The Final Fantasy 16 trailer came out last week and it was… interesting, to say the least.
This is the first main entry into the series since the boy band days of Final Fantasy 15. With the little bit of information that we have to go on, it seems like we have some good, bad, and downright ugly things to consider when looking at the trailer.
Take a look for yourself.
I’m far from an expert, and it’s not like I sat here and broke it down frame by frame. However, I did publish a wish list for Final Fantasy XVI a while back, and I am happy to say that many of the things I wanted to see were actually included.
Here are my thoughts on the coming game.
Good: We’re Back in a Medieval Final Fantasy Setting
It has been a while since we were in a strictly medieval, high fantasy setting. Not counting the MMOs, the last time we had a Final Fantasy title that adhered to that setting was Final Fantasy 12, and that game was released in 2006.
Now, I’m not going to claim that a futuristic style or a medieval style is inherently better. I’m just going to say that it’s nice to get a break from the ultra-futuristic FFXIII (along with its sequels) and the hodgepodge that was FFXV.
I think that a medieval setting is a great place for the series to go back to its roots. As I said before, it’s like cleansing the players’ collective palette. Sometimes, you need that sense of familiarity to focus on the important elements of the series, especially when you’re going to make the game for a next-generation console.
Good: A Return to The Series Roots
I remember how refreshing it was to see the release of Final Fantasy 9, a game that had the tagline: “The Crystal Comes Back.”
That’s what we’re getting here with this game. We’re getting a lot of series callbacks that will make this feel more like a Final Fantasy game while also innovating. In this case, there is a “Mother Crystal” that has a great deal of power in the world and something to do with the enigmatic Blight. This isn’t something the series has been missing, but it’s nice to see it involved in the story.
That’s not the only way that the game is returning to the series’ roots. Throughout the trailer, I was able to pick out familiar monsters, like the Marlboro. It seems as though we’ll get the chance to battle some enemies that we’ve seen before with the unique and action-oriented combat.
Another major series theme is the importance of summoners and their summoned creatures. In this world, summoners are called Dominants and their monsters are called Eikons. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill monsters, though. One Eikon, Titan, is basically a living mountain. It’s clear these Dominants wield some terrifying power, a trope from several of the Final Fantasy games.
While it seems like Joshua is going to be the Dominant most important to the protagonist, he’s definitely not the only one out there. Since Joshua apparently summons two Eikons in the trailer, though, he might be one of the most powerful.
That’s not all we have for callbacks, though. The “Prelude” or “Crystal Theme” is playing throughout the trailer, chocobos are being used as combat mounts, and we have familiar faces for Eikons like Titan, Ifrit, and Shiva. The trailer is highly appealing to people that have loved the series for a while.
Good: The Graphics and Cut Scenes
I admit that I’m not a good judge of graphics. I think it stems from my lack of respect for graphics as a selling point of games which itself comes from the fact that I’m frickin’ old and grew up with 16-bit graphics. Anyway, when I saw Titan rip himself out of the dirt and eat those shots from Shiva, I got hype. That is a pretty cool scene.
Now, a lot of people are probably thinking that the graphics were lackluster. I think they are to a degree, too. Yet, you have to consider the fact that we’re still a long way out from the game along with the fact that this is coming to a next-gen console. In other words, I’m not going to knock the graphics. Yet.
Also, it looks like some of the scenes set out in the trailer are absolutely awesome. Big battles, Eikons being summoned and used to lay waste to armies, and some intense fight scenes. I know I’ll be eagerly awaiting the trailers for the game when it gets closer to release, and then I’ll have a better idea of what to expect in terms of the graphics. For now, I can say that the scenes are well-established and have a lot of potential
Good: The Combat of Final Fantasy 16 Looks Interesting
I grew up with turn-based combat, I appreciate that kind of simplistic combat, but I do love a challenge and unique combat. Again, that’s something I included in my previous wish list for the game. It seems as though Square Enix delivered on that, so I tossed combat into the “good” pile. Now, we didn’t get to see a whole lot of what is actually happening with regards to the combat in this trailer.
Yet, if you take a look at the bits that we did get a look at, it seems like we have a unique combat format. There are repeated instances where I saw the wing of the Phoenix and Titan’s fist appear in combat segments when the player character, Joshua’s “Shield”, jumped into the air. So, it seems as though Eikons are going to impact battles in subtle ways instead of only being a massive creature that will level cities.
That’s not all I noticed in terms of combat. There is what appears to be a juggling mechanic like we see in Devil May Cry. My impression was that we are getting pieces of the combat system from Devil May Cry and Final Fantasy 15. I think it has the potential to be interesting, but we really didn’t get enough of a look for me to say one way or the other. In fact, I don’t think I want to make any crazy judgment before I get the game in my hands.
Bad: The Dialogue
I’ve been playing Final Fantasy games for over two decades. In that time, I’ve seen some downright horrible translations and dialogue. As a result, I’m a little sensitive when it comes to poor writing in a modern game that doesn’t have all the things holding it back as the series did in the 1990s.
Here are some questionable lines that stood out to me in the trailer:
“Our kind do not question orders”
“Our foe will not relinquish their mother crystal easily.“
“You should not be out of doors.”
The first one was so cliche that it made me roll my eyes and the second one sounded unnecessarily formal. I get it, the game has a style to uphold, but those lines were just less than what I was expecting from the franchise.
The final example was simply awful, though, but it help me make sense of what was being said. To me, It sounds like the writers are trying to emulate George R.R. Martin in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. Even worse, it reminded of the line from Marvel’s The Avengers when Tony Stark is taunting Thor with, “Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?” Either way, bad is bad.
We’ll see what happens with the dialogue, but I was not especially impressed with it. I realize we’re still far away from the final product, but it’s something to think about.
Ugly: The Wait Until Final Fantasy 16 is Finished
Speaking of George R.R. Martin, another thing that has me worried is the amount of time that we’ll have to wait until it’s finished. The trailer doesn’t specify the year that it is going to come out, only saying that it will launch on PlayStation and PC. According to the information that came out with the trailer, we’re only going to get a detailed release date in 2021.
We’ve been down this road before, too. There is no telling if it’s actually going to launch in 2021, what aspects of the trailer they’re going to keep in the final game, and how much of a Final Fantasy 15 situation we’re going to get in terms of delays and changes in content.
The ambiguity would not be so bad if we had not most recently dealt with FFXV or the news that FF7R would be happening in multiple installments over a potential 6-year window.
Of course, this entire conversation could just me seeing a shiny new thing and whining about not having access to it right away. In reality, I still have a ton of games to play that will keep me occupied until this comes out.
That’s All For Now.
Alright, that’s my thoughts on the Final Fantasy 16 trailer. I am very interested to see what the game brings to the table. Right now, I think it has a tremendous amount of potential. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what becomes of some of these ideas and the world as a whole.
I left some things out because I don’t want to misinform people. It does look like we’re getting a major time skip somewhere in the story and I can only guess as to who the villain is at the moment. Still. there is a lot to look forward to for FF16
Let me know what you think in the comments and if you say anything that I didn’t mention. I’m always looking for some fellow Final Fantasy players to talk nerdy with.