Final Fantasy XV was a video game that was almost a decade in the making. Initially planned by Square as Final Fantasy Versus XIII back in 2007/2008 over time it was adapted and reworked to become the first game in the long running series for the new generation of consoles in 2016. As with any game in this series it had it’s fans and those who hate it because it changed everything again. People should really get to used to that as no two games in the series ever play the same way.
But the one thing that most people can agree on is that it looks spectacular (and yes, that image is straight from the game). The level of detail in characters, landscape, culture, and creatures was clearly the work of a large team who really put the effort in.
Final Fantasy XV isn’t just a game – it’s a multiverse. There’s a CGI Movie featuring Sean Bean, Aaron Paul and Lena Headey (Kingsglaive), there’s an anime series (Brotherhood), there are comics and spin-off games (including a VR fishing game!). This breadth of media justifies the production of a large glossy art book to allow people to show off their work.
And the book is spectacularly glossy. It’s 220 pages, in a landscape format, that is pretty much entirely art work. There are interesting sketches (one early on that I love is a series of pencil drawings of the main character – the guy in the picture here – from the ages of 3 to 30), detailed CGI renders, watercolour art work. And then there’s the quirky bits as there can’t be many video games where they spend that much effort on hair styles or getting a meal that looks good enough to eat (literally – they tested the recipes they came up with in reality and then rendered the results!)
If you love the game then this really feels like a must-buy. You’re probably like me with hours of time invested (100+) and these are characters in a world you care about. This art book is a beautiful way to see that work up close and to understand the inspirations behind it, and to maybe see those tiny details (like writing on a bottle that you never see in game) that show the attention they gave to creating an immersive world.