If you’re as intrigued about Final Fantasy XVI’s story as I am, you’ll be happy to know there’s a new four-minute trailer that dives deep into the characters and world-building behind Square Enix’s next big JRPG. The geopolitics are fraught, the consequences are ruthless and bloody, and the magic powers are very, very mysterious. The palace intrigue is giving me major Game of Thrones vibes. Also the crystals are god damn huge.
Final Fantasy XVI, a PlayStation 5-exclusive out next year, takes place in the world of Valisthea which is entering its “twilight.” Natural resources are failing and war is brewing, threatening to plunge rival nations into chaos. How things turn out will be at the mercy of Dominants, main characters that glow weird colors, and Eikons, familiar summons like Ifrit and Bahamut that the Dominants can transform into. Although it’s a lot to take in, it all continues to feel very much in line with the return to some of the traditional tropes of the earlier medieval Final Fantasy games.
See for yourself:
Here’s’ a quick overview of the nations that make up Valisthea:
- Grand Duchy of Rosaria, “bastion of tradition”
- Holy Empire of Sanbreque, “where ambition is divine”
- Dhalmekian Republic, “whose fortunes shift with the desert’s sands”
- Iron Kingdom, “forged in faith and fear”
- Kingdom of Waloed, “indomitable in its isolation”
The main game revolves around the prince of Rosaria, Clive Rosefield, whose dad brutally bites it midway through the trailer. Square Enix also revealed Dion Lesage, prince of Sanbreque, aka the evil empire, who is the Dominant that controls Bahamut, and Barnabas Tharmr, the warrior from Waloed who controls Odin. And per the trailer, he totally fucks.
While I’m not entirely sold on the game’s art direction and music, which doesn’t feel nearly wild and moody enough to me to be a new mainline Final Fantasy, the lore seems thick and the combat, revealed previously, continues to look like a great mix of real-time mechanics and JRPG number-crunching. Final Fantasy producer Naoki Yoshida previously said the series was struggling to adapt to modern trends, but it seems like Final Fantasy XVI is shaping up nicely so far.
The game has already gone through at least one big delay due to covid, and many previously hoped it might arrive sometime before the end of the year. It’s now targeting summer 2023 for release. In a message to fans put out alongside the new trailer, director Hiroshi Takai said the development team has turned a corner and entered the last stretch of production, focusing on debugging and “final adjustments.”