Final Fantasy XVI is an upcoming Action RPG and the sixteenth main entry in Square Enixís feather-burningly popular Final Fantasy series. It is set to be released on June 22, 2023 for the PlayStation 5 as a timed exclusive. note
On the continent of Valisthea, giant crystal mountains known as "Mothercrystals" tower over the lands. Each Mothercrystal provides those around it with the blessing of aether, allowing them to live lives of comfort and plenty. From these blessings rose six realms: the Grand Duchy of Rosaria, the Dhalmekian Republic, the Holy Empire of Sanbreque, the Kingdom of Waloed, the Iron Kingdom, and the Crystalline Dominion. With each realm controlling a Mothercrystal of their own, an uneasy peace has long settled across the lands. Further enforcing this peace are the Dominants, a single human for each of the magical elements born with the power to transform into towering beings of supernatural mass-destruction called "Eikons". Treatment of Dominants vary across the continent: some revere them as royalty in admiration of their power, some bind them in fear and force them to serve as Human Weapons, and others believe them monstrosities who should all be killed. Regardless, anyone born a Dominant, for better or worse, is unable to escape their status.
However, Valisthea's uneasy peace has begun to come to an end, as a mysterious malady known as the Blight has slowly been consuming the realms, and driving each nation into increasingly bloody conflicts over what land and resources remain.
Our story opens in the Grand Duchy of Rosaria. Protagonist Clive Rosfield, the first-born son of Rosaria's ruling archduke, seeks to prove himself as the First Shield of Rosaria, protector of Dominant of the Eikon of Fire, Phoenix. This is because Phoenix's Dominant is none other than his beloved younger brother and heir to the archducal throne, Joshua Rosfield. Aiding Clive in his quest is Jill Warrick, a former princess of the now fallen Northern Territories and confidant of the Rosfields. At least until one bloody night, when the Grand Duchy is attacked, and a seemingly impossible second Eikon of Fire, Ifrit, emerges in the chaos. In the aftermath, Clive abandons all he once knew to instead set off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against all those responsible for that night. Thus begins Clive's journey to slay blighted monsters, warring armies, the other Dominants, and the very rulers of the realms. As he is drawn ever deeper into the secrets of Valisthea, and the continent descends into ever greater calamity, Clive's motivations descend into further bitterness, until he has a dark revelation; destroy the last bastions of civilization - the Mothercrystals - and the end of faith will free the world of its fate.
Notably, Final Fantasy XVI is developed by Square-Enix's Creative Business Unit III, the famed development team behind the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, making it the first time the team has developed a single-player mainline Final Fantasy game. Final Fantasy XIV producer and director Naoki Yoshida is XVI's producer. Hiroshi Takai, director of The Last Remnant and assistant director on the XIV expansions A Realm Reborn and Heavensward, as well as development supervisor of the XIV expansions Stormblood, Shadowbringers and Endwalker, is XVI's director. Kazutoyo Maehiro, main scenario writer of A Realm Reborn and Heavensward, is XVI's creative director and penned the game's scenario and script. And Masayoshi Soken, the sound director and composer of Final Fantasy XIV, serves as XVI's composer as well. Also of note is that the game's combat director is ex-Capcom developer Ryota Suzuki, gameplay designer on Dragon's Dogma and Devil May Cry 5.
Trailers: Awakening/Reveal Trailer, Dominance/Gameplay Trailer, Ambition/Story Trailer, Revenge/Release Date Trailer, State of Play 2023 Preview, Salvation/Launch Trailer
Awaken, tropes of game.
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: In the "Dominance" trailer, a clip of a Barnabas and Benedikta having a conversation after most likely having slept together is placed between two clips of Clive showcasing his powers in battle.
- An Arm and a Leg: One shot in the "Dominance" trailer shows Garuda ripping off one of Ifrit's arms.
- Artifact of Doom: The Mothercrystals themselves (according to the "Salvation" trailer); the characters discuss a theory that the Mothercrystals are producing Blight, possibly as a side-effect of generating aether.
- Ascended Extra: In most Final Fantasy games, Ifrit is a low level summon and minor Starter Villain Boss Fight who quickly loses almost all plot importance beyond being one of the many summons. As seen in the "Awakening" and "Dominance" trailer however, in XVI Ifrit is a central figure in the story, being the initial Arch-Enemy Clive seeks to kill after being involved in his Cynicism Catalyst, and later Clive's own Eikon form for boss fights against the likes of Garuda, Titan, and Bahamut.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Eikons in this game are enormous, nearly castle-sized beasts. The "Dominance" trailer shows Titan causing an earthquake that wipes out a platoon of foot soldiers, all while he looms large in the background.
- Badass Boast: In the "Dominance" trailer, Hugo Kupka claims "If I take the field, our duel will shake the island to its foundations."
- Beam Spam: Bahamut deploys this against Odin during their duel in the "Dominance" trailer.
- Behemoth Battle: Wars are waged in Valisthea in part with the warring nations' respective Eikons duking it out—in the "Awakening" trailer, we see Titan and Shiva going head-to-head, as well as Phoenix and Ifrit. The "Dominance" trailer shows Bahamut vs Odin, as well as Ifrit vs Titan, Garuda, and Bahamut.
- Beyond the Impossible: In-Universe. The "Awakening" trailer sets up the idea that there is one Summon Magic Eikon for each of the magical elements. However, after the Eikon of Fire Phoenix goes berserk during the attack on the Grand Duchy of Rosaria, a second Eikon of Fire, Ifrit, shows up to completely break that logic.Soldier: A second Eikon of Fire... but, that's impossible.
- Blood-Splattered Innocents: The "Awakening" trailer sees the Archduke of Rosaria take a brutal sword swing (possibly beheaded, but the camera cuts away before it's made clear), coating Joshua, who is standing behind him, in his blood.
- Bloodier and Gorier: The first two trailers alone have quite a few examples. In adition to having Joshua drenched in someone's blood, the "Awakening" trailer shows Ifrit tearing into something, with blood splattering outwards, while it and the "Dominance" trailer have a Big Badass Battle Sequence where two armies rush each other, and the soldiers stab, hack, and smash their enemies. While the Final Fantasy series hasn't shied away from death, visible blood is a rarity in other mainline titles.
- Breaking Old Trends:
- It's the first non-MMO entry to be done by Creative Business Unit III and the first to go for a full real-time combat system.
- In previous entries, crystals were worshipped as forces for good and the stability of the world. The tagline for XVI is "The legacy of the crystals has shaped our history for long enough," showing a far more cynical view of them. The "Salvation" trailer even implies that the Crystals are killing the world.
- Every previous mainline entry since the ESRB's founding have, at best, pushed the boundaries of the Teen rating but never gone over it. XVI, on the other hand, was made with a Mature rating in mind, and it shows. It is worth noting that the only other Final Fantasy games to receive a Mature rating are Final Fantasy Type-0 and Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, but while both games received a PEGI rating of 16, XVI has a rating of 18.
- Break Meter: The "Dominance" trailer shows that enemies have a "Will Gauge" much like in Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy VII Remake. The gauge depletes as Clive attacks an enemy, and when it's completely empty, the enemy becomes staggered, allowing Clive to wail on them with impunity.
- Dark Reprise: The "Dominance" trailer climaxes with a minor-keyed rendition of the main theme from the original Final Fantasy, accompanied by a chorus chanting the names of the Eikons.
- Darker and Edgier: Final Fantasy has waxed and waned with regards to grimness, but the trailers have shown XVI as being decidedly on the darker end of the scale, with it being a revenge narrative centered on an Anti-Hero with blood and heavily implied sex. Tellingly, this is the first mainline Final Fantasy entry to get a Mature rating from the ESRB and the first Final Fantasy entry period to get a PEGI rating of 18.
- Death Glare: Late in the "Awakening" trailer, post-timeskip Clive delivers a harsh glare at the camera as he declares his intent to kill his arch-enemy.
- Hotter and Sexier: Subtly, but in the "Dominance" trailer the implication is clear that Barnabas and Benedikta (both naked and in bed) had sex.
- I'll Kill You!: The reveal trailer has Clive declaring to an unidentified individual that "I'll kill you... if it's the last thing I do."
- Lonely at the Top: Whether as demigods or pariahs, the Dominants agree on one thing; society fears those who can transform into the avatars of elemental destruction, leaving them outcasts no matter what they do with their power. This is lampshaded in the "Ambition" trailer.Cidolfus: Our ability to summon beasts of great might should command respect, but instead has left us outcasts.
- Magic Missile Storm: The "Dominance" trailer shows Bahamut firing a volley of magical projectiles from its wings while fighting Odin. Said volley is this game's version of the recurring Megaflare attack.
- Mirror Match: At the end of the "Dominance" trailer we see a split second of Ifrit punching what appears to be a second Ifrit in the face.
- Morphic Resonance: Played for Drama. The initial narrator of the "Dominance" trailer discusses how the power of the Dominants literally wears away at their very being, replacing them bit by bit with the Eikon they are an avatar for. Each Dominant's character design reflect elements of their summon as well. Hugo is massive and copper skinned as a reflection of Titan. Benedikta is spindly and has a feathered collar as a reflection of Garuda. Clive especially gains a larger build, more rugged looks and starts wearing red and black clothing after the timeskip to reflect his eventual awakening as the avatar of Ifrit.
- Mythology Gag:
- Due to sharing many of the same developers, XVI references Final Fantasy XIV a lot.
- "Eikon" is Valisthea's term for summons, the same term XIV uses alongside "Primal".
- The Limit Break gauge looks exactly as it did in XIV: divided into three sections, with a blue bar turning gold as it fills each one.
- The concept of people transforming into summons seems to be lifted from XIV, wherein some individuals transformed into Primals by summoning them into their own bodies rather than summoning a separate entity altogether. The most notable example is Ysayle Dangoulain, who regularly transformed into Shiva; at one point even battling another Primal as Shiva, likely inspiring XVI's many Eikon duels.
- Garuda's design borrows heavily from her XIV iteration, even being fought in a dark stormy forest again. Also, one of Clive's skills as he's channeling her powers is Wicked Wheel, XIV Garuda's Signature Move.
- A February 2023 press demo shows that Garuda is once again attended by the harpies Suparna and Chirada.
- Similarly, and as shown by a clip during a PAX Panel, one of the attacks Bahamut employs during his boss fight is called Mortal Coil, a likely reference to one of the Raid tiers from XIV
- Said panel also revealed the appearance of recurring enemy Typhon after a severe makeover.
- A small, bright red "star" can be seen next to the moon in some trailer shots, most clearly in a balcony scene between Clive and Jill. The resemblance to XIV's Dalamud prior to its fall is uncanny, though what this means for the story is anyone's guess.
- The Blight appears to take several cues from the Starscourge, being a mysterious plague that is connected to the Crystal/s, though the Blight appears to be relatively recent compared to the Starscourge's 2,000-year long history.
- Clive's pet wolf/dog (which showed up first in the "Awakening" trailer) is named Torgal, after one of the characters from The Last Remnant.
- In the "Revenge" trailer, Clive is accompanied by Jill and Cid; the Dominants of Ifrit, Shiva, and Ramuh respectively. This particular trio are often grouped together as the first summons available in earlier Final Fantasy titles. Clive and Jill's close relationship in particular references Ifrit & Shiva's close association throughout the franchise as well.
- Two recurring weapons, the Braveheart (in its Dissidia design) and the Blood Sword (in its Final Fantasy II design) appear as DLC content.
- Due to sharing many of the same developers, XVI references Final Fantasy XIV a lot.
- Obligatory Swearing: The first mainline, numbered entry in the franchise, but not overall, to contain strong language all the way up to "fuck" and its variations, as seen in just one fight between Clive and Benedikta; they pulled no punches in going for the dark and gritty medieval fantasy plot, forsaking the often flowery dialogue of titles in the series that also delved in medieval fantasy.
- Parrying Bullets: The "Dominance" trailer has Odin diverting then entire Magic Missile Storm from Bahamut's Megaflare off-course with a single slash from his sword Zantetsuken.
- Path of Inspiration: The "Salvation" trailer reveals that some have a theory that the Mothercrystals, practically worshipped as gods for sustaining civilization, are generating the Blight as a side-effect, and beg Clive to destroy the Mothercrystals to stop the extinction of humankind.
- Power at a Price: The initial narrator of the "Dominance" trailer claims that power of the Eikons takes an exacting toll on the Dominants over time, wearing away at their very being. "Ambition" reveals that each transformation causes their default forms to mutate with Eikon aspects, overwhelming their life energy's ability to maintain their mutant biology until their bodies petrify.
- Rags to Riches: According to the character page on the official website, Hugo Kupka started off as a random Dhalmekian soldier before awakening as the Dominant of Titan and becoming a high-ranking advisor in the Dhalmekian Republic with wealth and prestige to match.
- Revenge: According to the official website, tragedy sends Clive spiraling on a dangerous road to revenge.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: The official website describes Clive as a brave man who gladly throws himself into danger while his younger brother Joshua is frail and bookish.
- Summon Magic: A classic staple of the franchise. Per the game's website, XVI's Eikons (AKA summons) are granted to and reside within a select few individuals known as Dominants. The Dominants are capable of calling upon their Eikon's powers to partially or even fully transform into massive, Kaiju-sized beings that nations use to wage war on each other.
- Superpowerful Genetics: According to the main website, "Bearers" are people born with the innate ability to use magic, without the need to siphon power from the Mothercrystals. Depending on the nation they live in, some Bearers may be forcibly branded on the face, as Clive is post-Time Skip. As seen in the trailers, Dominants may also use elemental magic drawn from their Eikon forms.
- Sword Beam: In the "Dominance" trailer Odin swings his sword to send a flying horizontal slash of energy at Bahamut.
- Time Skip: According to the State of Play trailer, we will be able to control Clive through three different time periods: his teens (in flashback), 20s, and 30s.
- There Is Another: Valisthea is rocked when a second Eikon of fire, Ifrit, makes its appearance, as shown in the "Awakening" trailer.
- Toplessness from the Back: The "Dominance" trailer has a brief shot of a man and woman, revealed in "Ambition" to be Barnabas and Benedikta, sitting naked in a bed together. They are both facing away from the camera and shown only from the waist up, achieving this effect.
- We Have Reserves: The "Dominance" trailer has the Emperor of Sanbreque say that, for every citizen that falls, another can be bred, and that every home that burns, another can be rebuilt.