News from September 2020
I think we all knew that Final Fantasy XVI would appear on the next generation of consoles, sure, but was it really expected to debut today at Sony's PlayStation event? Well, it did, in the form of a four-minute trailer with what appears to be a pretty significant amount of footage. What we know so far is that the game will be a console exclusive for PlayStation 5, but will also have a Windows release, and that it will be a single-player game with action combat that immediately seems to be an extension of the Final Fantasy XV combat system. We also know that the footage shown was all in-engine for both combat and cutscenes, but it is very clearly in an early stage. We also know that Naoki Yoshida will be on the masthead as producer and that Hiroshi Takai will assume the mantle of Director; both have extensive experience within the company, particularly recently in Final Fantasy XIV. The game is being developed by Squenix' fantastically-named "Creative Business Unit III" group, which is... something else we know, I guess. Finally, we know that the trailer is footage captured from a PC, attempting to emulate the new PS5 experience.
The trailer, subtitled "Awakening," focuses on three main characters. The first we see is an unruly-haired warrior with a tattoo or brand on his cheek; he appears to be a soldier off to war in which both sides wield summoned monsters, here called "Icons." It seems that he is on the side who summon Titan, as he is told that his target is Shiva, who we see fighting against the "bloody mountain" early on. The second is a younger man who serves as a squire toward the third, a boy named Joshua (which, hey, good choice, guys). The younger squire appears to be the main character, as he is the only one shown in the combat sequences, and his role is to guard the child, who is the son of nobility. The "Awakening" takes place as young Joshua experiences a shock and apparently transforms into something highly unexpected. Another battle of icons takes shape, and also forms the basis for the game's logo - a Phoenix and Ifrit in conflict.
That's a quick and as spoiler-free as I can make it recap, written up after watching just a couple times. So, here, have some more general ideas and speculation. First, the two warriors, older and younger, look pretty similar. I could see them being somehow related and on separate sides of a growing conflict, or, if Squenix want to get really twisty, possibly even the same man in some sort of time loop situation. I could also give credence to a theory that in this universe, the summoned Icons are superpowers that can be bestowed upon warriors by their factions' crystals, or are even inborn powers that are unlocked over time. I also think that Square has probably elected to not play a number of cards yet with this unveiling, as the combat scenes show only one character and no battle UI at all; after the combat systems of XV and FF7R, it seems very unlikely to me that there would be only one playable character in battle on this new platform.
And finally, that puppy needs to be a companion for the whole game or I may not buy it.
Watch the video below, and click through to learn more. Square Enix have said that this will be the only information we get on the game until 2021, so enjoy it.