Final Fantasy XV out of bounds glitches show off a potentially massive open world.

Posted: January 9, 2017 by ryanlecocq in Off-topic

I was a little late on this one, as I had switched back to Dark Souls 3 after a month of solid FFXV.  Long story short, it is possible to see large parts of the open world that were not intended to be accessed, by using glitches.  Since I am not the first, second or third to report this, I’ll link to the videos and the best article I found at the bottom of this post.  What I want to explore today is the potential of what this game might have been and what it still might be with future content.

 

“The largest open-world RPG…”

wyuriim

This is a world map that was shown early in development.  Although it changed slightly, I have added labels to the areas in the final game.

At one point in FFvsXIII/XV’s development, there were some claims thrown out that the game would feature one of, if not the largest open-world when it released.  The final game, while featuring a respectable open segment (somewhere between the acreage of Watch Dogs and GTAV depending on how you tally it), it fell well short of the scale we’ve seen in games like The Witcher 3.  Even with that said, while the total area end-to-end is large-ish, it pales in comparison to the density and used area of similarly sized games.  One thing about this game’s development that is interesting though, is that the world map was designed and leaked very early on.  There are images from much earlier in development showing a table-top model the developers created.  It even shows that Angelgard Island was modeled after a piece of driftwood glued to the table in the ocean.  This map was much larger than what we saw in the final game and the game areas can actually be identified on it still.

Player’s exploitation of OoB glitches shows us that much of this area is still in the final game in rough form.  So far players have accessed the Northern areas of Niflheim (around the train segment), other parts of Altissia (but not the other nearby islands) and Angelgard Island.  There are a few other blocked off parts of Lucis that are reachable as well.  Players have even managed to swim to Altissia from the mainland, making Chocobo use there possible.  While all of this is great fun in the old fashioned ‘break the game’ spirit of the fan community, it points to what the devs may have been hinting at.

If the game initially contained all or most of the areas of the original map, it would be quite massive.  It is likely that this was an ambition, but only the four nations mentioned in the plot were actually ever developed, even in rough form.  Lucis, Tenebrae, Niflheim and Accordo are all right next to each other on the larger map.  Combined they still only represent 2/3 of the total map.  So if the flying Regalia had once been able to circumnavigate the globe, there would have been even more locations.  Even if there was only ever the areas seen in these glitches, I think with minimal effort Square could add a few roads and side-quests and fans would be very pleased with the overall size of the game.

 

How likely are we to see it done?

cor_ffxv_jump_festa

Cor Leonis is kind of like Aslan in Narnia, he’s just so badass that he can’t be around for more than 3 minutes or there wouldn’t be a plot.

Although games have shipped before with large chunks of unused data on the disc, the content in this game points in many ways to future expansion.  The most detailed of the areas you explore coincide with parts in the plot where characters leave the party.  This has already been hinted at as the setting of the future DLC releases for each party member.  Gladiolus’ would chronicle the time he spent apart from the party on Lucis, likely exploring unused regions there.  Prompto’s will likely cover some of his very questionable backtory in his solo journey through his homeland of Niflheim.  We can just venture a guess that Ignis may go in search of a legendary “NEW RECIPE!” in Altissia.  There was also a fairly credible reddit rumor about Noctis and Cor having a driving sequence in Niflheim as well, which would explain the weird little cross-section of roads near the early part of the train sequence.  Even if these are the only areas added in future DLC, it would make for a respectably large game overall.

We will give in to rumor and speculation (SPOILERS ALSO)

stella-and-noctis

The DLC everyone still wants.

So if I’m going to cover a bunch of other people’s theories, I have to give at least a little page space to some of my own.  Other people may have similar ideas, but I haven’t read them yet, so if you haven’t either, you read it here first.

As soon as there was mention of Lunafreya as a potential party member in future expansions, a strange theory started to form in my mind.  The obvious thing of course, is that add-in members like Cor, Aranea, Iris, Ardyn and now Lunafreya would be selectable in some new mode, potentially PVP.  That would be easy and I’m sure it would make a lot of people happy.  But what if that wasn’t it at all?  It seems obvious that Noctis does not get a DLC episode because the entire game is about him.  We’ve already seen his story and the other characters deserve a moment in the spotlight.  There is one thing missing though.  Noctis and Lunafreya never reunited in life.  Of course they existed happily eternally after as deities, but that isn’t quite the same.

What if they did though and we just never saw it?  I’m pretty in love with this idea, so bear with me here.  How cool would it be if after all the other DLC was released, there was a final free episode for Noctis and Lunafreya where they secretly met in Altissia to go on a clandestine date the night before the binding ceremony?  It sounds like pointless sentimental nonsense, I know, but hold on.  With the landmarks like the wedding gown, shopping area, restaurants and the arena, there are two things that stand out to me.  First, the area seems perfectly set up for a “date” sequence like you have with Iris in Lestallum.  There is sort of a bro date to this effect when you first arrive, but I felt like it was designed for more.  Here’s where we get nerdy.  If you squint your brain just right and imagine it on a drawing board, the Altissia area bears a strong resemblance in raw design to Gold Saucer from FFVII.  The fact that Squeenix is using it for the upcoming ChocoMog carnival event makes the resemblance even clearer.  From a design standpoint the area seems set up for a sort of ‘tour-date’ like many of us remember so fondly from the adventures of Cloud and company.  It would be such a bittersweet Easter egg if the couple shared a quiet night together away from everyone, even us the players.

The other mad theory I have is that the other characters could be introduced in a DLC that is similar to the Platinum demo.  Noctis could be travelling through time from within the crystal and join each character for a formative part of their backstory for more insight on these characters.  It wouldn’t add any real content or real estate to the main game, but it would be very satisfying for those of us who wanted to know more about characters like Aranea and Cor.

Once again, this is just my wild speculation, but if I was writing it, that’s what I would do.

Resources/further reading (sorry, free account, can’t post videos directly):

RPGsite’s excellent summary of the biggest glitch areas

Video showing how to swim to Altissia

Hour-long video showing exploration of Niflheim outside train

Angelgard Island

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