While on the L.A. leg of the publicity tour for CGI blockbuster Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, director Takeshi Nozue, lead writer Dan Inoue, and actors Andrea Tivadar and Liam Mulvey took the time to chat with STACK.
It’s hard to believe that the ‘Final’ in the Final Fantasy franchise was initially attributed to the self doubt of Hironobu Sakaguchi, the games creator, and his belief that if the game was a flop, he’d quit the business. Needless to say, 29 years and tens of millions of sales later, Sakaguchi’s all-in gamble is still paying dividends. The newest release, Final Fantasy XV, differs slightly from what has come before it with a veritable smorgasbord of complementary releases – the most exciting being the fully CGI action blockbuster, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.
“We’ve put everything we’ve got into it up to now, so it would be great for this to be the biggest year yet in Final Fantasy history,” says director Takeshi Nozue, who describes his film as “a realistic, full CGI feature experience like nothing before.”
The anime mini-series Brotherhood, and Final Fantasy XV flank Kingsglaive on the release calendar, and while they are three different releases from three different teams, Nozue notes that “being on the ground floor with the game and animation teams in discussing themes and storylines really kept us in lockstep.”
Lead writer and localisation director Dan Inoue echoed this sentiment. “In a lot of cases where films, games, comics, etc, share a world, one of the stories often feels like an afterthought, something’s shoehorned into a corner of the preceding work. What sets this work apart is that Final Fantasy XV and Kingsglaive complement each other and intertwine to form a deeper narrative.”
Final Fantasy has never been tied down to a single style or field, with magic, myth and science featuring prominently in most releases, and Inoue adds that he felt liberated whilst working on Kingsglaive.
“One cool thing about Final Fantasy as a franchise is that it’s never let itself be constrained by genre, and draws freely from multiple wells of ideas. You always get some pretty crazy combinations as a result.”
Case in point: the characters in Kingsglaive may use swords and sorcery, but they generally find themselves being carted around in a massive futuristic convertible car between fights with a robot army.
Actors Liam Mulvey and Andrea Tivadar, who portray Libertus Ostium and Crowe Altius, respectively, were introduced to the franchise by Final Fantasy VII, with Tivadar noting that you don’t need to be an FF fan to enjoy Kingsglaive.
“Because of the way the story has been developed, it comes as no surprise that the film appeals to people who are not into games at all,” she explains.
The quality of the animation in Kingsglaive is nothing short of astonishing. Without a very close and detailed inspection, you could easily be forgiven for thinking it’s a live-action film. In fact, Mulvey admits that the computer generated likeness was “a little unnerving at first.” Tivadar concurs: “It is, yes. But I can definitely find myself in her gestures, which is pretty amazing”.
When asked whether they prefer traditional filming or the motion-capture process, Mulvey notes that “hair and make up is usually fairly quick – not sure if that’s because I’m too beautiful already or a lost cause… to be honest, it’s fairly similar.”
“Hair and makeup is always fun,” adds Tividar, “especially when you have to put on a costume. I love mo-cap though”.
Whether you’re a die-hard FF fan, a garden variety gamer, a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, or just love beautifully crafted cinema, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is required viewing.