After 10 long years, the 15th main entry in the Final Fantasy series will launch tomorrow on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It’s a huge game, one that spans dozens of hours, a massive world, and countless quests. But there’s more to Final Fantasy XV than just the game. And in order to get the most out of the experience — and fully understand exactly what’s going on — you should do your homework. Luckily, in this case doing your homework means watching an action movie and a goofy anime.
This five-episode anime series is available for free on YouTube, and it serves as a prequel to the main game. But more than setting up the story or the world, Brotherhood provides some much-needed background on the main cast of characters. Final Fantasy XV is a game about four close friends going on a long, arduous journey together. But while you see them grow over the course of the game, you don’t learn a whole lot about how they became friends in the first place.
Brotherhood, on the other hand, focuses almost entirely on this dynamic. Each member of the quartet is the focus of an episode, and you’ll learn not only about their personal histories, but also how they came to be so close with Prince Noctis, the main character in the game. Watching the show will help you understand things like why Ignis is such a devoted chef, or why Gladiolus is so tough. It’s also a lot of fun: Brotherhood comfortably shifts between silly and serious moments, making it a joy to watch.
These details may not seem all that important, but they help you form a deeper connection with the main cast of the game. And that connection is a large part of what makes Final Fantasy XV such a memorable experience.
This feature-length CG movie takes place concurrently with the events of the game. While Final Fantasy XV features Prince Noctis venturing out on his own, Kingsglaive follows the story of his father, King Regis, in the glittering metropolis of Insomnia.
Some very serious drama goes down during the early portion of Noctis’ road trip — the kind of drama that results in continent-spanning wars — but it’s really only hinted at in the game. You only get some brief glimpses of events unfolding in Insomnia (many of which are actually pulled straight from the movie). The game tells you the main bullet points — who died, who’s going to war, etc. — but the hows and whys are made much clearer if you watch Kingsglaive.
That said, Kingsglaive isn’t exactly a great movie. It has an all-star cast including the likes of Sean Bean and Lena Headey, along with some absolutely gorgeous visuals, but it’s often confusing and messy. It introduces forgettable characters and bombards you with impenetrable lore, and stitches these moments together with outlandish-yet-entertaining action scenes.
But even still, the information that it does provide is important, and will help you understand the story and characters of Final Fantasy XV better when you start playing.