Final Fantasy 15 is coming out precisely when you thought it would. Plus: free anime, feature-length movie, mini-game and so much more.
Today's Final Fantasy 15 event was spoiled when a lot of the pertinent information leaked ahead of embargo. As the leaks suggested, the long-awaited RPG will release on September 30.
The stage set included a big red button hosts Greg Miller and Tim Gettys pushed to reveal the release date. Miller made a little dig about how his peers at Gamespot "pushed the button early" to leak this news.
Again, as we gathered from the leaks, a free, standalone 4.5GB spin-off game will be available today on PS4 and Xbox One. This is the young Noctis thing, and it includes battle gameplay and even a drivable car. It's called Platinum Demo, but is all new-content rather than a chunk of Final Fantasy 15. It has been designed to appeal to everyone - not just existing fans - but will unlock free DLC for Final Fantasy 15.
Two new trailers packed with gameplay footage were shown. One was set to the strains of a cover of Stand By Me performed by Florence + The Machine. Vocalist Florence Welch sent a video message expressing her pleasure in being involved in a series she described as magical and epic.
The second, lengthier trailer is in Japanese, with subtitles:
More videos showed chocobo gameplay, which includes drifting; open world driving; battles against a variety of monsters including a Behemoth, with plenty of magic and special skills; a montage of locations; and Platinum Demo gameplay. Here's the demo in action:
Despite the leaks, there were a few surprises. We also got a preview of a new anime series, Brotherhood: Final Fantasy, filling in the backstory of the four main characters. It will be released for free online; Episode 1 is available now, and all five episodes will be released before launch. There are two trailers, and you can also watch the first episode here.
In addition to this free series, Square Enix announced a new feature-length CGI movie called Kingsglaive. It has been in the works in secret for three years, and will release for download and streaming, worldwide, before Final Fantasy 15 launches. It features Luna and Regis in a story that takes place during the events of Final Fantasy 15.
Luna Freya is voiced by Game of Thrones star Lena Headey. Fellow Game of Thrones star Sean Bean plays Regis, so I guess he dies. You know who else is in it? Aaron Paul, best known for Breaking Bad but also one of the leads in the Need for Speed movie. Never forget. Paul plays a Glaive - a kind of knight.
We only have the Japanese trailer at the moment, because Square Enix is a deeply mysterious beast: It was on the Sony Pictures channel! Of course. Thanks, Gematsu.
Final Fantasy 15's mini-game is called Justice Monsters Five, and it's a pinball-style affair which will release on Android, iOS and Windows 10 before release. You can register now if you fancy the gameplay in the video below. Here's the English trailer:
Cruising on the hype, Square Enix announced a Deluxe Edition of Final Fantasy 15 which includes a steelbook case, a copy of King's Glaive on disc, and extra DLC. Meanwhile, the Ultimate Collector's Edition includes that as well as a Noctis statue, a soundtrack, a special box, a hard cover art book and more DLC. You can pre-order those from the Square Enix store from 9:00pm PST today. The latter edition is exclusive to Square Enix's web front and limited to 30,000 copies.
Also, regarding airships: the car flies.
The presentation opened with an appearance by original series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who said the series had wandered from its original path of tackling new challenges - and that he's excited to see if Final Fantasy 15 brings it back on track.
Next we saw a new piece of art called Big Bang, by long time series concept artist Yoshitaka Amano, which had been animated in 3D. Hopefully we'll have that video shortly, too.
Amano himself attended the event, and stood to accept the adulation of the crowd, as did Final Fantasy 15 composer Yoko Shimomura. Long-term series composer Nobuo Uematsu could not attend, but sent a video message.
Square Enix also announced it has partnered with Audi to produce one production model of the R8 in the game. It is not for sale.
Final Fantasy 15 is coming to PS4 and Xbox One. It has been in the works for ten years, having been announced in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus 13. In the intervening years it has migrated platforms, broken out of the Fabula Nova Cystallis sequence to do its own thing, and been handed over to Final Fantasy Type-0 director Hajime Tabata so that a (possibly disgruntled) Tatsuya Nomura could focus on Kingdom Hearts 3.
Demo screenshots and artwork