Sony's most recent State of Play confirmed our previous speculation about Final Fantasy XVI, the upcoming Japanese action RPG. Developer Square Enix showed off a brand new trailer at the end of the livestream. It showcased new cinematics, new narrative beats, and new gameplay.
Long-time FF fans will be eagle-eyed for any details they reveal that might be hiding. It does offer some exciting details to be excited about. So here are five things to check out from the State of Play (June 2022) trailer.
Final Fantasy XVI's latest showcase reveals something interesting tidbits
1) It is the most mature Final Fantasy game in a long time
Ever since the debut reveals of Final Fantasy XVI, one thing has been clear: the narrative here is fairly dark. This fantasy affair is not shy to showcase in-your-face gory warfare and mature themes at a level not seen in the past few titles.
It is also reflected in the narrative, which is pretty cinematic too. Many scenes depict hordes of soldiers being stomped by the might and power of Eikons, the title given to Summons in this game.
2) Eikons play an integral role in the story as well as gameplay
Final Fantasy XVI takes place in Valisthea, a land home to the Mothercrystals. Six factions rule over it. However, the more pressing matter is that of monstrous beings that can manifest throughout the world. Called Eikons. They are the Summons for this game. In standard Final Fantasy lore, these are powerful creatures that aid players in battle.
Here, they are called forth through humans called Dominants. The story follows three characters: Clive Rosfield, Joshua Rosfield, and Jill Warrick, and their role are tied around the arc of the Eikons too.
Joshua, for example, is a Dominant for the fiery bird Eikon called Phoenix. As witnessed by the trailer's ending cinematic, the fire demon Ifrit will seemingly play a big role as the trio sets out to investigate reports of a "dark" Ifrit.
3) Is that Dalamud, the red moon?
One of the segments in the trailer features a shot of the moon in the night sky. Looking at it closely reveals another celestial body next to it. This is red and harkens back to the MMO Final Fantasy XIV.
In that game's lore, Dalamud is the name given to a red moon that appears in the sky during the Seventh Umbral Era plot. Note that Square Enix has not confirmed where Final Fantasy XVI occurs, so perhaps it could be XIV's Eorzea? Or, at the very least, be linked to it somehow?
4) A closer look at the combat interface
Now this one is exciting. The most intriguing portion is displayed on the bottom-right besides the usual HP bar, level indicator, and items on hand (mapped to the D-Pad). That is the combat options. Clive (the main protagonist) will have melee, magic, jump, and Eikon button for starters.
Melee, of course, is for flexing the stylish DMC-inspired hack & slash combat. Meanwhile, magic consists of moves like Fire and Aero, with a gauge seemingly upgrading them.
The Eikon key allows cycling between different Summons, like Garuda, Titan, and Phoenix. It also looks like the three of them can be equipped at any given time and switched between freely. Players also seemingly use special moves (for melee and magic each) depending upon the Eikon used.
For example, Odin's Arm of Darkness allows using Heaven's Cloud for magic. But it is important to note that even though each Eikon is allegedly assigned to one human, Clive can use all of their powers somehow.
5) Final Fantasy May Cry
While this might be the most obvious, a closer look doesn't hurt. While the core combat seems tied to a few buttons, it could be that a cobo system for moves is being used here. Prompts on the right side of the screen such as Precision Dodge and Precision Counter promote skillful mastery of mechanics. The former likely occurs when dodged at the right time, while the latter is a counterattack in response to the enemy's offensive move.
All of this is unsurprising, though. After all, the combat director behind Final Fantasy XVI is Ryota Suzuki. His portfolio consists of iconic projects like the excellent Devil May Cry 5 and the underrated Dragon's Dogma, both from Capcom. While the battles look refreshing for the series and fun, it remains to be seen how they fare under gamers' grips. The game is scheduled for release on PS5 in Summer 2023.