If you’re anything like me, you know the struggle that comes when you want to get into a new thing, be that a series, a game, or what have you, but you want to experience it the right way. You might finally come around to Orange is the New Black in the sixth season, but you also don’t know what’s going on, so you go back to watch it from the beginning to get caught up. You don’t want anything lost on you that people who have been with the show season to season would easily understand. In video games, sometimes a series like Resident Evil may get this treatment, as people want to play it from the beginning to appreciate how it’s changed over the years.
Many people also play episodic games like this. Unless they’re able to keep up with the release schedule of the latest season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, or Life is Strange, they wait until the season has concluded and then jump in to catch up, so they can experience all of the content at once. I would count myself as one of these people – absorbing all that material at once creates a fuller experience. If you only play episode to episode every couple of months, you might lose some plot threads along the way.
This brings me to my current predicament with Final Fantasy XV. I’m a huge fan of the series, and would really like to play it. However, since I was in college when it initially came out, it wasn’t until recently that I was able to buy a system that could play the game. Now that I’ve waited so long though, there’s a boatload of downloadable content and multimedia projects to get alongside it, and more on the way. I’d rather just wait until I can get all of the extra content at once, so I can sit down with everything and take it all in as a singular experience.
Initially, that was the plan earlier this year, as the Royal Edition of Final Fantasy XV that released on consoles (and for the first time on PC) back in March had all previously existing DLC in a season pass, along with a few new features. While there was still some side content I would have had to get ahold of, I wasn’t worried about that. I figured this would be a great jumping on point. Then, however, it was announced that there would be even more DLC coming in 2019.
I didn’t buy the game then, as planned, but I still want to play it. I now know that the content for 2019 was originally planned for 2018, and that the Royal Edition wasn’t really supposed to be the end. More than that, there’s content, like a crossover event with Assassin’s Creed Origins that ran for a limited time only, and other content, like the PSVR exclusive fishing game, Monsters of the Deep, that I’m not sure I even want to play, much less buy a whole VR headset for. This also isn’t even touching on the mobile game tie-ins that have already come and gone.
This is my dilemma. My perfect scenario for playing Final Fantasy XV isn’t going to happen the way I want it to. Not all of the content will be there, and to wait now for all of the DLC to come out would mean probably cracking it open in 2020, if not later. I feel torn about this, because I’m afraid if I force myself to play it now, I won’t enjoy it the way I should. I mean, it’s a video game, it’s gotten good reviews, and there’s even a mobile version out there I could check out if I’m feeling extra cautious. Chances are I’ll probably enjoy it, even if I put myself on the clock to experience it.
I also don’t want it to seem like I think all of this extra content is annoying, or a chore in some way. I’m actually very impressed Square Enix turned around a troubled ten year development cycle into a single-player game that still gets DLC three years after launch. That doesn’t happen often, and I much prefer this to the sequels we got for earlier Final Fantasy games, like Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII-3. It’s all about perspective – when I think of how much content there is for Final Fantasy XV, it seems daunting. I just have to psych myself up for it, and that probably won’t be too hard.
And really, if I lay out everything I would reasonably expect to watch/read/play through, it doesn’t sound as taxing as the content in an MMO like Final Fantasy XIV. It’s a time investment, sure, but one I could blast through in a month if I had the time (which I don’t). The five-episode anime, Brotherhood, can be found on Crunchyroll, the CG movie Kingsglaive is on DVD, and I can get the novel Prologue Parting Ways literally right here.
There are a couple side-games still up, like the mobile game, A New Empire, which I probably won’t play, and a side-scrolling brawler, A King’s Tale, which is free and supposedly pretty short. As for the DLC itself, there’s plenty of themed packs and playable episodes centered around different supporting characters during the events of the game. There are ones out now for Prompto, Gladiolus, and Ignis – plus a multiplayer component, Comrades, to consider too. The new content coming in 2019 will be in the form of more character episodes, expanding to other characters that are met along the way of the main story.
I’m ignoring little bits here and there (I’m not getting Tekken 7 just to play as Noctis), but – this seems doable. I feel like I’m actually talking myself into taking this dive. Like, really, is there a better time to jump into Final Fantasy XV than right now? With no more DLC planned until 2019, this is the best opportunity for someone like me to actually get caught up, and experience the new content properly when it comes out. Kind of like catching up on a TV show during the summer to be ready when the new season debuts in the fall. It’s the best time to get started, because there isn’t anything new to get in the way.
Plus, who knows how long the Final Fantasy XV train will keep chugging. It might end in 2019, or it could end whenever a Final Fantasy XVI is announced. Those two events might even happen around the same time. The honest truth is that FInal Fantasy XV piques my interest, and I should really stop sitting and admiring from afar like an analytical bystander and just play the thing already.
That’s nice to say on paper – but will I actually do it? Will I actually go out and put money down on the game once I’ve left the confines of this writing process? I think I’ve convinced myself to do it – really, I promise I will. (Late Edit: I did. I bought the game before I finished editing this article). I suppose the only way to prove it is to come back with an article that catalogues my impressions when I’m all caught up. Keep on the lookout for that.
After all, if I can’t have the complete Final Fantasy XV experience like I wanted, and can’t even have the same experience that players had when the game first launched, I might as well get the best experience with the game I possibly can right now. One that cuts out all the fat and shows me why this game is so beloved and talked about today. Here’s hoping it hits me the right way – I’ll report back soon with the results.
Disclaimer: Due to how much I detail that Final Fantasy XV is currently available and has a lot of DLC to buy, I just want to mention I am no way affiliated with Square Enix. I am just very into what this game is about.