Final Fantasy XVI: Release date, story, gameplay and more

Final Fantasy XVI was recently revealed at Sony’s PS5 Showcase Event, giving us a first look at the game in a four-minute-long trailer. 

The announcement of FFXVI is quite an exciting one, especially since the previous numbered title (FFXV) was published four years ago. Not only that, but the original FFXV had been revealed in 2008 under the name Final Fantasy XIII Versus.

To put it simply, players have been waiting for a FFXVI for a long time. If you’re interested in the series, here’s everything you need to know about Final Fantasy XVI, including details on its release date, gameplay, story and trailer.

Final Fantasy XVI release date 

When Final Fantasy XVI was revealed at the PlayStation 5 Showcase Event, it wasn’t accompanied by a release date or even release window. However, a quote from Bloomberg reporter, Jason Schreier, in an episode of the Triple Click podcast suggests the game could be released relatively soon. 

Jason claims he’s spoken with people who are “familiar with the game’s development,” and that it has “been in development for at least four years in some capacity.” He believes it’s “coming sooner than people think.” While this is quite vague, it could mean we see the game released in late 2021.

Final Fantasy XVI story

Final Fantasy XVI is being helmed by director Hiroshi Takai, who’s popular within the fanbase for his work on Final Fantasy XIV. The game’s latest expansion, Shadowbringers, has been lauded as one of the greatest Final Fantasy experiences ever. 

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Kyle Campbell at IGN believes “Shadowbringers has only further solidified XIV’s status as one of the greatest Final Fantasy games ever made.” Many other critics have shared this sentiment, with the game receiving an astounding 90/100 on Metacritic, making it the most acclaimed title in the series since the PS2 era.

Final Fantasy XVI is in great hands, which is why much of the fanbase is excited for what Takai could accomplish. As far as what we can actually expect from the game, it will feature a story about magical crystals and the power these crystals hold. If you’ve kept up with Final Fantasy, you know this is one of the most commonly used concepts throughout the series.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

However, Final Fantasy XVI is seemingly trying to shake up the formula. A phrase frequently used throughout the game’s marketing is “the legacy of the crystals has shaped our history for long enough.” Additionally, Twitter user ThisIsXel discovered that the game would be targeting a Mature ESRB rating, which isn’t too surprising considering the brutality seen in the reveal trailer.

All of this information culminates into a story that’s straying away from what we’ve come to expect from the series. The Final Fantasy games have frequently been dark, but Final Fantasy XVI is also shaping up to be bloody, violent and rebellious.

Final Fantasy XVI gameplay 

The Final Fantasy series is widely known for its turn-based combat systems. However, this has changed drastically over the years. With the release of Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns in 2013, we saw the introduction of a slightly more active battle system revolving around well-timed blocks, attacks, special moves and dodges.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

This began to change even further when Final Fantasy XV introduced a completely different combat style, involving hack n’ slash mechanics that allowed players to teleport around arenas, combo enemies and swap between different weapons amidst combat.

And with the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake this year, Square Enix created an excellent marriage between active combat and turn-based decision making. Players can slash around the field freely, but when using an ability, time freezes and gives them the opportunity to make their choice.

Final Fantasy XVI will likely continue the trend of active combat considering what we can assess from the trailer. It was quite clear the player was performing combos on enemies, but it’s difficult to tell how these mechanics work without a full demo showcase.

Final Fantasy XVI leaks and rumors 

Siliconera reports that Ryota Suzuki has been confirmed as Battle Director for a new AAA title at Square Enix. Suzuki previously worked as Game Design Lead on Dragon’s Dogma and as a designer for Devil May Cry 5.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Whether or not he’s actually working on Final Fantasy XVI is unknown, but if he is, it likely means the game will feature a combat system focused on testing the player’s reflexes in high-octane battles.

Final Fantasy XVI trailer 

Final Fantasy XVI’s reveal trailer, dubbed “Awakening,” revealed a plethora of details on what we can expect from the game. This showcase is consistently brutal, with characters being impaled, ripped apart and depapitated. The actual trailer doesn’t show any of these details explicitly, but if the game is attempting to hit a Mature ESRB rating, that’s likely more than enough.

Additionally, this trailer reveals how grim the world intends to be. Final Fantasy has its fair share of dark moments, but the games are often fantastical and charming. It seems as if Final Fantasy XVI is entirely revolved around dark fantasy, with each magical element being treated as a threat to the world. 

The environments themselves seem colorless, foggy, burning or partially destroyed. It definitely seems like Square Enix’s vision for Final Fantasy XVI is far darker than anything we’ve ever seen in the franchise before.

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