Final Fantasy XV is the fifteenth main installment in the Final Fantasy series. It is an open world role-playing game set in the fictional world of Eos. It is almost entirely ruled by the empire of the militaristic Niflheim, except for the kingdom of Lucis. The Lucians have been able to keep Niflheim at bay, mainly because the capital Insomnia is protected by the Wall, a magical shield powered by a crystal. At the start of the game an armistice is proposed as well as a union of states through the marriage of Prince Noctis of Lucis and Lady Lunafreya of Tenebrae, a separate nation with limited political power due to the influence of a priestess called the Oracle. The game opens when Noctis, the only playable character, travels with his friends Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto to Accordo where the wedding is to take place. Along the way it is revealed Niflheim has betrayed Lucis and the crystal has been stolen with many important figures killed. Noctis’ main quest becomes to reclaim the throne and rescue the crystal.
The group of characters gets to explore the world, mainly using the car Regalia and later on also use the galliform Chocobo birds. The story focuses significantly on the bond between the characters and presents their journey as a road trip. They can only travel by day as powerful demons roam the world at night, so they always need to find an inn or go camping at a safe spot to spend the night. The car also needs regular refueling. Later on a fast travel option becomes available. The game has many contemporary elements, such as the use of cell phones. There are many cut-scenes and conversations between characters, there are shops to visit, and Ignis uses different ingredients to cook meals. There are several side quests, hunts, optional dungeons and also fishing. The later parts of the game move away from the open world and have a more linear design.
Combat is done through free movement, much like Final Fantasy Type-0 or the Kingdom Hearts series by the same developer. The turn-based and Active Time Battle systems the series is known for are replaced by a real-time combat system known as Active Cross Battle. It allows for attacks and different weapons, blocking and parrying, mana-consuming spells and context related actions such as using cover and the use of heights with complete freedom of movement. The other three characters are controlled by the AI, but commands can be issued along with cooperative Links as battle actions. Elemental magic is based on the elements fire, ice and thunder with lots of customization options for the spells, also combined with items. Ring magic becomes available later on when Noctis possesses the Ring of the Lucii. Optionally combat can be done using a wait mode where the entire environment is paused when Noctis does not move.
There is a global experience level and characters can level up by visiting havens as safe zones. There are also ability points that can be spent on the Ascension Grid skill tree with abilities for combat, magic and passive abilities. The four friends each have a hobby where they can level up. Noctis fishes, Ignis cooks, Prompto takes pictures and Gladiolus has survival skills.