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The world of Final Fantasy XV is gorgeous

Square Enix has released a new video showing the beauty of their new world, and it is their best work yet.

For as long as I can remember, Final Fantasy has always been the series that I've expected to set a precedent for CG in gaming. It seems silly by modern standards, but Final Fantasy VII at the time was a complete overhaul of what I knew about video games. I would come to savor every cinematic moment in that game, and played it repeatedly just to relive moments like this one.

Once again, by modern standards this appears almost silly without the barrier of nostalgia protecting it from my otherwise gilded opinions on what a good cinematic would look like. What's important about these scenes is that suddenly graphics mattered to me in gaming.

I was never one to buy into the "bits" craze of my youth. It wasn't about if I had 16-bit or 32-bit consoles -- what I knew was that my Super Nintendo had way better and more accessible games than my cousin's Atari Jaguar and that's all that mattered. When I went to his house and saw the opening cut scene for Final Fantasy VII however, I knew I needed a PlayStation right then and there.

Final Fantasy XV's new trailer has the exact same effect on me now as the seventh installment had for me then.

I already have a PlayStation 4 for reasons unrelated to the Final Fantasy genre, and as such don't need to rush out to buy a new system just for this trailer. But the little child in me wells up with pride for a project I had no part in helping create. Except it doesn't feel that way to me; if anything, I feel that my patronage and that of other gamers who are as passionate about the franchise as I am are exactly what created this scope of game

Last year, Square Enix showed off a video of DirectX12 showcasing a lot of the technology they've incorporated into Final Fantasy XV. Even from the tech-demo, you can see how the company has made improvements on environment in the past year.

Lets take a moment and explore some of what make the World of Wonder trailer so unique.

First off, the skyline is so real.

Living so close to a major city like San Francisco, this just hits home with me. The day to night cycle is smooth and comforting, and everything about this just screams believable to me. That's what I love about gaming -- is we've gotten to a point now where the immersion has become an expected part of our experience. If you were watching this from a VR headset, it would feel like looking out over an actual city. So much of this delivers on what I believe video games to have initially been created for. Where a book can transport your imagination, visual effects like this help transport your mind. It's not hard to convince yourself that you're looking at a real city if you look at the picture long enough.

Another of my favorites is this one involving the inside of a cave.

Once again this image invites a suspension of disbelief. The reflections from the water combined with the shadowing effects just make everything feel like you're in that cave watching the serene ripples from an underground lake.

It's starting to make sense as to why Final Fantasy XV has taken over ten years to finally be released. The technology used to make the world of Eos just wasn't available at the time to make what we have now, and it looks like the wait was worth it. While Final Fantasy has continued to deliver games, it almost feels like everything they've released has just been spending their time building up towards this.

Maybe I'm just hopeful for a return to the childlike wonder Square Enix used to have on me when they were just known as Squaresoft, but as someone who typically tries to not over hype big releases, I can honestly say that I'm pretty excited about this new world.

Published May. 20th 2016

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