Final Fantasy XV is very different from past games in the series, and one of the biggest changes is the shift to a more open world. Along with that comes an important addition: the Regalia, a car that serves as your main form of transportation through the fantasy landscape of Eos.
But more than just a simple tool to get you from point A to point B, the Regalia is almost a character itself, factoring into the story in important ways. It’s a place where the four main characters can bond, chatting about everything they’re going through while listening to classic Final Fantasy soundtracks on CD. The Regalia is also the epitome of a luxury car; every element looks sleek and expensive, with bits that move and shift in futuristic ways. If you put in some effort, you can even turn it into a flying car.
To find out more about the Regalia and how it was designed, I talked with Square Enix artist Yusaku Nakaaki about the process. Read on to find out which character the Regalia’s look is based on, and how much it would cost in real life.
Where did you look to for inspiration for the car’s design? Was it just other vehicles, or elsewhere?
The inspiration for the Regalia in Final Fantasy XV came from King Regis, the owner of the car, meaning we wanted the car to embody royalty and things like dignity, elegance, and intellect.
I personally love cars as well, so I not only drew on elements that generate a sense of royalty, dignity, elegance, and intellect but also referenced many real-life cars — my own car; my friend’s cars; cars seen on TV, in movies, and in magazines; as well as cars I discovered while gathering sources.
Furthermore, in order to retain a sense of authenticity, I was mindful of current auto trends and factory-manufactured products when designing the Regalia.
How do you make a luxury car feel natural in a world that features swords and fantasy creatures? Is it a challenge making these two sides of FFXV mesh together into something that feels plausible?
I actually didn’t struggle with making sure the Regalia fit into the world of Final Fantasy XV. The game’s world of Eos is designed around the philosophy of “a fantasy based on reality,” and since the swords and creatures were also designed based on that same philosophy, I was able to naturally blend the Regalia with the world as long as I stuck with designing something that felt authentic.
A lot of open-world games let players drive multiple vehicles over the course of the game, but the focus here is on one car. Why did you decide to go that route?
We decided to focus on only one car, the Regalia, throughout the game as we wanted to clearly showcase the game’s themes of brotherhood, journey, and the bond between father and son. These themes are depicted through a road trip-like setting with Noctis and his companions embarking on their journey in the car passed down by Noctis’ father, Regis, so the car itself represents Regis’ presence.
What was the most challenging aspect of the Regalia to create?
The most challenging aspect in designing the Regalia was making sure that people who aren’t interested in or knowledgeable about cars — people from different areas of the world, ages, and genders — still feel as if the car possesses value. Another big challenge in designing the Regalia was being instructed that the car should appear as if it would be priced over $500,000 in real life.
What is your personal favorite aspect of the car?
My favorite aspect of the Regalia is the mechanisms we designed that open and close the top of the vehicle, the front grille which embodies the car’s character, and the flowing surface of the rear fender.
What is the most important aspect of the car, in terms of making it feel like a real part of this world?
The most important aspect of the car wouldn’t be the Regalia itself, but rather the state of the four characters riding in it as they travel from one place to another. We worked hard as a team to create scenes involving the Regalia, Noctis, and his comrades that would stimulate the player’s appetite and create long-lasting memories from their travels.
Does having a car as the main mode of transportation impact how you go about the world design? Is the world of FFXV different than it would have been if you traveled on foot like in past games?
The Regalia definitely had a big influence on how the world of Eos was designed. The actual placement of roads played an important part in Final Fantasy XV’s world design. I believe people will find the car extremely convenient in traversing Final Fantasy XV’s open world — they may find it equally or even more convenient than the real world.
Where did the idea for the flying aspect come from? How did you ensure that an outlandish feature like that actually felt plausible?
The idea for a flying Regalia came about as a result of feedback from consumers who wanted traditional Final Fantasy airships to return, and the development team’s own thoughts behind what would be the best way to add additional features to the Regalia that go beyond just customizing its appearance.
It was definitely an outlandish idea, but similar to our meticulous depiction of the Regalia as a real-life car in its pre-customized state, the flying Regalia was designed based off of an actual airplane. We incorporated the natural movements and necessary wing structures required to actually fly. I would love for everyone to test it out for themselves.