Noctis Lucis Caelum

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Noctis Lucis Caelum
Final Fantasy character
NoctisLucisCaelum.png
Noctis wielding the Engine Blade.
First appearanceFinal Fantasy XV
First gameFinal Fantasy XV (2016)
Created byTetsuya Nomura
Designed byTetsuya Nomura
Hiromu Takahara
Yusuke Naora
Voiced byEnglish
Ray Chase[1]
Hyrum Hansen (child)[1]
Japanese
Tatsuhisa Suzuki[1]
Miyuki Satō (child)[1]
Motion captureTakuma Harada[2]

Noctis Lucis Caelum (ノクティス・ルシス・チェラム, Nokutisu Rushisu Cheramu), "Noct" (ノクト, Nokuto) for short, is a fictional character from Square Enix's Final Fantasy series. He is a playable character and main protagonist of Final Fantasy XV, originally a spin-off titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The crown prince and protector of Lucis, Noctis and his allies must defend their country when the empire of Niflheim attacks Lucis in an attempt to take control of its magical Crystal.

Noctis was created and co-designed by Tetsuya Nomura, with later design revisions being handled by Yusuke Naora. Nomura created Noctis as a type of protagonist not featured in a leading role in the Final Fantasy series before. He also wanted his personality to be unique in the series, being unlike protagonists like Squall Leonhart or Cloud Strife, instead focusing more on realism. Noctis' clothes were designed by Hiromu Takahara, lead designer for Japanese fashion house Roen. His clothing was created to be both asymmetric, mirroring the fashion house's trademark style, and indicative of the game's themes and atmosphere. Before his design was finalized, Noctis was given a story-inspired temporary outfit used in early trailers.

In addition to Final Fantasy XV and its associated media, Noctis has featured in multiple Final Fantasy-related products. Ever since his reveal, Noctis has been compared with other asocial characters seen in the series' other games based on his appearance. Following the release of both the game and its expanded media, Noctis has been positively received by journalists, with many noting his growth over the course of the story, and contrasting him against other Final Fantasy protagonists. His inclusion in the fighting game Tekken 7 has gathered multiple types of responses.

Appearances[edit]

Final Fantasy XV[edit]

Noctis Lucis Caelum is the only son and heir of King Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII of Lucis; the Caelum dynasty safeguards the Crystal, a divine artifact connected to the world's deities.[3][4] When he was five years old,[5] Noctis was chosen by the Crystal as the "True King", a figure who would purge the Starscourge, a plague that will trigger eternal darkness on Eos and turns living things into monstrous Daemons. At eight years old, Noctis is attacked by a Daemon and is sent to the nation of Tenebrae for healing, where he meets and bonds with the nation's princess Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. However, Noctis and Regis are forced to flee Tenebrae when it is attacked by the Niflheim Empire. By the events of Final Fantasy XV, Lucis is under siege from Niflheim, and Regis agrees to a ceasefire. As part of the treaty, Noctis is to marry Lunafreya, and Regis dispatches him to Altissia where they are to be married. Following Noctis' departure, Niflheim attacks Lucis' capital Insomnia, steals the Crystal and kills Regis. Noctis—together with his three companions and sworn protectors Gladiolus Amicitia, Prompto Argentum and Ignis Scientia—sets out on a quest to retrieve the Crystal and defeat Niflheim.[6][7]

To fulfill his role, Noctis collects the Royal Arms, weapons of the ancient Lucian monarchs, from tombs across Lucis. He also gains the aid of the Astrals, divine beings who granted the Crystal to the Lucian line—he is in turn aided by Lunafreya, her attendant Gentiana, and Niflheim's chancellor Ardyn Izunia.[8][9] Ardyn is later revealed to be Ardyn Lucis Caelum, a healer made immortal by the Starscourge and bent on destroying both the Crystal and the Caelum dynasty.[10] Noctis gains the favor of the Astrals Titan and Ramuh,[9][11] but when he finally reaches Altissia and Lunafreya awakens the Astral Leviathan, Niflheim attacks and Ardyn mortally wounds Lunafreya, disrupting the ritual. With her last strength, she helps Noctis subdue Leviathan before giving him the Ring of the Lucii, an artifact through which he can access the Crystal's magic.[12] Noctis then heads for Niflheim's capital of Gralea, burdened by the loss of Lunafreya and tormented by Ardyn.[13][14][15]

Arriving in Gralea to find its population turned into Daemons, Noctis finds and is pulled into the Crystal. He learns from the Astral Bahamut of Providence, a power borne from the Ring, the Crystal and the Royal Arms that can banish the darkness and restore light to the world, the price for using it being Noctis' own life.[10] Waking up ten years later, he reunites with his companions and travels to Insomnia, first defeating the rogue Astral Ifrit and then Ardyn. He then fulfills his role as the True King, sacrificing himself to purge the Starscourge before using the spirits of the past Lucian kings to destroy Ardyn's spirit. In the game's post-credit scenes, Noctis is able to reveal his feelings for his friends during a rest before the final battle, and he and Lunafreya reunite in the afterlife.[16] Noctis' role in the story will be further expanded in the 2019 downloadable content episode "The Final Strike".[17]

Related media[edit]

Noctis' reveal trailer for Tekken 7

Noctis is one of the main characters in Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV, an anime following his early journey and how his companions came to travel with him.[18] In the opening and concluding episodes, Noctis learns of the fall of Lucis and faces the Daemon that nearly killed him in his youth. Initially helpless against it, he draws strength from his friends and the memories of his father to kill the Daemon.[19][20] Noctis also made a brief appearance in the CG movie Kingsglaive, as a young child in a wheelchair. A Play Arts Kai figurine of him has also been developed.[21] Noctis was featured in a collaboration with Puzzle & Dragons.[22] He appears in Itadaki Street: Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary,[23] and also appears as a playable character in the crossover fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy NT.[24] Noctis is also the main character of the manga adaptation of Final Fantasy XV.[25]

Outside Final Fantasy, Noctis also appears as a downloadable content character in Namco's fighting game Tekken 7 as a friend of Lars Alexandersson.[26] Lars' voice actor, Junichi Suwabe, enjoyed the interactions between both Lars and Noctis.[27] Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada commented it was his idea to include Noctis within the game as he was surprised by Final Fantasy XV as well as the coincidence that game from the franchise was released closely with Tekken 7. Additionally, Harada wanted to surprise fans by grabbing an RPG character by adding it to a fighting game and thus had multiple interactions with Hajime Tabata in order to get the permission to feature him in Namco's game.[28] In the making of the character, the developers wanted Noctis to emulate his techniques from Final Fantasy XV with their own hardware. He was created to be accessible to newcomers of the Tekken franchise. Nevertheless, they received a model to follow by Square Enix. However, one technique was based on Lars' Lightning Screw which resulted into their relationship in the DLC trailer. Besides Noctis' regular costume, he wears one hooded entirely created by the Namco staff. The others were created by Square Enix.[29]

Noctis has also been parodied by Bkub Okawa, author of the comedy manga Pop Team Epic alongside Ignis as both characters received super deformed designs that parodied the two main characters from that series.[30]

Character design[edit]

Noctis as he appears in the first trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, showing his placeholder design.

Noctis was created and designed by Tetsuya Nomura, the original director of Final Fantasy XV, originally a spin-off titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII.[6][31] Nomura did not want Noctis to look strong, instead being used more to communicate the darkness in the story, which caused some difficulties for the team.[31] His full name loosely translates from Latin into "Light of [the] Night Sky";[32][33] his nickname, Noct, translates as "of the Night".[34] Noctis's name was not going to be based on the sky or weather, as with previous protagonists designed by Nomura. After Lightning, the main protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII, was given a weather-based name, Nomura gave Noctis his current name.[35] This name was also a reference to Sora, the main protagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series; Sora and Caelum both mean "sky" in their respective languages, and Nomura considered Noctis to be his latest "son".[33] Noctis' adult appearance was designed by art co-director Yusuke Naora.[36][37]

A major departure from Noctis' character in contrast to previous Japanese role-playing games' protagonists was his aging across Final Fantasy XV. Despite fears of how it would be received by fans, the Square Enix staff decided to make this change. Tabata further elaborated that it "felt that it was important in communicating [the party's] development and wanting to express it in a way that we only can with the current generation of consoles."[38] When creating the development of Noctis' facial features over time, the team drew from pictures of war veterans and actors to add finer details to help mature the character's expression. They also designed Noctis' features so they would hold similarities to Regis, reflecting the game's theme of the father-son relationship.[39]

While the game changed names, platforms and eventually directors, Nomura worked with new director Hajime Tabata to ensure that Noctis remained as unchanged as possible in the final product.[40] Alterations and adjustments made to his character model were supervised by Naora. The main goal was to make Noctis appear more realistic: his skin texture was enhanced and subtleties added to its depiction and the effect of different lighting on it, in addition to adding elements such as subtle birthmarks and skin blotches. One of the major goals was keeping the same character impression while making adjustments and enhancements, as series fans already had a concept of who the character was. His hair's shadow effects needed to be adjusted after the upgrade in technology so they did not cast too much shade on his face, but the hairstyle itself was kept consistent.[37] His hairstyle was meant to give two impressions to the player: from the front it was ordered, while from the rear it looked wild.[35] In order to make his hair movements realistic, the team worked with a professional hairstylist to create the design using a mannequin's wig, then used the Luminous Studio engine to render it in real-time. The technique was originally used for the characters in the engine's 2012 tech demo Agni's Philosophy.[41]

The character's clothing was designed by Hiromu Takahara, the main designer at Japanese fashion house Roen.[42] Takahara's key inspiration for the style and coloring of the clothing was "jet black", which was meant to exemplify and be representative of the game's atmosphere. In addition, Takahara designed the outfit along the same lines as the asymmetric designs common to Roen's clothing lines.[43] His outfit was designed to make Noctis look like someone who went to a high-class pub.[44] Unlike previous Final Fantasy protagonists, a real set of Noctis' clothes was created by Roen and kept in the office for reference by the development staff: this was due to previous experiences when Nomura had been constantly asked what materials his characters' outfits were made of by the graphics teams.[33] An aspect of his design central to the story was a ring he wore on his right hand, while the gloves he wore were simply for "design purposes".[43] Noctis's outfit when the game was first revealed was a temporary one used while his final look was being created.[35] It was based on the game's script to give a visual impression in trailers.[44] Takahara also designed a formal suit worn by the character in the original opening section of the game.[45] All Roen designs, including Noctis' suit, were retained when Versus XIII was rebranded as Final Fantasy XV as the team felt wrong about removing them despite the other changes.[46]

Attributes[edit]

While originally one of four controllable characters in Versus XIII, Noctis is the sole playable character in XV.[47][48] He is also the only character who can use summoned monsters, recurring elements in the Final Fantasy series.[49] As shown in the conceptual trailer from the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo and the final game, Noctis has the power to manipulate multiple weapons at once; his Limit Break "Armiger" further enables him to summon crystalline weapons known as "Royal Arms" into battle.[48][50] In the story, these powers are passed down through the royal line of Lucis.[43] During an earlier stage of development, Noctis was to have been the only character in the world of XV that could use magic for story-related reasons. As this would not have worked from a gameplay standpoint, the team engineered it so Noctis' companions could share Noctis' magic abilities.[51] During certain points during both story scenes and gameplay, Noctis' eyes turn from their natural blue color to red. This feature was present in both Versus XIII and XV.[43][52]

Personality[edit]

Nomura did not want Noctis to have a personality like Squall Leonhart or Cloud Strife, the respective protagonists of Final Fantasy VIII and VII, defining their personality type as that of "a silent, gloomy little boy". Instead, Nomura wanted to create a realistic character type not seen in the Final Fantasy series before. Because of this, he was wary about him as he was so new to the series that he might fall "out of bounds". Whereas previous protagonists did not have strong personalities to avoid interfering with player empathy, Nomura wanted Noctis to have "an overabundance of idiosyncrasy", which was one of the ways he would leave an impression on the player.[35] Nomura also wanted the character to have traits and perform actions that bore both heroic and villainous traits, creating someone akin to an anti-hero. He thought that these qualities would match the game's themes very well.[53] While naturally shy, Noctis hides this under a cold exterior, though his close friends can see through this.[32] A key scene that demonstrated his personality in Versus XIII was his first meeting with Stella Nox Fleuret, the original heroine of Final Fantasy Versus XIII.[54]

According to Tabata, Noctis' cool mannerisms and reserved exterior stem from his lonely childhood, in addition to a fear of losing those closest to him. His words and actions stem from a fear of disappointing those around him, causing him to work to both fulfill expectations and bring people happiness as a result.[39] When comparing the personalities of Noctis and Lunafreya, Tabata referred to Noctis as the weaker of the two, remarking that he is the one who needs protection instead of her.[55] A key part of his narrative is Noctis' transition from prince to king during his journey.[56] According to scenario writer Saori Itamuro, Noctis faces the future as king with both dread and acceptance as he was brought up to expect such an event. This part of his story influenced aspects of his appearance.[39]

Voice actors[edit]

Noctis is voiced in Japanese by Tatsuhisa Suzuki as an adult, and by Miyuki Satō as a child.[1] Suzuki was cast in 2009, seven years prior to the game's final release and when the project was still titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII.[57][58] When he was first voicing the character, Suzuki said Noctis was far more introverted, speaking with a gruff manner and showing little sympathy for those beyond his immediate circle. When the change was made to Final Fantasy XV, Suzuki worked with the production team to create a new persona for the character, who became more outgoing and emotional.[59] For the final game, Suzuki recorded his lines together with the rest of the central cast.[60] To aid his performance, Suzuki modeled it on the stage mannerisms of Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the grunge band Nirvana.[61] While he did not do continuous work on the game due to the game development's "twists and turns", he found himself constantly keeping the character in mind so he could easily portray him when it was time to record voicework for the game.[57] According to Suzuki, some of the recording work he did for Versus XIII survived and was incorporated into Final Fantasy XV.[58] When voicing the character for Brotherhood, Suzuki—who had established a good rapport with the main cast—talked with them about how to shift their portrayals for the altered storytelling medium.[60]

For the English localization, Noctis is voiced by Ray Chase as an adult, and by Hyrum Hansen as a child.[1] Localization lead writer Dan Inoue's English interpretation of the character was based by Suzuki's own influence.[61] Speaking about his role, Chase was told that rather than create an English version of the Japanese performance outside a few select scenes, Chase was told to make a performance that would resonate with Western audiences. This resulted in Noctis' English version being noticeably different from the Japanese.[62] If anything seemed wrong, localization directors Inoue and Keythe Farley would call either Chase or someone else in to re-record lines of dialogue.[62][63] Noctis was not only Chase's first Final Fantasy character, but his first major role in a video game project. He was initially shocked when he received the call that he would be voicing Noctis.[63] Group recording efforts were discontinued due to the need to roughly match the English dialogue to precisely match timing for the Japanese performances.[62] Only one scene was recorded with several English actors together: the opening scene of the game, where Noctis sets out on his journey.[63]

English voice work was included for Episode Duscae, but it was cut close in terms of production scheduling. During the ROM checking stage, Tabata saw that the performance was wrong for the character, a feeling reflected in player feedback after the demo's release. As it was too late to re-record, the performance was carried into the demo. Tabata commented that the original performance made the character sound too old, comparing it to Batman. After release, the voice work was redone to show the character's youth and charm, along with his "sense of ennui".[64] Due to the feedback from Episode Duscae, the staff considered recasting Noctis's role, but instead Chase worked with the localization team to find a different voice for Noctis. After putting together a demo reel of Chase performing a variety of lines, Tabata listened and picked the one he thought best suited for the character. The most emotional part of the original recording for Chase was Noctis's final farewell to his comrades during a post-credit scene, which for Chase also symbolized saying goodbye to the localization team. A piece of late-game dialogue that needed re-recording was during Noctis's scene on the throne of Lucis at the end of the game; Noctis initially sounded on the point of tears, but the performance was redone to emphasise his resolve.[65]

Reception[edit]

Video games publications have commented on Noctis' character. Once Final Fantasy XV was revealed to the audience, Todd Ciolek from Anime News Network said that Noctis was "your standard-issue brash anime kid in demeanor."[66] Daniella Lucas from GamesRadar compared him with Final Fantasy VIII's main character, Squall Leonhart, based on his rebellious attitude as he lives "by his own rules" in contrast to the strict code of conduct set by his royal overseers.[67] Similarly, Michelle Nguyen from Geek initially noted physical and mental similarities between Noctis and Naruto's anti-hero and antisocial character, Sasuke Uchiha. However, she found Noctis was nicer but had a heavy burden that made him look cold. Nguyen praised the way Noctis became friends with the other characters.[68] Like Nguyen, David Roberts from GamesRadar enjoyed Noctis' role in Brotherhood due to the way he develops to his relationships with his friends.[69] Andrew Webster from The Verse noted while the characters appear to be cliche, the way Noctis became friends with them gave him a wish to play Final Fantasy XV and see how more do they develop.[70]

In an early preview of the game's demo Episode Duscae, GameSpot's Alexa Ray Corriae praised the interactions between Noctis and his companions, citing them as a good example of deep platonic love between men.[71] In a review of Brotherhood's first episode, Meghan Sullivan from IGN also praised the interactions between the main characters, particularly finding comical how Noctis removed parts from his hamburger and this being discussed by his friends as whether or not they were spoiling him.[72] Similarly, Destructoid's Chris Carter became attached to Noctis and his friends ever since the Brotherhood series and expects more from the video game.[73] A fragrance was created in the character's image.[74] There has been an internet meme focused on Noctis and his friends in the Regalia looking at photoshopped images. Square Enix producer Shinji Hashimoto found it comical and motivated fans to produce more in order to increase people's interest in Final Fantasy XV.[75]

Following the game's release, Dustin Bailey from Anime News Network praised the interactions between Noctis and his friends, commenting on "Noctis' brooding silence" to the point some scenes felt realistic.[76] Carter shared similar points of comparing Noctis and his allies to the cast of Final Fantasy VI, a highly acclaimed title of the franchise. However, despite also agreeing with Bailey, Carter commented on the reason of how overpowered is Noctis which seemed "hokey".[77] While agreeing with other reviewers regarding the appeal of Noctis and his allies, Philip Kollar from Polygon highly praised the ending Square gave to them in the game without spoiling too much to new gamers.[78] Game Informer writer Andrew Reiner referred to Noctis as a "great leader" as well as "an interesting, conflicted character, torn between his duties to the kingdom and wanting a different life".[79] Noctis has been seen as a "apathethic" in the trailers before the game's release by Becky Cunningham from Cheat Code Central. However, the reviewer found Noctis' characterization in Final Fantasy XV's actual title more enjoyable than in the previous trailers.[80] Despite criticising some parts about the story such as the lack of explanation about Noctis not wanting to take over his kingdom, EGMNOW's Mollie L. Patterson praised how the character grew up alongside his adult design.[81] In a Famitsu poll from 2017, Noctis was voted as the top most wanted character fans expect to be featured in another Square Enix's franchise, Kingdom Hearts.[82]

Noctis' inclusion in the fighting game Tekken 7 as downloadable content earned multiple reactions. Rock, Paper, Shotgun found him fitting based on Noctis' and the rest of the cast's skills, and joked about his relationship with Tekken character Lars.[83] Kotaku noted that the crowd of fans cheered for him when he was first announced.[84] Engadget found his inclusion typical of Final Fantasy characters similar to Cloud when he was added to Super Smash Bros., despite finding it unfitting.[85] Similarly, PCGamer compared Noctis' inclusion to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles appearing in another fighting game, Injustice 2, as Noctis did not originate from another fighting game like other guest characters.[86]Writer from Kotaku agreed, with the latter addressing multiple complaints regarding how the fans wanted Kazuma Kiryu from Yakuza as a guest character instead.[87] While finding this surprising, and stating there was "no logical justification", Sam Prell for Gamesradar wrote that fans might enjoy the addition of Noctis to Tekken 7, jokingly commenting that the only similarities between Noctis and Tekken characters were their hairstyles.[88] Similarly, Den of Geek was curious about Noctis' fighting style in the game based on his fighting style, which appeared to combine hand-to-hand combat with magic techniques, making him based on "hit 'em with something sharp".[89]

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