Final Fantasy VII Remake may have skyrocketed the franchise back into the limelight, but the trailer for Final Fantasy XVI brings some series Dark Souls meets Game of Thrones vibes that feel like a real return to form.
Final Fantasy XV was released in in 2016, which means there has been plenty of time for Square Enix to pursue development on Final Fantasy 16, particularly because Square Enix is such a large company with a number of different development teams working under a larger umbrella.
Yes! Sony opened its September 16 PlayStation 5 showcase with a trailer for Final Fantasy 16, confirming that the game is in development under Square Enix’s Creative Business Unit III, which is the same branch of the company that maintains Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and produces the expansions. This business division, headed up by Naoki « Yoshi-P » Yoshida, typically focuses on MMOs. This appears to be a glaring exception.
Yoshi-P will serve as producer on the game, and Hiroshi Takai is collaborating with him on the new game. Official materials refer to it as « a single player action-RPG being developed for the PS5, » and it will also be a PS5 timed exclusive.
“Yoshi-P” was briefly rumored as the director for FF16 in June 2016, and despite the fact that expressed his frustration, calling the rumors “annoying” and “big fake news,” it would seem that he is indeed involved in a major way.
It opens on a young warrior with a tattoo on his face watching a bonfire. Their target is « Shiva’s Dominant » and « only the Dominant. » Quickly, we’re shown a disorienting battle between two distinct cultures with each rallying behind familiar Final Fantasy summons of Shiva and Titan, respectively. Each culture seemingly thrives on the magical blessing from a Crystal.
Things shift to a young boy named Joshua (the Archduke’s son) who’s protected by a knight in a kingdom that looks an awful lot like Winterfell from Game of Thones. Here’s where we finally see some combat, which seems similar to Dark Souls but even more fast-paced as it integrates magically powered attacks.
Later, we learn that Joshua himself is endowed with the power of Phoenix, which makes it seem like he may be the « Dominant » and that this is a term for the human vessel for each Summon. A soldier is also shocked to see Ifrit confront Phoenix directly, and while that dynamic doesn’t make a ton of sense just yet, the logo for the game does depict Phoenix facing off against Ifrit.
« The legacy of the crystals has shaped our history for long enough, » a voiceover says as we cut to a montage that mixes gameplay action with cinematics. The very end sets up both of these protagonists against one another as mortal enemies, so it seems possible that gameplay will be split between the two of them.
There’s no official release date just yet, but producer Yoshi-P confirmed in official press materials that « the next big information reveal is scheduled for 2021. » While it’s possible the game might be released in 2021 following some kind of update earlier in the year, it’s far more likely that it’ll be released in 2022 or even 2023.
A May 2020 rumor claimed the company would announce FF16 sometime in summer 2020 as a next-gen title, with plans to release it for PS5 and Xbox Series X in 2022. As noticed by Wccftech in an August 2020 article, a Resetera forums member called Navtra — who has a proven track record predicting events like Sony’s June 2020 Future of Gaming presentation — made the bold claim that FF16 « was supposed to get announced in June’s event. »
« It’s supposedly closer than most people would think, » Navtra also wrote. « It has some kind of PS5 exclusivity (it was vague back then but it seems to be full timed exclusivity now). And I have no idea why they haven’t announced it yet. » All of that turned out to be true, so it does seem possible that we’ll see FF16 sooner rather than later.
It seems increasingly more possible that FF16 has been in development for quite some time. A now-deleted recruitment page from April 2019 indicating that Square Enix was hiring developers for “a new key project following Final Fantasy XIV, taking up a challenge for the next generation.” In retrospect, that definitely seems to be the case.
According to a sketchy leak on 4chan from May 2020, FF16 is going to draw some inspiration from Dark Souls while retaining combat elements from Final Fantasy XV. If the trailer is any indication, then that’s totally accurate. In fact, combat looks a touch more fluid and engaging when compared to FF15.
There are some other major claims about the structure of the overall world: « a job system and customizable characters set in an open world with « cities and dungeons within the rich open-world … and … free exploration of entire continents. » This would hopefully be an expansion on the lackluster open world that was available in FF15.
Yoshida himself said in a February 2019 interview: « I’d like to see a Final Fantasy that is straightforward fantasy, one that doesn’t have much machinery, and with no mecha in it. » It’s a funny way to say « this is the kind of Final Fantasy game I’m currently developing. »
FF16 does look somewhat similar in scope and setting to FF11, FF12, and the Tactics offshoot series. FF14, however, is obviously the closest point of comparison. This high fantasy setting would let the game distinguish itself from the ongoing FF7 Remake, which will presumably be around for many years to come.
Although the FF7 Remake team includes many often associated with mainline Final Fantasy titles, like Kitase and Nomura, FF16 will not impact the remake series in any way.
Square Enix has internal divisions for every subset of the Final Fantasy franchise. One team might head development for mobile titles, another might focus on remastering old games. In April 2019, there was a massive restructuring of divisions, giving Kitase more power and promoting Yoshida to head of Creative Business Unit III. This unit works on FF14, FF11, and developed Dragon Quest Builders.
A now-deleted recruitment page that first hinted at FF16’s existence was precisely for this unit. Yoshida’s team presumably had such an expansive recruitment process to prepare for developing FF16. When it was available, the recruitment page described the title with words like “inaugural” and “core,” implying this upcoming game to be important, like FF16 would hypothetically be.
Square Enix has already done some potential hires for the game. In June 2020, Ryota Suzuki, designer of Devil May Cry 5 and Dragon’s Dogma, was reported to have joined Unit III as the Battle Director for an upcoming game. This is undoubtedly FF16, it wouldn’t take away from FF7 Remake Part 2 simply since they’re in completely different teams that are both part of Square Enix.
Final Fantasy 16
Actu monde – US – ‘Final Fantasy 16’ release date, trailer, and story for the PS5 timed exclusive