Final Fantasy XV released earlier this week to a very positive critical and fan reception. This game was designed for both Final Fantasy veterans as well as an attempt to bring new players into the franchise. One of the biggest points of confusion for Final Fantasy newbies is the games are numbered but unless it’s X and X-2 or XIII, XIII-2 and Lightning returns none of the games are direct sequels. You could easily write an academic research paper on the similarities between the games over the last 30 years thematically but I’ll leave that for the scholars and instead point out five items that Final Fantasy XV does that you can find traces of throughout the Final Fantasy franchise.
Crystals: These originally showed up in the first Final Fantasy as elemental orbs. Four warriors of Light each had one and needed to reactivate their power. By Final Fantasy III (in Japan, not the US) the first real mention of crystals started to appear. At present we’ve seen an entire spin off series revolving around crystals as well, the aptly named Crystal Chronicles. FFXI’s crafting focused on elemental crystals, or shards. Final Fantasy XIII heavily revolved around crystals and people turning into crystals and back to human again. That one got really convoluted, really quick. FFXIV has crystals located all around the world that players can teleport between. Finally in Final Fantasy XV we see a world at war to take control of the last remaining crystal.
Summons: These got their start with Final Fantasy III (again the Japanese one, not the renumbered VI in the US). In Final Fantasy VI summoning espers, a sort of beast you captured in a crystal, was prominent in the combat system. Some of the summons that became series regulars are Ifrit, Shiva, and Odin. In Final Fantasy XI and XIV summoners were a class with access to some of these same avatars. In Final Fantasy XV summons also return and play an important part of a prophecy. As you progress through the game Noctis will gain access to these gods and be able to summon them and assist in combat.
Armor and Weapons: Throughout the series each game has done it a little different when it comes to handling classes, sometimes referred to as jobs. XV is no different. This entry doesn’t have jobs. Each character is unique and has a preferred primary weapon. These weapons however strikingly resemble weapons that are fancied by classes from the previous games. Most noticeably the lance and it resemblance to the dragoon class from previous entries. Also a lot of the accessory items carry over names and status effects from previous entries, such as the ribbon.
Monsters: Final Fantasy has some pretty iconic monsters as well that it has carried over throughout the series. One of the most dreadful being the marlboro. Each entry to the series has mixed it up and added a few unique monsters to each game but typically there is a steady cast of recurring characters. Coeurls, basilisks, bombs, and flans can all be found in XV. There is even the cute Chocobo which can be a mount in most games but is a monster to be fought in others.
Camps: This is a direct call back to the original Final Fantasy when you saved the game and healed up by creating a camp. You could pitch a tent or erect a cabin. Both of these would show up on the overworld map and your group would be as good as new. Tents have also showed up in IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, & IX, but disappeared after that. It’s nice to see them go back and pick up that thread 30 years after it started and pull it forward after all this time.