A Return to High-Fantasy
The most obvious thing right from the get-go that most people picked out from Final Fantasy XVI’s announcement trailer is the return to a more high fantasy-like setting.
Between all three Final Fantasy XIII games, Final Fantasy XV and all of its DLC, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and probably other spin-offs I’m forgetting, the series has largely rooted itself in modern locales for the majority of the last 10+ years. There are some exceptions, of course. The biggest exception being Final Fantasy XIV. More on that in a bit.
While high fantasy is, obviously, not new to Final Fantasy, we haven’t seen Square Enix go in that direction, full blast, with the graphical power they now have powering their single-player games. So the initial trailer showcasing all of that was cool to see.
What the trailer made me think of was Game of Thrones. Not because of any premature comparisons to the setting or story or anything like that, but rather the reason it reminded me of it is because Game of Thrones always wowed me with its beauty if nothing else.
That Final Fantasy XVI trailer was also very gorgeous and I’m looking forward to a whole game that looks like that.
It’s an Action-RPG
Square Enix is sticking with the action-RPG genre for another game it seems as Final Fantasy XVI appears to be ARPG through and through.
This might seem like a no-brainer as that has been the direction that the series has gone in for a while now, but there were a few other approaches that Square Enix could have taken that seemed plausible.
Coupling the high fantasy setting with a return to turn-based combat would have been appropriate. Or the hybrid style that Final Fantasy VII Remake used could have been the move as well considering how well it was received.
In either event, we see the main character zoom around the battlefield rapidly chucking fire spells and dashing all around trying to get angles for sword strikes on his opponent.
On the surface, it looks more similar to Final Fantasy XV than Final Fantasy VII’s more methodical brand of ARPG combat, but it’s definitely too early to make any firm conclusions.
FFXIV Vets Are at The Helm
Perhaps the best news from the reveal of Final Fantasy XVI is the announcement that Naoki Yoshida will be on the development team as the game’s producer and fellow Final Fantasy XIV alum Hiroshi Takai will be the game’s director.
Naoki Yoshida is the current producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV. While Final Fantasy XIV seems great now, that wasn’t always the case. Final Fantasy XIV had a terrible first impression when it first came out in 2010 and almost didn’t survive.
Square Enix, desperate to not let a numbered Final Fantasy game go down in disgrace, put Naoki Yoshida in charge and his vision of Final Fantasy XIV came to fruition in the re-launch of the game titled A Realm Reborn.
Since the re-launch, the game has done a complete 180 and is now one of the most well-received and popular MMORPGs on the market.
Saving a floundering MMORPG was no easy task, and Naoki Yoshida and his team have been lauded for their efforts in the years that followed. Square Enix clearly took notice and are now trusting him with the reigns of a single-player game.
As our news editor Giuseppe put it this morning, Final Fantasy fans should feel secure knowing that the capable and talented Naoki Yoshida is in charge.
A Darker Story?
Final Fantasy XV, for the most part, was about a pack of bros taking a relatively chill road trip across the countryside. It’s more complicated than that, of course, but a lot of the game was quite cheerful by Final Fantasy standards.
Yeah that, uh, does not appear to be the case at all with Final Fantasy XVI. At least that’s the impression I get from watching its debut trailer.
Outside of a quick shot of a cute pup, Final Fantasy XVI looks a lot bleaker and darker. The region appears to be war-torn and afflicted by some kind of “blight.” Everyone in the trailer seemed either scared or angry. There’s even a moment where a character gets sliced, and ends up spraying blood all over a child.
I don’t know about you, but I’m having my doubts that there’s going to be an opportunity in this game to cruise down a coast with the top down in a convertible while listening to Sunleth Waterscape.
If the trailer is any indication, the characters in this game seem to have more pressing problems to contend with.
Naoki Yoshida isn’t one to shy away from getting a bit dark. We’ve seen elements of it in Final Fantasy XIV. Final Fantasy XVI may be a way for him to really lean into something more mature story-wise.
Eikons Play a Big Role in the Story
Speaking of the story of Final Fantasy XVI, Eikons are clearly going to play a huge part in addition to the Mothercrystals also mentioned in the trailer.
Eikon, which is a Final Fantasy XIV term for Avatar/Summon/Esper, appears to have been weaponized in the world of Final Fantasy XVI. A few select people, called Dominant, seem to have the ability to call Eikons in to wreak havoc.
The gist that I got from the announcement trailer is that generally there is one Eikon per element such as Phoenix for Fire, Shiva for Ice, Titan for Earth, etc. Putting my speculation cap on for a moment, I’m going to go ahead and guess that the boy featured prominently in the trailer, Joshua, is important because he might be able to break that rule.
We see him towards the end of the trailer summoning a new fire Eikon, Ifrit, much to the surprise and shock of everyone around him.
If that’s the case, he would obviously be a major weapon that everyone that’s involved in this terrible conflict would want to get their hands on, and our dutiful main character, his “shield”, will stop at nothing to protect him.
That’s total speculation from me, so feel free to ignore everything I just said, but what seems to be obvious is that Eikons are game-changers and they, along with the Mothercrystals, are key to gaining power in this bleak, war-torn world.
If Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy VII remake is any indication, we’re going to be in for a real feast for the eyes any time these Eikons make an appearance.
What are some things that you noticed from the Final Fantasy XVI announcement trailer? Let us know down in the comments below.