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Final Fantasy 16 release date, trailer, characters, and plot - What we know so far

Sony kicked off the Sept. 16 PlayStation 5 Showcase with a surprising but not unwelcome announcement: Square Enix is developing the next entry in the Final Fantasy franchise, Final Fantasy 16. No news on more remasters or when the next chapter of Final Fantasy 7 Remake will drop, but an honest to Ultima sequel.

However, the unveiling went at a breakneck pace, so you probably didn't catch everything. Some important nuggets of information might have passed you by. Who will serve as the game's protagonist? What story beats can you look forward to? When will the game release? All important questions, none of which are immediately obvious.

If you want to know everything there is to know currently about Final Fantasy 16, keep reading. You might learn something you previously missed.

When will Final Fantasy 16 launch?

As of this writing, Final Fantasy 16 does not have a solid launch date. However, it is not all bad news. While Final Fantasy 16 premiered during the PS5 Showcase event, it will not launch exclusively on that console. According to the reveal, Final Fantasy 16 will release on PC and the PS5. Unfortunately, that implies Xbox Series X owners will be left out in the cold.

Moreover, the press release for Final Fantasy 16 stated the game "is not yet rated," so you likely have a long way to go until the title is ready for your enjoyment. But, you can look forward to more info drops in 2021, even though the press release didn't reveal at what point in the year you should expect this to occur. Final Fantasy 16 may be such a massive undertaking it won't be ready until Holiday 2021, if not 2022. Fingers crossed for an expedient development that doesn't require crunch.

Is there a trailer for Final Fantasy 16?

So far, only one trailer exists for Final Fantasy 16: the Awakening trailer. The video offers up a smorgasbord of information, as it includes cutscenes, gameplay, and enough name drops and dialogue to piece together a rough story outline. Additionally, the trailer depicts content "captured on PC emulating the PS5 experience," so it might not necessarily provide a one-to-one approximation of the final result.

Judging by the trailer, Final Fantasy 16 will be a mashup of multiple experiences. It marks a return to the medieval setting from earlier Final Fantasy titles. But, instead of featuring a bright and colorful world, Final Fantasy 16 appears to present a more realistic and brutal take on medieval settings, reminiscent of Game of Thrones or The Witcher 3. However, Final Fantasy 16 still incorporates series mainstays such as the Malboro, crystals, and summons.

The Awakening trailer indicates Final Fantasy 16 will include a fast-paced action combat system, similar to Final Fantasy 15. The gameplay segments show the protagonist facing off against classic Final Fantasy monsters, so it's unclear if players will have to slay enemies by their lonesome or if Square Enix isn't ready to reveal potential party members just yet.

Which characters are in Final Fantasy 16?

Even though Final Fantasy 16 will have a large cast of characters, two are of particular note at this stage: Joshua and the protagonist, currently referred to as "Joshua's Shield." No other names have been mentioned, but that isn't the end of the game's major players.

Going by the trailer, Final Fantasy 16 will revolve around "Dominants," special people who have the power to control "Eikons," which are traditional summons. Shiva has a Dominant, Titan has a Dominant, and Joshua and "Joshua's Shield" are Dominants. Moreover, Joshua and "Joshua's Shield" seem to control Ifrit and the Phoenix, respectively.

While the Awakening trailer features numerous other characters, none of them are given names, so you will have to wait to learn more about them and the parts they will play in Final Fantasy 16.

What is the plot of Final Fantasy 16?

The Awakening trailer doesn't explicitly explain Final Fantasy 16's plot, but it provides enough information for some well-informed guesses.

Apparently, the game will take place during a war between two kingdoms, both of which have access to legions of standard soldiers and magic-wielding, Eikon-summoning Dominants. These Dominants draw their power from "Mothercrystals," which also safeguard their respective kingdoms from something called "the Blight." Each kingdom aims to force their opponent into a no-win scenario by stealing the opposing land's Mothercrystal, thereby cutting them off from their Eikons and anti-Blight magic.

Final Fantasy 16 seems to put players in the shoes of the guardian of a prince of one of those kingdoms, who must protect him from assassination attempts. However, things don't exactly go as planned, and a near-successful assassination awakens the prince's Dominant powers, which is a problem for some reason. Add in strained loyalties within the kingdom, and Final Fantasy 16's plot starts to resemble a cross between Dragon Age: Origins and George R.R. Martin'Song of Ice and Fire book series.