I’ll be honest: I don’t know a hell of a lot about Final Fantasy XV, other than that it’s not released yet but it’s leaking everywhere, like my Depends after a brisk drink-and-jog. Really, I don’t even know all that much about the Final Fantasy series, even – I’m an old, old Atari kid. But I do know there’s an interesting car in the game, and with that we can do business.
This article originally ran in early November and is being republished for FFXV’s release.
The car is called the Regalia, and it appears to be the primary vehicle used throughout the game. From what I can gather, in the game’s universe, everything is set on an Earth-like world called Eos, and it’s basically like our Earth in terms of most technology and biology with the big exception that there’s magic and giant beasts and all that kind of stuff. So, like, you might see a dragon on the way to the ATM, I guess.
Anyway, back to the car. It appears that the characters you play in the game are royalty, so they need to have a suitably impressive vehicle. It’s very interesting to see what these video game designers came up with for the car. I’ve always loved fictional vehicles, and this one is remarkably well-realized. I think it’s worth a quick little design analysis to take a peek into this alternate reality of auto design.
It seems, based on this video, that the car is somewhat customized, and this woman with a ridiculously overdone Southern accent and an outfit that looks like she’s a mechanic-themed stripper seems to have been the mastermind behind the thing. At least, that’s what it seems like in this video:
Totally reasonable outfit for a mechanic. You want maximum arm coverage, while keeping the important breast/midriff/thighs part of your body exposed as much as possible. My own set of dirty-work overalls are cut the exact same way.
There’s no fictional technical specs given for the car, at least none I’ve found. If I had to guess, I’d say that long hood holds a V16 engine, and it’s RWD. Supercharged, too. Since I’m making everything up, I’m going to say it has throttle-body fuel injection with an absurd 8 throttle bodies, one per cylinder pair. And, um, a magneto.
The Regalia is interesting because it’s essentially a limousine-length four-door convertible. According to this article, the initial design was achieved via research into “Rolls-Royce luxury cars” and cars like the Cadillac Ciel concept and the Maybach Exelero are referenced as design influences, though I feel like there’s a major omission here.
The director of the game, Hajime Tabata, had this to say of the design influences:
“I can’t really tell exactly you which company we looked at, but certainly the design of the car in the game was inspired by German car manufacturers and a couple of British cars, as well.”
I actually think he’s leaving out the biggest design influence: American. Specifically, mid-’60s American.
To me, the Regalia seems most like a very modern interpretation of the classic 1960s Lincoln Continental convertible, the one with the rear suicide doors (the ‘clapdoor’ design) and perhaps best known as the car Kennedy was shot in.
Look at the two cars here; the Regalia is absolutely influenced by the Lincoln. The fundamentals of the basic design of the Regalia are directly translated from the Lincoln: the tall, narrow, pontoon sides that extend the entire prodigious length of the car, crisply defined along their main crease with a chrome accent line; the suicide rear doors, and the twin door handles meeting halfway down the long side flanks; the long hood, with its central raised section; the slight kick-up to the rear fender, and the long rear deck.
The Cadillac Ciel is also clearly derived from this same primary source. Both cars also adopt the tight, tailored detailing of the Lincoln, and work with its elegant, purposeful design language. The car is understated, but in that understatement conveys the sort of opulence of someone for whom luxury and wealth are old, constant companions.
It’s more like an impeccably tailored suit than a showy watch, if that makes sense.
The Regalia pushes the design to greater extremes than the Lincoln, and this is most apparent in the front end, which does show some influence from the absurd, monster-like Maybach. The grille I think is sort of out of place on the Regalia, too openly aggressive and crude for the rest of the car.
The grille mesh is far too open and wide, and the many curvy folds and flaps just makes the front end feel to busy and biomorphic.
The Regalia does seem to have one pretty significant advantage over our old Earth-Lincolns, though. It can fly:
I prefer the look of the Lincoln, but flight is an option package that’s hard to pass up.
Square Enix’s designers I think did an admirable job designing their fictional car; it feels familiar and recognizable, yet other and alien at the same time. They’ve preserved the essential signifiers of who the car is for and what it’s about while making something that’s not just a detail-twisted version of a car we all know.
So, good job!