Upcoming JRPG Final Fantasy 16 is looking to continue the franchise’s storied history of compelling and dramatic storytelling. Set in the fantasy world of Valisthea, players will control Clive Rosfield, who is the firstborn son of the Archduke of Rosaria. Clive is sworn to protect his younger brother Joshua, but ends up going down a dark path after tragic events occur. Exactly what these events are not yet known, but this does indicate that players should be in for a deeply personal narrative experience right from the start of the journey.
Clive Rosfield’s background doesn’t sound particularly dissimilar to any of the previous heroic and memorable protagonists introduced throughout the franchise, but looking closer at his character and the world around him, the differences become apparent. Final Fantasy 16 will see players control Clive through three important and distinct periods of his life: his Teen years, his Twenties, and his Thirties. While it is not known exactly how much time will be spent in each of these segments, it does mean that the game will cover a huge period of time, which means players will get to see Clive grow and evolve in remarkable detail. As the world around him changes, players will experience key events in Clive’s personal battle through Valisthea.
Final Fantasy 16 Has a Distinct Story to Tell
interestingly, Final Fantasy 16 is planning to hold a Mature rating from the ESRB, as well as a PEGI 18 rating in Europe. This is in strong contrast to Final Fantasy 7 Remakewhich opted to tone down certain scenes in order to remain in a lower age rating bracket. FF16 producer Naoki Yoshida confirmed that it was decided for the upcoming game to keep a mature rating, as it was believed that this would allow the game to fully explore some of the adult themes it attempts to tackle.
Final Fantasy 16 seems to be keen on doing things differently, drawing from some thematic elements found in the earlier 2D games. The high fantasy setting is a huge indication of this; the blend of modern technology on display in more recent installations is shunned here in favor of a world reminiscent of Game of Thrones’ westeros. While the previous games differ wildly in terms of locations and events, they do tend to share a couple of common themes. Most importantly, almost all the mainline installations feature strong, relatable protagonists.
Take Final Fantasy 7 for example, which is widely recognized as not just one of the best final fantasy games, but one of the greatest video games of all time. Its protagonist, Cloud Strife, is often cited as a fascinating and complex character who deserves credit for inspiring many others that came after him. Not every final fantasy protagonist has been an overwhelming success though, with Prince Noctis from Final Fantasy 15 the most recent example of someone who isn’t as loved as some of the others. Clive’s predecessors certainly cast a looming shadow over him, and he will need to claim a pace as one of the franchise’s stronger protagonists to drive a more personal narrative.
A linear story should mean a personal story
Clive’s journey has been described by developer Square Enix as a linear experience. This is not going to please everyone, with some gamers feeling that a linear journey is too restrictive for a title as vast in scope as final fantasybut FF16 may be able to keep these players engaged if Square Enix ensures the narrative remains tight and focused on Clive’s personal life and family narrative. FF16 should follow Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s example here. After all, that game showed the power of a linear narrative, and there is no reason to doubt that lightning can strike twice in this case.
Final Fantasy 15 had its critics, and wasn’t one of the series’ most well-received entries. It did, however, emphasize the importance of friends, and Noctis sharing the journey with his three best buddies led to some fun, unique moments. In stark contrast to this, all of the FF16 gameplay revealed so far has shown Clive as a rather isolated figure, seemingly alone while battling against hordes of enemies.
Fans have already speculated on whether there will be other characters in the party among other things, including Clive’s strange mark, and what it could mean. While it has since been confirmed that Clive will indeed have companions joining him throughout the game, it’s fairly safe to assume that this will not be anywhere near to the same scale as other final fantasy titles that are filled with mandatory and optional party members alike. Clive’s journey will be a far more solitary, personal one than fans of the franchise are probably used to.
Final Fantasy 16 certainly doesn’t seem afraid to make sweeping changes. In addition to the linear narrative, mature rating, and heavier focus on a singular character, it is also making some bold changes, as revealed in an explosive Final Fantasy 16 trailer showing a new combat system which can appeal to a new demographic. Promising to be more action-oriented, the combat looks fast and slick, with Clive and his allies having more than a few tricks up their sleeves, including the ability to summon ‘Eikons’, which final fantasy Veterans will know as summons. Quite how this combat will compare to previous games is not fully known at this point, but there certainly seems to be an emphasis on fast, relentless action that rewards speed, which is definitely a change from the tactical battles the series is associated with.
There is still much to discover regarding Clive Rosfield and the world in which he resides. With the game set to release next year, gamers don’t have too long to wait before they can start to unravel some of Clive’s mysteries. With the right balance of character development and narrative, he can prove to be a worthy addition to the franchise, who ends up being compared to some of final fantasy‘s best protagonists.
Final Fantasy 16 is set to release in 2023 for PS5.
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