Petal, MS – Monday, November 28, 2016, was the start of a big day for Square-Enix Company and GameStop stores everywhere. A midnight launch for “Final Fantasy XV” became one of the biggest launches for gaming this year, not only for the consumers, but also for the companies as well. The featured title sold over 5 million copies in its first day of release.
What started out as a game called “Final Fantasy versus XIII” back in 2006 has become its own full experience. Final Fantasy XV tells the story of Noctis, Prince of Lucis, as he makes his way to his wedding with his fiancé, Luna. His best friends join him on the road trip. During the trip, he learns that his homeland, Lucis, has been taken over and his father, King Regis, has been killed. Over the course of the journey, he gains the strength to uncover the truth about the tragic events surrounding Insomnia, his kingdom, and take his homeland back.
GameStop was one of the many stores open a day early to help gamers get their hands on this much-anticipated title. Several gamers came out to pick up their pre-ordered copies of Final Fantasy. While they waited, they could watch the film Kingsglaive, which is based on the Final Fantasy XV videogame, eat pizza, and enter for prizes. Store manager, Steven Mee said, “While this isn’t the biggest turnout for a midnight release we’ve ever had, it’s still not bad. It’s modest.”
Early reviews of Final Fantasy XV have been generally positive, further cementing confidence back into the fans that may have been turned off by the recent numbered entry, Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII. Final Fantasy XIII was very divisive amongst the fans and forced a statement from the game director, Motomu Toriyama. In an interview with Kotaku, Toriyama said “We think many reviewers are looking at Final Fantasy XIII from a western point of view.” He went on to say “When you look at most Western RPGs, they just dump you in a big open world, and let you do whatever you like…it becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when you’re given that much freedom.” Despite these shortcomings, Final Fantasy XIII still sold over 6 million copies worldwide.
2015 was a difficult year for Square-Enix, with bad sales and many negative reviews. However, the company started the recovery process by the end of that year and is hoping that the latest version of Final Fantasy will help Square-Enix to end 2016 on a high note.
Implementing open world freedom in Final Fantasy XV was a move that seems to have paid off for Square-Enix, but only time will tell.