Frontline Marketing

How ‘Final Fantasy XV’ Promotions Were Powered By Its Fans

By | November 28, 2016 |

This week, Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 2 launches on PC and The Crew gets a Calling All Units expansion. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is also now available, harnessing the power of both a Horseman of the Apocalypse and how nostalgia fuels remastered video games. But the star of the week, aside from turkey leftovers, is a not-so-little title by Square Enix that has a lot of gamers “fantasizing” about November 29.

Final Fantasy XV

If you have any Final Fantasy fans on your payroll, don’t be too surprised if they call in “sick” this week as they return to the world of Eos for about a million hours of gameplay. This wildly-imaginative (and often confusing) video game franchise has inspired full-length animated films, a concert series and has even been the face of Louis Vuitton—but despite some very clever marketing, nostalgia plays a major role in why fans return again and again.

To explore this concept, Square Enix invited game developers and fans to share how the franchise affected their lives using the hashtag, #FFLegacies. The Final Fantasy XV: New Legacy campaign culminated into a video that showcased these memories and ideas, while allowing a chosen few to preview the game for themselves and showing their reactions to the camera. “By having fans share their personal experience,” Square Enix says on the campaign website, “it serves as a reminder that much like how each Final Fantasy has a completely different story, world and characters, we all bring distinctive and new perspectives to the legacy that is Final Fantasy.”

Lucky fans in the UK got to check out the game a week early and have a bit of experiential fun when Square Enix teamed up with IGN for the Final Fantasy XV IGN Premiere event in London. The exclusive event on November 22 featured life-sized creature statues, game demos and even a potion-making station. For those who weren’t able to attend, there was a one-hour live broadcast from the activation with developer interviews and never-before-seen game content.

Microsoft was definitely on board to help promote the title, partnering with Square Enix to create a special edition FFXV-themed Xbox One that features a unique, Magitek armor design. In honor of its DC cross-over event, the CW is giving away one of these consoles along with an Xbox One code for the game through November 30. Whether or not a fan gets their hands on the special console, anyone with an Xbox can check out the Final Fantasy XV Experience, where they can view character and creature profiles, watch trailers and participate in a quiz.

Sony got in on the action too, offering a special Deluxe Edition PlayStation 4 Slim bundle that features its own custom console and controller along with a steelbook, Blu-ray of the Final Fantasy movie and a number of exclusive in-game items. Sony also offered exclusive pre-order bonuses for PS4 that include an in-game weapon, vehicle skin, DLC and a PlayStation home screen theme.

Amazon Japan participated in a publicity stunt in which randomly-selected shipments arrived in boxes that appeared to have been ripped open, exposing copies of Final Fantasy XV inside. The stunt worked, with recipients posting pictures and comments on social media. Meanwhile, in London, renowned chef Jamie Oliver created a special menu for his restaurant to commemorate the game from November 22 to the 29.

Speaking of food, the US is getting its first-ever Final Fantasy-themed beverage thanks to Jones Soda and Target. Those who show proof of purchase for Final Fantasy XV on either PlayStation 4 or Xbox One will receive a free bottle of Wiz’s Energizing Elixer at participating Target locations. The orange and cream soda-flavored soda can also be purchased separately in-store.

As mentioned earlier, the game series is notoriously time-consuming and so imaginative that it borders on confusing. Such was the case when Final Fantasy XV was featured on Conan O’Brien’s Clueless Gamer segment. O’Brien, along with guest Elijah Wood found themselves more dumbfounded than excited after spending more time in the game than any other on the show. “I don’t know what we achieved,” O’Brien commented. “I don’t know what we were trying to achieve. I have no sense of satisfaction.”

O’Brien later yelled, “You’re a mass murderer of people’s time!” at the developers as they laughed. “Babies will never be born because of you! Crops will not be brought in from the fields! That said, good job.”