As promised, Square-Enix has launched an official website for Final Fantasy XVI and laid out a wealth of information on its story and setting.
The main protagonist shown in the “Awakenings” trailer from last month is Clive Rosfield, firstborn son of the Archduke of Rosaria and sworn Shield to his younger brother, Joshua. Clive is as brave and strong as Joshua is “frail and bookish,” but it’s the younger brother who “awoke as the Dominant of Phoenix soon after his birth.” Rounding out their household is Jill Warrick, a ward of the state who has been raised as if she were their true sister.
Dominants appear to be Final Fantasy XVI‘s unique spin on Final Fantasy’s summoners: chosen individuals blessed with the power to call upon the “dread power” of the Eikons, “the most powerful and deadly creatures in Valisthea.” In some places they are revered, and in others treated with fear and hostility, or used as weapons of war.
Valisthea is home to massive Mothercrystals, literal mountains of crystal which bestow aether upon the people. With this magical power, a handful of different nations have sprung up in the crystals’ shadows, coexisting in “an uneasy peace” until “the spread of the Blight threatens to destroy their dominions.”
The reveal trailer shows this tentative peace broken, as armies clash and the Eikons Shiva and Titan do battle. We now know Titan is associated with the Dhalmekian Republic, with its Dominant serving as a special advisor, but Shiva’s affiliation has not yet been identified. (The website cheekily redacts the names of the Eikons for two nations, the Holy Empire of Sanbreque and the Kingdom of Waloed; however, Waloed’s banner appears to resemble Sleipnir, Odin’s horse, suggesting the popular summon could appear there.)
In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Final Fantasy XVI producer Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida confirmed that the tattooed man from the trailer is Clive, lending credence to the theory that the story will include a timeskip (not unlike Noctis’ glow-up in Final Fantasy XV).
However, for all the interesting material provided, it seems Square-Enix has answered a couple questions and created a thousand more. What is the tragedy that befalls Clive and sets him “on a dangerous road to revenge?” Who is the Dominant of Ifrit that attacks Rosaria in the trailer? What’s up with Clive’s left arm in that new key art, and what’s the meaning of the face tattoo? We’ll have to wait a while to find out, as the next major reveal is still set for some time in 2021. If rumours hold true, we may be playing Final Fantasy XVI before long.