Final Fantasy is one of those game franchises that defies logic. The whole thing started back on the original Nintendo (NES) when Squaresoft (one of the two companies that eventually combined together to become today’s Square Enix) made a “final” game as a last ditch effort to save their organization. It worked and now several years and over 20 titles later (with 15 main-line entries) the games are still going strong.
One of the big reasons the franchise has done so well is that the dvelopers have an intimate knowledge of what their fans like and want. Part of that is leaning into the fan service and putting characters into silly and somewhat unexpected situations. Monsters of the Deep, a PSVR-excxlusive Final Fantasy XV spinoff, is one such adventure.
My demo at E3 2017 started out with me standing face-to-face with Noctis, one of the main protagonists from the core Final Fantasy XV game. He loves to fish but none of his other friends will fish with him, thus your newly founded friendship.
In my left hand I had a sonar that could be used to detect where the fish were biting and my right hand had a relatively standard looking fishing rod. By pressing the Move button on top of the right PS Move controller, flinging my wrist, and releasing the button at the peak of the throw sent my line flying into the water. The physics and accuracy of throwing out the line felt surprisingly good and I never once under or over threw it.
Once I got into the zone I’d just have to wait a few moments for a fish to bite, lift up to hook the fish, and start reeling it in with the left PS Move controller. All of the movements were so natural I quickly forgot I was holding two hunks of plastic instead of an actual fishing rod.
This isn’t designed to be a realistic simulation though, despite how great the scenery was and how satisfying the mechanics felt. After I caught the first three or four fish a giant “boss” fish appeared that required me to use a crossbow to deal enough damage so it could be captured.
And that was it. It was a short demo on the pier of a tiny little lake with only a handful of fish to catch. After I was done the game loaded up an ending scene where I was sitting around the campfire with all of the protagonists from Final Fantasy XV as we ate skewers of the fish I just caught. On the table to my right was a printed out photo of my character, wearing a PSVR headset of course, holding up a fish and smiling. It was endearing and charming in a way not many VR experiences are. It really helped me feel like part of the crew.
The Sony representative told me that the full game will have multiple locations to fish from, new rods and other toosl, as well as a greatly expanded roster of fish. It’s set to release sometime this September.