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John McClane and Ferris Bueller Were Apparently Among the Inspirations for Final Fantasy XV's Main Characters

Bueller. Bueller. Bueller.

Article by Kat Bailey, .

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Do you see James Bond when you look at Ignis? He was apparently one of the characters to form the basis for Final Fantasy XV's main heroes.

As revealed by lead writer and localization director Dan Inoue at his talk during GDC 2017, Ferris Bueller, James Bond, and Die Hard's John McClane formed the basis for Prompto, Ignis, and Gladio respectively.

"And who doesn't want to take a roadtrip with John McClane, Ferris Bueller, and James Bond?" Inoue teased.

If you squint really hard, you can kind of see it. Ignis is uber cool, not to mention a good driver, though he's not much of a womanizer. Prompto is harder to see. He may be a goof off, but he doesn't have that '80s cool of Bueller—he's far too insecure for that.

As for Noctis, Inoue said he didn't have any definitive vision for him. But the character's voice actor later said he imagined Kurt Cobain when he was playing him—a sensitive rock star who spurned the spotlight. "So if you want insight into your characters, talk to your Japanese voice actors," Inoue said.

Importantly, while these characterizations were the starting point for Final Fantasy XV's cast, they weren't the endpoint. According to Inoue, each character was meant to have a lifetime arc that would resolve in a satisfying manner at the conclusion of the story. Noctis, for example, is an initially happy child who grows into a disenchanted youth, and his story becomes one of recovering lost innocence (and also growing into a king).

Similarly, the rest of the characters aren't sidekicks, Inoue says. "They each have their own brand of cool, they each have their own story, and each is the normal one in their own mind," he said.

So while characters like James Bond might have been part of their DNA, they were also very much their own characters. At least, that was what Square was hoping.

"A Fantasy Based on Reality"

Outside of the individual characterizations, Inoue used the session to highlight the challenge of writing the first major Final Fantasy to receive a simultaneous worldwide release.

Working with a dozen in-house localization teams made the game global from the ground up, Inoue said, and lead to lots of little details like signs in different languages (a rarity given how hard it is to localize assets). It also impacted the landscape, with the main city becoming an amalgamation of London, New York, Paris, and Tokyo—familiar and yet foreign to a worldwide audience.

The attempt to ground the game in a kind of recognizable reality was what led in part to Final Fantasy XV's infamous Cup Noodles product placement. "They make the world more recognizable, familiar, and real. That's what I tell myself at night," Inoue said to laughter from the audience.

Inoue refrained from touching on Final Fantasy XV's infamously long development, though he did touch on the complications brought by the game's marketing plan, which at one point spoiled the main villain. Mostly, he seemed happy to be done with it, expressing relief that it had been released before the "PlayStation 42."

Then again, there's still the DLC.

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  • Avatar for benjaminlu86 #1 benjaminlu86 A year ago
  • Avatar for helpfulmole #2 helpfulmole A year ago
    You're still here? It's over. Go home. Go.
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  • Avatar for helpfulmole #3 helpfulmole A year ago
    A buddy cop starring Buehler and McClane would rule so hard though
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #4 brionfoulke91 A year ago
    That's pretty interesting. I don't think it's just the main characters either... for example, that guy who runs the diner looks a lot like Forrest Whitaker to me. And there was another guy that I thought looked a lot like Matthew Mcconaughey.
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  • Avatar for captainN2 #5 captainN2 A year ago
    The look of the main characters, the boy band uniformity of those dudes, is the main thing that has kept me from playing XV. They just don't look like people I'd like to go on an adventure with, let alone spend 5 minutes in the company of at a party.

    I don't understand the reasoning behind the designers on this one. It used to be in these adventure type settings that you got a very diverse band of characters and misfits together... As in Chrono Trigger, Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, a Studio Ghibli film, etc. Odd and misunderstood people from all walks of life that together forge a heroic bond and find their true, nobler selves during the course of an adventure.

    When I look at Noctis and friends I just see obnoxious and shallow looking teenagers that seem to spend way too much time obsessing over their hair and appearance - the very antithesis of heroic ambitions. Why would I want to save the world with a vain boy band? How characters look inform us of their characters. We see Han Solo's vest, unbuttoned shirt and holster and we know that he's a Cowboy essentially. Sure, it's a fantasy world you say, so why can't Noctis and his bros have fabulous haircuts? Well, if you show me a guy like that, it immediately tells me that he spent 30 minutes this morning fixing his hair and picking his wardrobe. In other words, he's fixated on his looks. Then you try to sell me their personas as these deep or carefree vagabonds or tortured poets, and I don't buy it one iota. They look like guidos, shitheads.

    I point the blame at Nomura. He seems much more interested in fashion than he ever did in storytelling or crafting endearing characters. Can we get over this dreadful phase of Final Fantasy PLEASE? Hironobu Sakaguchi never would have signed off on a line up like that. Look at Vivi from FF9. So uncool, so wonderfully compelling.Edited 3 times. Last edited March 2017 by captainN2
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  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #6 UnskippableCutscene A year ago
    @captainN2
    There actually is some reasoning behind their appearances, but a lot of it is your jumping to conclusions. Noctis is a prince, it sort is sensible he's prim. His fiancée and her brother are likewise elites where they're from. Ignis is essentially your Alfred Pennyworth cook/butler/driver/caretaker. Prompto is the one who is Just A Guy and like a lot of teenagers many of his selfies can actually be ghastly looking instead of handsome.

    Yes it is taking a bit of inspiration from buddy films or Entourage, but also keep in mind you haven't actually seen the whole game. Not everybody in the world looks like that, and the adventure does wear on them. By the final dungeon, everyone is visibly scarred, the cast has gone through as much turmoil as any other FF party, and the world is in as much peril as it was in FF6 or any other installment.

    There's also many characters that look very normal. There is a little bit of a clash between the main cast with their upper class styles and fantasy names and the population of the countryside. Yes, Noctis looks like a rockstar and has an weird name, but he's taking missions from a guy name Dave and another guy in the city who has double chins and a neckbeard. It does feel weird in a sense, but that's sort of what they brought upon themselves by taking the exotic character designs they had made for Versus XII's trailers forward with them into a new game and not starting over entirely.

    It's not a game I can actively recommend in it's current state, but not for any of the reasons you've listed.Edited 4 times. Last edited March 2017 by UnskippableCutscene
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  • Avatar for EmmaAdams #7 EmmaAdams A year ago
    John McClane and Ferris BuellerEdited 2 times. Last edited March 2017 by EmmaAdams
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #8 riderkicker A year ago
    Heh. I thought Ignis was Yami Yugi, specifically the one in the Abridged Series. I can see Gladio as a John McClane type. Not so sure about Noctis, since close ups in game make him look intense like his dog.

    And what's the deal with the game taking more pictures of Ignis? Is it because I keep hunting for food and eating?Edited March 2017 by riderkicker
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #9 kidgorilla A year ago
    Gladio be likeEdited March 2017 by kidgorilla
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #10 VotesForCows A year ago
    @captainN2 If you're a Final Fantasy fan (and it seems you are) then I really think you should give it a shot. I bought it in spite of the characters - I REALLY didn't like the look of them, or the lack of choice in who's in your party. But I absolutely loved them, and very quickly too. Try it - you've nothing to lose but time. And cash. So quite a bit to lose I guess :o)
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #11 nadiaoxford A year ago
    @captainN2 You don't have to look too hard to find lots of reviews / editorials about how FF XV's characters carry what's ultimately a highly imperfect game.
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  • Avatar for chiptoon #12 chiptoon A year ago
    @UnskippableCutscene That is very helpful commentary - thanks. Much like@captainN2 I have been put off by the characters. I just haven't really wanted to spend time with them, certainly not that many hours.

    I'll probably give its go when its finished.
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  • Avatar for captainN2 #13 captainN2 A year ago
    Thank you everyone for elaborating on FFXV's story and the virtue of their characters. Indeed XV is fairly well reviewed and an interesting game, especially coming out of Japan right now. That open world seems compelling.

    It's futile to complain about the Japanese inclination towards attractive "bishounen" style characters. It's just part of the culture, but usually juxtaposed against other types of roles and individuals. For me it just reached a breaking point in FFXV and I just went "nope".

    I remember thinking way back in FF8 that it felt new and fresh to have an RPG where the young people dressed fashionable and *almost* like then current kids would. But little did I know what we were in for in this new era. Again, I am one of those conspiratorial nuts who blames Nomura as a negative influence and sees him as one of the reasons late Final Fantasy has often seemed confused, decadent and nonsensical. It's easy to get the impression that FF is more concerned with becoming a Shibuya street fashion festival than offering up a rousing adventure. Square's current designers also seem to have poor storytelling instincts when it comes to their cast or how to create empathy.

    As a contrast, see what Hayao Miyazaki did when he directed his version of Lupin the 3rd. He immediately got rid of the flashy Mercedes and gave him a dinky little yellow Fiat. Which ride makes for a more sympathetic hero? It's just an example but it shows a natural storyteller knowing how struggles create affection. There is an inherent sense of empathy that springs naturally when the lead group all look very different. It's a reason western RPG's like Mass Effect has been flying circles around FF the last decade. Old Square knew these principles. Chrono and his companions look beneath peoples strange exterior and dysfunction and forge friendships despite appearances. It's a moral and philosophical strength indicative of the heroic nature that can save the world in these type of stories. Dorothy cares for the Lion and Tin Man and wins their unyielding loyalty. Why do we like Tyrion more than Jamie Lannister? But then why is Lightning a hero? Because she has the best jacket, the coolest hair?

    I understand that Square's RPG's are perhaps not aimed at me anymore as a mid-thirties man, and that teenagers tend to gravitate towards glitz and flashiness, but I was a blonde feather-haired 19 year old when I played as Tidus the first time around, and I thought he sucked back then too. I'm just crusty and disgruntled.Edited March 2017 by captainN2
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  • Avatar for captainN2 #14 captainN2 A year ago
    And yes, I do understand that not all stories has to be the same. You can certainly have fascinating and sensitive tales set in a fashion world or amongst the ultra-rich, the marble and the beautiful. But that requires some seriously good writing, character observation and subtle storytelling... Which has not been Square's forte in a long time.
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  • Avatar for swamped #15 swamped A year ago
    @riderkicker "Heh. I thought Ignis was Yami Yugi, specifically the one in the Abridged Series."

    Thanks, can't unhear this now. Will just have to imagine they're playing "a children's card game" in the hotel.
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  • Avatar for noclelances49 #16 noclelances49 A year ago
    Deleted May 2017 by noclelances49
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  • Avatar for noclelances49 #17 noclelances49 A year ago
    @captainN2 There is an idle animation for where Noctis will style his hair up and his hair will actually falls down when it rains. They sometimes also banter about their hair getting messed, like when riding chocobos. It's just Noctis and Prompto who has that Bishounen hair style, really. Their outfit is the Crownsguard outfit, but you can change it to casual if you don't like the "boyband" vibes.
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