Imperials above us!
Assault craft, also known as dropship, and referred to simply as magitek engine in the party's incidental dialogue, is a type of airship used for transporting goods and deploying of imperial troops by Niflheim in Final Fantasy XV. The type of aircraft is called "assault craft" in some bestiary blurbs; Ignis Scientia calling them "magitek engines" (魔導エンジン, Madō enjin?) when they approach on the overworld, likely refers to the low droning sound their power source makes.
Niflheim is the only nation in Eos to use magitek and thus use airships, and the basic magitek engine is the most common one. The technology originates from the ancient civilization of Solheim,. Niflheim's use of airships superseded their need for sea travel and armored tanks (whose rusted remains are still found around Lucian outlands and some older imperial military installations), and Niflheim stopped using some sea ports, such as Galdin.
Assault craft appear randomly in the open world to drop enemies, somewhat reminiscent of the random encounters of past series's games.
Niflheim's assault craft are flying armored vehicles about the size of a small shipping container. They all appear the same model, the only unique one belonging to Aranea Highwind who uses a red variant of the basic steel-colored model. The aircraft have "SAF" written on the side as well as the red crest of Niflheim.
The front opens up to allow passage, and the back of it glows in the familiar red hue associated with magiteknology. When deploying troops assault craft don't usually land, but hover aboveground while the troops jump down while the aircraft takes off. When grounded in the imperial bases the player can visit, the assault craft are shown to eject landing gear. They don't have propellers or any obvious means of propulsion; they can take off vertically and stay stationary while airborne. Their flight is stable but not particularly fast, and an active magitek engine emits a droning hum. As no cockpit or pilots are ever witnessed, these aircraft may operate on auto-pilot.
From Chapter 2 onward the player is accosted by dropships that appear near to the player's location to deploy imperial enemies the player can then either ignore or engage. They sometimes drop troops on the roads blocking the Regalia, and appear as fixed encounters for some events, such as Vyv Dorden's sidequest for photographing imperial bases in Lucis. They appear on the open world any time of the day, but most commonly appear when the sun is out. They spawn in same spots repeatedly. When the sound of a magitek engine sounds the player's party members notify Noctis.
The player rides an assault craft as part of the story twice: end of Chapters 4 and 7. A cutscene of the party inside one was added in a patch, which shows the interior of the vehicle as entirely barren.
In Chapter 8 and 15 Aranea Highwind can arrive on her red assault craft when the player is battling daemons or difficult hunts on the open world. She will jump down from the aircraft, which will hover above the battle area until the party wins or flees; Aranea will then jump into the aircraft and leave. If the player was using Armiger Unleashed, Aranea's arrival interrupts it. Aranea also arrives to training sessions in this manner when initiated on a haven.
In Chapter 11 the player must down assault craft by point-warping to them during the battle on the Magna Fortia and fighting the shock troopers inside; as the MTs explode the magitek engines begin to lose power and the player must point-warp to another aircraft in time. Alternatively, the player can use the mounted machine guns on the aircraft to down nearby vessels.
Creation and developmentEdit
An assault craft crashes into the glass dome of the building where the treaty-signing party is being held in the Final Fantasy Versus XIII 2011 trailer, where they glow with blue exhaust. They also appeared a 2014 trailer, again with a blue glow rather than the red from the final game.
The "SAF" written on the aircraft represents the general command of "Safay Roth," a character who was ultimately cut. The letters were left "to honor the famous generals that existed".
- When assault craft deploy imperial troops on the open world, after a drop they rise into the atmosphere until they despawn and disappear into the sky.
- Assault craft can deploy the superboss MA-X Angelus-0 in Chapter 15.
- Derelict dropships are found in the Duscae region of Lucis. One is in a crater and one west of the Disc of Cauthess where the player can find a map scrap as part of the Scraps of Mystery sidequest.
- If the assault craft collide with other enemies, they may get stuck on board with them and be taken away when the airships fly away.