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I've seen more bad than good comments when it comes to Final Fantasy XV, and I'm guessing that somewhat started a chain effect of "This game was not worth the ten year wait!" or "Final Fantasy Versus XIII would have been so much better!" across old and new fans alike. As an in-between fan (neither new nor old), what I'd like to say about Final Fantasy XV is...

It's my absolute, most favorite game.😊

Yes, I would have preferred Stella's character over Lunafreya's, and yes, I would have liked to have learned more behind Noctis' childhood injury and how that led to his being able to sense the impending death of others. I'm also curious about which direction Tetsuya Nomura would have taken with the game had he fully developed Versus XIII. But no, I wasn't disappointed by the FFXV at all. I actually fell in love with it more than I anticipated, and (maybe it's because I'm still fairly new to the idea of DLCs myself, but) I was ecstatic when I learned there was more content for FFXV outside the main game. I didn't have to go through the ten years wait and was actually two years late, so the only thing I was [mildly] disappointed by was learning that FFXV was ending when I had just gotten into it. So yeah, I did come in with expectations but not a lot, and that's what "saved" the game for me. I've grown up seeing the disappointments that are birthed by expectations, so I'm doing my best to see things with brand new eyes -- and I like to think that's saved me from a lot of disappointing moments.😁 It's next to impossible to come in without expectations, but the less [you] have, [I argue] the more exciting life will be.😄✌️

The FFXV team too gave us more than what they needed to promise us; they didn't have to release the DLCs or anime to fill in the blanks -- they didn't have to continue updating the game after the physical copy was set and out for release. But they did. We got Prompto's story, Ignis' story, Gladiolus' story, and soon, we're going to get Ardyn's story. There'll even be a novella in lieu of the cancelled DLCs, so we're being spoiled. I'm grateful. Even if the story ends here, I'm happy with where Final Fantasy XV leaves off.😄

The second thing -- It's fun to imagine and re-imagine.❤️ One thing I'm constantly asking is, "Do writers ever wish they could go back and add in or edit the[ir] canon?" for a book that's already published, for games that have been sitting on the shelves for years, for movies that have already made it to the big screen, etc.? Most people expressed disappointed with how incomplete they felt Final Fantasy XV was, but as a writer (and by writer, I mean someone who does it for personal enjoyment: for myself first and foremost), I recognize that there's always room for improvement: there's always something that could have been developed more. Ideas come and go anywhere between seconds and years, and while playing FFXV, there were moments in the game where I felt one of my own ideas could have been included; there were scenes I would have changed or rewritten if I could. I'm starting to write in my own blanks, and (a bit of self-promotion), I'm hoping my writing will be on par with Final Fantasy's writing: I really do think our way of thinking lines up pretty well (Square Enix, please hire me (haha😄~)) I'm working on it, and I hope I'll be able to get there too.🙂 But here's a challenge from me to you: for what's been left unanswered for you, try filling in the blanks yourself! How would you have written the story? And for what's already been answered, how would you have answered it yourself?🤭

So. An hour's worth of my edit didn't save, so I'm trying to fill in my own blanks. I'll leave it here though since it's nearing 1:40 A.M. where I am. Actually though, I may have to/am thinking of splitting this journal in two: I have so many titles I want to use~  (Game of Unexpected Surprises, Forget-Me-Not, From Me to You, etc. etc.)

I really do believe things happen for a reason. I stumbled upon the game by complete coincidence: I don't remember what happened first exactly, but the game kept advertising itself to me again and again and again and again: it was an entire chain effect but on myself only. Noctis (whose name I didn't know at the time) showed up in a mobile app advertisement that I was forced to watch while playing the Zepeto app; I vividly remember thinking this guy looked like Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto, but that thought disappeared as soon as the ad did. Next thing I know, I'm seeing his actual name when I was reading through comments on the new Kingdom Hearts III trailer because most everyone was talking about Riku's new hairstyle being a copy of Noctis'. I was curious, so I Googled him and found out he was Noctis Lucis Caelum from a [then] two-year old game called Final Fantasy XV. I was familiar with the franchise but never really played into it (with the exception of Final Fantasy III, and that was more than a decade ago). I think it was at this point that I searched the game up at Gamestop, and $9.99 did not sound like a bad deal. Since I wanted new games for my dusting PS4 anyway, I decided to take advantage of the holiday shopping and visit Gamestop to possibly pick up this game. At the check-out stand, I was even double-guessing whether to make the$7.99 purchase, and I would have put it back on the shelf had the salesperson not told me that there was a three for $15 deal so long as the games were pre-owned and below$10. So I ended up walking out with not one but three copies at \$5 each. If you're curious, the other two copies went to my cousins as Christmas gifts (one of the cousins I planned on giving it to already had a copy), and I think it's safe to say that two of the three are not Final Fantasy fans -- they're not into commitment games (storyline-based games), or they really didn't have the patience for pushing that car in the beginning (haha).

Which is, arguably, my favorite scene of the entire game. There's a feeling I don't know how to describe, but I'll try my best. For starters, I love spoiling the ending (haha). Most people will get angry if I tell them what happens before they get to that point themselves, and I used to say the same thing: "Don't spoil it!" But the less I parroted the words, the more self-aware I became of how often I actually skip to the ending, watch it first, then go back to the beginning. I love speculating what leads up to it (so for movies like Bird Box, I can say that of the twenty minutes I watched of it, I love how it's structured: [you] know everyone's going to die, but [you] don't know how until you've watched the movie yourself.] Same thing for Final Fantasy XV. The car scene is the beginning of the game, but the game starts with Noctis and co. at the end of the game fighting (should I spoil?) I____. I love when stories bring the end back to the beginning; it promotes reflection: the idea of it being okay to look back.

Final Fantasy XV is a game that almost demands patience. It taught me that it's okay to slow down on the moments and to look around and enjoy the view. It taught me to appreciate all the little things. Prompto's camera, for example: It captures and saves the moments [you] want to save for something important later on at the end. Unfinished

I argue that while it's the same game we're playing and that we'll inevitably find some similar concepts to like and/or dislike, the experience itself belongs to each individual, and every individual's experience with the game is going to be unique to himself or herself: [you're] definitely going to have a different perception of the game than me or even someone who plays it right next to you. I'm going to like something [you] may not, and vice versa. And that's fine. We all create different meanings, so even if I'm told it's the worst game ever, I'm still going to love it (more than any other game I've played or owned) regardless. It's special to me, and I'm sure [you] have a game that's special to you too in a way I might not understand yet do. It all comes from firsthand experience and how [you] personally connect with it. Others' opinions matter too, and so do yours. Whether [you] love it or hate it is up to you. It's okay to love something other people hate; it's fine to dislike what other people love.

I've known of Final Fantasy growing up, but I'm a new fan. I'm learning, and luckily, I'll be able to document these moments as I learn. I'm sketching out my own story, and one day, fingers-crossed, I'd love to work on a Final Fantasy title too (because it seems like every idea I propose, Square Enix has already done or has already put forth aha). But that's so cool! It means our thoughts line up (almost eerily so~) Maybe it's a sign too!

I'd love to hear your [Final Fantasy] story too: where did it begin, how did it begin, where do you stand with it now?

[ Note-to-Self ] I accidentally posted this blog before I even wrote any of the content, so this is largely unfinished. I'll come back and edit this page when I can, but this post will also always be subject to change because if I remember anything I forgot to add, I'll come back and include it so it doesn't get forgotten. For now, it's time to head to class!

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