It has been years since the last numbered Final Fantasy game was released. Final Fantasy 15 had an infamously long and arduous development, originally being part of the Final Fantasy 13 series until it was delayed and retooled for the better half of a decade. Since then, we’ve seen numerous spinoffs, remakes, and original games from developer Square Enix, but in 2020 we finally got confirmation that there will in fact be a Final Fantasy 16.
The reveal has made many fans of the series excited, including us, but there are plenty of mysteries surrounding this game yet to be revealed. On the other hand, there are some facts and predictions that we can make based on what has been shown and said thus far. If you’re eager to get back into the world of Moogles and Chocobos, here’s everything we know about Final Fantasy 16.
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The initial reveal of Final Fantasy 16 came alongside a fairly substantial trailer (more on that below) that gave us a lot of hope that the game was a decent way into development. Still, we were left not knowing anything about when the game might ship, not even a release window or year. A statement from the game’s director, Hiroshi Takai, and producer, Naoki Yoshida, says, “It may still be some time before we can get it into your hands. However, I promise the wait will be worth it.”
Yoshida, who is also the director of the hit MMO Final Fantasy 14, made another statement saying, “Our next big information reveal is scheduled for 2021, so in the meantime, I expect everyone to have fun speculating, as we have a lot in store — not only for the newest entry in the series, Final Fantasy XVI, but for Final Fantasy XIV too. Needles to say, I’ll be working hard on both.”
Between those two statements, we can probably rule out a 2021 release. Odds are Square Enix will want to avoid another long development cycle like Final Fantasy 15 suffered, so perhaps the second half of 2022 would be a good guess as to when they hope to have the game in our hands. Game journalist Jason Schreier also commented with similar feelings during a podcast where he said, “I’ve heard from people who know the game, have worked on the game, or are familiar with the game’s development, that it’s actually been in development for at least four years in some capacity. So it’s coming sooner than people think.”
It makes sense given the long history between the two companies, and the fact that the game was revealed during a PS5 showcase, that Final Fantasy 16 will be a timed console exclusive for the PS5. Unlike many other early PS5 titles, it appears that there will be no PS4 version of this game. As far as PC and the Xbox Series X are concerned, we’re still in the dark about how long this exclusivity deal will last. Odds are Sony will have console exclusivity for a year, like what we’re seeing with Final Fantasy 7 Remake, at which point we could see the title hit Microsoft’s machine. PC may get the game earlier, but historically it has taken a long time for Final Fantasy games to make it on PCs.
The reveal trailer, called “Awakening,” is jam-packed with details in its four-minute run time. We get glimpses of the story, cutscenes, and what even looks to be snippets of actual gameplay. Between the single trailer and the game’s official website, a large amount of story information is available for a game without a release date.
We know that Final Fantasy 16 will be going back to the more traditional fantasy roots of the series as opposed to the more recent games that had more modern or even futuristic elements to the worlds. The game will take place in Valisthea, which is broken up into six kingdoms: Grand Duchy of Rosaria, Holy Empire of Sanbreque, Kingdom of Waloed, Dhamekian Republic, Iron Kingdom, and Crystalline Dominion. Each kingdom is granted magic thanks to its Mothercrystal, as well as a single person with the power to summon Eikons called Dominants.
These Mothercrystals power the world; however, something called The Blight has begun to spread across Valisthea. While these elements will all make up the central plot of the game, that’s all the details we have about the story so far. The tagline of the game, “The legacy of the crystals has shaped our history for long enough,” perhaps hints at a villain’s goal to destroy the world’s Mothercrystals.
In terms of characters, we got a good look at our new protagonist, Clive Rosfield. He is the son of the Archduke of Grand Duchy of Rosaria and was the one who was expected to become the Dominant of that kingdom. Instead, he is the sworn protector of his younger brother Joshua, who was the one to become the Dominant, but is still able to use some of the Eikon’s power. Joshua’s Eikon is the fire elemental Phoenix, allowing him to use fire-based magic. Jill Warrick is another character we see briefly and is something of an adopted sister to Clive and Joshua, but not much is known about her role in the story just yet.
Perhaps taking a cue from the ending sequence of Final Fantasy 15, there also appears to be some time-period shift in the game’s plot since we see both a younger and much older version of Clive in the trailer. Perhaps the game will go back and forth between two time periods, or simply have a time skip at some point.
In terms of gameplay, Final Fantasy 16 looks to continue pushing into the action RPG genre that started with Final Fantasy 15 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake. We see Clive casting various spells on the fly and then move right into sword combat with some type of teleporting abilities. Granted, all the footage shown had no HUD or UI, so it is possible there is some sort of turn- or time-based mechanics going on, but the credits list Ryota Suzuki as the battle director. He is best known for being a combat designer on Devil May Cry 5 and Dragon’s Dogma, which lends some credibility to the theory this will be a more action-focused game.
We have also only seen Clive in battle up until now, but it would be a strange choice for there to not be a party system of some kind. Whether that means we can control more characters besides just Clive is yet to be known.
Normally, this would be an easy question to answer with a firm “no,” but Final Fantasy as a series isn’t quite the same dedicated single-player JRPG it once was. Final Fantasy 15 launched as a purely single-player experience, but later got the Comrades DLC that introduced online co-op play for up to four players. If there were to be a multiplayer mode in 16, we would expect it to function similarly and not be integrated into the main story campaign at all.
Plus, with the experience Yoshida has working on FF 14, there might be a new focus on providing a strong multiplayer offering.
Again, this is another aspect that Square Enix has evolved on in the past few years. Final Fantasy 15 had a ton of DLC, from the previously mentioned multiplayer mode to a strange fishing expansion and character-specific episodes that fleshed out and expanded on the base story. Once again looking at Yoshida’s experience supporting an MMO with consistent content updates for many years, we might expect to see the game launch with a season pass and roadmap of what content to look forward to after launch. It is all still speculative at this point, of course, but there’s strong evidence to suggest it will be true.
Until a firm release date is set, there’s no information out there on how the pre-order situation will look for Final Fantasy 16. We can confidently predict that there will be pre-orders, and likely that there will be more than one version, but not much beyond that. We could expect a standard version, another with perhaps a steelbook, soundtrack, artbook, or some combination, as well as one that includes a hypothetical season pass if our predictions about future DLC are accurate.
As soon we hear more information about when and how pre-orders will be handled, we’ll be sure to let you know.
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