While Final Fantasy XV got a two month delay last week, that doesn’t mean we’re hurting for FFXV-related media. Not only has the enjoyable Kingsglaive finally gotten its Western theatrical release, but the anime Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV put out its fourth episode as well.
With this episode, we have now dived a bit into the past of each of the three supporting characters–Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto–and from this have learned about not only each individually, but about Noctis as well.
At first glance, Noctis appears to be a quiet, lazy, and very spoiled child. He’s a picky eater, gives up easily when things get tough, and does practically nothing for himself.
Yet, as we learn more about his life through the various flashbacks, we see that much of his personality is his way of rebelling against his own destiny. Noctis is a prince of a small kingdom–one seemingly on the edge of being invaded. He alone is capable of inheriting the power needed to keep his people safe. When it comes down to it, either he succeeds his father and becomes King or everyone around him dies.
While he may accept this is his fate, it’s clear he is far from happy about it–it’s a lot of responsibility to put on a child all throughout his youth. Growing up, Noctis has had little to no freedom. By high school he has moved out of the palace to live alone–his one real chance at living life by his own rules. Yet even this freedom is an illusion as he is baby sat by others constantly invading his apartment. Ignis cleans up his messes, cooks for him, and even prepares whatever princely duties require his attention.
Noctis has no motivation. Why study? Why work hard? The future is already set in stone. Besides, it seems that even in the times he tries his best, he doesn’t live up to expectations. While those around him push him constantly to improve, he sees it more as a simple statement: You’re not good enough as you are.
But beneath that is another emotional layer. As everyone around him prepares him to become king, they seem to miss one key point: For Noctis to become king, his father must first die. Every step he takes toward becoming a good king is a reminder of his father’s mortality–something especially hard to bear for a child who has already lost one parent.
With all this, it’s not exactly surprising that Noctis is the kind of person he is. Luckily, while clearly unhappy with his lot in life, he is not socially isolated. His friendships with Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto keep him grounded and create hope that he will be able to overcome his misgivings and self doubt in the years to follow.
While it’s true that Noctis’ social standing sets him apart from others, each of the three connects with him in a different way that lets him feel less alone. Prompto is his buddy–a friend always up for some fun–who keeps Noctis’ school life from feeling like a chore. Gladiolus fills more of an older brother role, someone that Noctis can look up to and respect. Ignis is the responsible friend, worrying about and caring for Noctis in both overt and subtle ways.
But what makes their friendships with Noctis so meaningful to the prince is obvious: All of the three see Noctis as a person first and a prince second. Episodes two through four are largely about how each of the three friends come to feel this way about Noctis. And all this in turn shows us a bit about who Noctis is, was, and will become in Final Fantasy XV.