Final Fantasy XV begins by saying it’s a game for both newcomers and fans, but it’s people who have been following the series for years that might get a little extra bit of enjoyment out of the adventure. The game is filled with Easter eggs and references to previous Final Fantasy games. This goes beyond the soundtracks for earlier installments, which can be purchased on outpost shops and listened to in the Regalia or on the go with an mp3 player. It even transcends the familiar monsters and summons, like the goblins wearing clothes like the ones their ancestors wore in Final Fantasy or Carbuncle helping you through the tutorial.
Of course, familiar weapons and abilities show up again. A rendition of Sephiroth’s Masamune was offered as a pre-order weapon. There are machinery weapons, with an Auto Crossbow and Circular Saw, like ones Edgar used in Final Fantasy VI, available within the first two chapters. There’s even a nod to Final Fantasy IV’s Kain, and all the other entries’ dragoons, with a jump attack tied to spears. I’m not far enough to find this installment’s version of Ultima Weapon, but do know Noctis’ starting Engine Blade has an Ultima form.
The magic system calls to mind Final Fantasy VIII. As you may recall, you didn’t have an endless wealth of magic that was based on your MP. You’d need to draw from Draw Points or monsters to get certain spells. Final Fantasy XV pulls from that with fire, ice, and lightning elemental outcroppings where Noctis draws elements to craft spells and place them in flasks. You’ll then use Elemancy to create magic spells beyond the standard Fire/Fira/Firaga level. Characters then have to equip spells to use them. It’s a nice nod to one of the more unconventional magic systems from previous games. Also, while we’re on the topic, putting in 99 fire elements and tossing in a Hunter’s Medal will give you lots of copies of a familiar Final Fantasy spell – Flare.
There are also shout outs to familiar mascot characters. Chocobos are a given, what with being able to rent and race the birds. They aren’t the only ones that show up. Not far from the Hammerhead, close to a haven between it and the Weaverwilds, you can find a level 15 Cactuar. He’s a fast little guy that’s constantly on the move, but also susceptible to fire spells. He gives 6,000 experience points and appears during the day. Iris, Gladiolus’ little sister, also brings Moogles to the game. She’ll make one as a lucky charm for the party, and you might even see her use one in battle when she joins as a temporary guest. Once you get your Moogle, you can even have Noctis throw it during a fight, just like she does.
But, when it comes right down to it, Prompto is our best source for Final Fantasy Easter eggs. Did you just win a battle? He might sing the victory jingle. Get him excited about seeing the chocobo ranch for the first time? He sings his own little song, set to the standard chocobo theme. In case you can’t read the lyrics, since Final Fantasy XV suffers from the tiny text epidemic plaguing games, it goes, “I want to ride my chocobo all day.” Are you following Dave’s questline that has you recovering dog tags? He’ll reference Final Fantasy Type-0 and note that people who die are forgotten. He’s clearly a video game lover who know what he’s talking about, even referencing Final Fantasy games, and other RPGs, where one magic key can unlock everything when the group finds themselves in front of a locked door Noctis is naturally able to open.
These are only some of the things I’ve noticed as I’ve played Final Fantasy XV. Depending on closely you do or don’t look, you might see more nostalgic nods. A friend of mine is riding around with Bomb decals on her car. The further you go, more money you spend, and extra effort you put into investigating every area, the more you notice how much attention went into referencing elements of the series we’ve loved.
Final Fantasy XV is available for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.