When Final Fantasy XV came out back in November 2016, online multiplayer was a major, but vague, DLC feature promised for the future. The multiplayer expansion is finally here nearly a year later with Comrades. Square Enix is planning to launch the beta test on August 3, ending on August 8.
Players create a custom character and team up with three other players, probably known as comrades, before setting off on multiplayer quests. Customisation appears to be fairly diverse. It builds on current in-game features of alternative clothing with further customisation elements linked to quest rewards and micro-transactions.
Comrades beta will feature some of the same weapon classes as the main game; katanas, clubs, daggers, and shurikens with the full release featuring an expanded arsenal. The attack patterns are slated to feel new to players as they’re intended to vary from Noctis.
Comrades in Arms?
Royal Sigils are set to be a major focal point of Comrades but little information has been given on what they actually are. Described as having a key role in cooperative multiplayer combat and invoking the powers of sovereigns isn’t much help. But it does hint at them possibly having a link to the Royal Arms in the main game, we can only speculate how that’ll be necessary for multiplayer combat. It’s also unclear where players and their new comrades will be. If the questing will take place near the city of Insomnia as it did in the main game. Or elsewhere in the land of Eos.
Some familiarity will be there. Cooking and photography, the surprisingly fun hallmarks of Final Fantasy XV, are present in Comrades. Each party member collects an ingredient to throw into the mix at camp to make a meal. At the moment photography only seems to be present in the full release of Comrades. But it’ll be interesting to discover how it’ll be implemented in a multiplayer setting.
Square Enix has previously stated that Comrades will be the final DLC update for Final Fantasy XV, if that’s still the case then the full release may not be for some time as Episode Ignis is set to drop in December 2017.
Why the MMO?
Multiplayer itself doesn’t seem entirely necessary for Final Fantasy XV. This is a nice idea sure. But then, Square Enix already has Final Fantasy XIV and the Stormblood expansion released not too long ago to rave reviews. So why are Square Enix so keen to push Comrades when their current MMO is doing so well?
It could be a part of wanting to cash in on the surge of micro-transactions in gaming. Final Fantasy XIII-2 had an end game arena with a host of micro-transactions for DLC items and clothing. But it seems unlikely that Square Enix would develop the Comrades expansion just for that.
It’s probably part of fulfilling the obligation they have to their players. But whether Comrades will deliver anything truly unique, that makes it a worthy alternative to Final Fantasy XIV remains to be seen.