The first new game we saw at Sony’s September PS5 event was a big one: Final Fantasy XVI. While all we’ve seen so far of the game is a single trailer, we do know a few important things about it: there will be an dark fantasy story, a real-time combat system, a handful of familiar Final Fantasy faces and a home exclusively on PS5.
The trailer showed us the game’s protagonist, Joshua, who fights against (and possibly alongside) some familiar Final Fantasy summon spirits, such as Shiva, Ifrit and Bahamut. The story seems a little inscrutable without more context, but the basics are simple enough. Joshua is in the middle of a chaotic war, caused in some way by the “crystals” — mainstays in the Final Fantasy series, which often represent some kind of primal or elemental power.
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There are two interesting things about the FFXVI trailer that we saw. The first is that the gameplay seems to involve a real-time combat system with a single protagonist — a rarity among Final Fantasy games. The second is that the game will come out exclusively for the PS5, which seems like quite a feather in Sony’s cap.
During the trailer, we saw Joshua face off against traditional Final Fantasy enemies, such as malboros and coeurls. He employed a sword as well as elemental magic — all standard FF practices. What’s unusual here is that we didn’t see him fight alongside any party members. FFXII and FFXV also had real-time combat systems, but also let you fight alongside two or three other party members. If FFXVI is really a single-party-member experience, akin to Dark Souls or The Witcher, it would be a significant departure from earlier FF titles — although perhaps we just saw gameplay segments where Joshua stands alone.
The PS5 exclusivity is perhaps the more surprising announcement, as the Final Fantasy series hasn’t been Sony-exclusive since Final Fantasy X-2 came out. Since then, just about every FF game has been available on Xbox, PC or both. Remember, though, that Final Fantasy was initially exclusive to Nintendo consoles; PlayStation exclusivity came alongside Final Fantasy VII. And just as FFVII eventually came out on every system under the sun, perhaps FFXVI will see releases on other platforms, albeit many, many years in the future.
Final Fantasy XVI doesn’t have a hard price or release date yet, so all we can say is that it will be on the PS5 sometime within the next few years. We’d also hazard that Square Enix will drip-feed us more information before then, so stay tuned, and we’ll write more about FFXVI as information becomes available. Until then, you can play the vast majority of the series on current-gen platforms, from PS4 to Steam to the Nintendo Switch.