Square Enix revealed the action JRPG gameplay and release date of the upcoming and highly anticipated Final Fantasy XVI.

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

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Announced during PlayStation’s State of Play, the “Dominance” trailer provides our first look at main characters beyond Clive Rosfield, Joshua Rosfield, and Jill Warrick.

A press release and update to the official website also provide further context and motes of information. 

In short, the land of Valisthea is blessed with crystals, with nations building around the larger Mothercrystals. While these allow the use of magic to help thrive, the Blight threatens to pull the nations into chaos and war.

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Worse still, each of these nations are backed by Dominants. These are people who can summon powerful Eikons, with each nation’s own ideals determining if this drives them to success or ruin. Joshua had become the Eikon for Phoenix, and we had previously learned he had suffered some tragedy at the hands of Eikon Ifrit, spurring Clive into a quest for vengeance.

The new trailer seems to confirm that Dominants transform into their Eikons. Two other Dominants revealed were Hugo Kupka, and Benedikta Harman. 

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

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Hugo rose to power once he became the Dominant for Titan, becoming the Permanent Economic Advisor for the Dhalmekian Republic, influencing policies and amassing wealth. However, Benedikta is promised to show him there is more to life than power and money.

Benedikta herself is the Dominant of Garuda, and works for The Kingdom of Waloed as a spy. Interestingly, the official website notes Waloed is ruled by a redacted Dominant, so there is no confirmation this is Benedikta herself. She is described as cold-hearted and rutheless, seeking out the second Eikon of Fire. The very end of the trailer also seems to tease Clive himself is the Dominant of Ifrit.

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

The gameplay shown seems to reveal an action RPG, with only Clive being shown in combat. Along with fancy bladework, he seems to be able to summon attacks and even limbs of Eikons. The trailer shows him using Phoenix, Garuda, Titan, Odin, Shiva, and Ramuh- flipping between various skills in effortless combos. Bahamut is also shown as an Eikon.

Along with an armored form Hugo seems to take, it appears players will also be able to turn into Eikons, fighting against others in giant battles. Players are seen commanding Phoenix, Ifrit, as well as using the Eikon’s traditional “summon” attacks against Liquid Flame, with the UI suggesting this was during a fight with Clive, rather than the “Eikon Fights.”

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

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The trailer concluded, revealing a Summer 2023 release date. While the game is exclusive to PlayStation 5, several exclusive titles have been making their way to other platforms, such as Final Fantasy VII Remake, and the newly announced Spider-Man Remastered for PC.

Producer Naoki Yoshida (best known to Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest X fans as Yoshi-P), shared a letter with fans on the official website. “I know how long you have been waiting for this, so it gives me great pleasure to announce the release of our latest trailer ‘Dominance.'”

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

“In previous interviews and updates, we didn’t delve too deep into details about the game system, but hopefully with this preview, you all were able to get a better picture of what actual gameplay will entail,” Yoshida teases.

“Namely, high-octane battles featuring our protagonist Clive Rosfield wielding a full arsenal of attacks unique to the game’s many Eikons (summons). Not to mention epic clashes between the Eikons themselves that put you right in the action.”

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

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“The team, under direction of Hiroshi Takai, has entered the final leg of development and is focusing on polish as they continue their march toward master up and launch,” Yoshida revealed. “I, for one, would like to personally thank them for all the hard work they’ve put into the project.”

“With the power of the PlayStation®5 behind us, we’re looking to take you on a seamless, story-driven, white-knuckle ride that will rival even the most thrilling roller-coaster. So buckle up. The wait is almost over,” Yoshida concluded.

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Director Takai (Final Fantasy V, SaGa Frontier, The Last Remnant) also shared his thoughts. “First, allow me to apologize for making everyone wait so long for new information on FINAL FANTASY XVI…but the good news is it’s finally here!”

“In our latest trailer, we’ve introduced several new Eikons, as well as provided a more detailed peek at our action-packed battle system and the freedom it gives players,” Takai promises.

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

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“As for development progress, I’m happy to announce that the game is fully playable from start to finish; though, from optimization to brush-up, there is still a mountain of challenges to tackle as we head into our final push,” Takai admitted. “Until then, please stay tuned. We’ll do our best to not keep you waiting too long before our next update!”

Major staff were also revealed, along with their prior works. Nearly all of those revealed thus far had previously worked on Final Fantasy XIV. Creative Director & Original Screenplay is by Kazutoyo Maehiro, while the Localization Director title falls on Michael-Christopher Koji Fox.

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Fox had previously worked on Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, and Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. The English trailer seemed to hint at two characters having slept with one another, which may indicate what age rating the game is aiming for, considering Square Enix’ prior controversy over their “ethics department.”

The game’s Combat Director is Ryota Suzuki, who had previously worked under Capcom on Devil May Cry 5, Dragon’s Dogma, and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. Returning to the Square Enix stable, the game’s Art Director will be Hiroshi Minagawa, and Character Designer Kazuya Takahashi.

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Finally, beloved Composer Masayoshi Soken will be working on the game. He had previously admitted to battling cancer during the Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Festival 2021.

Soken continued to work on that game even from hospital across 2020, and requested Yoshida to not reveal that factor to his colleagues. He last stated he was almost in remission, and fans quickly resonated with his steadfast determination. 

Source: Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

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