Final Fantasy XVI and the Quest for Vengeance
The ambitious new Square Enix RPG promises to deliver a compelling narrative rich with political intrigue and epic battles
Following the announcement trailer that was shown back in September during the PlayStation 5’s showcase, Square Enix have released further information about Final Fantasy XVI through the game’s official web site.
The teaser site answers many questions, yet leaves even more unanswered in regards to the world, the protagonists, and antagonists. According to Square Enix, the game will take place in a world called Valisthea, a land “studded with Mothercrystals.” Apparently, these crystals give people the energy necessary to conjure up magic spells and the closer one is to a crystal, the stronger the spell will be as they are more “attuned” to it, which is why people have remained close to them for generations.
The crystals, a central theme around most Final Fantasy titles, are said to be rather large in size and stature in the world of Valisthea. In fact, the official FFXVI website describes them as “glittering mountains that tower over the realms around them, blessing them with aether.” That in and of itself leads us to the realization that one cannot simply abscond with a nation’s crystal as Nifleheim did in Final Fantasy XV with the crystal of Lucis.
And speaking of nations, there are plenty of them to be found here, as the settlements that were created around the crystals flourished and became great civilizations throughout the years. There are six crystals present on the official website, however, that’s not to say that in a world as large as this there cannot be even more remote areas. What’s interesting is that each of these nations has its own government system — from a duchy to a republic.
The six most well-established nations within the world of Final Fantasy XVI are:
- the Grand Duchy of Rosaria and its crystal, the Drake’s Breath
- the Holy Empire of Sanbreque and its crystal, the Drake’s Head
- the Kingdom of Waloed and its crystal, the Drake’s Spine
- the Dhalmekian Republic and its crystal, the Drake’s Fang
- the Iron Kingdom and its crystal, the Drake’s Breath
- the Crystalline Dominion and its crystal, the Drake’s Tail
Another main facet of the FFXVI mythos is the Dominants, beings that are born with massive power and the ability to actually transform into Eikons, one of the series’ well-known summon creatures, such as Ifrit, Shiva, Ramuh, Titan, etc... The website points out that depending on where they’re born, they receive different treatment, as some nations consider them royalty, while others, fearful of their monstrous power, kill them the minute they become aware of their special abilities. At this point, the appearance of only four of the Eikons has been confirmed (Ifrit, Phoenix, Shiva, and Titan), however considering the important role they play (and the hints thrown in via each of the nation’s emblems), it is certain that there will be more of them.
The main story of the game is actually focused on the Dominants and more specifically the one that resides in the Great Duchy of Rosaria, a nation that is suffering from the Blight, a nasty disease dangerous enough to put an end to the entire realm. In that area of Valisthea, the Dominant of the Phoenix is considered to be someone well respected, to the point of rising to the rank of Archduke (ruler) of the nation once they become of age. The game’s main character, Clive Rosfield, is the current Archduke’s first-born son, however, in a surprising turn of events, it is the second-born, Joshua, Clive’s younger brother by five years, that awakens the power of the Phoenix.
Rather than letting his fate get the better of him, Clive chooses instead to devote his life to protecting Joshua by becoming a master swordsman. At the age of 15, he distinguishes himself by winning the title of Rosaria’s First Shield, which gives him the ability to use the fire of the Phoenix in battle (as seen in the trailer.) Yet things go terribly wrong when the timid and shy younger brother Joshua is forced to use the power of the Phoenix after an attack by the Ifrit Eikon in the capital. According to the website, the events of that attack set Clive on a quest for revenge.
There are a few interesting things here worth noting. For example, each of the crystals is named after part of a dragon, or drake. This could have something to do with the trademark dragon of the Final Fantasy series, Bahamut, or one of the lesser-known dragon creatures (Midgarsormr, Tiamat) that featured in FFXIV: Heavensward, a game that XVI’s director, Hiroshi Takai, had a great role in creating. In fact, it was right after Heavensward that XVI entered into its early development stages, so it would be easy to see how Takai could have been influenced.
Another shocking revelation is that near the end of the reveal trailer, we see Ifrit tearing at something, to the point that there’s blood splattering all over the place, while a voice can be heard screaming “Please! Joshua! Wake up!” Considering all the information that was given to us here, it’s easy to reach the conclusion that it is Joshua (in his Phoenix form) being ripped to shreds with his brother Clive watching helplessly from afar, unable to stop the towering beast from slaughtering his 12-year-old brother who has barely harnessed the power of the Eikon. It’s most likely this event that leads him to a lifelong quest dedicated to finding a power capable of taking down the Eikon that takes his brother’s life, although this is all pure speculation as of yet.
Without knowing much, we can already begin to see the first signs of what Final Fantasy XVI is going to be. A tale of politics, war, epic battles, but also one of human suffering, love, and loss. Considering the great minds behind this story, there are going to be many jaw-dropping plot-twists.
Final Fantasy XVI will release exclusively on the PlayStation 5. No release date has been announced yet.