Final Fantasy 16: release date, trailers, gameplay, and more

Final Fantasy XVI is finally on its way after a long gap between it and the previous numbered entry. While a number of big titles have experienced delays over the past few years, we’re glad to finally know that the game is almost upon us. There’s still plenty of mystery about the new adventure, but here’s everything we know so far.

Release date

Image used with permission of the copyright holder

Final Fantasy XVI confirmed to arrive on June 22, 2023.


Titan in Final Fantasy 16.Image used with permission of the copyright holder

This makes sense given the long history between the two companies and the fact that the game was revealed during the PlayStation 5 unveiling which Final Fantasy XVI will be a limited time console exclusive to the PS5. Unlike many other early PS5 titles, it looks like there won’t be a PS4 version of this game.

The game will be exclusive to consoles for at least six months, and the development team has stated that it won’t be coming to PC immediately after that time, as they aren’t sure a port will be ready yet.


Final Fantasy XVI – Awakening Trailer | PS5

Discovery trailer, so called Waking up, is packed with detail in its four-minute duration. We get bits of story, cutscenes, and what even looks like gameplay clips. Between the individual trailer and the game’s official website, there is a large amount of story information available.

We know that Final Fantasy XVI will return to the traditional fantasy roots of the series unlike recent games that have had modern or even futuristic elements in the worlds. The game will take place in Valisthea, which is divided into six kingdoms: the Grand Duchy of Rosaria, the Holy Empire of Sanbreque, the Kingdom of Waloed, the Dhamekian Republic, the Iron Kingdom, and the Crystalline Dominion. Each kingdom has magic thanks to its mother crystal and each has one person with the power to summon Eikons called Dominants.

These mother crystals power the world; however, something called The Blight has begun to spread through Valisthea. While all of these elements will form the central plot of the game, these are all the details we have about the story so far. The game’s tagline, “The legacy of crystals has shaped our history long enough,” may be a reference to the villain’s goal of destroying the world’s mother crystals.

As for the characters, we got a good look at our new protagonist, Clive Rosfield. He is the son of the Archduke of the Grand Duchy of Rosaria and was the one who was expected to become the Dominant of that kingdom. Instead, he is the sworn protector of his younger brother Joshua, who has effectively become a Dominant but can still use some of Eikon’s power. Joshua’s Eikon is a fire elemental Phoenix, which allows him to use fire-based magic. Jill Warrick is another character we see briefly and is something of an adopted sister to Clive and Joshua, but not much is known about her role in the story yet.

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Maybe because of the ending sequence Final Fantasy XV, there also seems to be a time period shift in the game’s plot as we see both a younger and a much older version of Clive in the trailer. Maybe the game will go back and forth between two time periods or just have a time jump at some point. We learned that the game will focus on Clive during three points in his life: his teenage years, his 20s, and his 30s.

Final Fantasy XVI – State of the Game Dominant Announcement for June 2022 | Games for PS5

The second trailer dives further into what we knew or suspected, starting with the quote: “In a world ruled by tyranny and unrest, there are those who would fight to regain control of their destiny.” The voice then asks questions about what the Dominants are, who are clearly corroded by the power of their summons living within them.

Posted on the official Final Fantasy Twitter account, new Ambition trailer came out of nowhere with lots of story details.

The game will supposedly take place 15,000 years after some catastrophe has caused the world to slowly die. We see the main cast and what appears to be a wolf companion roaming the barren land.

The trailer reiterates the importance of the crystal and Joshua as the Dominant and gives a brief description of each of the main kingdoms that want to claim their power. Given the focus on the leaders of each of these kingdoms, it’s likely that we’ll deal with each of them heavily in the story. Of course, there seems to be some greater evil that will likely take center stage by the end.

The story is said to include over 11 hours of cutscenes dedicated to the main quests, with untold more included in the sub-quests. The story remains very important to the team, despite the huge changes to the game. “For me, Final Fantasy has to have that deep story,” producer Naoki Yoshida tells Digital Trends. “He has to have that complex game experience. It has to have a unique combat system, great graphics, great sound … and then chocobos and muggles! Final Fantasy XVI it has all of that, so I think we’ve made something reminiscent of Final Fantasy.”

Final Fantasy XVI – State of the Game 4K | Games for PS5

Final Fantasy XVI in April 2023, he got his own State of Play presentation that featured nearly 25 minutes of footage. Aside from a few character introductions, including our new version of Cid, this trailer was mostly focused on gameplay.

Final Fantasy 16 – Story Trailer | PlayStation Showcase 2023

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Final Fantasy XVI got what looks to be the final trailer at the PlayStation Showcase in May 2023. This was a story trailer, however, it’s more of a montage.

We cut between many different characters and voice lines, interspersed with some very impressive action from Eikon battles like Ifrit, but the main theme seems to be the class inequality between those in power and those without. There is also a lot of emphasis on the dangers of crystals and how they are more dangerous than helpful to the world.


Clive slashes an enemy in Final Fantasy XVI.Square Enix

As for gameplay, Final Fantasy XVI looks set to continue pushing into the action RPG genre it started Final Fantasy 15 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake. We see Clive casting various spells on the fly and then going straight into a sword fight with some sort of teleport ability. Granted, none of the footage shown had a HUD or UI, so it’s possible that it’s some sort of move-based or time-based mechanic. The credits list Ryota Suzuki as the battle director. He is best known for being a designer of combat units Devil May Cry 5 and Dragon’s Dogma.

The trailer really focuses more on the gameplay, which looks even more action-focused than we thought. Yoshida himself describes the game as “high-octane battles,” which it certainly feels like it. Aside from a HUD with a level number, an HP bar, and what looks like MP bars, the action almost feels more like a pure character action game. Clive can launch, combo and perform skills and abilities on the fly, leading to dazzling, cinematic finishers.

Digital Trends got to experience an early demo of the title to really see how the combat works. Our impressions, in short, are like that Final Fantasy XVI it’s a big shakeup for the series in a positive way. Those looking for a game in a more traditional JRPG style, rather than something closer to a character action title, might be disappointed. Despite this, director Hiroshi Takai still thinks that longtime fans will find their footing in the new system and enjoy it. “The ability system that we have, with the use of Eiconic abilities, that’s something that we’ve really built on Final Fantasy Vability system,” says Takai. “For me, I was thinking this: If we took Final Fantasy V’s ability system and made it into something that was real-time action, this is what it would look like… For those players out there who are still on the fence and thinking, ‘ I don’t want to play this because I’m on a move’, I would ask them to at least try it once and see how it feels. We think you’ll change your mind.”

During the game, you will only play as Clive, and all party members will be controlled by artificial intelligence, including a dog named Torgal who will accompany you for most of the game. It looks like it will be similar to how the party functioned in Final Fantasy XV in terms of group banter during travel and combat. Unlike that game, at least so far, it doesn’t seem like you’ll be able to give them any direction. The only time you won’t be playing as Clive is when you take control of Eikon, which will obviously play a lot differently than the normal game.

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It is also worth noting that Final Fantasy XVI won’t be an open-world title, as Yoshida told IGN in an interview, but will instead feature different zones that you travel between via the world map. This was obviously chosen to give the game a greater sense of scale and progression since it will be the story that will guide us around this new world. It’s more likened to a roller coaster ride than an open freeform experience. However, you will have a base camp that you return to regularly. Here you can meet NPCs, take quests, buy items, upgrade equipment, and more.

The right side of the screen constantly shows takedown statuses and moves, such as Deadly Chain and Deadly Takedown, so you can see what you’re doing.

During what appear to be boss encounters, the screen shifts to a fighting game-style view where the enemy’s health bar is kept in a static location on the screen, like Clive’s, instead of floating on their character. This is especially evident during the massive Eikon battles, like when we see Phoenix fighting Eikon Fire and Ifrit facing off against Titan. These in particular look very cinematic, and each will feature a unique gameplay system.

Final Fantasy XVI will also offer accessibility items that can be equipped to customize the game, including the Ring of Timely Focus and the Ring of Timed Strikes, which will aid in combat by slowing down time and making it easier to pull off combos.


Two armies clash on a plains battlefield in Final Fantasy 16.Image used with permission of the copyright holder

Final Fantasy XVI pre-orders are in, and you have four options to choose from: Standard Edition, Deluxe Edition, Digital Deluxe Edition, and Collector’s Edition. Here’s what you get in each:

Standard Edition ($70):

  • Gil Boost Addon: Cait Sith Charm
  • Additional Weapon: Braveheart
  • Steelbook case (exclusive to Best Buy)

Digital Deluxe Edition ($90):

  • All previous awards
  • Digital mini art book
  • Digital mini soundtrack

Deluxe Edition ($100):

  • All previous awards
  • Canvas world map of Valisthe
  • Special Clive Rosfield book case (different from the Best Buy case).

Collector’s Edition ($350):

  • Statue of Ifrit
  • Set of 8 pins
  • Canvas world map of Valisthe
  • Clive Rosfield’s special steel casket
  • Blood Sword (Digital Item)

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