Square Enix is kicking off the fall season with a new entry in its long-running Final Fantasy series. The company has already begun promoting Final Fantasy XV, set to release in September for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Square announced the release date and provided a first look at the game in March on a special Final Fantasy Uncovered event, and a playable demo was released shortly afterwards to provide players a taste of what’s to come.
However, the game is part of a bigger picture, as the publisher will also be releasing a new CG-animated film to help tell story and build anticipation. Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive will mark the first animated film from Square Enix since its 2006 release of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which ties in with the 1997 video game of the same name.
Square Enix heavily promoted Kingsglaive over the weekend by releasing a new trailer for the film, which features the voice talents of Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Sean Bean (Legends) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones). It’s set for a limited theatrical release on August 19, followed by a home video release on October 4—which is less than a week after Final Fantasy XV launches.
A film coinciding with the release of a video game is a bold idea, although Square Enix is no stranger to filmmaking. In 2001, the publisher released the film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within to theaters. Despite its stunning visuals, it ended up being a financial disappointment, resulting in the closure of Square Pictures. However, Square later took a different approach by releasing Advent Children directly to the home video market in 2006, which was a big hit.
Director Takeshi Nozue assured fans that the release of a film like Kingsglaive is vital to the success of the Final Fantasy brand. “The current generation consoles haven’t necessarily taken off around the world,” said Nozue, speaking with Polygon. “We wanted to be able to reach a wider audience. A film gave us a lot more opportunity to reach more people.”
So far, response to the film has been off the charts. “We can’t believe the scores that we’ve got,” noted Nozue. “It’s been great. We’re really happy about it. Some people are saying it’s 100 times better than Advent Children. That feels really gratifying.”
Square has spared no expense pushing both the film and the video game, with everything from in-store campaigns for Final Fantasy XV to tie-ins with popular talents, including the voice actors for Kingsglaive and Florence + The Machine, which covered Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” for the game’s soundtrack.
Square also teamed up with DJ Afrojack to mix music for a special trailer for the game, highlighting its intricate battle system.
To open up the story even further, Square Enix has produced a special animated series called Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV, which focuses on the misadventures of Crown Prince Noctis and his three comrades, the main characters for the game. Episode one released back in March, and other episodes will release over the next few months, leading up to the game’s arrival in stores and on digital.
Last but certainly not least, the action of Final Fantasy XV won’t just be limited to consoles, as Square Enix is also preparing a mobile game called Justice Monsters Five, which will also release in late September. The game will focus on a pinball-style mini-game with “role-playing elements with some of the franchise’s most iconic monsters.” It will be playable in the main console release as well, but it gives players something to do when they’re on the go. There’s no word yet on pricing, but it could very well be free-to-play.