Final Fantasy XVI coming to PlayStation 5 in summer 2023; second trailer shown at Sony State of Play

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The time has come for Game of Thrones to collide with Devil May Cry and a classic Godzilla-style Kaiju showdown. For the first time since September 2020, a brand new trailer for Final Fantasy XVI was shown at Sony's latest State of Play digital event, with the news that the game will come only to PlayStation 5 in the summer of 2023.

According to game producer Naoki Yoshida on the PlayStation blog, the trailer is named "Dominance" and focuses on two aspects. Firstly, is a brief showcase of the high-octane one-on-one fights that protagonist Clive Rosfield must endure against this world's equivalent of the classic Summoned creatures - Eikons. To even the odds against the might of demigods, Clive himself will be able to utilise the Eikons' own powers as part of his arsenal. Secondly, it introduces additional Eikons to this landscape-warping brawl: Bahamut, Odin, Ramuh and Garuda - the latter of whom has until now only been a summon in the MMORPG entries in the series.

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Yoshi-P continues to emphasise that he is apologetic for the lack of updates. The game is in a state where it is actually playable from beginning to finish, though the additional year until the game is ready for release will be dedicated to all manners of polish and optimisation. The game has entered the final stages of development and is proceeding apace in spite of the challenges brought upon by the global pandemic.

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Here is some quick lore to whet appetites:

Introduction of the Dominants of Titan and Garuda
We here on the Final Fantasy XVI team hope you enjoyed the trailer and we wanted to give our fans a little bit more information about the Dominants of Titan and Garuda that you just saw.

Permanent Economic Adviser Hugo Kupka’s meteoric rise to prominence was sudden, if not unexpected. Once a nameless foot soldier in the Republican Army, his awakening as Dominant of the Eikon Titan thrust him to the forefront of Dhalmekian politics. It was here he used his newfound position as the most powerful man in the republic to exert influence over both the nation’s armies and its policy making—amassing a personal fortune in the process. Yet while it is said that a man who has everything wants for nothing, Benedikta Harman will teach him money and power are far from all the world has to offer.

Having emerged from the storm of youth coldhearted and ruthless, Benedikta Harman—Dominant of the Eikon Garuda, Warden of the Wind—turned her talent for swordplay and subterfuge into a command of Waloed’s elite intelligencers. It is on a mission to find the elusive second Eikon of Fire that she crosses paths with a like-minded Clive and is forced to face her past.

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In addition, here is a list of some key figures of the Final Fantasy XVI development team:

ProducerNaoki Yoshida
Main DirectorHiroshi Takai
Creative Director & Original ScreenplayKazutoyo Maehiro
Localization DirectorMichael-Christopher Koji Fox
Art DirectorHiroshi Minagawa
Combat DirectorRyota Suzuki
Character DesignKazuya Takahashi
ComposerMasayoshi Soken
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There's a lot to like about this trailer, yet it didn't feel very impactful. I think part of the problem is I feel we still haven't been properly introduced to the characters especially Clive - Which I hope as a character isn't going to be a problem as it looks like we're going to be spending a lot of time as him in this game.

The showcase of the summons is great though. I do appreciate it when FF games include summons as a key aspect to the narrative and it sems like this will be the case with 16. VERY excited to see about Summon battles too, I'm suprirsed they showed off so much of this as I would have thought these would be key parts events of the game.

Combat, it seems we're going to be getting something closer to Lightning Returns of all things! I'm not sure how Clive learns abilities from opposing factions Summons (Maybe after defeating them?) but it seems there will bee a System to where you can Cycle Job Classes at the touch of a button like in LR. I'm not opposed to this as combat was one of the lesser issues with LR but I hope the lack of a party doesn't make the story suffer. I like having multiple party members with back stories to explore and if the game just has Clive I can't help but feel it will struggle.

I hope we will soon learn more about the games structure, I'd like to see Gameplay just strolling an early Citadel of somthing to get a sense of how navigation works in the game - Open world or maps inbetween locations like XII/Dragon Quest VIII.

There is still a lot we don't know and this slither has me rather mixed. Well I'm looking forward to it I just have hesitations also. The 2023 Summer release date will feel LONG... I want them to make the game to standard, lord knows we don't want another XV Launch/Incomplete DLC trainwreck again.
I feel like more could have been shown about the wider world at large to really give us a real sampler of the stakes involved in this war. A good chunk of that trailer consists of battles between armies we're unfamiliar with and little in the way of useful taster context.

The fact they're showing Clive off as the solo playable protagonist in this trailer with no sign of party members or even if the game will have parties of more than one is an interesting powder keg for the fandom. I know modern mainline Final Fantasy has always experimented, but I wager this will too drastic a change for some, even if - as rightly pointed out already - Lightning Returns: FFXIII for example had a very similar system going for it, and it's as close to a solo mainline game as we got.

I'm personally fine with this being a solo playable Clive experience so long as he has actual travel companions in some form. This being the FFXIV Heavensward team, I'll be more than happy with the setup of having the game's equivalent of Ysayle, Estinien and Alphinaud journeying with you for a good chunk of the expansion. You weren't ever directly playing as them, but they felt like genuine party members and traveling companions all the same.

The faucet has just started to open up, so I'm very eager to see more of the world and what the structure will be like.

Also, hello M-rated Final Fantasy at last:

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I'm finding some of these screenshots and trailer scenes to be visually stunning. I reckon the next trailer will explore the world and its characters more. This one was primarily about the Eikons and Dominants, including Eikon vs Eikon battles being pushed into prominence.

My favourite part of this trailer might be the reveal of Titan's Dominant (Hugo Kupka). The guy is built like a mountain and seems to have the attitude to match his Eikon. I'm looking forward to analyse all of that once we know more, and speculate in the meantime.

Also we see AT 1:50 Ifrit fight what looks to be a second earth Eikon (judging by the colour scheme of its symbol and also its rocky arm). For now it is only represented by the cryptic placeholder '???'. The second earth Eikon could be Hecatoncheir because we appear to see an arm destroyed with enough casualness that there could be plenty more where that came from, and also the symbol could maybe possibly artistically depict multiple arms (but it could equally simply be armour and tentacles). It could imply the existence of more than two arms (but likely not a literal hundred arms like his mythological namesake). Enough to convey the idea.

Would they pair up two Greek mythology characters though? Would be cool if they did, since we could see an aspect of the Titanomachy in FF if Titan and Hecatoncheir were to fight each other as rivals over the earth element. It is hard to tell at this point.

Another possibility is Golem. And its rocky form and wider franchise heritage might support this too.

It could also be an entirely new Eikon. A Greek Gigas? Or the Hurrian stone-giant Ullikummi perhaps?

Plenty to unpack in this throne room mural too...
Plenty to unpack in this throne room mural too...

It's very reminiscent of the Final Fantasy XV mural. That one has the Goddess Etro at the very top, and this one similarly also appears to have a goddess figure atop a dragon - a dragon that we can reasonably assume to be Bahamut.

As per the official website's description of Sanbreque, the emperor is revered as the living incarnation of the "one true deity", which is presumably the yet-to-be-named goddess in both the mural and on the imperial standard. The dragon is one tier below the goddess in this visual hierarchy, which fits with the description that their Dominant is the empire's champion, leading the vanguard to rout imperial enemies. I assume everyone else consists of many disparate groups of people under a theocratic empire's consecrated embrace. Some appear to be awestruck and marveled by all the divine radiance.


Now I wonder who the emperor - the theocratic embodiment of the Divine Right to rule - actually is. At a glance it may appear to be the middle-aged man who speaks in the trailer about how easy replaceable imperial lives and property are. It could be the younger guy grimacing for a couple of frames in the trailer. Or perhaps it may be that chap slouched sideways on that throne in the screenshot. The latter would be interesting. Imagine if the living incarnation of the empire's goddess turns out to be a child who eschews all expected decorum and grace of someone of their station.

EDIT: I am fairly convinced the kid has to be the emperor. If you observe screenshots:


The kid's throne is situated at the centre and slightly further forward than the other two. The one to the kid's right is occupied by the man with a speaking role in the trailer - likely the regent or chancellor.
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