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Long ago when the words of the gods resonated in the hearts of men...


Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ardyn – Prologue is an animated episode prologue to Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ardyn released a month before the DLC on YouTube for free. Similar to the way Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV detailed the backgrounds of the four main heroes of Final Fantasy XV, Episode Ardyn — Prologue details the background of Ardyn from 2,000 years ago in Eos's history when he used to work as a healer. The anime is in Japanese with subtitles available. It was animated by Satelight.


Final Fantasy XV Episode Ardyn animation keyart


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

The world is in ruin due to the emergence of daemons, but the nobles of House Caelum have gained influence and the masses' trust due to using their god-given powers to fight them, gaining the other lords' support to become the realm's leaders. When gods sought a leader among men, a man from the Caelum line was the obvious choice, but they have two options: the young charismatic war hero and leader of armies against daemons, Somnus, or the righteous older brother who dedicates his life to the people, Ardyn. As the gods' mouthpiece among men, the Oracle is to deliver their decision, and awaits in the tower where the Crystal, the chrysalis for the soul of Eos, is kept.

Gilgamesh and Somnus in FFXV Episode Ardyn Prologue

Somnus and Gilgamesh about to burn a pile of bodies twisted by the daemon infection.

A person infected by the Starscourge staggers into a village, alerting a villager. Somnus leads an army to a wasteland covered in dark mist to attack the infected people who disperse into miasma and turn into daemons. Somnus and Gilgamesh later burn the bodies. A disgusted Ardyn comes to see the pile of charred human/daemon remains and is led through the ruined village by an old man who tells how Somnus had rounded up the infected, even those just suspected of infection, to be burned alive. A woman begs Ardyn to save her daughter, and he goes to the girl who is turning into a daemon and heals her by absorbing the plague into his own body, hiding the effect it is having on him.

Ardyn lectures at people how the Starscourge is a disease for which treatment can be developed. He abhors the practice to exiling the infected. The people are divided, as even though Somnus's method of containing the outbreak is cruel, it is faster than Ardyn's healing of people one by one. A man swears fealty to Ardyn as the people's true king, but Ardyn is not interested in the throne, though he would accept it if it means he can save the people.

Ardyn meets with the Oracle, Aera, his fiancée, who has escaped the castle to see him. The two explore mystical ancient ruins whose history is shrouded in mystery. Aera assures Ardyn that even if everyone forgot about him due to the passage of time, she would always remember.

Aera receives the gods answer in FFXV Episode Ardyn Prologue

Aera receives the gods' answer.

Aera returns to the tower and Ardyn is discovered by soldiers who chase after him. He hides but his infection is spreading and he begins to exude miasma and collapses. Aera goes to see the Crystal, which begins to shine as Bahamut delivers his message. Somnus seeks Aera to hear the gods' decision, but she is reluctant to tell him. He asks if the Crystal made its choice, but Aera says the stone has no will of its own. She relents and tells Somnus what she learned.

Ardyn has been saved by the villagers he helped when a mass of people comes to him and kneels before him, telling him the gods have chosen him as the king of people. He goes to the Crystal where Somnus declares himself as the gods' chosen king. Aera is shocked but is stopped from interfering by Gilgamesh. Somnus explains declaring Ardyn as king was a ruse to get him to reveal himself, and manifests the Blade of the Mystic from thin air. Ardyn draws his own, red Rakshasa Blade, and the two duel. Ardyn seems to be winning but Somnus warp-strikes him with a spear and impales him. Aera runs in-between the brothers and is cut down by Somnus. She smiles at Ardyn as she dies in his arms. As Somnus prepares to finish off Ardyn, the latter transforms into a monster in a fit of rage and the spectators flee the room. Somnus laments Ardyn has become the monster he had made him out to be.

Somnus kills Aera FFXV Episode Ardyn Prologue

Somnus kills Aera.

Ardyn, carrying Aera's body, staggers toward the Crystal while being attacked by Somnus and Gilgamesh. He puts his hand on the Crystal to ask whom the gods have chosen as their True King, but the Crystal's light sends him flying down the stairs. Ardyn realizes the gods have chosen Somnus because he is unworthy. Somnus executes Ardyn whose darkness disperses into the sky, leaving Somnus to stand over the corpse of his dead brother and the Oracle with a solemn look on his face as he beholds the rising sun.

Ardyn had become immortal and Somnus had no choice but to imprison his brother in Angelgard as he ascended to the throne where he grows to hate his bloodline, his name absent from history books.

The episode ends with Ardyn sitting in the throne of the Citadel, smiling evilly as he patiently waits for Noctis to come and fulfill the prophecy.




The idea for telling Ardyn's origin story came from the survey Business Division 2 conduction on Final Fantasy XV in 2017 where fans had requested to know more about Ardyn. Back then, it had been decided that Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis would be the final DLC, and thus it was decided Ardyn's story would be told in an anime. The developers later realized they wanted to add a playable DLC focusing on Ardyn as well. As the events of the anime take place 2,000 years before the game, it was also intended to be used as PR for the main game and as a way to thank loyal fans.

The goal of the anime episode was to extrapolate on the character of Ardyn and show a different side of him. The anime was produced by Satellite Inc, but the scenario, story and design were by the original Final Fantasy XV development team. The developers would have liked to show more on the three main character's (Ardyn, Aera and Somnus) relationship as well as what the ancient world was like, but were constrained on time and thus decided to focus on Ardyn's character.



Animation Director Shinichi Kurita has lamented that quite a lot of detail is lost when converting from 2D to 3D, and thus received guidance from the art team. The artists pared down details so they would be faster to while making sure it would not look bare as a still image. The team focused on characters' expressions, and referenced cut scenes from the game to pick up on their gestures and other nuances.

The daemon depicted in the "storybook" telling of the state of the world resembles Chaos, the final boss of the original Final Fantasy. Ardyn's silhouette later has the same contours when imprisoned in Angelgard.


Concept art by Shinichi Kurita
Spoilers end here.

Production credits[]

Voice cast[]

Ardyn Lucis Caelum
Keiji Fujiwara
Aera Mirus Fleuret
Saori Seto
Somnus Lucis Caelum
Daisuke Namikawa
Yoshihito Sasaki
Hiroki Maeda
Hiromichi Tezuka
Natsuki Miwa
Yuki Ishikari
Atsushi Kosaka
Reiji Kawashima
Makoto Sahara
Rui Tanabe


Masashi Sogo (十川誠志)
Character Design/Chief Animation Director
Shin'ichi Kurita (栗田新一)
Minor Character Design
Eiko Mishima (三島詠子)
Color Design
Miho Hasegawa (長谷川美穗)
Background Art
Yoko Komiya (古宮陽子)
Background Art Director
Lee Seogu
CG Director
Kosuke Morino
Director of Photography
Yuichi Takayama (高山祐一)
Go Sadamatsu
Sound Director
Takatoshi Hamano (濱野高年)
Lead Composer
Yoko Shimomura
Kentaro Sugimoto (杉本研太郎)
Animation Supervisor
Yukihiro Kobayashi (小林幸洋)
Kazuma Uike (鵜池一馬)
Key Animation
Yukihiro Kobayashi (小林幸洋)
Kentaro Sugimoto (杉本研太郎)
Koichiro Ueda (上田幸一郎)
Ayumi Ono (小野あゆ美)
Kazunori Ozawa (小澤和則)
Yuko Watabe (渡部裕子)
Akihito Aoki (青木昭仁)
Hidetoshi Omori
Kyoko Kotani (小谷杏子)
Sōichi Honda (本田創一)
Yoshiki Mizuno (水野佳樹)
Eiko Mishima (三島詠子)
Mitomi Nakayama (中山見都美)
Second Key Animation
Ayumi Itou (伊藤阿佑美)
Remi Kitai (北井礼美)
Miyuki Kawano (河野美由紀)
Studio Elle
Studio Gram
In-between Animation Director
Ayumi Ono (小野あゆ美)
In-between Animation
Ayumi Ono (小野あゆ美)
Shotaro Kanno (神野翔太郎)
Asahi Production
Color Coordination Director
Miho Hasegawa (長谷川美穗)
Finish Animation
Studio Elle
Asahi Production
2D Works
Maiko Nishitani (西谷舞子)
Special Effects
Yusuke Nagara
Masaki Okada (岡田雅基)
Production SAKO
Lee Seogu
Kang Mihyang
Nam Mihyun
Han Enjoo
Lee Jaewoo
Rintaro Ichikawa (市川林太郎)
Daichi Takahashi (高橋大地)
CG Designer
Reina Nakamura (中村玲菜)
CG Modeling
Nie Beibei
Yan Xushuo
Yue Yu
Yang Huiling
CG Rigging
CG Producer
Takashi Aotani
Honami Ota (太田帆南)
Yuichi Takayama (高山祐一)
Online Editor
Naoki Kanazawa (金沢直樹)
Keigo Fukuda (福田恵悟)
Online Editing Studio
Sound Effects
Tsutomu Ueno (上野励)
Sound Mixer
Fumihiko Ootera (大寺文彦)
Recording Assistant
Rioko Sekimata (関俣莉桜子)
Sound Production Manager
Taiichi Iguchi (井口泰一)
Jun Onoda
Character Design Assistance
Yusuke Naora (IZM designworks)
Title Logo Design
Maiko Furuhata
Yoshiyuki Takahashi
Hitoshi Morishita (森下仁)
Akio Ofuji
Trailer Production
Hyperbole Inc.
Takayuki Yamashita (山下敬幸)
Rina Mitsuzumi (三鼓梨菜)
Scenario Supervision
Toru Osanai
Character Supervision
Takashi Honjo
Direction Supervision
Toshiyuki Momose
Planning Cooperation
Takefumi Terada
Yuji Shinoda
Project Manager
Kei Takeuchi
Production Supervision
Yoshiki Ito
Animation Producer
Yasuhiro Kuramoto
Production Manager
Takumi Akiba (秋葉拓実)
Production Assistance
Ren Arai (荒井蓮)
Animation Production
Dai Hisamoto (久本大)
Yasuhiro Kamima (上間康弘)
Executive Producer
Yosuke Matsuda
Shinji Hashimoto
Takeshi Aramaki
Naoki Kusamoto (楠本巨樹)
Original Work/Planning/Producer
Square Enix