FFXVI takes place in the world of Valisthea. It consists of two continents: Storm to the west and Ash to the east. Three of the five major countries are located on Storm: The Grand Duchy of Rosaria, The Holy Empire of Sanbreque, and The Dahlmekian Republic. The Iron Kingdom is an island that lies just off the western coast of Storm and The Kingdom of Waloed is the only remaining country located on the continent of Ash. All five of these kingdoms vie for resources and land as a mysterious phenomena called the Blight swallows up large swaths of land. The Blight is slowly sucking the life out of Valisthea meaning that habitable areas are shrinking, and entire nations are being driven out of their homes.
Meanwhile, many of the nations that call Valisthea home are dependent on The Mothercrystals. These giant crystal mountains are rich with Aether, a life force that is considered the source of all magic. Mothercrystals are mined for crystal rations which can allow anyone to use magic. Magic in Valisthea is an important part of daily life. From farming to cooking to building, the population of Valisthea is dependent on these crystals. Unfortunately, a shard can only channel so much magic until it shatters. This means that countries need to infinitely mine a finite resource in order to keep the world moving.
However, not everyone needs crystals. Some, called Bearers, can channel magic from within themselves to cast powerful, elemental spells. Sounds cool right? Not really. While these nations might not agree on much, nearly all of them believe that Bearers are sub-human and should be enslaved. Bearer’s are marked with a tattoo on their face and are often treated poorly and forced to use their magic for their masters’ bidding. The problem is that if a bearer overexerts themselves they will eventually catch the Crystals’ Curse and turn to stone. Clive, our handsome, brooding protagonist, is a bearer, but we’ll get to him later.
First, let’s go over Eikons and Dominants. Eikons are essentially summons from previous games such as Titan, Ifrit, Shiva, and so on. In FFXVI, Eikons reside in a dominant, someone who can channel the power of an Eikon and transform into them. Dominants are treated as weapons. Any nation that controls a dominant is a force to be reckoned with. There are eight Eikons in total and two Eikons of the same element shouldn’t exist. That means Phoenix and Ifrit shouldn’t be fighting in the opening hours, but of course, that’s part of the mystery of FFXVI.