Final Fantasy XVI just got an extended gameplay reveal at PlayStation’s State of Play event, held early Friday. The 25-minute-long footage touched upon the game’s summonable Eikons and combat, as producer Naoki Yoshida stressed that there’s no requirement for one to have played the previous games. In fact, Final Fantasy 16 functions as an entirely separate entry — even mechanics-wise, incorporating real-time action and RPG features akin to Devil May Cry. It’s the first in the long-running franchise to get rid of its turn-based combat system, and will feature a hideout for the lead character Clive Rosfield, First Shield of Rosaria. FFXVI will is set to drop June 22, exclusively on the PS5.
In the presentation, Yoshida compared Final Fantasy XVI’s gameplay experience to that of a ‘high-speed rollercoaster ride.’ You’ll only ever play as Clive in the fantastical realm of Valisthea, as his story unfolds across three pivotal and distinct periods of his life — his teenage years, his twenties, and his thirties. Additionally, the game will incorporate flashback events that take you back even further to help better understand his plight and journey to becoming a sworn warrior. Navigation mainly relies on a world map, which gets updated with new locations and objective markers as players progress in the narrative. For the record, the main narrative will probably take you 35 hours to clear and may extend to 70–80 hours to fully complete the game.
A fast travel mechanic was also shown during the presentation, followed by a montage of stellar locations, ranging from dungeons, lakesides, sprawling bazaars, warzones, and more as Torgal, our trusty wolf companion, sticks by our side. (You can give him commands as well.) Combat is flashy and takes place in real-time, with Clive mixing and matching skills he learnt by defeating Eikons (magical beasts). Elemental attacks such as creating a path of piercing icicles, infusing weapons with fire, and breathing out blue flames using a dragon Eikon’s power — similar to Elden Ring’s Grafted Dragon — can be seen in the Final Fantasy XVI gameplay footage. Ability points collected upon defeating enemies can be used to unlock any equipped Eikon abilities or upgrade the existing ones — pretty straightforward.
To ease the experience for players who aren’t well-versed in action games, Final Fantasy 16 includes ‘timely accessories.’ The demo showed a combination of the Ring of Timely Focus and the Ring of Timely Strikes, which slows down time so you can unleash a heavy combo attack with just the press of a single button. There’s also an item that fully automates evasion. Yoshida also mentioned that any party members who accompany Clive on his journey will be fully AI-driven, offering support during combat.
All roads lead back to a hideaway, which is populated with shops to purchase weapons and consumables, and a blacksmith who helps with upgrading armaments. You can then access the Arete Stone to open a different realm — a virtual training area to refine attacks and other skill moves. An Arcade mode is also included so you can compete for scores with others online.
Expect clashes with tons of Dominants in the overworld, who wield the powers of the Eikons, colossal beasts, and mechanised monsters of an ancient civilisation. But developer Square Enix claims that the highlight is the Eikon v Eikon battles, which might occasionally feature QTE (quick-time events) due to its cinematic scale. “These battles differ depending on the Eikon encountered and every showdown is unique, right down to gameplay,” Yoshida said. “Players will experience everything from a 3D scrolling shooter to a heavyweight wrestling match with devastating attacks that encompass the entire battlefield.”