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Final Fantasy 16: release date, trailers, gameplay, and more

Final Fantasy XVI is finally on its way after a prolonged gap between it and the previous numbered entry. While numerous major titles have seen delays in the past couple of years, we’re glad to finally know the game is nearly upon us. There are still plenty of mysteries about the new adventure, but here’s everything we know so far.

Release date

Shiva in Final Fantasy 16.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Final Fantasy XVI is confirmed to be arriving on June 22, 2023.

Platforms

Titan in Final Fantasy 16.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It makes sense given the long history between the two companies and the fact that the game was revealed during a PlayStation 5 showcase that Final Fantasy XVI 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.

The game will be a console exclusive for at least six months, and the development team has stated that it won’t immediately hit PCs after that time, as they aren’t confident the port will be ready just yet.

Trailer

Final Fantasy XVI - Awakening Trailer | PS5

The reveal trailer, called Awakening, is jam-packed with details in its four-minute runtime. We get glimpses of the story, cutscenes, and what even look to be snippets of gameplay. Between the single trailer and the game’s official website, a large amount of story information is available.

We know that Final Fantasy XVI will be going back to the traditional fantasy roots of the series as opposed to the recent games that had 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, and each has 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, those are 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 actually became 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 XV, 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. We do learn that the game will focus on Clive during three points in his life: his teenage years, his 20s, and his 30s.

Final Fantasy XVI - State of Play June 2022 Dominance Trailer | PS5 Games

The second trailer further dives into what we knew or suspected, starting with the quote, “In a world ruled by Tyranny and turmoil, there are those who would fight to take back control of their fate.” A voice then asks questions about what the Dominant are, who are apparently being eroded by the power of their summons living inside them.

Posted on the official Final Fantasy Twitter account, a new Ambition trailer showed up out of nowhere with a lot of story details.

The game will apparently take place 15,000 years after some catastrophe caused the world to begin slowly dying. We see the main cast and what looks like a wolf companion walking through a barren land.

The trailer reiterates the importance of the crystals and Joshua as a Dominant and gives a little description of each of the major kingdoms looking to claim their power. Given the focus on the leaders of each of these kingdoms, it is likely that we will be dealing with each of them to a large degree in the story. Of course, there does appear to be some greater evil that will likely take center stage by the end.

The story is said to include over 11 hours of cutscenes dedicated to the main quests, with untold more included with subquests. Story remains very important for the team, despite the massive shift in gameplay. “For me, a Final Fantasy has to have that deep story,” producer Naoki Yoshida tells Digital Trends. “It has to have that complex game experience. It has to have a unique battle system, great graphics, great sound … and then chocobos and moogles! Final Fantasy XVI has all of those, so I think we’ve made something that feels like Final Fantasy.”

Final Fantasy XVI - State of Play 4K | PS5 Games

Final Fantasy XVI got its own dedicated State of Play presentation in April 2023 that showed off almost 25 minutes of footage. Aside from a few bits of character introductions, including our new version of Cid, this trailer was mostly focused on gameplay.

Final Fantasy 16 - Story Trailer | PlayStation Showcase 2023

Final Fantasy XVI got what looks to be its final trailer at the PlayStation Showcase in May 2023. This was a story trailer, however, is more of a montage of sorts.

We cut between many different characters and voice lines, intercut with some very impressive action of Eikon battles such as Ifrit, but the main theme appears to be on the class disparity between those in power and those without. There is also a heavy emphasis on the dangers of the crystals, and how they are more dangerous than helpful to the world.

Gameplay

Clive slashes an enemy in Final Fantasy XVI.
Square Enix

In terms of gameplay, Final Fantasy XVI 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 moving right into sword combat with some type of teleporting ability. Granted, none of the footage shown had HUD or UI, so it is possible there are some sort of turn-based or time-based mechanics going on. 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.

The trailer really focuses more on the gameplay, which looks even more action-focused than we suspected. Yoshida himself describes the game as having “high-octane battles,” which certainly looks to be the case. Aside from a HUD with a level number, HP bar, and what look like MP bars, the action looks almost more like a straight character-action game. Clive can launch, combo, and perform skills and abilities on the fly, leading to flashy, cinematic finishers.

Digital Trends got to experience an early demo of the title to really see how the combat works. Our impressions, in short, are that Final Fantasy XVI is a major shake-up for the series in a positive way. Those looking for a more traditional JRPG-style game, rather than something closer to a character-action title, may be disappointed. Even so, Director Hiroshi Takai still thinks longtime fans will find their footing with the new system and enjoy it. “The ability system that we have, with using the Eikonic abilities, that’s something that we actually based off of Final Fantasy V’s ability system,” Takai says. “For me, it was thinking back to: If we took the Final Fantasy V ability system and made it into something that was real-time action, this is what it would look like … To those players out there who are still on the fence and thinking, ‘I don’t want to play this because I’m a turn-based person,’ I’d ask them to at least try it out once and see how it feels. We think you’ll change your mind.”

You will only be playing as Clive during the game, with any party members being AI-controlled, including a dog named Torgal that will accompany you most of the game. It will apparently be similar to how the party functioned in Final Fantasy XV in terms of the party bantering during travel and combat. Unlike that game, at least so far, it doesn’t seem like you will be able to give them any kind of direction. The only time you won’t be playing as Clive is when you take control of the Eikon, which will apparently play much differently than the normal game.

It is also worth noting that Final Fantasy XVI will not be an open-world title, as Yoshida told IGN in an interview, but instead will feature different zones that you travel between via a world map. This was apparently chosen to give the game a greater sense of scale and progression since it is going to be a tale that takes us all around this new world. It is compared more to a roller coaster ride than a free-form, open experience. However, you will have a base camp you return to regularly. Here you can meet NPCs, take on quests, purchase items, upgrade gear, and more.

The right side of the screen is constantly listing off statuses and moves, such as Deadly Chain and Deadly Takedown, to list what you’re pulling off.

During what looks like boss encounters, the screen shifts to almost a fighting game-style display where the enemy’s health bar is held in a static location on the screen, like Clive’s, rather than floating on their character. This is especially notable during the massive Eikon battles, such as when we see Phoenix battling Eikon of Fire and Ifrit facing off with Titan. These in particular look highly cinematic, and each one will feature a unique gameplay system.

Final Fantasy XVI will also offer accessibility items that can be equipped to customize the game, including the Ring of Timely Focus and Ring of Timely Strikes, which will aid in combat by slowing time and making combos easier to perform, respectively.

Preorder

Two armies clash on a plains battlefield in Final Fantasy 16.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Final Fantasy XVI preorders are up, and you have four options to pick from: The Standard Edition, Deluxe Edition, Digital Deluxe Edition, and Collector’s Edition. Here’s what you get in each:

Standard Edition ($70):

  • Gil Boost Accessory: Cait Sith Charm
  • Bonus Weapon: Braveheart
  • Steelboook case (Best Buy exclusive)

Digital Deluxe Edition ($90):

  • All prior rewards
  • Digital mini art book
  • Digital mini soundtrack

Deluxe Edition ($100):

  • All prior rewards
  • Cloth world map of Valisthea
  • Special Clive Rosfield steelbook case (different from Best Buy case).

Collector’s Edition ($350):

  • Ifrit statue
  • Set of 8 pins
  • Cloth world map of Valisthea
  • Special Clive Rosfield steelbook case
  • Blood Sword (digital item)

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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