In Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix, 2016) one of the character, Prompto Argentum, has photography skills and will take pictures of the gameplay, which are shown to the player when the characters are resting.
Prompto could be seen as an alternative Photo Mode “outsourced” to an NPC.
Prompto’s photography skill is a passive ability that is used throughout your time playing Final Fantasy 15, requiring no input to progress. It generally progresses naturally as Prompto takes photographs of various things as you explore the game world.
At the end of each day Prompto will show you a list of photographs he has taken that day. You do have the option of saving the pictures into a gallery or even sharing them with your friends on social media, although this has no impact on leveling the skill itself.
Typically Prompto will take shots of exciting events throughout the day. Boss encounters, group exploration and meeting new figures within the story are all popular points for Prompto to take a quick snapshot.
At some points during the game you can influence Prompto’s photograph choices. When driving Prompto will ask Noctis what he wants to see in his photographs, you can reply with any of the main characters as a response – prompting Prompto (see what I did there?) to take more photographs featuring that specific character.
Interestingly, the photo feature was explicitly built to encourage circulation of images online and “impact social media”:
The photos feature was born out of the idea that more people are using smartphones and thus being connected to social media, and the developers wanted Final Fantasy XV to have an impact in that sphere.
If people are playing on their smartphones, then a lot of them are also using social media, right? So one of my goals in creating 15 was to craft a game that could have a big impact on social media. That’s what you’ve seen with the photographs and all the videos the players are sharing, and that’s a way of sort of reaching this audience. I think we did a pretty good job of it.