Unlike previous entries in the series, Final Fantasy 15’s cast is dominated by men. This gave some longtime fans pause, who appreciated that there was a strong woman for every leather-clad surly boy in most other Final Fantasy installments. Now that the long-awaited game is here, it turns out we had nothing to worry about — because these sweet, sweet boys are sensitive and caring, not hyper-masculine ciphers.
Final Fantasy 15 stars a quartet of monochromatically dressed dudes, each one with a unique look. (We judged those looks on a subjective level late last month, crowning the game’s “hottest boy” as a result.) There’s Prince Noctis, ever-sullen; Gladiolus, the burly and shirtless brawler; Ignis, the most rational member of the group; and Prompto, a selfie-loving pipsqueak.
At first, it seems as though what bonds them is their duties: Each one swears to protect Noctis, their kingdom’s youngest royal, as they journey across the land in a fancy car. As it turns out, they’re together for more than just obligation. These boys have legitimate affection for each other, and players can’t get enough of it.
There are lots of little signs that players point to as proof of just how much the Final Fantasy 15 guys care for one another. It’s apparent in the way that Prompto photographs Noctis and friends, they say; the tiniest cast member can’t stop taking pictures of his pals, and players can sift through his camera roll at a mission’s end. They’ve taken to sharing the most endearing of these photos online for all of our enjoyment:
Chillin with my boys— J Scott Mende (@NerdySublime) November 30, 2016
#PS4share #Finalfantasy15 #FF15 #Broadtrip pic.twitter.com/mZq8y0acMN
Group picture. #FFXV #PS4share pic.twitter.com/09Kz2AJ5kM— MakuXV (I have FFXV) (@RedMakuzawa) November 29, 2016
Dropping the hottest new rap album of 2016 #FFXV #PS4share pic.twitter.com/3JY90fLtTm— Louisa Allison (@louloumuggle) November 30, 2016
Beyond the group pictures, however, are photos that players say radiate Prompto’s love for his friends — and especially Noctis.
Prompto captured a precious moment between Noctis & Gladiolus pic.twitter.com/b3Xh1Fgqpu— Lena Raine (@kuraine) November 30, 2016
Noctis and Prompto selfie. #FFXV #PS4share pic.twitter.com/sNZfzxOvo9— MakuXV (I have FFXV) (@RedMakuzawa) November 29, 2016
PROMPTO IS NOT SUBTLE AT ALL ABOUT HOW CUTE HE THINKS NOCTIS IS #ffxv pic.twitter.com/bC1FpuaJyV— ʀᴇᴄʟᴀɪᴍ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴛʜʀᴏɴᴇ (@warooms) November 30, 2016
Prompto and Noctis’ relationship is special, and that’s not just because players deem it to be so. The Final Fantasy 15 prequel anime, Brotherhood, revealed the origin of their close friendship — and how it was built on Noctis’ unintentional encouragement of Prompto’s major lifestyle change. Previously overweight and lonely, Prompto became determined to dramatically change his look after Noctis made an insensitive comment to him on their first meeting.
It’s not the most endearing origin story, considering that body shaming was what brought them together. But their subsequent boyhood closeness remains on display in some of Final Fantasy 15’s most buzzed-about scenes. Watch this optional cutscene below for a truly touching conversation between Noctis and Prompto about the latter’s insecurities:
It’s clear that the two mean a lot to each other, as any fan fiction-writing Final Fantasy fan will tell you. Their relationship is not canonically romantic — considering Noctis has a fianceé — but that surely hasn’t stopped Tumblr users, among other fans online.
Instead, it’s just a sensitive and meaningful friendship that Prompto and Noctis share. That’s lovely to see in a game that’s still filled to the brim with combat. But let’s not forget that Gladio and Ignis are just as integral to the group, and all four guys are clearly happy to share in each other’s company.
Game of the Year #FFXV #PS4sharehttps://t.co/0APknFfDmL pic.twitter.com/020i6gIzZu— Andrea律 (@FFXV) (@andrearitsu) November 29, 2016
In the words of Prompto, “Isn’t that romantic?”
There’s much more to Final Fantasy 15, of course, as we detail in our positive review. Read that for a sense of what the game’s really about, best friends being best friends aside.