One of the most critically revered series in video game history, FINAL FANTASY returned this year with FINAL FANTASY XVI. Although, this is the 16th mainline instalment in a 36-year run, but newcomers needn’t be wary of impenetrable backstories or years of context to catch up on. In fact, the beauty of FINAL FANTASY XVI is that you absolutely do not need to have played even a single second of FINAL FANTASY before this.
Players instead get to take on the role of a brand new character, Clive Rosfield, the new protagonist previewed in the new trailer, and start the game completely fresh as you step into the realm of Valisthea. As with every instalment in the series, FINAL FANTASY XVI puts story, gameplay and unbelievably detailed visuals on equally high footing. As Rosfield, players will explore Valisthea—a world made up of six nations, each centered around a Mothercrystal—and join him on his journey to avenge his brother’s murder.
The new action-RPG officially landed on the 22nd of June, available now exclusively on PlayStation®5 (PS5™) until at least the end of 2023 and, not surprisingly, anticipation for this new edition was high. That came to a head at a pre-launch celebration in LA, where new trailers were announced along with the release of the demo version of the game, which can now be downloaded via the PlayStation Store.
The second trailer offered something a little different. Made in partnership with creative agency Anomaly, SQUARE ENIX revealed a three-and-a-half-minute live action short film titled Requiem. Directed by Diego Contreras, the short film delved even deeper into the narrative with its own score by the game’s composer, Masayoshi Soken.
FINAL FANTASY XVI producer Naoki Yoshida announced the demo where fans could get early access to the opening prologue, with saved progress carrying over to the full game after its release. In the demo, fans will be able to play as Rosfield and set out on the first stages of his journey, getting to grips with his backstory and the expansive world of Valisthea. Completing this demo, Yoshida explains, then gives players the chance to get stuck into a Special Battle Demo that will showcase a much more advanced stage of the game, revealing abilities and battles that would normally be unlocked much later in gameplay.
For this part of the event, host and content creator Max Dood, main director Hiroshi Takai and combat director Ryōta Suzuki gave guests a real-time look at some of the newly released Special Battle Demo. Instead of taking the usual demo route of simply giving players access to the first, often very limited moments of gameplay from the beginning of the game, Dood and co took guests through some of the key moments of gameplay including some of the major battles players would usually unlock much later in the game.
Another key element that sets the FINAL FANTASY series apart is the extra lengths the creators have always gone to for the soundtrack. Building on the iconic foundations laid by famed composer Nobuo Uematsu, this instalment’s score was created by Masayoshi Soken and to close out the pre-launch celebration, Soken took to the stage with Italian musician and composer Alex Moukala to break down his approach to the soundtrack before treating the audience to some of the music they can expect to hear in the game.