I’m just going to warn you right now: this is the page where I vent about my issues with this game. There’s also a decent bit of explicit language.
Let’s talk about the trope of fridging.
If you’re not familiar, you can find more thorough description over at TV Tropes, but the basic idea is such: a character, often a woman, is killed mostly to inspire angst. To quote the TV Tropes page:
While it is strictly true that Tropes Are Not Bad, this one, especially as a catchphrase, is often given a very negative connotation as it is all too often a hallmark of supremely lazy writing—using the death of a character as "cheap anger" for the protagonist, and devaluing the life of that character in the process, instead of giving the villain something actually interesting to do that can involve all three characters and more emotions than simple anger and angst.
I’ll give you three guesses which death I’m thinking about, and the first two don’t count.
My initial reaction to Luna’s death was shock, but it was quickly usurped by anger and frustration. It was, to put it simply, fucking bullshit.
I had spent the entire game wanting to see more of Luna. Kingsglaive had intrigued me enough to be interested in her, and I thought she had a lot of potential. Yet as the game went on, we only got brief glimpses of Luna. We barely knew what she was doing or why she was doing it. FFXV does not particularly explain itself well, nor does it excel in character development, but I kept thinking that there would be more depth as I got further into the story. I mean, there had to be more to these characters, right?
Apparently fucking not.
Literally everything about the Oracle is completely vague. We’re told that she’s going around to all of the gods and waking them up, but the whole thing with Leviathan is treated as this huge deal when it’s the third of six. How in the hell was Noctis supposed to get the blessing of the other three? The fact that he does is simply narrative convenience: the bulk of Luna’s journey makes no fucking sense if you think about it logically. Literally Shiva is a giant corpse in the middle of Imperial territory. I’ll grant that maybe Luna knew about Gentiana (who makes zero sense herself) but how was she planning on getting him to Bahamut when apparently Bahamut lives inside the fucking crystal?
Even trying to apply logic to any of FFXV’s plot is an exercise in futility. None of it makes any goddamn sense.
In terms of narrative mechanics, Luna’s death works as follows: it gives Noctis angst and serves to make Ardyn that much more villainous, and gives Noctis a personal reason to go after Ardyn. But it completely devalues Luna’s character. I talked about this on the Echoes page, but character deaths aren’t inherently bad; they just need to be used properly. Here’s a hint: this isn’t one of them.
What’s awful about FFXV, though, is that it adds insult to injury. After Luna’s death, you find out that Luna was apparently in ailing health, perhaps due to her journey to meet with the gods. It reads as an incredibly lazy justification for her death: “well, she was sick anyway, so this was gonna happen one way or another!”
Are you kidding me?
While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about the general inconsistency that is the character of Ravus Nox Fleuret. This is a character whose writing is so bad it’s going to be improved in patches, so you know they fucked up.
Ravus is Luna’s brother, and in the film Kingsglaive he’s actually fairly consistent: he holds a grudge against Lucis and specifically King Regis for abandoning Tenebrae when it was taken over by Niflheim. After the treaty-signing ends in carnage, Ravus picks up the Ring of the Lucii and puts it on, beseeching the kings of old to grant him their power. He is rejected, and wreathed in flames.
The scene is brief, but given it’s his last appearance in the film, I was under the distinct impression he had perished. To my considerable surprise, he’s in the game and very much alive. Seriously, I spent most of the fucking game trying to figure out how the fuck he was alive, until I finally realized he had a metal/armored arm, I guess implying that’s all he lost???
That’s not all, though: he has one scene with Noctis where he continues to oppose Lucis, and then has a couple scenes with Luna where he’s entirely willing to help her cause. Seriously. No explanation is ever given. Luna even tries to give him the Ring of the Lucii and he rejects it:
Luna: I beg of you, please, see the ring to Noctis on my behalf. Already my flesh has begun to fail me.
Ravus: No, I cannot accept it. By your hand it must be done. To deliver the ring and inspire the king is your calling. You mustn’t fall.
Luna: But… I lack the strength to go on.
Ravus: Find it, Lunafreya. You have the will. Go to Noctis. Show him the truth of your heart.
Again: does not make any fucking sense. None. Nada. Zilch.
Final Fantasy XV had a host of issues during its development. That much is obvious for a game that took ten years between announcement and release, but nowhere are the cracks more obvious than in the story and characters. The plotholes are numerous and the characters are thin and inconsistent.
For me, someone who primarily plays the Final Fantasy series for its story and characters, this title was largely a disappointment in that regard. Yet I found its gameplay to be remarkable and the mechanics of its battles to be a revelation. It’s also not to say that there weren’t good parts in the story — nor that I didn’t have issues with the gameplay.
When it comes to Luna, though, I’m angry, I’m frustrated, and I’m sad. There was a lot of potential to her character, and it was squandered from start to finish. She’s not a well-rounded character; she’s one with some interesting facets that weren’t fully explored, and she was killed off before she could be fleshed out in more depth. This is not the fate I wanted for the newest heroine of the Final Fantasy series.
Despite it all, though, I’m still fond of Luna. I don’t like what happens to her, and I don’t like all of her characterization, but on the whole I still enjoy her character. That’s how criticism works, after all — you can acknowledge something’s faults while still liking it. Still, I can only hope that Square learns from some of their mistakes in this game, because honestly, it is a mess.