The camera loves you! One more! Say, 'fuzzy pickles'!
Photos is a menu option in the Archives in Final Fantasy XV that lets the player view the saved images Prompto Argentum has taken. Whenever Prompto is in the party he can take pictures with his camera. Photography is Prompto's leisure skill that levels up when he takes more photos and rests at camp sites and lodgings. Leveling up Photography earns new filters and Prompto begins to take selfies, close-ups in battle and finally, photos where he is not holding the camera himself.
When the party rests the player gets a slideshow of the photos Prompto took since the last time they rested, which can be saved to the menu and/or shared via social media. If the player shares the photos Prompto takes with the share option from the slideshow, the pictures will have a watermark. The other party members can comment on the photos as the player views them. Character poses don't happen during gameplay, but the AI system tweaks that for the photos. There are also scripted photos of NPCs taken throughout the game.
A maximum of ten photos can be taken between rests, but this may be increased to fifteen if going long periods without resting. The max also increases by 5 if Prompto is equipped with the Camera Strap accessory. Auto-snaps and which ones get scrapped are not in the player's direct control. The player can hold 200 saved photos at once, viewable from the Archives menu. The limit was originally 150, but it was increased after version 1.05.
Prompto can learn new filters (see below) and the player can set in the menu what filters he can use and which camera he should have. The game has two options for cameras: LOKTON LX-30 and LOKTON LX-X1R, the latter being DLC and having a slight blue hue to the pictures.
After Noctis obtains Ramuh, Gentiana can appear on the background of Prompto's photos, which the party marvels at as they don't recall meeting her at the scene. Carbuncle can also appear on the background of photos. Getting Gentiana on a photo earns the Immortal Photobomb achievement/trophy. After patch 1.26, Lara Croft from the Shadow of the Tomb Raider can also photobomb Prompto's shots.
Prompto's Snapshot can be used to take a picture in battle (in addition to the random auto-snaps). Unlocking the Snapshot skill in Exploration grid of the Ascension lets Prompto take up to 5 photos at once. The Aperture Exploration ability yields 1 AP for every photo Prompto takes with Noctis in it. When controlling Prompto, his Selfie Skill technique has him always take a selfie in combat, though unlike Snapshot, these shots are saved to manual-snaps.
When driving around in the Regalia Prompto sometimes asks to take a photo, and appeasing his request is a small quest (see photo ops below). Sometimes during car rides Prompto will ask Noctis of whom he wants pictures of, and Noctis can answer himself, Gladiolus, Ignis, or "nothing". For the rest of the day Prompto will photograph the person Noctis said he wanted more pictures of. After maxing out the Photography skill, "Prompto" replaces the "nothing" option.
Prompto's skill level improves the more photos he takes. Leveling up his photography yields new filters. Improving photography level the first time earns the Photo Rookie achievement/trophy. Maxing it out yields Photo Expert. Photography level and filters carry over when using chapter select.
Some of the player's saved auto-photos appear during the ending credits.
The camera mode was added in patch 1.04 and lets Noctis take photos manually. The player can aim the camera and zoom in. Taken photos get stored under "manual-snaps," but also take up space from the 200 photo limit. Quests that make use of this mode were added in patches alongside the Royal and Windows Editions release, and saved manual pictures appear in the Royal Edition credits. The camera Noctis uses is never seen, and his pictures have no "photobombs" or unique poses from subjects; instead the mode is simply for taking screenshots. Noctis can use the same filters Prompto can.
Filters and framesEdit
The player can set from the photo menu which filters are used and how often. The options are: random, often, sometimes and never.
|Roadtrip||Photography level 2|
|Memory||Photography level 3|
|Dawn||Photography level 5|
|Bloom||Photography level 7|
|Journey||Photography level 9|
|Vintage||Up Close and Personal tour|
|Time||A Place to Call Home quest|
|Pop||Stay at a motel in Longwythe Rest Area, Taelpar Rest Area or Old Lestallum and agree to talk to Prompto (when it doesn't rain)|
|Feather||Buy the Viva La Vista magazine for 30 Assassin Medallions in Final Fantasy XV: Assassin's Festival|
Frames for sharing the images online were added in a patch. The player could also buy an Assassin photo frame for 90 medallions from the Final Fantasy XV: Assassin's Festival.
Vyv is a journalist who is looking for photographs to publish in his magazine, and sends the party out to various locations for photos. Completing his quests yields EXP an gil, and the photos he requests can only be taken during daylight hours.
|Photo Op: Mountain||Longwythe's Peak||Reach Chapter 03||200 EXP|
|Photo Op: Quarry||Near Balouve Mines||Reach Chapter 04||200 EXP|
|Photo Op: Quay||Galdin Quay||Reach Chapter 03||200 EXP|
|Photo Op: Battlefield||Near Prairie Outpost||Reach Chapter 06||200 EXP|
|Photo Op: Disc||Disc of Cauthess||Reach Chapter 03 (must be completed before the end of Chapter 04)||250 EXP|
|Photo Op: Ranch||Wiz Chocobo Post||Complete the "A Behemoth Undertaking" hunt and reach Cape Caem in Chapter 06||250 EXP|
|Photo Op: Lestallum||Lestallum||Complete the "A Stroll For Two" tour in Chapter 03||250 EXP|
|Photo Op: Crag||Coernix Station - Cauthess||Reach Chapter 08||250 EXP|
|Photo Op: Volcano||Verinas Mart - Ravatogh||Reach Chapter 03||250 EXP|
|Photo Op: Beacon||Cape Caem||Reach Chapter 08 and go through Cape Caem's parking area on foot||300 EXP|
|Photo Op: Lakefront||Vesperpool||Reach Chapter 07||350 EXP|
|Photo Op: Waterfall||Outside Greyshire Glacial Grotto||Reach Chapter 03||300 EXP|
|Photo Op: Mascot||Old Lestallum||Reach Chapter 08||300 EXP|
|Photo Op: Palace||Altissia||Reach Chapter 09||400 EXP|
|Photo Op: Park||Altissia||Reach Chapter 09||400 EXP|
|Photo Op: Dock||Altissia||Reach Chapter 09||400 EXP|
|Photo Op: Bar||Altissia||Reach Chapter 09||400 EXP|
|Photo Op: Restaurant||Cygillan Ocean off the coast of Galdin Quay||Gain the means to sail the royal vessel||200 EXP|
|Photo Op: Cape||Cygillan Ocean off the coast of Cape Caem||Gain the means to sail the royal vessel||250 EXP|
|Photo Op: Island||Cygillan Ocean off the coast of Angelgard||Gain the means to sail the royal vessel||200 EXP|
|Photo Op: Chimney||Cygillan Ocean off the coast of Rock of Ravatogh||Gain the means to sail the royal vessel||200 EXP|
|Photo Op: Horizon||Cygillan Ocean to the west from Accordo islands||Gain the means to sail the royal vessel||300 EXP|
|Photo Op: Gate||Cygillan Ocean on the gate to Altissia||Gain the means to sail the royal vessel||250 EXP|
Caestino on CameraEdit
Move over, Prompto—there's a new camera king in town.
Added in patch 1.23, the player can talk to a journalist in Cartanica near the stairs that lead down to the quarry, who tasks Noctis with manually taking photos of landmarks in Fodina Caestino. The player needs to stand on spot where the quest marker is on the map, and the field icon "take photo" appears. Using the manual camera mode, the player needs to take a photo of the broken machine near the tree from three sides (zoom out so all of it fits into the frame), and another picture of an abandoned shed (position the crosshair in the middle of its door). If nothing happens when taking a photo, the player should move the crosshair around a little and zoom and keep trying until Noctis says he has the shot. If there is not enough daylight, Noctis says they should return the next day. Returning to the journalist with the pictures completes the quest. If the player doesn't complete the quest during Chapter 10, it is missed.
Certificate of CompletionEdit
I just want one... to take with me.
One of the player's saved photos will become their "Certificate of Completion". The player gets to choose the photo before the final battle. If the player has no saved photos, the game will offer some of the scripted ones. After the ending credits and the post-credits scene, the framed photo will show the player's level and playtime and they can share it on social media. The player also gets a certificate of completion for downloadable character episodes. Only one certificate can be saved at once, and it will appear in both auto and manual-snaps.
When Noctis is about to enter his final battle, he asks to see the photos Prompto has taken of their journeys. The player views their album and the party will comment on them. Noctis takes the picture of the player's choosing with him. If the player has saved no photos, they have two options from the times when Prompto took a photo as part of the story: the part in front of the Regalia at the start of their journey, and the group photo taken at the Cape Caem secret harbor.
In the final scene Noctis and Lunafreya appear on the Lucian throne in wedding attire. Noctis has the photo and shows it to her.
Archive Highlights are 10 photo ops the player can unlock by completing "Episode Prompto" to find them on repeat playthroughs. The player may need to rotate the camera for the option to take a photo to appear. The highlights are saved to a gallery in the menu.
Creation and developmentEdit
The photos feature was born out of the idea that more people are using smartphones and thus being connected to social media, and the developers wanted Final Fantasy XV to have an impact in that sphere.
If people are playing on their smartphones, then a lot of them are also using social media, right? So one of my goals in creating 15 was to craft a game that could have a big impact on social media. That's what you've seen with the photographs and all the videos the players are sharing, and that's a way of sort of reaching this audience. I think we did a pretty good job of it.
At the end, the pictures Prompto took and the player saved during the game are shown. The concept originated in the early stage of development, with Hajime Tabata wanting to show a record of the player's journey. The idea for photos specifically came up after the release of Episode Duscae.
Prasert "Sun" Prasertvithyakarn, the lead for AI and buddy system, talked at GDC 2017 about the automatic snapshot system in place in Final Fantasy XV. The goal was to make all game systems contribute to the roadtrip feel, and this includes the snapshots. Encouraging people take screenshots while they play was seen as cumbersome, and thus the idea was born that a party member would take the screenshots in the player's stead. People who record game footage and share it was seen as a very small group of players, because it takes effort and also skill to get a good screenshot. The system was tied to Prompto after user surveys showed he was the least popular party member to bring him closer to players and make them appreciate him being a party member.
The goals of the snapshot systemEdit
The photos are designed to feel like achievements, and include memorable moments that happened in the story, as well as unflattering moments, such as Noctis being pecked by a chocobo at the Wiz Chocobo Post or being petrified during battle—any moments the player will remember having happened, so they feel the snapshots really express their personal gameplay. Because the game has an open world structure and every player can explore it in their own way, the developers wanted a way to chronicle each player's unique experience. The goal was also for the photos to "tell more than what has actually been told", showing snapshots that inspire the player to imagine the scene and character interactions where it was taken even if it didn't literally happen in the game.
The photos were made to be unique and fun, and although it takes some luck to get interesting photos, the "luck" was tweaked to the player's advantage by including systems such as Ignis sometimes not having his glasses on in a photo—when a player sees such a unique photo, they feel lucky and perhaps are inclined to share it. Prompto's Snapshot Technique was added so the player can interact with the system. The skill makes Prompto take a selfie with a monster, with sometimes interesting results, leading the player feeling lucky they got such a unique shot. Bad pictures were also seen as something players would be amused by and thus want to share, and thus systems like NPCs photo-bombing the party by walking into the frame when they pose for a photo were added.
Prasert "Sun" Prasertvithyakarn was inspired to make something that can make players feel emotions—like how he felt with the famous end of Disc 1 scene in Final Fantasy VII. He views the automatic snapshot system as one of the most powerful storytelling systems in the game, as cinematics and linear level script were not seen as enough to express the story of brotherhood the game wanted to convey when the player is spending most of their time in the world map. Sun also wanted to tell the story of loss with the photo system, as at the end of the game the player will see the photos they had saved and hopefully stir memories of the moments they were taken, with the knowledge that the moment is gone and will never happen again.
Sun lamented his team wants this snapshot system to be a new benchmark for gameplay-sharing for the next generation. The team was treading new ground with the system, and thus there were many unknowns on how far they could push the system
The auto-snapshot mechanics work thusly: Triggering → Theme selection → Details enhancement → Framing calculation → Knowledge representation → Auto postfiltering → Auto albuming → Conversation influence → The actual photo Prompto will share at the end of the day.
The triggers for the photos are numerous. Characters and enemies performing cool stunts in battle is one trigger, where the system tries to capture interesting animations as they will turn up as good poses. Events trigger photos, such as cutscenes and interactive events, such as Noctis eating street food at Lestallum, or reaching new locations. Snapshots are also triggered "on a whim" when there are no event pictures, and thus even if no special events happened during the party's session, special moments can be created by the snapshot system if the player gets interesting photos. There are also manual triggers in set locations where the party poses for a group photo, and with Prompto's Snapshot Technique.
The photos are divided in different themes. "Joyful" photos prioritize showing characters, "wonderful" photos use wide angle to show landscape, and "exciting" photos capture one-on-one confrontations in battle, or focus on the battlefield itself, usually with a strong tilt. There are also preset themes to ensure "perfect" photos, such as to ensure a whole landmark fits into the frame. Rendering in the "photo world" and in the "game world" is separate, and thus the photos can be made interesting even if taken when nothing is happening, e.g. by giving the subject facial expressions, adding character interactions or Gentiana or Carbuncle to the background.
Auto framing is done by using the subject's bone information and environment collision to calculate the camera position and point of gaze. Depth of field is also calculated by this step. Algorithms vary among them and the system aims to use Prompto's actual position as much as possible.
"Knowledge representation" means that the photos aim to show as much as possible in one frame: what, who, when, why, how. There are various filters available, and the game uses embedded information to avoid bad filters, but the player can also set their own filter preferences from the menu. In the "auto albuming" the game decides which photos to show in the end-of-the-day slideshow. The aim was to show variety and photos from different times of the day to enhance the feeling of passage of time between the takes. When the player views the photos the characters will comment on them.
- "Auto-snaps" and "manual-snaps" were originally called "Prompto's photos" and "Noctis's photos."
- During the times the player is prompted to take a group photo, the party poses in scripted ways. One of the poses has the party hold up one finger in one hand, and five fingers in the other, as an allusion to the number fifteen.
- Depending on which photo the player chooses as their "Certificate of Completion", the party will make different comments. Gladiolus makes the most comments.
- Ignis doesn't comment on specific photos but talks about the memories looking at photos evokes. However, he does comment on the picture of the four in front of the repaired Regalia, saying it'd be fitting to include the car.
- Pictures from battles have Gladiolus comment that it was "a real knock-down-drag-out rumble".
- Choosing a photo with just Gladiolus has him be taken aback, but flattered. Taking a photo with just Prompto has him comment that it's sweet, but "a little bit creepy." Taking a picture of Ignis has Noctis say he wants "the one with Iggy" and Ignis acting offended there are supposedly so few pictures of him in the collection.
- A photo of a Chapter 14 Noctis has the party comment that he looks like his dad and that he looks regal. Choosing a picture of a young Noctis has Prompto comment that Noctis never used to like being photographed, yet now wants a picture of just himself as a memento.
- Pictures of the four of them together has Gladiolus approve, saying "Now you can't beat that... A shot of all four of us together."
- Gladiolus comments on Cor's picture of how the marshal used to "show them the ropes".
- If the player chooses a picture of Iris, Gladiolus comments that a big brother needs to turn a blind eye to certain things sometimes.
- Prompto comments on Aranea's picture (when she was a party member when the photo was taken, not photos taken from battles against her): "Hohoho... I totally know where you're coming from, dude."
- Gladiolus comments on Ardyn's picture that a king forgives and forgets.
- The other side characters (Ravus, Vyv, Dino, Sania, etc.) have Prompto comment that it is a weird choice, but it's Noctis's choice to make. Cid, Cindy and Talcott have no unique comments, but Prompto doesn't say they are a "weird choice" either. Instead, the party simply gives generic "sure brings me back" lines. There are also no specific comments for photobombs from Gentiana and Carbuncle.
- There are no photo options in Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae, but the party has taken photos on their smartphones for the tours. In the final game, the party only uses cameras for pictures although they all have phones.
- The "Ultimate Pose" from the picture shoot sidequests is the iconic pose of Caesar Zapelli from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
- In the English-language dialogue for the "Strike A Pose!" tour event, Prompto will say, "Now say Fuzzy Pickles!" as he takes a picture of Noctis. This is a line taken from Nintendo's SNES RPG EarthBound, in which a photographer appears at various junctures to take a photo of the party.
- ↑ The future of Final Fantasy 15 (Accessed: April 21, 2018) at Polygon
- ↑ Game Informer #87: Final Fantasy XV
- ↑ Hajime Tabata Explains why Prompto was Made a Photographer in Final Fantasy XV (Accessed: April 21, 2018) at US Gamer
- ↑ Hajime Tabata Reflects on the Transformation of Versus XIII to Final Fantasy XV (Accessed: April 21, 2018) at US Gamer