Final Fantasy XV dances between freedom and restrictions. We have an open world to explore, to a point, though it eventually opens up again. We follow only four men, though other important figures may occasionally appear as the story requires, but it always comes back to them. Ignis, Prompto, and Gladiolus are three consistent and extraordinary figures that act as our rocks. Even when we’re delayed by side quests or minutiae, these three are there to keep us centered. Their growth and development throughout Final Fantasy XV is what makes this an important game. Not only that, it shows how important Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV is. The bond between these characters keeps us enraptured, and the brief animated series makes everyone’s role even more poignant.
Note: there will be spoilers for Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV ahead, but there won’t be spoilers for Final Fantasy XV.
Prompto is a character that can be divisive. I’ve seen some liken him to “that friend” you take on a road trip. The one who insists on taking pictures of everything. (My head canon is that Prompto is taking the pictures of Ignis’ meals and posting them to the Final Fantasy XV-equivalent of Instagram.) He’s guy who doesn’t shut up. The person who asks to see the world’s largest ball of twine. In a way, this is true. But, when you consider his place in the group, it makes sense. For those who didn’t watch Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV, this sort of behavior may border on obnoxious. But, the more time you spend with Prompto and episodes you see, the easier it us to understand.
See, Prompto is thrilled to be there. This is the one person who willingly follows Noctis. Ignis and Gladiolus first came into the prince’s life out of an obligation. Prompto? He’s just an ordinary kid who happened to go to school with Noctis. He was a shy, lonely, chubby boy who only got to know him because he found one of Lunafreya’s puppies, Pryna, helped her, and asked him to be his friend. It’s because of Noctis that Prompto lost weight and got out of his shell. The nature of Noctis’ life surely keeps them from spending time together, what with royal obligations. This is a rare chance to actually get out in the world and be ordinary with his best friend. Of course he’s going to act like a dork and be at his most enthusiastic. With Prompto, we have our true friend in Final Fantasy XV. We get to see him grow into an individual who truly does belong at Noctis’ side.
Ignis is the dependable one. He’s basically Final Fantasy XV’s team dad. If the guys need something, odds are he’s taking care of it. He’s gathering information for people, getting us safely from place to place, and making sure they eat healthy. His not agreeing to drive after dark is the best. It’s like he wants to do his best to protect everyone. Even when he should be the one most protected, he comes through as the person everyone can depend upon.
It’s all because this is what Ignis has spent his life training for. Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV shows this. When he went to school, he did so knowing he’d be one of Noctis’ officers. He did his best to prepare Noctis for his role over the years. His skill in cooking even comes from trying to recreate something Noctis had eaten in Tenebrae. He’s a perfectionist and always trying to be the guide, because that’s what he’s been groomed for. Throughout Final Fantasy XV, we get to see this dependable man grow, learn that he can let other people take control sometimes, and sometimes even lighten up. Seeing him step down and others step up is one of the things that makes the game interesting.
Gladiolus is the big brother. He’s towers over everyone and protects them. This is a man who knows exactly where his place is in the world and embraces it. Which means he expects others to step up when they need to and accept their own responsibilities. There are moments in Final Fantasy XV when he can come across as a bit harsh. Like he’s this blunt big brother to not only Iris, but all three of his friends. But, his brusque behavior is never cruel. He’ll challenge people, but always has a purpose.
It’s Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV that first shows this. We see Gladiolus and Noctis warm to one another. Gladiolus believes the prince to be stuck up, while Noctis never seemed to put the necessary effort in during training sessions with his bodyguard. It’s only after Noctis sneaks away with Iris and takes responsibility, so she won’t shoulder any blame, that the two connect and begin to understand one another. Gladiolus pushes Noctis to be better back then, because he knows he has that potential. He’s still doing it in Final Fantasy XV. In fact, whenever he does give the prince a reality check, it draws a perfect parallel with the behavior in their youth. Only now, Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV has established the loving foundation motivating it.
If it weren’t for these interactions between the characters, Final Fantasy XV wouldn’t pull us in the way it does. We wouldn’t be able to spend over 50 hours going around Eos with these guys. Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV establishes each of them, building this perfect foundation, and the game goes on to build on that and offer all sorts of growth. We see respect being earned, people learning to step back and rely on one another, find their place, and just enjoy being together for as long as they can. Final Fantasy XV is a personality driven game, and Prompto, Ignis, and Gladiolus have the best ones.
Final Fantasy XV is available for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Brotherhood: Final Fantasy’s five episodes can be watched for free on the Final Fantasy XV YouTube channel.