Final Fantasy XVI: Platforms, story, setting & everything we know
Undoubtedly one of the most exciting titles of 2023 is Final Fantasy XVI. This next installment in the mammoth JRPG franchise delivers a dark tale set in a war-torn fantasy world.
Not only will the game be delving into darker territory, but it will also be the first Final Fantasy game to feature exclusively action-based combat, which has left many fans and newcomers eagerly awaiting to see how it plays.
Here’s everything we know about Final Fantasy XVI so far, including platforms, story, settings, and more.
- Final Fantasy XVI release date
- What platforms will Final Fantasy XVI be available on?
- Final Fantasy XVI setting and combat
- Developer updates on FFXVI
- Action & Story Focus Mode
Final Fantasy XVI release date
The official release date for Final Fantasy XVI is on June 22, 2023, which was revealed by the game director Naoki Yoshida during Playstation’s most recent State of Play.
Despite promising further updates late in 2021, the global crisis derailed those plans. New “complications have delayed the game’s development by almost a year,” producer Naoki Yoshida shared on December 27.
Director Hiroshi Takai has told fans their patience will be rewarded, however, saying, “I have taken on countless challenges during our journey to bring you the sixteenth chapter in the storied Final Fantasy franchise. And though we’re pouring our hearts and souls into this project each and every day, it may still be some time before we can get it into your hands. I promise it will be worth the wait!”
Then on April 29, 2022, VGC discovered commentary by Yoshida stating the game is nearly finished. In a translated interview from a Japanese magazine, he said: “Development of the latest title, Final Fantasy XVI, is in its final stages.
“Final Fantasy XVI aims to integrate the story and the gaming experience into a single-player game. Unlike online, which portrays multiple players simultaneously, Final Fantasy XVI focuses on the individual. This makes the story more immersive. It’s a very dense story.
“As an adult, I learned about society and said to myself ‘reality is not as easy as a video game’. I hope that those who once left Final Fantasy will remember how exciting their passion for video games was back then.”
Final Fantasy 16 will be console exclusive to PS5 for six months at launch, according to a recent PS5 trailer that showed off a ton of new games.
It looks like PC and Xbox Series X|S owners will have to wait longer to see if the game comes to more platforms down the line, although if Final Fantasy 7 Remake is anything to go by it may not come to those systems at all.
While this may be disappointing for Xbox and PC owners, it’s important to remember that there are a number of Square Enix games that have eventually made their way to these platforms in the past. Nier Automata is an example of a game that launched a whole year later on the Xbox One after its initial PS4 release.
For now, though, it looks as though Final Fantasy XVI will remain on PS5 at release.
As for those after a Collectors Edition, preorders for Final Fantasy XVI will open on December 12, 2022.
Final Fantasy XVI’s story will take place in the realm of Valisthea and follows the protagonist Clive Rosfield throughout 3 distinct stages of his life. These are his teens, 20s, and 30s.
It looks as though Final Fantasy XVI is set to return to its medieval fantasy roots judging from the trailers, rather than the contemporary sci-fi setting of Final Fantasy XV. The futuristic tech from that game is gone, replaced by swords, shields, and chatter about crystals, just like the Final Fantasy games of old.
During the latest PlayStation Showcase on May 24, 2023, a new story trailer for Final Fantasy 16 was revealed that gave fans a brief look at the game’s world, characters, and combat. You can check out the two most recent trailers below:
Later, in an interview with IGN, Yoshida revealed the new game won’t be adopting the sprawling open-world format as its predecessor. Instead, players will have multiple different enclosed areas to tackle to allow the devs to deliver a greater feeling of scale.
“To bring a story that feels like it spans an entire globe and beyond, we decided to avoid an open-world design that limits us to a single open-world space, and instead focus on an independent area-based game design that can give players a better feel of a truly ‘global’ scale.”
While the monolithic mechs and gas-guzzling airships may be gone, it does seem the action-based real-time battle system will be returning. Quite whether it will share the exact same mechanics as Final Fantasy XV remains to be seen. However, the combat does showcase some rather scintillating swordplay combos, deadly aerial attacks, warp-based dashes, and devastating magical attacks.
We even get a glimpse of some of the series’ iconic summons (Titan, Phoenix, Ifrit, and Shiva), suggesting that we’ll be able to use them to smite our enemies. Similar systems were also in play during the June 2022 State of Play gameplay reveal.
It has been revealed that FFXVI’s protagonist will be able to wield the power of the Eikons throughout the game, harnessing their powers to take down all that stand before him. Combat will also involve the Eikon battles, which see players take part in an Eikon vs Eikon battle of varying combat styles.
Of course, in true Final Fantasy fashion, this task is thwarted and our quest will likely revolve around rescuing his highness. If it’s anything like previous games, we can expect to see plenty of political intrigue, internal struggles, fiendish backstabbing, and high-octane boss fights.
In his last press release, Yoshida gave the following message to fans: “I expect everyone to have fun speculating, as we have a lot in store — not only for Final Fantasy XVI but for Final Fantasy XIV, too. Needless to say, I’ll be working hard on both!”
While the game didn’t make an appearance at the 2021 Tokyo Game Show, in an interview with Siliconera, Final Fantasy XVI producer Naoki Yoshida confirmed that the game will feature an “expansive” skill tree system. He went on to say that the decision to incorporate skill trees was made to give players a sense that their character was “growing” based on their decisions and play style.
Previous Final Fantasy games have also used sprawling skill tree systems. Final Fantasy 10 used the Sphere Grid while FF12’s replicated a chessboard. It’ll be interesting to see how the next game tackles this key part of RPG progression.
In an interview with Famitsu, the devs reiterated FFXIV will have an active battle system, like FF15, Kingdom Hearts, and the remake of FFVII. However, Yoshida revealed that because players have different levels of skill when it comes to action games, FFXIV would feature two new modes.
The first would be Action Focus Mode and the second will be called Story Focus Mode. The latter is designed to let players tweak a variety of combat options to adjust the difficulty to their preference. This way, rather than adjusting the difficulty, players can instead make use of a range of items that will make combat easier.
These items have been described as “AI-implemented accessories” and will be available from the start of the game. For example, one will allow Clive to dodge certain attacks automatically, while others will provide other buffs. The player will also be able to cherry-pick which accessories they equip, tailoring the gameplay further.
The developers hope that as players get comfortable and more confident with the combat in FFXIV, they will equip less of these items. However, they have been created to act as safety nets while newer players familiarize themselves with the game’s mechanics.
While you’re waiting for more news on Final Fantasy XVI, be sure to check out our other release hubs: