Summon battles, two Ifrits, and Eikons

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Final Fantasy XVI is one of the most highly anticipated PS5 games, and it’s been two years since any substantial information about the game has been released. That’s all changed with the latest State of Play presentation, as Final Fantasy XVI finally received a big second trailer, along with a release window of Summer 2023. The new trailer is absolutely packed full of little details and hints about the game, so we’ll go step-by-step to break everything down.

5. A wealth of new story details

The trailer opens with, “In a world ruled by tyranny and turmoil there are those who would fight to take back control of their fate.” The setup and mention of fighting against fate sounds very similar to Final Fantasy XIII, and it’s possible the “Dominants” we’ve seen could be similar to L’Cie, in the fact that they’re chosen against their will.

A new screenshot of a crystalline city. Square Enix

Early on in the trailer a mysterious voice says “I unite the Dominants, that we may bring an end to the strife and found a new order to see us unto tomorrow.” While we don’t know who the voice is, it seems to suggest that the Dominants are banding together to form some kind of powerful organization. Most likely Clive is seeking to fight this organization, which is why we see him fighting other Dominants.

The Dominants of Titan and Garuda are introduced with this trailer, and a new PlayStation Blog post provides even more details. Here’s what the post says:

Titan’s Dominant (Hugo Kupka) – Permanent Economic Adviser Hugo Kupka’s meteoric rise to prominence was sudden, if not unexpected. Once a nameless foot soldier in the Republican Army, his awakening as Dominant of the Eikon Titan thrust him to the forefront of Dhalmekian politics. It was here he used his newfound position as the most powerful man in the republic to exert influence over both the nation’s armies and its policy-making — amassing a personal fortune in the process. Yet while it is said that a man who has everything wants for nothing, Benedikta Harman will teach him money and power are far from all the world has to offer.

Garuda’s Dominant (Benedikta Harman) – Having emerged from the storm of youth coldhearted and ruthless, Benedikta Harman — Dominant of the Eikon Garuda, Warden of the Wind — turned her talent for swordplay and subterfuge into a command of Waloed’s elite intelligencers. It is on a mission to find the elusive second Eikon of Fire that she crosses paths with a like-minded Clive and is forced to face her past.

4. There are two Ifrits

The final shot of the trailer shows two different Ifrits fighting.Square Enix

There are a few other little lines, but the other big story reveal comes in a stinger right at the end. We see a shot of the main character, Clive Rosfield, standing in a fiery area as a voice says “Awaken child of fate. Awaken Ifrit.” The very last shot seemingly shows two different Ifrits fighting each other, which goes against almost everything we’ve learned so far. The first trailer for FFXVI had a line that said “A second Eikon of fire?! That’s impossible.” At the time it seemed like the line referred to Phoenix, but it could potentially refer to there being two Ifrits. We know Clive’s younger brother Joshua is the Eikon of Fire, but perhaps Clive, somehow, has the power as well. It also raises a ton of questions, like if any other Eikons could have more than one Dominant.

3. Final Fantasy XVI’s New Action Gameplay

Final Fantasy XVI has a lot going on with its HUD.Square Enix

This trailer gave us a much better look at the combat system of Final Fantasy XVI, which looks to be a massive change from the rest of the franchise. Combat is super fast and action-focused, very much looking similar to something like Devil May Cry V. It seems like Clive can swap between forms that represent different Eikons, as we see him using different attacks that correspond to Phoenix, Garuda, Ramuh, Shiva, and Titan. In the trailer we see Clive fighting Titan’s Dominant, so perhaps he gains new abilities by besting them in combat.

We also get a pretty detailed look at the HUD of the game, with an HP gauge at the top left and some kind of magic or ATB gauge underneath it. Above those gauges are semi-transparent icons labeled Perks, which are most likely some kind of boosts. At the bottom of the screen items like Potions and High Potions are mapped to the D-pad, while different attacks are mapped to buttons on the right side of the screen.

There seems to be some kind of damage multiplier system, and names of attacks pop up on the screen as Clive executes them. While there are scenes of Clive taking on hordes of enemies, there also seems to be a focus on one-on-one battles, with the boss’ HP gauge appearing to the right of the players. It looks like Final Fantasy XVI has a lot of systems at play, but we still don’t know exactly how everything works.

2. Final Fantasy XVI has Eikon battles

Confirmed Eikons are now Phoenix, Ifrit, Shiva, Titan, Garuda, Ramuh, Odin, and Bahamut.Square Enix

One of the most interesting pieces of the trailer shows what looks to be massive battles between Eikons, with each one having an HP gauge at the top of the screen. These scenes look completely scripted but as attacks happen damage numbers appear on the screen. It’s possible there’s some kind of secondary battle system that sees these massive Eikons clashing. The trailer also reveals Odin and Bahamut, although we have no idea who their Dominants are currently.

1. Final Fantasy XVI is absolutely rated M

A rather risque scene.Square Enix

If it wasn’t guaranteed before, there’s absolutely no doubt at this point that Final Fantasy XVI will have a hard M rating. This trailer is even bloodier than the first one, with some battle scenes looking absolutely brutal. At the same time, there’s one singular shot that shows two characters naked on a bed. Final Fantasy hasn’t exactly shied away from sexual content in the past, but it’s also never explicitly shown it. All this seems to point to Final Fantasy XVI adopting a much more violent and mature tone than some of the recent entries. Only two other games in the franchise have received M ratings, Final Fantasy Type-0 and Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin.

https://www.inverse.com/gaming/final-fantasy-16-trailer-state-of-play-eikons-dominants-clive

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