How this game's story could feel more completed and FF'ish

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Warrior of Light
Oct 30, 2016
Hijacking this ancient thread to offer an incredibly simple change that could remove most of the dissonance from the first half of FFXV:

What if the fall of Insomnia wasn't revealed until Chapter 6?

The goal of this exercise is to change as little about the game as possible, so let's start with the end of Chapter 1, which needs an alternate crisis point. The obvious solution is to have the Empire take a more aggressive posture than a country intending to follow through on a truce ought to take. Have the newspaper point out the increasing frequency of dropship flights heading in the direction of Insomnia and the growing rumors that Niflheim intends to invade Lucis in spite of the treaty, and Noct's insistence on returning to the city would make just as much sense as it does in the game proper.

When he gets there, of course, Noct sees that the checkpoint has been taken over by MTs and decides that he needs to break through the back route to check on the city. In this version, the Wall is still up, but Noct can't reach anyone inside of the city because the telecommunications have been cut. Noct finally tries Cor, who answers because he's been sent by Regis to tell Noct about the Royal Arms.

Cor's guidance can remain very similar to what it is in the game, except that Noct collecting the Royal Arms and preparing to become King is framed as an insurance policy rather than an immediate necessary. Cor still helps Noct break through the blockade, then leaves in order to offer his strength to Insomnia's defense.

Noct and co. still meet Iris in Lestallum. Instead of escaping the destruction of the city as a refugee, however, she was snuck out of Insomnia by her father in anticipation of things getting messy.

Meanwhile, Luna has not yet been called to Insomnia, so she's still free to go around doing her duty as Oracle. In the absence of a permanent Imperial guard, she's able to wake up Ramuh and Titan.

In this version, Insomnia falls when Noct and his friends are the most out of the loop -- right after the Titan debacle, when they don't have the Regalia and are stuck at Wiz's Chocobo Ranch. Noct still runs into a prosthetic-wearing Ravus, but he doesn't find out what happened to Insomnia until he gets back to Lestallum.

The best part of this alteration is what it does to the situation with Jared. Instead of Jared being discovered and murdered by Imperials while minding his own business, he can be discovered after uncovering information about what really went down in Insomnia and executed shortly after passing on what he knew to Talcott and Iris. This draws a direct connection between Jared's death and Regis', and makes Talcott a proxy onto whom Noct can project his own grief. The revenge quest becomes not just about Jared, but about Regis too.

Once Insomnia falls, everything else can continue as it already does.

There are four main benefits to this:

1) It is far more natural for Noct to go on adventures and do side quests prior to Chapter 6.

2) Cor, Luna, and Iris' movements all make more sense.

3) Jared's death is far more emotionally effective.

4) The way Noct and co. treat Ardyn is less frustrating, since they have less reason to automatically hate him.

It's hard to think of a way to get more bang for one's buck in terms of changes to the game's narrative.