Between story, characters, gameplay, and development, there's quite a bit we already know about FFXVI well before release.
One of the major announcements during the PlayStation 5 reveal stream earlier in 2020 was Final Fantasy XVI. With a lengthy trailer that set the mood and showcased a bit of gameplay, there was a lot to parse for the next mainline entry in the storied franchise. Many mainstays of Final Fantasy lore were put front and center, and you can catch glimpses of how this new game is building off of the series' broader history and its recent past.
In addition to the relatively detailed reveal trailer, Square Enix also launched an official website that contains in-depth looks at FFXVI's new world and characters to get you started on understanding the backstory. What's notable about this entry, in particular, is that it's being developed by Creative Business Unit III--which is the not-so-flashy name for the division behind the incredible MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. It's promising given that Naoki Yoshida is leading production on FFXVI--he led the team behind the rebirth of FFXIV and continues to direct the MMO, which keeps getting better and is regarded as top-tier in its storytelling. FFXVI itself is being directed by Hiroshi Takai, who has a lengthy history with Final Fantasy and Square Enix, and he was even part of developing FFXIV's reboot.
We're still a ways away from the launch of FFXVI, but Yoshida-san has stated that a major reveal of new information on the game is coming in 2021. You can catch up on everything we know so far in the rest of this article. You should also check out our most anticipated games of 2021, or...you can read about how there's never been a better time to get into FFXIV! Be sure to peep our roundup of 50 indie games you should have on your radar in 2021, too.
There's been no word on a release date or release window. Director Hiroshi Takai said in a joint statement with Yoshida-san shortly after the game's reveal, "It may still be some time before we can get it into your hands. However, I promise the wait will be worth it." This may lead you to believe that a 2021 release is off the table, although word has it that the game has been in development for several years now.
Right now, FFXVI is marked as a PS5 console exclusive. It's the only platform indicated on the official website. It won't be a cross-generation game either, so PS4 owners will have to move to the new-generation system in order to play it.
Is Final Fantasy XVI Coming To PC Or Xbox?
Final Fantasy XVI will be a limited-time PS5 console exclusive. The reveal trailer stated upfront, "The following content is captured on PC emulating the PS5 experience." And at the end of the trailer, the game will be "not available on other platforms for a limited time after release on PS5," with a footnote saying it'll be available on PC. There's currently no word on how long the exclusivity will last.
Although the newest game in the franchise, Final Fantasy VII Remake, remains a PlayStation exclusive, it wouldn't be much of a surprise if FFXVI comes to Xbox at some point, given that the rest of the series lives on Xbox platforms.
The reveal trailer is titled "Awakening" and offers four minutes of story, cutscenes, and gameplay. It's chock-full of details that paint a vivid picture of what FFXVI entails. It also features a powerful orchestrated theme with a few Final Fantasy touches like the iconic Crystal Prelude. If we had to take a wild guess, it sounds a bit like composer Masayoshi Soken's work on FFXIV: Heavensward. You can watch the trailer below.
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The Story So Far
From what we can tell from the trailer and official website, there's conflict between realms (basically nations) in the world of Valisthea, a bunch of political drama, but also a focus on Dominants--these are a few special people who can wield the power of Eikons, which are what summons are called in FFXVI's world (and in FFXIV).
It looks like you'll go through two separate time frames in FFXVI's story, which you can see from main character Clive Rosfield's evolution from a spiffy young man with a fancy haircut to a grizzled veteran with a scruffy beard and mark tattooed on his face later in life. He's the son of his realm's archduke, and appears to be able to wield Eikon-related powers in combat but isn't necessarily a Dominant himself. He's sworn to protect his brother Joshua, the young boy in the trailer who was fated as a Dominant instead. However, as shown in the trailer, Joshua couldn't control his Eikon--he summons Phoenix after watching someone presumably important get killed right before his eyes. These events are capped by a battle between Phoenix and Ifrit, which might be the tragedy (stated in the official character profiles) that drives Clive in FFXVI.
Another character you see in the trailer is Jill Warrick. She's the young girl with grayish hair who accompanies Joshua. She's said to have a complicated life having come from another realm, essentially adopted by the Rosfields, and acting as a mediary between warring nations. She's said to be a trusted confidant to both Clive and Joshua.
Throughout the trailer, you see other characters in battle and in conversations about the political turmoil that seems to be fueling the war in Valisthea. You see other iconic Eikons like Shiva and Titan being used on the battlefield. It looks like Eikons, and Dominants by extension, are akin to powerful weapons of war that shift the balance of power between realms in Valisthea. There's also a fight against an armor-clad lance-wielding Dragoon, said to be an Imperial Viper, which has the characters shook--another series staple.
Another thing to consider is that FFXVI's world also revolves around what's called the Mothercrystals, which are said to bless the land with aether (basically magic). But a destructive force called The Blight is also washing over the world. It's worth keeping in mind that FFXVI's tagline is, "The legacy of the crystals has shaped our history for long enough." We're not sure what it means, but it's provocative and may have to do with what's been happening to Valisthea.
What The Logo Can Tell Us
We can always count on artist Yoshitaka Amano to create a new logo for each Final Fantasy that tells us something about the game's story. In the case of FFXVI's logo, it features Ifrit and Phoenix face-to-face in a fight, which is a battle that concludes the trailer. With Ifrit as a key opposing force and Phoenix being the Eikon that the Rosfields wield, this seems to be a central conflict that drives the game. It also appears that Eikons are pivotal to how FFXVI's world operates, more so than previous Final Fantasy games.
From the snippets of gameplay in the trailer, FFXVI takes on an action-RPG style of combat system and looks like it shares similarities to FFXV and FFVII Remake. Clive can cast fireballs, engage in melee range with his sword and warp-like abilities, and use a few powers that look like they're tied to Eikons (indicated by the stone fist summoned in the fight against a Dragoon).
No UI or HUD elements were shown, so it's hard to tell if or how it'll incorporate parts of the series' iconic ATB (active time battle) system, how spellcasting might work, or even how combat encounters will flow. We've also only seen Clive in action, so we're unsure if there's a party system or how it would work (if it exists).
Something worth knowing is that Ryota Suzuki, who was a combat designer for Devil May Cry 5 and Dragon's Dogma, is the battle director for FFXVI, which could result in something quite exciting.
How To Preorder
Where To Find More On Final Fantasy XVI
More details about FFXVI's lore can be found on the game's official website. It looks to be an ambitious game with an emphasis on worldbuilding and broad narrative scope, and as stated earlier, producer Naoki Yoshida says that more information on the game is coming sometime in 2021. And whenever more FFXVI details are revealed, you can count on GameSpot to have them covered.