Final Fantasy 16 is finally here, provided you're a PlayStation 5 owner. But you and I, assuming you're on this website for the obvious reasons, have a longer wait in store before we get to slam some giant summons together. Maybe we can pass the time pretending we're on the dev team, and do a Game of Thrones rewatch on Yoshi-P's orders?
This is the first wholly new mainline Final Fantasy sequel since Final Fantasy 15,
starring a new host of characters in an original setting, with action-oriented combat blending an active battle pace with occasional Kaiju-scale clashes. Here's everything we know about Final Fantasy 16 (to tide you over for as long as it takes to hit PC).
Final Fantasy 16 release date
When is the Final Fantasy 16 release date? Is a PC release confirmed?
Final Fantasy 16 will release for PlayStation 5 on June 22, 2023. A limited-time PS5 exclusive, the latest FF16 trailers tell us that it's a six-month exclusivity window, with fine print reading "not available on other platforms until December 31, 2023."
While we might hope the PC version will release on December 31, 2023 as soon as PS5 exclusivity expires, producer Naoki Yoshida knocked that dream out of the air. "It is true that FINAL FANTASY XVI is a six-month limited time exclusive on the PS5 platform. However, it is a completely different story that the PC version will be released in half a year. I will make it clear, but the PC version will not come out in half a year," said Yoshida, via machine translation, on PlayStation's Japanese blog.
At least he's honest. Expect a wait: Final Fantasy 15's PC port took two years to arrive after its console release.
Final Fantasy 16 Trailers
Here's the FF16's latest "Salvation" launch trailer
This latest trailer from PlayStation's May 2023 State of Play is, of all the FF16 footage we've seen so far, perhaps the truest to the spirit of the series—by which I mean it includes a lot of people talking about crystals, and their feelings about said crystals. Otherwise, it's a delightful sizzle reel of fantasy melodrama, intercut with over-the-top eikon action sequences and culminating with six or so different people yelling the name Clive. This is Final Fantasy, to me.
What other Final Fantasy 16 trailers are there?
Our first look from the Final Fantasy 16 announcement trailer focuses on the broad tones and themes of the game's medieval Europe-ish setting, which are definitely trending darker than any modern game in the series. The 2022 Sony State of Play trailer intersperses flashy combat footage with nuggets of high fantasy political drama. The October 2022 "Ambition" trailer provides an overview of the setting's history, in a dying world where regions have been drained completely of magic. The "Revenge" trailer from the 2022 Game Awards gives a quick gameplay overview, and a tragically unceremonious killing of a chocobo (RIP).
Final Fantasy 16 Gameplay
FF16's PS5 demo is really promising
Our own Mollie Taylor had load of positive things to say about the recently released demo on PS5, calling everything from the medieval setting to the characterization "surprisingly refreshing". The single player narrative was the focus of Mollie's praise, with characterization of Clive and the supporting cast around him eliciting some serious giddiness (and disappointment at the wait for the PC version):
"My expectations were high and the prologue still managed to completely blow me away."
Here's some extended Final Fantasy 16 gameplay from Sony's April 2023 State of Play
This is a pretty in-depth overview of FF16, finally giving us some real details to work with. We get an idea of Clive's story and how we'll play through it, and we're walked through an explanation of how Final Fantasy 16's combat and progression work. We also get to see some of the side activities available outside of the main story. And there are plenty of shots of FF16's different environments, which are all pretty gorgeous.
Final Fantasy 16 is another action-forward take on combat
If you've played FF15, or part one of the FF7 remake, you won't be surprised to see that Final Fantasy 16's combat appears to be action-heavy. The combat system reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts combines party synergy and abilities with stylish real-time action.
A lengthy hands-on preview courtesy of IGN shows off a healthy amount of combat gameplay. It's clearly a very active combat pace compared even with other modern Final Fantasies, with quick-firing attacks and spells punctuated by "Cinematic strike" quick-time events.
Clive has access to a seemingly huge number of active abilities to use in combat. Each Eikon gives Clive access to a set of unlockable abilities with their own playstyles, which can be switched between during combat; you can think of them as stances.
There'll be a training mode to practice combos, and it'll have its own "Arcade Mode" with an online leaderboard.
FF16's combat difficulty can be fine-tuned with "Timely Accessories"
FF16's combat can be made more approachable by equipping certain accessories, which automate some of the combat inputs. For example, one will automatically execute active abilities by holding the basic attack button, while another slows down time during incoming attacks for player's who want a wider window to evade. Another automates evasion entirely.
A "Story Focus" mode, available when starting a new game, will automatically equip these accessories, so that players who want to focus on the narrative can streamline combat sections.
How does Final Fantasy 16's progression work?
Clive's attributes are influenced by his equipped weapon and accessories. His active combat abilities are unlocked an upgraded through an ability tree using ability points, earned by defeating enemies. Clive has his own basic set of unlockable abilities, while the rest are associated with individual Eikons.
Final Fantasy 16's party members will be AI-driven
Final Fantasy is known for its party systems with deep synergies, but released combat footage mostly focuses on Clive, the player character, in flashy combat against monsters. Producer Yoshida confirmed that players will be bringing party members along for battles, but they'll be mostly AI-controlled so we can focus on controlling Clive's actions.
Eikon fights will be a focus of Final Fantasy 16 gameplay
Based on gameplay footage, the Eikons will be an important factor in combat—not just to harness their magic against the player character's run-of-the-mill enemies, but apparently in giant monster combat with other Eikons, too. Trailer gameplay shows the massive incarnations of traditional Final Fantasy summons slugging each other directly, with the Eikons taking damage to their own health bars.
These seem like big story encounters—the devs have said Eikon showdowns are unique depending on which Eikon is encountered, each with its own gameplay. They function like a combination between elaborate bossfights and prolonged playable cutscenes, blending on-rails sequences, directly-controlled brawls, and quicktime events.
Final Fantasy 16 won't be open world
According to producer Naoki Yoshida, Final Fantasy 16 won't be an open world game. Instead, with independent playable areas, the dev teams hopes to achieve what feels like a "truly 'global' scale" by creating a variety of environments that feel distant and distinct from each other.
In the April 2023 State of Play overview, it looks like gameplay will take place in large, separate regions that can be freely fast-traveled between from a World Map.
Thank goodness. Driving the car in FF15 was fun and all, but nothing quite compares to a bird-horse. Looks like we'll get full, direct control of our chocobo mount when traversing overworld sections on bird-back.
Final Fantasy 16 Story & Characters
Final Fantasy 16's story will involve a fight against the Blight
New information on FF16's website helps to provide some context to all those proper nouns from the reveal trailer.
The world of Valisthea has giant glittering mountains called Mothercrystals, Square Enix say. "For generations, people have flocked to these beacons to take advantage of their blessing, using the aether to conjure magicks that let them live lives of comfort and plenty. Great powers have grown up around each Mothercrystal, and an uneasy peace has long reigned between them. Yet now the peace falters as the spread of the Blight threatens to destroy their dominions."
Then there are Eikons and Dominants—the former are the most powerful creatures in the world and the latter are the human vessels able to call upon their power. Depending on the nation they're from, Dominants might be revered as royalty for their power or controlled because of it.
Meet some of Final Fantasy 16's characters
Anything can be a fantasy protagonist name if you want it to be. Player character Clive is the oldest son of the Archduke of Rosaria and was expected to be the new Dominant who would inherit the power of Phoenix. Instead, his younger brother becomes the Dominant and Clive gets the consolation prize of being named the First Shield of Rosaria. As the shield, he can wield a small part of Phoenix's flame and is in charge of protecting his brother. "Clive's promising career is to end in tragedy at the hands of a mysterious dark Eikon, Ifrit, setting him on a dangerous road to revenge," Square Enix say.
Joshua is the second son of the Archduke of Rosaria and Clive's younger sibling. He's the sweet and soft younger boy archetype—a noble kid who treats everyone beneath his social standing with respect. He looks up to his elder brother too, of course. "Joshua often laments that it was he, the frail and bookish younger son, who was granted command of the firebird's flames, and not his stronger, braver brother," say Square Enix.
Jill was born in the northern territories and was made a ward in Rosaria at a young age to secure peace between the two nations. She's been raised alongside the Rosfield boys, so it seems she's like a sister to them. "Ever kind, gracious, and unassuming, Jill has become a trusted confidant to the brothers," Square Enix say.
Final Fantasy 16 also his its own Cid, who seems to have his own hub area with vendors and crafting NPCs.
Alert: Clive has a cool dog
Clive will be accompanied by Torgal, a wolf-like hound who'll be a companion character throughout FF16. You'll be able to control Torgal a bit more directly than other companion characters, issuing him commands during combat. You can also give him treats, and should.
FF16 has its own in-game lore nerds
By speaking to Loresman Harpocrates after an adventure, Clive can gradually fill out the Thousand Tomes, an in-game lore codex. It also has an 8-bit animation when you turn in new lore. It's cute.
There's another NPC, Vivian Ninetales, who has a literal web of characters and their connections to pore over if you're having trouble keeping all the names straight, or need a reminder of who hates who and why. She also apparently keeps a summary of the game's events, including the current political state of affairs.
Other Final Fantasy 16 info
Yoshida and Takai are working on FF16
FF16 has some hype-worthy names involved, including Final Fantasy 14 producer Naoki Yoshida and director Hiroshi Takai. After Yoshida's Creative Business Unit III studio famously turned around FF14, making it the huge success it is today, it'll be interesting to see how the pair tackle a traditional Final Fantasy presumably detached from multiplayer.
Additionally, Square Enix recently hired Ryota Suzuki as a "battle director" and he is rumored to be working on FF16. Suzuki was designer of Devil May Cry 5 and Dragon's Dogma, which is a solid pedigree.
Final Fantasy 16 prioritized English voice recording
In July 2021, producer Yoshida said that English voice acting had already begun ahead of Japanese.
"We've been prioritising English voice recording. And we're specifically doing it in British English. We're using facial capture, so later on, we won't have to adjust by hand each of the faces doing cutscenes. "And it's full capture, as in, the motion capture actors are also doing the voice acting simultaneously," Yoshida said. "The Japanese dubbing will start soon."
FF16's confusing exclusivity
Remember how I said FF16 was announced for PC in the reveal trailer and then somewhat unannounced by Square Enix? We can't know for sure what's causing the confusing messaging, but games industry analyst Piers Harding-Rolls claims that it all has to do with a timed exclusivity deal with Sony.
According to Harding-Rolls, FF16 will be exclusive to the PS5 for its first six months. That would be the earliest time that the game can come to PC. As for other consoles, he says Sony has that exclusivity locked down for a full year. If this is true, it's not an usual arrangement. Games supported in part by first party publishers often have timed exclusivity, though barring FF16 from PC as well does go a bit farther than most.
As for why Square Enix is trying to put the cat back in the bag about FF16 on PC? It's possible that Sony wasn't psyched about it. As a showcase during its big PS5 games event, Sony likely wanted viewers to feel like the PS5 was the only way to play FF16 (which it will be, just not forever, perhaps).
There is no official confirmation of FF XVI coming to PC, however the structure of the deal and the mention in the Sony PS5 showcase does suggest this is the case. When this arrives after the 6 months contractual period is up is obviously down to SE. /2September 17, 2020