Regis and his Glaives as they look to take a stand against key antagonists within the Niflheim Empire.

The trailer itself (seen below), clocks in at just under 2 minutes, but those with a keen eye might have noticed some similarities with what we have seen before in trailers for both Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy XV.

To give this some proper context, last year Final Fantasy XV's director, Hajime Tabata, made some strong decisions regarding the game's story. One of these decisions was to cut the character of Stella Nox Fleuret, but at the same time other pieces of story were also cut from the game.

At the time, Tabata offered clear explanations for the removing Stella, but he was more vague about the other cuts, even stating that discussing it would border on spoilers for the game.

Scenes like those had to be regressed because of a very critical factor. So now, the sequence is: Noct and his retinue leave Insomnia, and then... What was it? Then the Niflheim army attacks the crown city. There’s an extremely important reason behind this decision. In fact, it could be construed a spoiler, so I can’t tell you about it here.

Hajime Tabata, 4 Jun 2015

Now that Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV has been revealed, this all makes more sense; instead of these scenes muddying the narrative during the game, it appears as though they have become the core focus for the feature film.

Looking back at previous trailers from Final Fantasy XV (pre-cuts) and even those from Final Fantasy Versus XIII, you can see some strong correlations to scenes shown in Kingsglaive. We will now proceed to break this down chronologically, as some of this Kingsglaive footage was first seen as far back as 2007.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII Jump Festa 2008 Trailer (DKΣ713)

This was one of the first trailers where we got to see something other than Noctis beating up a load of Niflheim troops. It was shown in its original form at the DKΣ713 event during mid-2007, later aired at Jump Festa 2008 behind closed doors and was leaked mid-2008 before being shown in its extended form at Jump Festa 2009. During this trailer, there are two scenes that can now be referenced in Kingsglaive.

The first is an exact replica of one where King Regis is talking with his Glaives.

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The second is a little looser. During the Jump Festa trailer, we see a small section that focusses on a bald aide wearing sunglasses discussing something (below) around the table highlighted in the previous image. If you again study that image, you will see the same bald aide on the right-hand side.

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Final Fantasy Versus XIII 1st Production Department Premier Trailer 2011

Skipping forward quite a few years, Square Enix stunned gamers with an immense trailer during their 1st Production Department Premier event. It featured a much more expansive narrative and there are again some good references.

In the Kingsglaive trailer, there are two times where we see King Regis sitting upon high in his throne. The first is a scene that contains Lunafreya, while the second shows him talking to Ardyn Izunia.

During 2011 Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer, albeit with an older character model for Regis, there was a similar scene shown with him sitting on his throne, up high. Although the aesthetics are not quite identical, in this scene Regis is talking to someone about the fact they cannot become King and that he will not turn over the throne to anyone.

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Later in the same trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, there was a scene that takes place in location that received much more coverage in future trailers and is also now a focal point for Kingsglaive. It highlights the changes that Tabata made to the story, and perhaps why he did so, as Noctis and his group will no longer be in this part of the world during this time.

Keep a distinct eye on the floor patterns in the below image, and remember it for the next reference.

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Final Fantasy XV E3 2013 Announcement Trailer

This is where things started to get very interesting, as Final Fantasy Versus XIII was renamed to Final Fantasy XV and we got yet more scenes relating to the wider story.

The first point of note is that there was a new scene featured that focussed on a rather dicey encounter that takes place between King Regis and Iedolas Aldercapt. It's at this point that I'd like you to also reference the previous image.

We've got two images for this one, the first is a more "open" encounter between the two. You can see that the room is very clearly the same in both the Final Fantasy XV trailer and Kingsglaive. It's a meeting between King Regis, Iedolas Aldercapt and their respective allies.

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In this second image, we have a much look at just how tense things got between the two parties. This plays out in a slightly different way in Kingsglaive, with an unfortunate troop being slung down the middle, but the aesthetics are very similar.

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The last prominent scene that we have, before everything was cut from the game, features a rather fierce stand-off between Iedolas and Regis at the head of the above event. Iedolas pulls out a gun, while Regis threatens him with his magical powers. It makes for a rather superb spectacle.

In the image below, we've got left as the Final Fantasy XV announcement trailer, and right as the Kingsglaive trailer. You can see just how much Regis' design has changed, but that Iedolas' has also changed a little too. His robe is now gold, as opposed to red.

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Oh, and as a final point from this trailer. It was at this time that Ardyn was introduced as an ally of Iedolas. In the original he was depicted outside on some steps with Iedolas underneath an umbrella and was very much connected with this section of the narrative.

Based on the Kingsglaive trailer, we can assume that Ardyn is now going to have a more active role within Kingsglaive, albeit with a slightly sleeker model than the one we were introduced to a few years ago.

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So, to summarise all of this, it seems rather clear that content which was announced to be cut by Hajime Tabata in the middle of last year has been re-purposed for Kingsglaive.

This content will now be realised into its own medium and will likely be expanded upon, which I feel is a pretty positive move, especially as it has just been revealed that the main campaign will now be 10 hours longer than they intended. It makes it less likely that Tabata moved this story arch over to Kingsgaive because of constraints and instead moved it to make the narrative more coherent.

Based on this evidence, it's pleasing to see that the content has not actually be cut, but re-purposed into another medium so it can assist with the wider mythology.

Darryl was playing Final Fantasy before he was even born - quite a feat! Often very opinionated on the Final Fantasy franchise, you will often find him musing about small details. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.