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Voices, Combat, and Music

Smith, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-5198-4076 (2021). Voices, Combat, and Music. Journal of Sound and Music in Games, 2(2), pp. 42-62. doi: 10.1525/jsmg.2021.2.2.42


Role-playing video games can highlight a sense of player identification with a pre-made player-character through the inclusion of the voice; this can include diegetic character dialogue, the non-diegetic sung voice, and voice-overs. Ensuring that the player can connect with their player-character on an individual level is key to forming a suspension of disbelief and immersion with a game.

Final Fantasy XV emphasizes collaboration between the player, player-characters, and non-playable characters during combat, cutscenes, and exploration. This camaraderie effect actively engages the player with multiple characters through the constant use of the diegetic spoken voice to communicate between the player-character, Noctis, and the three other character identities, Prompto, Ignis, and Gladiolus. The game’s opening rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” performed by Florence + the Machine, provides the player with four narrative themes that are present throughout the game. These themes include a coming-of-age story, character relationships, and the development of a greater evil within the narrative. Unique in its position as a pre-composed song, “Stand by Me” plants the idea that the player will not be alone in their journey, as character allies will stand by Noctis, from the beginning of the game.

Final Fantasy XV uses vocalizations in both the diegetic and non-diegetic audio space in order to reflect the characteristics of the playable characters. The vocal relationship between the player’s characters provides directional feedback and information for the player within combat, alongside foretelling the stories of certain characters.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: voice, song, identity, combat, Final Fantasy, characteristics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
M Music and Books on Music
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity
School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Voices, Combat, and Music Identity, Camaraderie, and Relationships in Final Fantasy FFXV.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible due to copyright restrictions.


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