Final Fantasy XVI Characters: meet the cast of FF16
If there's one area where the pressure is on a new entry in the Final Fantasy franchise, it's in its cast. The demand is that the Final Fantasy XVI characters are good - good enough to stand up to the storied parties of the series before it - and that's a tall order.
As we approach the Summer 2023 release of FF16, it's important to get to know the cast of newcomers that we'll spend many hours with as we explore the world of Valisthea and follow protagonist Clive on his jouney of revenge. That's what this page is for - to give you a pre-release primer on all of the FF16 characters, who they are, and what they're like. All based on pre-release material, of course - so spoiler free.
If you're trying to learn as much as you can about FF16, you should check our our analysis of the first trailer, our run-down of the FF16 devleopment staff, our profile on FF16 director Hiroshi Takai, which will help tell you what to expect from his first FF in the director's chair.
Meet the Final Fantasy 16 Characters
On this page, we’ll introduce you to the characters of Final Fantasy XVI keeping it as spoiler-free as Square Enix defines - by which we mean, we won’t talk about or feature any information on the characters that hasn’t been revealed in official pre-release material. We might, however, speculate on the nature of some characters - making sure speculation is clearly listed.
This will be a ‘living’ page as FF16 approaches its release - meaning as Square Enix reveals more of the cast of characters in the game and their roles in the story, we’ll update this page and keep it full of detail, so whenever the game launches you can jump right into the story feeling ahead of the game. So, without further ado, let’s get into the characters of FF16...
The main protagonist of FF16, Clive Rosfield is the son of aristocracy - the first-born son of the Archduke of the Grand Duchy of Rosaria, one of FF16’s key locations. Clive’s younger brother, Joshua, is chosen to inherit the status as the ‘Dominant’ of Phoenix, a powerful fiery Eikon/summon, from their father. Clive trains to be a skilled swordsman in order to protect his younger brother in his perilous role.
Officially, he’s given the title of the First Shield of Rosaria to represent his mission to guard his brother and the Phoenix.
In the early stages of the game, a fifteen-year-old Clive will face the dark Eikon Ifrit in what producer Naoki Yoshida has described as a “grand tragedy” - and whatever happens in those tumultuous sets him on a path of vengeance. An older version of Clive appears to be seeking revenge for whatever happens on that fateful day - which we’ll experience in-game.
In FF16’s trailers, we see two distinct time periods: one with Clive as a young man and one with him as an adult. Based on the trailers, it seems the tragedy befalls him as young man, and then we’ll also take on his revenge mission as a more grizzled, tattooed adult.
Speculation & Analysis on Clive:
So far, Clive is the only character we actually see the player directly controlling - and honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised if FF16 eschews traditional party mechanics and primarily has you only controlling Clive, as with Noctis in FF15 at launch. We’re sure others will join him on his journey, though - we’ve already seen brief glimpses of others fighting alongside him.
We’ve also caught small looks at his abilities. He’s a skilled swordsman, but he also clearly wields the power of certain summons in combat. We see him perform a fiery uppercut style move with a giant wing (Phoenix), smash opponents with a stony fist (Titan), and swipe at them with a avian-like talon (Garuda). What other summons might he be able to borrow the powers of? We’ll have to see…
Series Factoid: This is the second Clive in Final Fantasy history; in FF14, there’s an NPC member of the Students of Baldeson who shares the name, which is a traditional Old English name fitting for FF16’s medieval fantasy setting.
The official description of Clive:
The firstborn son of the Archduke of Rosaria. Though all expected him to inherit the Phoenix's flames and awaken as its Dominant, destiny instead chose his younger brother Joshua to bear this burden. In search of a role of his own, Clive dedicated himself to mastering the blade. His practice pays off when, at just fifteen years of age, he wins the ducal tournament and is dubbed the First Shield of Rosaria—tasked to guard the Phoenix and blessed with the ability to wield a part of his fire. Alas, Clive's promising career is to end in tragedy at the hands of a mysterious dark Eikon, Ifrit, setting him on a dangerous road to revenge.
Clive’s younger brother. As mentioned above, Joshua Rosfield is the Dominant of the Phoenix, having inherited that title from his father. The title was expected to go to Clive, but destiny chose the younger of the Archduke’s sons instead.
In the world of FF16, a summon/Eikon’s Dominant can actively transform into them - so Joshua can essentially morph into Phoenix, the powerful Eikon of Fire, a creature that also adorns the flag of the kingdom he is royalty of.
Joshua is ten years old in the earlier timeline events of FF16. Time will tell if he actually survives those events - but if he does, he’ll naturally be a little older for the rest of the game, probably in his late teens.
Series Factoid: Joshua’s backstory is very similar to another Square Enix character of the same name - Vagrant Story’s Joshua Corrinne Bardorba. He too is the son of a Duke who befalls tragedy related to his bloodline.
The official description of Joshua:
The second son of the Archduke of Rosaria and Clive's younger brother by five years. Joshua awoke as the Dominant of the Phoenix soon after his birth. Despite his noble upbringing, Joshua treats all his father's subjects with warmth and affection—none more so than Clive, whom he deeply admires. Joshua often laments that it was he, the frail and bookish younger son, who was granted command of the firebird's flames, and not his stronger, braver brother. While Clive will gladly throw himself into any danger, Joshua quails at the sight of a carrot on his dinner plate. But carrots become the least of his concern when he, too, is swept up into the tragic events that change Clive's life forever.
Possibly FF16’s main female lead, Jill Warrick has suffered a difficult past - she was taken from her home as a political hostage, traded and held in order to keep international peace. Despite the nature of her arrival to the kingdom of Rosaria, the Archduke treated her like a daughter, which in turn made her a sister figure to both Clive and Joshua. She can be seen in the early trailers during the earlier segment of FF16’s narrative, during which she is aged around 12 years old.
Jill reappears later in the timeline as an adult, where she is described as a "Master of both Blade and Ice". She's an accomplished swordsman, then - but she's also the Domiannt of Shiva, the classic Ice-element summon that's appeared in most of the titles in the FF series.
Given her close connection to Clive and Joshua, it feels quite likely that Jill will be the closest thing FF16 has to a 'female lead'. In the trailers of FF16, we see her doing battle with Odin's Dominant.
Series Factoid: Jill sort of shares her name with Jihl Nabaat, an under-utilized antagonist in FF13. Her history as a political prisoner bartered from one nation to another to keep the peace places her close to FF’s previous female lead, FF15’s Lunafreya, who had a similar backstory.
The official description of Jill:
Born in the fallen Northern Territories, Jill was taken from her homeland at a tender age to become a ward of Rosaria, securing peace between the two warring nations. The Archduke insisted that she be raised alongside his sons, and now, at twelve years of age, she is as much a part of the Rosfield household as Clive and Joshua. Ever kind, gracious, and unassuming, Jill has become a trusted confidant to the brothers.
Revealed in the 'Dominance' trailer for FF16 in June of 2022, Hugo Kupka is a powerful figure in the world of FF16 - in large part because he is the Dominant of the powerful Eikon Titan. Hugo has the look of Titan about him, too - he's a powerful looking man with a shaved head.
Unlike the royalty in much of the rest of the FF16 cast, Hugo began life as a simple, lowly soldier, and was thrust into greatness when he gained Titan's power. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that means he's got a little gruffer edge, at least from what we see in the trailer. The question is - will he be a friend, or a foe? His official character description doesn't make him sound like the nicest of fellows...
Series Factoid: There's never been a Hugo in the series before, but can we glean anything from that surname? In Polish, the word Kupka can mean 'small pile', or 'piles' - which feels like quite an earthy reference befitting of Titan. But, small? Perhaps Hugo isn't as strong as he lets on...
The official description of Hugo:
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.
Mentioned in the profile of Hugo above, we finally have a name to put to the mysterious blonde-haired female tactician we saw in FF16's very first trailer - Benedikta Harman. Carrying a golden-handled sword, she appears to be a warrior as well as a spy and tactician.
Revealed in trailers is the fact that Benedikta is the Dominant of the Eikon Garuda, a wind-themed summon that is a FF staple but also isn't one of the most famous summons. Benedikta has a design that speaks to this, with a feathered jacket and scaly armor that gives away her connection to the gigantic bird-like beast.
Series Factoid: Garuda is a relatively 'new' Final Fantasy summon, having first appeared in FF11 - but it's then appeared in FF13, 14, and 15 since. Garuda was added to FF15 in a patch as part of an FF14 cross-over quest. As for her name? Benedikta is an appropriate name for a spy and tactician - it's derived from 'Benediction' (also a spell in FF14), which is itself from Latin that means "to speak" (diction) "well" (bene).
The official description of Benedikta:
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.
Dion is another member of the core FF16 cast descended from royalty, and another figure in control of a Dominant. As the crown prince of the Kingdom from where the Dragoon Knights hail, Dion is a skilled Dragoon, and leads the order of lance-wielding warriors in battle.
Appropriately, Dion is the Dominant of Bahamut, the King of Dragons. In his brief appearances in trailers so far, Dion always appears to be rather stressed - suggesting depsite hailing from a strong and noble order, there's something darker afoot that he is unhappy with.
Series Factoid: The Dragoon Corps led by Dion Lesage is the latest in a long line of Dragoon Army units throughout the FF series - the first of which were the Dragon Knights of Deist, who became a target of the evil Emperor. In FF2, the first Dragoon we get to know of course has the surname... Highwind. Will there be a Highwind in FF16? Perhaps Dion will command the 'Highwind Unit', or something similar...
The official description of Dion:
Crown prince of the Holy Empire of Sanbreque and leader of its noblest and most feared order of knights—the dragoons. Dion is loved and respected by both his people and his troops, not least for the many times he has turned the tide of battle in their favor. Indeed, songs of the heroism of the warrior prince and his Eikon Bahamut, King of Dragons, are never far from the lips and lutes of Sanbrequois bards. But all is not well in the empire, and the gathering shadows may yet be enough to quell Bahamut's light...
Barnabas has a unique background compared to many of the core cast - rather than nobility and riches, he appears to have earned what he has, rather than had it as a birthright. Barnabas has control of the legendary Eikon Odin and its horse Sleipnir, who in other FF games is famous for downing foes with a single devastating blow.
Using Odin, Barnabas appeared to have consolidated his rule through power, and now looks to extend that power across more of the land of Valisthea. In the "Ambition" trailer for FF16, we see Barnabas preparing to face down with Jill, who is the Domiant of Shiva. What set the two at odds? Based on his history, it seems likely that Barnabas is the instigator.
Series Factoid: Aside from protagonists, few can be said to have truly 'controlled' Odin in the FF series, which makes Barnabas' command over the eikon relatively unique. A few have had control, however - Queen Brahne summons Odin in FF9, and in FF8, Seifer faces off against Odin and survives, parrying his attack.
The official description of Barnabas:
Arriving on the shores of Ash as a landless and titleless wanderer, it was Barnabas's skill with a blade that won him a kingdom. And though the local beastmen were to rise in revolt against his rule, Barnabas called on the power of his Eikon, Odin, to quell their rebellions nigh single-handedly, bringing the entirety of the eastern continent under the Waloeder banner. Now he has an army and navy that rival any in Valisthea at his disposal, yet still the king is drawn to where the fighting is thickest—riding into battle atop his spectral steed and sundering foes with his fabled black blade, or merely observing the unfolding chaos from the sidelines, a grisly gleam of fascination ever in his eyes.