Some of the video game franchise’s greatest heroes appear in promotion for its latest title.
Make no mistake, Final Fantasy XV is the premiere title coming from video game publisher Square Enix this year. That’s pretty much a given for any fully numbered sequel in the company’s long-running RPG series, and even more so for XV, which has to satisfy the lofty expectations that have built up for it during the game’s protracted development cycle and also win back a lot of the goodwill that was lost during the lukewarmly received Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, the franchise’s last non-online installments.
So it’s logical that Final Fantasy XV is where Square Enix is really flexing its marketing muscles, with a CG movie, animated web series, and even a Tokyo restaurant all promoting the game. But before XV hits store shelves in November, Square Enix has a separate Final Fantasy game coming out this month: World of Final Fantasy. In contrast to the sharply dressed and finely detailed handsome young men of Final Fantasy XV, World of Final Fantasy features a cast of cute, super deformed characters, and that soft cuddliness extends all the way to a special event that was recently held in Tokyo’s Shibuya Station.
The main draw of World of Final Fantasy is that it takes heroes of past Final Fantasy games, which occur in completely separate worlds, and puts them all into the same narrative. So Square Enix took five of the brightest stars in the game’s all-star cast and turned them into giant, wall-mounted plushies, stationed on the pillars just outside the gates of the Keio Inokashira Line.
The inclusion of Cloud, reticent hero of Final Fantasy VII, was a no-brainer, as it wasn’t until he came around that Final Fantasy became a true internationally hit.
▼ Cloud has always been known for his distinctive hairstyle, and in SD form the length of his longest spikes is over half his body height.
▼ So soft…
▼ Side view
The characters on display even recited famous line of dialogue when approached. Stepping up to Cloud produced his trademark, “Not interested.”
The taciturn swordsman was still willing to shake hands, however.
▼ It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Mr. Strife.
Another high-water mark for the series was Final Fantasy X, represented by selfless summoner Yuna and her heterochromatic eyes.
Hanging out behind Yuna was the protagonist of the oft-overlooked Final Fantasy V.
While fans have spent years debating the correct way to render the character’s name in English, Square Enix officially calls him Butz.
▼ Butz canon
Accompanying Butz was a Chocobo, who was sadly just painted onto the pillar and not a plushie too. Actually, that was probably a wise choice, considering how badly pedestrian traffic would have been clogged by people crowding around for a chance to pet one of Final Fantasy’s rideable birds.
While numerous faceless Black Mages have appeared throughout Final Fantasy’s decades of video game content, the most plot-significant was Final Fantasy IX’s Vivi, a character with a backstory as deep as the inky darkness that obscures his face.
▼ Even getting up close didn’t reveal any hints as to what Vivi looks like under that hat.
And finally, rounding out the party of five Final Fantasy stars was Lightning, who made her debut in Final Fantasy XIII.
Lightning is a bit of a divisive figure, as her supporters appreciate her no-nonsense toughness, while her detractors say she’s just a female version of Cloud.
But even if Lightning doesn’t have universal love from the gaming community, her appearance in three different mainline Final Fantasy games gives her more experience than any other character in the franchise, and she can also count a number of friends in the fashion industry.
Sadly, World of Final Fantasy only occupied Shibuya Station until last Sunday. Luckily, though, fans will be able to see more of these characters when the game is released later this month, and it probably won’t be too long until another awesome station promotion pops up in Tokyo.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s psyched about Lightning and Edgar having a scene together in World of Final Fantasy.