a fanlisting

A fanlisting is a group of people who like something: i.e. a group of people who like wolves. All a fanlisting is is a list of fans to do with that particular person, item, or object; it joins together people with similar interests.

final fantasy xv

If you know of Square Enix, the odds are that you'll know of Final Fantasy. XV, in its early stages of development, was not a mainline entry - Versus XIII was conceived as part of the franchise subseries known as Fabula Nova Crystallis, encompassing XIII and what would become Type-0. Though no longer attached, XV retains a lot of those ideas at its core. As Versus, FFXV was first announced in 2006 and was finally released on PS4/Xbox One in November 2016. It was a hell of a wait, especially when you were there from day one.

XV takes place in the world of Eos, and follows the story of Noctis, Crown Prince of the kingdom of Lucis. The game begins with Noctis being ushered away on a roadtrip with his three friends - Ignis, Gladio, and Prompto - prior to his wedding to the Lady Lunafreya. Unbeknowst to the sleepy prince, this is a ruse and a means to get him out of the city as fast as possible, as within days Lucis falls to Niflheim.

Noctis becomes a King without a Kingdom.

What makes XV different from its predecessors is that the first portion of the game is almost entirely open world. You can easily spend sixty hours or more on the road before approaching the bulk of the plot - much of the emotional impact is in this roadtrip, and it's how Noctis and his companions bond. There's four main characters right from the start, and what you see is what you get - there's the occasional guest, but it's all about their friendship, banter, and endless telling of puns of the four friends. (This game is like Lightning Returns but with friends and a point.) It's the game's way of making the sidequests worth your while, and it's a very realistic endevour; the English dialogue sounds genuine, great care has been taken in interactions and body language, and it's very much a game for its time.

Despite its easygoing surface, the director of this game also made Crisis Core and Type-0, which should tell you what XV is going to be like once the narrative starts moving. (Answer: miserable.)

aranea highwind

XV spoilers are present in this section!

Aranea Highwind is a captain in the Niflheim Empire's Airborn Unit (Third Army Corps 86th, specifically) and walks, talks, and looks like a Dragoon, because that's what she's always been envisioned as. Remember the Dragoon lady who was announced several years back when the game was still suffering its identity crisis? That's Aranea - and her surname should clue you in to the archetype she's meant to show.

Aranea surprised me, in that I actually like her much more than I expected. You know me, I'm all about the women - but I really, really liked her, a fondness I have not as yet pinned down. She first appears as her boss fight, which is also the first time the game racks it up to eleven and if you haven't learned the battle system, you will be learning for Aranea - she can quite easily destroy even an overlevelled party. When Aranea's finally on the ropes, she ducks out of the fight... because Ardyn isn't paying her past that very minute. And she leaves four very frazzled pretty boys behind her.

I like a woman with good principles and the morals of money.

I did not expect such a blase, for herself attitude from Aranea. When she's a guest party member, she only gets better - she's diligent, able to look out for herself, and smacks Noctis in the face to dispel status effects because she hasn't forgotten being smashed about by his majesty in her boss fight. I already liked her as a boss, but she gets a lot of dialogue and insight in her stint as a guest that before I knew it, Aranea was one of my favourite characters in the game - and the boys welcome her, Prompto most obviously, and also Ignis, as she's surprisingly level headed.

That's just in, though - she's not just a mook, she has her own thoughts and opinions and is not ignorant of what Nifleheim has become. And she doesn't like it, and sitting on the sidelines? Not her style. Siding with Noctis, and escorting him into the ruins, is not just about a job - it's something of a test for the new King as Aranea weighs up her options and decides that hey, maybe she could side with him after all.

Also she's saved me from a heck of a lot of daemon fights. ilu.

I wanted something interesting for the name of this fanlisting (partly because I see this becoming a tribute one day), and was torn between the spider imagery (orb weaver or widow were contenders) and her free spirited, lance toting nature. In the end, I settled on stardust, thanks to a twitter poll. Though it's somewhat abstract, as a dragoon, Aranea spends a lot of time amongst the stars (I know) and helps you out at night (I know) and, wait for it, smashes things to dust via Highwind. Well, yes and no. This site has been named as such because whilst Aranea is only a bit player in the XV story, she has an effect - the first neutral party who has no loyalty to Noctis that is swayed over by his wants and goals, which allows her to do what Aranea does best... to have her freedom, but to fight for her own beliefs.