How to Make Sense of 'Final Fantasy XV'

After a decade in development, two different titles, three demos, and a half-dozen films and episodic videos, Final Fantasy XV is finally coming out.

Square Enix has made sure that just playing the game won’t be enough – prospective players need to do their homework before pressing start on Prince Noctis’s grand adventure. While you might be able to dive into FFXV‘s adventure and understand what’s going on, more or less, it’s worth your while to brush up on all the crazy, labyrinthine lore that’s out there. If the storylines already released are any indication, Square Enix has little interest in holding your hand.

Originally slated to exist within Final Fantasy XIII‘s Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy series – itself a seemingly-impenetrable tapestry of main series games, offshoot titles, novels and manga – Final Fantasy XV was spun off into its own thing to clear the air. Since we’re days from the game’s release, we dove in to straighten out the interweaving storylines. This should be stating the obvious, but expect spoilers aplenty.

FFXV is set in the world of Eos, which has been gradually taken over by the Niflheim empire (and – inexplicably – several real-world brands, like Audi, Japan Airlines, and Beats), ruled by Emperor Iedolas Aldercapt and his army of robotic soldiers. The sole resistance to their world domination is the land of Lucis, ruled by King Regis. Lucis has been protected by a magic crystal (because fantasy), which the king uses to power a protective wall over the capital city of Insomnia. The barrier requires the king to use his strength to maintain this protection, and after decades of work, he’s beginning to fade. If you’re confused at this point, welcome to Final Fantasy XV. It gets worse. Read on as we try to untangle all the disparate threads that make up this wild, sprawling narrative.

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