News from October 2020
I'm a bit late to the post here, sorry - Hurricane Zeta decided to take out CoN headquarters for about eighteen hours right as this news broke. Yesterday, Square Enix published the official Final Fantasy XVI website in eight languages - multiple variants of English notwithstanding - which really reinforces the scope of a modern flagship Final Fantasy release.
The site exposes a lot of backstory to fill in some obvious gaps from the original trailer. We learn that the setting of the new game is a land called Valisthea, and as we could predict from the trailer, the Eikons exist around the largest settlements in the land near their "Mothercrystals," huge mountains of crystal from which magical aether spawns. Those who can command the Eikons are called "Dominants," like young Joshua, and each nation treats their Dominant in their own traditional style. There are six major kingdoms outlined on the website which explain a bit more, and interestingly there are redactions in the text for a couple of them to hide either Eikon or Dominant names.
In terms of characters, we now know that the protagonist's name is Clive Rosfield, the older brother to Joshua. As one can tell from the trailer, Clive is a noble soldier of the nation of Rosaria; it is further explained that the attack by Ifrit shown in the trailer must take place fairly early in the game, as it appears to be the catalyst for a mission of revenge. We also learn that the girl from the trailer is named Jill, and she hails from another region of Valisthea and is an emissary helping to keep the peace between her people and Rosaria. Apparently, she is also 12 years old, which seems like maybe she has way too stressful of a role for her age.
Reading between the lines a bit, it would seem that the Ifrit that attacks Joshua and Clive could be either a wild Eikon or possibly one from another nation; the site explains that the tenuous peace among the countries of Valisthea might be at risk due to "the Blight," which opens up a number of opportunities for storytelling. Hopefully, the level of worldbuilding already evident in this website means that the game is far enough along that more info will be coming soon.
Source: Final Fantasy XVI | Square Enix