PAX West 2017: See the World Through the Eyes of Noctis in Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition

The latest mainline numbered entry in a series that has had some modest success in the video game industry, Final Fantasy XV will be making its way to PC in 2018 as Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition. There isn’t a great deal more that needs to be said about this title as its actual release in 2016 was no minor feat since it had first been announced in 2006 when it was called Final Fantasy Versus XIII which was a name that never quite made sense and it was somehow going to be connected to Final Fantasy XIII. Final Fantasy XV was generally met with positive reception, though it is deserving of some criticisms in spite of the divisive line just about every Final Fantasy title draws between the fans. It’s arguably a great game, though it does deviate quite a bit from what fans of the classic games would call Final Fantasy.

Slated for a release in early 2018, Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition does have some features added to justify the re-release over a year after its initial launch. All console updates will be included with the PC version, including all free content and paid content that was available through the season pass, making the PC port like a “Game of the Year” or “Ultimate” edition we’ve seen from other titles, like Borderlands and Skyrim. It may be cheaper for console players to just buy the season pass if they want that content, but Final Fantasy fans who haven’t yet gotten around to this title yet may wish to wait for Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition to get the complete experience. Square Enix has made no announcement about the updated PC version being released on console.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition has had its graphics optimized for PC. It is compatible with native 4k resolution and HDR 10, but with some tweaking of the graphics options it can go up to 8k if someone has a powerful enough rig. GameWorks technology allows for some NVIDIA magic allows for some increase in physics based realism. Smoke, flames and liquid will have a more lifelike fluidity to them, while hair on characters and monsters will be layered and move more realistically along with grass and other vegetation appearing more realistic and natural. Lighting and shadow effects will behave more like they do in real life, and characters will be able to cast shadows on themselves. These upgrades extend into the photography portion of the game, GeForce Experience capture and share tools add new options to editing and sharing in game photography.

Improved visuals and including bonus content does make the case to justify this port to PC, but at the same time it really is kind of the standard procedure for porting any game that’s over a year old to any new platform. A significant addition that comes with this game is players will now be able to see Eos through the eyes of Noctis in the new first person mode. First person mode is relatively unheard of in Final Fantasy games, but so is driving a car and playing a vertical scrolling shooter on a smartphone so this wouldn’t be the first time Final Fantasy XV broke a convention of the franchise. With the battle system being more active than it has been in past entries, this mode could make the game feel like a hybrid between a dungeon crawler and an Elder Scrolls game.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition sounds like it could be the version to get for those who have been meaning to play Final Fantasy XV but haven’t gotten around to it yet. There have been some bad PC ports of console games in the past so we are hoping that this title does not fall into that group since the upgrades do sound rather nice. The improved visuals and included DLC are nice touches, but the first-person mode is the most intriguing addition. I’m not convinced it’s the best way to experience a Final Fantasy title, but the fact it is included as an option in addition to being able to play in the classic third-person style sounds like a nice bonus, even if it ends up simply being an added novelty. We will have to wait until next year to see how well this fares on PC, but this could potentially be the definitive edition.