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Final Fantasy 16 may be around the corner: here’s everything we know

Final Fantasy 16 will see the iconic series return to a high fantasy setting, something that has certain fans pretty excited. We’ve put together as much info as we could get our hands on for you to sink your teeth into.

When Final Fantasy 16 was confirmed during Sony’s PlayStation 5 showcase, it seemed like it was about time for a new entry in the series. Square Enix is notorious for its caginess about releases, having left fans in the dark for five gruelling years in relation to the Final Fantasy 7 Remake – but they seem to be approaching the release of Final Fantasy 16 in a super straightforward way.

Legendary developer (and the producer of Final Fantasy 16) Naoki Yoshida has alluded to a reveal at some point in the next few months, and if the rumours regarding the game’s basic development already being finished are to be believed, it wouldn’t be surprising if we get a launch date, likely around the end of 2021, very soon.

Square Enix have also confirmed their involvement in E3 2021, shooting speculation into overdrive. We’re not crossing our fingers yet, because we all know how this publisher can be, but we do have a pretty decent idea of some of the core details of this exciting new title. So let’s get right into it!

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Image: Final Fantasy / Square

Welcome to Valisthea

Most of what has been confirmed about Final Fantasy 16 is related to its story, and in all honesty, it’s looking to be a bit of a doozy.

Final Fantasy 16 takes us to the world of Valisthea; a land whose map resembles a pre-continental drift Pangea (we have Australia on the right and a North America amalgam on the left).

This land is home to the ‘mothercrystals’, monuments which “bless the land with aether”.

final fantasy 16 Valisthea
The map of Valisthea

Around these scattered crystals nations have formed to take advantage of these blessings, where they have been living in relative peace with one another for decades. These nations include:

The Crystalline Dominion: a strategically important plot of land whose warring factions united in an armistice around their crystal.
The Iron Kingdom: a nation formed on the western islands of Valisthea whose orthodox crystal-centric religion has isolated them from the other nations, as they speak their own language and abhor the crystal’s godlike power.
The Dhalmekian Republic: a parliament of five states in the southern mountains who embrace democracy over dictatorship.
The Empire of Sambreque: a region of plentiful aether, whose emperor is worshiped as a godlike figure.
The Kingdom of Waloed: a kingdom on the entire eastern continent whose mighty army have overcome the orcs and beasts that reside there.
The Grand Duchy of Rosaria: a united force of provinces who draw their energy from the crystal off the coast.

However, these powerful mothercrystals don’t only supply each nation with means to live comfortably. They also give one randomly selected individual the power of the ‘dominant’, a blessing (or curse) that allows them to summon the power of an ‘Eikon’, an incredibly powerful beast.

Each nation treats its dominant differently. The Empire of Sambreque presents them as a royal champion for the emperor, Dhalmekia imbues them with more political sway, Waloed uses them as additional power for their army, Rosaria thrones them as the archduke, and the Iron Kingdom kills them at birth.

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Clive and Joshua Rosefield

The narrative of Final Fantasy 16

At the centre of Final Fantasy 16’s story are Joshua and Clive Rosefield; the dominant (and future archduke) of Rosaria and his older brother. Clive is our player character – a strong soldier who was initially believed to inherit the dominant, before his younger and weaker brother received the honour.

Clive pledges himself to use his battle prowess to protect Joshua, and in turn, calls upon the power of his brother’s Eikon (a phoenix) as he fights.

As mentioned above, Valisthea has been in relative peace for decades, but it’s not a Final Fantasy game without widespread conflict. So in this instalment we’re introduced to the idea of ‘The Blight’, a disease which is draining the power of the mothercrystals from the world.

Whether or not this is causing the nations to fight amongst themselves, trying to steal each other’s crystals, or leading them to destroy the source of the blight, we’re not entirely sure. Although considering the likely twists and turns of Final Fantasy 16’s story, it’s probably for the best that we don’t know.

And that’s about everything that has been confirmed by Square Enix at this point. Except for the Chocobos. There will always be Chocobos.

chocobo

Nonetheless, there have been a significant amount of rumours surrounding the secretive development of Final Fantasy 16, and it feels important to bring up the most vibey of these.

 The Suzuki Sixteen theory

It seemed quite suspicious when Square Enix hired Ryota Suzuki three months before the ultimate reveal of Final Fantasy 16. Suzuki is the legendary game designer of some amazing titles such as the Devil May Cry series and Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen.

Suzuki was hired at Square as a Battle Director for their “new AAA title” in June 2020. It hasn’t been confirmed that Suzuki will be at the helm of the game, but from the three seconds of gameplay footage we were shown, it wouldn’t be surprising if he is.

The gameplay shown in this clip features some punchy combos incredibly reminiscent of the highlights of Devil May Cry 5, including extended fists similar to Nero’s Devil Busters.

Also, the inclusion of aerial hack-and-slash style combat is really, really fucking exciting  – leaving the traditional turn-based Final Fantasy combat for dead.

PlayStation 5 priority

Another rumour which is circulating is that Final Fantasy 16 will be a PS5 exclusive. Only the PS5 logo watermark can be seen on any of the promotional material that is currently available for the game, which has led to online chatter that Final Fantasy 16 will be a timed PS5 console exclusive at the very least.

The trailer states that the gameplay and cutscenes were recorded on a PC, with settings to emulate a PS5, which means that the possibility of an eventual PC port is high.

Still, if you want to play Final Fantasy 16 at launch, it’s starting to look like an opportune time to try and get your hands on Sony’s new console.

Save the (release) date

Our final rumour surrounding release date speculations. Some sources have said that the game has been in development for four years, and that the core gameplay and story have already been fully realised.

In all honesty, this wouldn’t be surprising considering that Square’s Creative Business Unit 3 is at the helm – the powerhouse behind both Final Fantasy XI and XIV, and all of XIV’s subsequent updates – which make up some of the most widely acclaimed output in the company’s recent history. And while Final Fantasy 16 is definitely not an MMO, it is being produced in XIV’s engine, which means that there’s no need to create a new engine from scratch.

All of these factors together, alongside Yoshida’s confirmation that there will be more info in 2021, could mean that this year’s update will include a launch date. And if that update is happening soon, it’d be reasonable to say that this entry will see a late 2021 to early 2022 release.

That said, we’ve all learned that it’s dangerous to get too hyped for Square Enix games, so let’s try and keep our heads screwed on straight. When it comes, it comes.

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Ifrit vs Phoenix Fanart / Artist: Mekisoku.

So there we have it – all the information we currently know about Final Fantasy 16.

The rumours surrounding this anticipated title are pretty exciting – from the confirmed story dynamics and lore to the promising combat, it seems to be shaping up nicely.

Throw in a decent levelling-up system plus a fun way to navigate the world (a-la the Backstreet Boys’ flying car), and we may have a contender for game of the year on our hands. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t take another five years to come out.