Final Fantasy XV is finally released. After years of waiting, a name change, and a jump to the current generation, fans are finally able to experience the journey that was ten years in the making. While it is a very different FF experience when it comes to gameplay, you still have all of the over-the-top characters and deep story that you can expect from the beloved franchise.
While the main focus is usually on Noctis and his allies as they embark on a huge roadtrip, there are actually a lot of bigger wheels in motion that control the destinies and fates of all parties involved. It can be a lot to take in, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Every part of Final Fantasy XV ties into another in some way, helping everything to come full circle.
This goes without saying, but there will be a lot of spoilers ahead as we dive into the different overarching stories, characters, and the ending of the game. If you don’t want to be spoiled in any way, you should definitely turn back now.
FINAL WARNING: HEAVY FINAL FANTASY XV SPOILERS AHEAD!
Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII – The king of Lucis and the father of Final Fantasy XV’s lead protagonist, Noctis. He is the 113th of his line, and is known as being a great warrior as well as a noble leader.
Noctis Lucis Caelum – Prince of Lucis, Noctis is the main protagonist of the story, and the character that players will control throughout the entire game. He’s a bit bratty, but is loyal to his people even if he does at times seem dismissive. The game begins with him heading to marry Lunafreya Nox Fleuret.
Prompto Argentum – Prompto is one of Noctis’ guards, and has been his friend for a long time. He’s the comedic relief, always singing or mentioning some hilarious thought that passes through his head. He’s your ranged fighter, focusing on pistol and machinery combat. He’s also the party’s photographer, chronicling the entire roadtrip.
Gladiolus Amicitia – Known as Gladio to his friends, he serves as the sworn shield to Prince Noctis. They’ve been friends since childhood, with Gladiolus’ father, Clarus Amicitia, serving the same role for Regis. He’s the most stern of the bunch, often acting as the big brother of the group.
Ignis Scientia – Strategist, chef, driver. Iggy (as his friends like to call him) takes on many roles in your party, having been a close friend of Noctis since childhood days and uses his amazing analytical skills and strategic way of thinking to come up with battle plans.
Iris Amicitia – Iris is Gladio’s younger sister. While she’s not a part of the main roadtrip, she does help by providing information and even joining your for a short while.
Lunafreya Nox Fleuret – Noctis’ fiance, and the Oracle of Eos. Lunafreya is a lot more important to the Final Fantasy XV narrative than is initially let on. As Oracle, she must commune with the Astrals as she is sworn to support the chosen king.
Cindy Aurum – Cindy is the mechanic of Final Fantasy XV. She has a southern accent and a love for technology. She’ll make sure the Regalia is running as best it can while also taking care of towing and car delivering for you. You can find her in Hammerhead.
Cid Sophiar – Cid is Cindy’s grandfather. He’s close friends with Regis, the reigning king at the start of Final Fantasy XV, and a highly skilled mechanic himself. Now that he’s old, his granddaughter takes care of vehicles, but he’ll still help out by upgrading your weapons.
Ravus Nox Fleuret – Lunafreya’s elder brother, the former prince of Tenebrae is now a high ranking officer in the Imperial Army. He holds a deep disdain for Noctis and his father.
Aranea Highwind – Aranea is the Imperial Airborne Division Commodore. Basically, she’s a tough as nails antagonist who will hunt you from the skies, but not everything is as it seems.
Ardyn Izunia – Chancellor of Niflheim, which is the nation behind the Imperial Army, he should be your main enemy, yet he constantly seems to want to help you.
Insomnia, the Crystal, and the Chosen King
Before jumping right into the events of Final Fantasy XV, it’s necessary to understand why our protagonists are at the center of attention. If you can look past all of the magical swords, powerful gods and goddesses, and the insane popularity of Cup Noodles. Noctis is the prince of Lucis and he resides in the royal city of Insomnia. But there’s much more to it than that.
Insomnia is protected by the king’s endless vigil, guarding the last Crystal known to exist. The Crystal is a gift from the gods from a time long forgotten, categorized as mere myths and legends by those who know no better. It has the power to repel darkness and to keep those who use its power safe. Since it is the last remaining one, it serves as a bastion for the last of those who don’t want to be conquered and enslaved by the Niflheim. Regis uses the power to keep a magical barrier around the city until the Chosen King rises and uses the Crystal to banish the darkness once and for all.
That Chosen King happens to be none other than Noctis who, after falling into a coma, is visited by an Astral and selected to be the Guardian of the Light. There is an encroaching darkness, and the Astrals (which are essentially gods in Final Fantasy XV) need someone they can imbue with power in order to push it back. It’s no secret that he is destined to be this royal champion of light, and that makes him a target which must be protected at all costs.
The Road Trip’s True Purpose
Final Fantasy XV kicks off with a simple premise, Noctis and his pals (serving as his guardsmen) are to go to Altissia where the prince is to wed Lady Lunafreya. Noctis doesn’t leave Insomnia on the best of terms with his father. There is clearly some turmoil, as Regis tries to show affection to his son, only to have it brushed off as he hurries away.
While it’s true that Noctis must meet up with Lunafreya, it’s not only to get married. There was to be a meeting discussing a possible treaty between Niflheim and Lucis. Regis already knew about a plan to invade Insomnia, so he needed to get Noctis out of the city so that the Chosen King had time to grow and prepare. In essence, the king sent his son away so that the prince may live, while the king dies. Before he perishes, he makes sure the Ring of the Lucii is entrusted to Lunafreya, which ends up being a large part of the Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV film.
Noctis soon finds out about the horrific fate that had befallen Insomnia as the Imperial Army rained down fire upon the city, killing thousands, including the king. Naturally he tries to head back to the place he once called home, only to find it a desolate wasteland. Now, the road trip beings anew, only with a new purpose. He is still going to head to Altissia to see Lunafreya, but he now wants revenge on the Niflheim Empire.
The Royal Arms
Now that the road trip has a new goal, Noctis is going to need some help if he hopes to truly avenge his father and his home. Cor Leonis, a high ranking member of the Lucian army who is known as the Immortal Shogun, locates Noctis in order to assist him with not only coming to terms with what has happened but also with finding the strength necessary to make things right. He, along with very few others, managed to survive the attack on Insomnia, and he has sworn to do his very best to ensure that all the souls lost that day receive justice.
One of the ways that Cor helps Noctis in Final Fantasy XV is by introducing him to the Royal Arms; thirteen powerful weapons entombed with the Lucian kings who once wielded them, each encompassing a particular trait that a king must have. These very weapons are what power the Armiger, that slick looking special ability of Noctis’ that allows him to wield multiple swords at once, cutting through anything brave enough to stand in his way.
While you don’t necessarily have to collect all of the Royal Arms, they become an important part of your journey and do offer some detours for a a young prince seeking power.
The Oracle and “The Six”
Also tied to Noctis’ growth are the Astrals. These are six gods who have been a part of Eos’ very development, said to have shaped the world themselves. It is rumored that they appeared along with the meteor that created the Disc. They wield the power of the light, which is what emanates from the Crystal that has been defended by Lucian kings for a millennium. In order to push back the darkness and bring justice to his people, Noctis will need to earn the support of each of these beings. Commonly known as “The Six,” they are:
- Titan the Archaean
- Ramuh the Fulgurian
- Shiva the Glacian
- Leviathan the Hydraean
- Bahamut the Draconian
- Ifrit the Infernian
Royal as he may be, though, Noctis is unable to commune with the gods simply by showing up. That ability belongs to Lunafreya who has ascended to the position of Oracle. It’s a position that is passed down from generation to generation, and it grants a person the ability to communicate with the Astrals in order to maintain stability within the world, as well as cleanse it. It’s one of the reasons she was targeted by the Niflheim Empire, particularly by Ardyn. Thanks to her interference, Noctis was able to gain the support of of Titan and Ramuh and continued onward to Altissia to seek aid from the Leviathan, goddess of the sea.
An Oracle’s job is not only to speak with higher powers, though. It is Lunafreya’s responsibility to also ensure that the king is able to serve his people properly. This means even sacrificing one’s own safety.
Once Noctis has his short-term goals (Royal Arms and Astrals), he finally begins his quest in earnest. Kingsglaive ended with Luna having one goal: meet up with Noctis in Altissia and give him the Ring of the Lucii. Noctis knew that he too had to head to Altissia, and after spending quite a bit of time mulling over his purpose and whether or not he was capable of achieving his goals, he finally began to make his way. In his eyes, and those of Luna, he was finally working towards his destiny, but it turns out that he was just playing right into the hands of the Empire.
If you’ve watched Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (or read our recap), you may remember the terms offered to Regis by Ardyn concerning a treaty. One of those terms, which happens to be the most important, is to have Noctis wed Lunafreya in Altissia. It is presented as a means of combining the two empires peacefully, but the true purpose is to have both the Oracle and Noctis in the same place.
With this being unknown to both Luna and the prince, they head there to complete their objectives. Luna, as Oracle, seeks to awaken the Leviathan, a goddess who is tired of man and its trivialities. This act actually presents an opportunity for Noctis to assume the mantle of the Lucian king for the first time. The Oracle is under the protection of the Accordo Protectorate, the government that runs Altissia. In order to guarantee her safety, First Secretary Camelia Claustra has a sitdown with Noctis in order to negotiate for her life and the life of the citizens of Altissia. The government is aware that the Imperial Army will attack once Leviathan awakens and it is concerned for its people. What it all boils down to is that Noctis, Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto must fight to ensure the evacuation of the people as the Oracle awakens the fearsome Leviathan.
After a beautiful speech, after which the young prince and the Oracle finally see each other after years of being apart, it is time to awaken the Leviathan. Everyone gets into position as Luna calls upon the goddess of the sea, and that’s when things start to go downhill. The Leviathan is tired of helping weak men fight wars and must be convinced by the king that he is worthy of being served. A trial ensues, wreaking havoc across the city as the Imperial Army steps in as well, hoping to slay the Leviathan in order to stop Noctis from amassing any more power. Yet the empire’s goals don’t appear to line up with those of Ardyn.
As Noctis fights through the city, his friends are fighting elsewhere and it isn’t going entirely well. Ignis is seriously injured, Gladio and Prompto are struggling to help everyone before getting to their prince. Eventually, Noctis makes it to Leviathan and it’s time to fight, but it’s no easy task. This powerful Goddess is among the toughest bosses in Final Fantasy XV, forcing you to take to the skies as you dash around looking for weak spots. On the sidelines, Luna is watching, waiting to help in any way that she can when suddenly Noctis falls in battle. As Luna looks on, Ardyn appears and stabs her before walking away with a smile. The rage that builds up in Noctis causes him to trigger the full potential of his Armiger, displaying what a king is truly capable of in battle. Upon victory, he holds Lunafreya for the last time as she gives him his father’s ring. She has done what she set out to do.
Leviathan has given her support to the Chosen King, Altissia is saved, and the ring has been delivered, but much has been lost. If Noctis wasn’t set on revenge already, this turn of events definitely pushed him over the edge. It is time to head to the next Royal Tomb as he and his allies try to figure out what is going on.
Trouble Among Friends
The events in Altissia did more than leave Noctis with a heavy heart, they drove a rift through Final Fantasy XV’s protagonists. As the prince holds the Ring of the Lucii and weighs his options going forward, Ignis is struggling with his injuries and Gladio is angry with his leader for not being more aware of the suffering of others. Fighting on behalf of their king, they were broken up and Ignis was left completely blind. Yet, all Noctis could seem to focus on was his lost home, his lost love, and the burden of being a ruler.
Gladio doesn’t take kindly to how his supposed king is carrying himself and so a bitterness hangs over their quest as they push on. It takes the battle with the Marlboro to put things into perspective, as Ignis finally speaks up and they decide to reunite as one. It is impossible for any of them to defeat the darkness looming ahead on their own, so putting all the differences aside is the greatest course of action.
Once they’re back on the same page, they begin to realize that Ardyn, who has always shown up as if he were following them, is pulling the strings withing the Niflheim empire. They decide to head to Tenebrae.
Ardyn and the Imperial Army
The later parts of Final Fantasy XV start to pick up a lot of speed as things continue to go south for Noctis, his friends, and the quest for the Crystal. The train is besieged by the Imperial Army, leaving the gang to split up and protect those on board. Ardyn himself makes an appearance as soldiers attack from all sides including from the sky.
As Noctis boards the ships overhead, blasting them out of the sky using their own machinery, Ardyn boards the train in order to take out his team members. Thankfully, Noctis returns quickly, finding Prompto and Ardyn fighting atop one of the cars. He quickly pushes Ardyn off, sending him to a world of hurt, but it was yet another trick from the Niflheim Chancellor. He had altered time and space to switch places with Prompto, leading the prince to cast his own friend off from the speeding train before once again disappearing with a smile.
While he wants nothing more than to turn back for his childhood friend, Gladio and Ignis urge their prince to move forward, in pursuit of Ardyn who is sure to have answers about their missing party member.
Before continuing on, though. they must find a safe means of travel for all the passengers on board. After an attack from the military, they are shaken up, and Noctis doesn’t want to bring them along on what is definitely going to be a dangerous ride. A surprise helping hand comes in the form of Aranea, the Imperial Army’s commodore. After realizing that nothing was as it seemed, she parted ways with the military and is now helping out the people of Eos, including our prince and his friends.
It would appear that not only has your party figured out that Ardyn is more than what he seems, but there is plenty of in-fighting, as well.
The Glacian Lives
As the royal party moves on, seeking to reach Tenebrae and then the Imperial Army’s HQ, they come across a saddening sight. Shiva’s massive corpse is left frozen beside the train tracks, murdered by the Imperial Army as they sought to stop any advancement of Noctis and his friends. All around, everything has been halted. Life no longer blooms in this area, and an endless snowfall has seized the lands.
Things take a surprising turn in Final Fantasy XV when suddenly, the train is frozen solid. There is a trial to be had, which is odd, considering that the nearby Astral was clearly dead. After a fight on a cold desolate bridge, the friends return to the train only for Noctis to be pulled into a sort of dream dimension. Ardyn is there, waiting for him, toying with his emotions as he eggs him on. While pursuing, it becomes clear that he has no chance of defeating Ardyn, yet something happens. A cold wind once again seizes the area and Gentiana, a spirit who served as an aid to the Oracle appears.
Gentiana’s true identity is revealed to be Shiva, the Glacian. She is the first that Lunafreya communed with, and she promised that she would give her support to Noctis if the need ever arose. She freezes Ardyn, sending him into a bit of a frenzy. He is unarmed, as he shares that he is actually immortal. But you can see his frustration as he leaves Noctis to continue his journey.
The Imperial Capital and a Lonely King
The quest to save Prompto, find Ardyn, and achieve justice brings everyone to the Imperial Capital. A location that is central to the troubles of Final Fantasy XV’s story. It is from here that Niflheim has ruled the world and where their machines of destruction are created. It is here that Prompto is being kept, and from a seat at the top of Zagnautus Keep, a tower in the center of the capital, Ardyn proceeds to taunt Noctis.
As the team moves through the capital, Noctis eventually finds himself alone. Not only that, but he’s been stripped of his weapons. He is left no other choice but to turn his attention to the Ring of the Lucii, a burden he’d been avoiding for some time. Placing the ring on his hand would mean accepting his role as king of Lucis, but it would also mean having the power to fight through his current ordeal and survive. He places the ring on his hand and accepts the support of all the kings that came before him as he pushes on. The ring grants interesting abilities, such as the power to steal life, or a spell that lets you send enemies into another dimension. It pulls its power from the Crystal, whether it’s nearby or not, connecting the king to the very stars.
Noctis pushes forward with the power of the ring and proceeds to climb the tower where he’s sure his friend is being held. While climbing he notices how desolate everything is. The building is full of monsters and Daemons, the soldiers are twisted visages of what they once were. There is no life anywhere nearby, and it’s very unnerving. As you climb, you learn about the place, and more of what the empire is up to in Final Fantasy XV becomes clear.
Eventually he finds his friends, and together they locate Prompto, making their team whole once more.
Daemons is a term you’ll hear thrown about quite a bit in Final Fantasy XV. It refers to the horrific monsters that come out at night as part of the darkness that is plaguing the world. The Crystal, along with the Astrals, exists to fight this blight upon Eos. In Kingsglaive you could see the Niflheim ships dropping these huge monstrosities into Insomnia, as a means to tear the city apart, showing that they had some type of control over these monsters. Just how much is something Noctis discovers as he ascends their tower.
The empire was running experiments on its people and creating their own army of monsters. One of the monsters created is one you know quite well, Ravus Nox Fleuret, the elder brother of your late fiance. He has held a grudge against you and your family for years after he believed your father abandoned him to die at the hands of the empire. Yet his heart wasn’t completely consumed, as he found some light in his sister who convinced him that you were worthy. Still, there was enough hatred for Ravus to allow himself to be used by the empire, thus creating the monster that you must face.
Seeing Ravus, who was went from being a childhood friend to sworn enemy, spurs Noctis on even more. He discovers that the Crystal really is being held in this god-forsaken castle and moves on to seize its power.
The Crystal’s Power and Ardyn’s True Identity
With the Crystal finally within reach after defeating Ravus, Gladio, Ignus, and Prompto tell Noctis to leave them behind and head straight for it in order to obtain its light. Oddly enough, when you reach it there’s nobody there to stop you. No guard, no vicious monster. Just the Crystal, waiting there. One of your primary goals in Final Fantasy XV sits before you, and you need only approach it. Once you do, a new truth is unveiled.
The prophecy of the Chosen King says he will use the Crystal to rid the world of darkness, but that’s not correct. The truth is that the Crystal will use the king, consuming him entirely in order to shine light into the world. As Noctis is drawn in, unable to escape the Crystal’s grasp, Ardyn steps out of the shadows, smiling as always. He wanted you to reach the crystal this entire time, as it was necessary to exact his own revenge against your entire lineage. You see, his name is not Ardyn Izunia as he led the world to believe. It’s Ardyn Lucis Caelum. He is a descendant of the land of Lucis and was once the Astrals’ champion of light.
He used the Astrals’ power to absorb the Daemons that tormented the world and that made him immortal. After seeing what he had done, the gods no longer wanted anything to do with him. He was supposed to ascend, to join them among the stars, but was instead left cursed to walk the earth, as the prophesied Chosen King was set to rise from the Lucian line of kings.
He waited all these years for you, and guided you to your destiny, just so that he may destroy you and have darkness finally rule unchallenged. Your last sight as your swallowed whole is your friends fighting in the background as Ardyn watches you fade.
Bahamut, Your Destiny, and Time
Once consumed by the Crystal, Noctis finds himself in Bahamut’s grasp. The fifth Astral to cross paths with you, you both find yourself within the Crystal’s dimension, floating as time moves on in the outside world. It is here that your destiny and fate are made clear. To defeat the darkness, you must wield the power of the Crystal’s light, but that comes at a cost. When the dust settles, and you’ve saved all that you love, you must perish and join the ancient kings of Lucis in the higher realms.
You were never supposed to have the happy ending. No wedding, no march through the people after you take your rightful place as king. No continued road trip with your closest friends. You are to save the world by providing the ultimate sacrifice: your future.
After 10 long years, you are finally released. You find yourself on the coast of Galdin Quay. The once beautiful beach is overrun with monsters. In the absence of the Chosen King, the warrior of light that is to save the world from this scourge, Ardyn created an endless night where Daemons roam free and all life is left to hide in the few bastions that remain. You are no longer the young prince, you are King Noctis Lucis Caelum. As you fight your way to a haven you are rescued by Talcott, who was but a boy when you were last in this realm.
Your friends have been working separately, scattered throughout the world as they protect the people in your absence. They couldn’t remain together after losing you all those years ago, but now that you’ve returned they come from the corners of Eos to see their king. As you don your Kingly Raiment, they put on their Kingsglaive uniforms. This is no longer a road trip. Noctis has finally become the king they pushed him to be. While they are still his friends, Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto are now his royal guard as they follow him into the end of Final Fantasy XV.
The Infernian Awaits
It is finally time to return to Insomnia, the home that was stripped from Noctis, Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto by Ardyn and the Niflheim Empire. It is empty, devoid of any human life as Daemons roam the streets. As Noctis approaches the Citadel, where he once lived, the last of the Astrals sits their in wait.
Ifrit has never liked the humans and refused to help them in the past, no matter how desperate they may have been. It’s no surprise that Ardyn was able to summon him to bar your path, then. With the help of Bahamut and Shiva, Ifrit is slain and the path to the end is finally clear. As the party ascends to the throne room, Noctis turns to make a simple request to Prompto. He wants a picture, nothing more. Not everyone is aware of Noctis’ true destiny, so they’re shocked by the request. Prompto gives you the pick of the bunch, all of the images you’ve saved throughout your time with Final Fantasy XV.
Ardyn appears, knocking Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto unconscious. They aren’t needed for this encounter. Only the king and the fallen hero need to face off.
The End: The Chosen King Rises
Noctis’ entire journey in Final Fantasy XV led up to this point. Some of it was orchestrated by the very man he must now defeat, yes, but in the end it’s his choices that helped him to stand as the king he was prophesied to be. Ardyn, having been the hero of light over a thousand years before, has similar abilities to your own. Yet it’s his frustration and hatred that get in the way. The darkness he had consumed so many years ago to save the world and increase his own power now consumed him. This makes him reckless, but he is still no pushover.
But Noctis is backed not only by the Astrals and the power of the Crystal. The former kings of Lucis stand with him, as well, bolstering his power and helping him emerge triumphant. As Ardyn falls a relief washes over Noctis until he realizes that the darkness still covers Eos. His deed is not done and he must see it through.
He heads back to the throne room, through all the silence. And as he sits, he knows that he has done well as king. Before him, the kings that dwell inside the Ring of the Lucii appear, including his father, the most recent to be added to the ranks. Noctis places his sword down and greets the kings, his predecessors, before they each take turns running their blade trough his heart.
As each one passes, Noctis grows weaker until there is only his father standing before him. King Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII picks up his blade and delivers the final blow to his son, the short-lived King of Lucis. When Noctis dies, he finds himself within the Astral realm once more as Ardyn, in his dark form, stands waiting to ambush him. With the power of all the kings, he is defeated. As the credits roll, you’re treated to Florence and the Machine and a look back on your journey with your closest friends.
Stick around after the credits, and an interesting scene plays. The wedding between Noctis and Lunafreya comes to pass. It’s not clear if this is another realm, where light triumphed in the past rather than darkness prevailing, or if Noctis was able to change his fate. Final Fantasy XV still has plenty of secrets in store.