It’s Final Fantasy XVI preview time - here’s everything we’ve learned

Hands-on Final Fantasy XVI previews are out in the wild, featuring media and influencer impressions of several combat sections of the game, plus interviews with the lead development staff on the title.

We’ve compiled a bunch of the key information revealed in these previews - so you can get to know what’s been revealed about FF16 in-depth.

Want an idea of what FF16 is like? Look to God of War

Final Fantasy XVI is a brave new vision for the Final Fantasy series - undoubtedly the most action-focused and Western-styled game in the main, numbered series. That makes it a bit of an unknown - but if you want an idea of what that’s like… look to Kratos.

“One game that is close to how the whole game cycle works is the most recent God of War,” FF16 Producer Naoki Yoshida tells The Verge

“The past 10 or so years of Final Fantasy has been about how bright the series is. You still have these dark themes about how we’re going to save the world. But then it’s like you have these kids that are in their teens running around saving the world, having fun and going fishing and things like that, even though the world is supposed to be ending. And so there’s not a sense of reality.”

FF16 will be a darker game - and if you want to know how it’s paced, structured, and feels, you’re probably better off looking at the hugely successful God of War (2018) and its recent sequel - perhaps even more so than past FFs.

FF16 has eleven hours of story cinematics

It’s not exactly unusual for a game in the Final Fantasy series, but fans of the stories of the FF series will be reassured to hear that the game has a whole lot of story scenes - over eleven hours in total.

“One thing that was important was to tell a story that was complete from beginning to end,” FF16 Producer Naoki Yoshida told VG247 in a new interview. “And in that I think we have succeeded.”

“To facilitate this, there are over 11 hours of cinematic cutscenes alone, all seamlessly interwoven into the game playing in-engine real time.”

It’s unclear if the real time nature of this comment means no more of Final Fantasy’s patented CG pre-rendered scenes - but one thing that we do know was a reference point was the CG scenes of old - but for combat itself.

There’s Seven RPG Stats

As part of its streamlined action focus, FF16 will still feature RPG progression - and it’ll be spread across four core stats, which makes it rather simplified compared to many other entries in the series.

Protagonist Clive has stats for HP, Attack, Defense, and Stagger alongside Strength, Vitality, and Will - classic RPG stats.

In addition to these stats, Clive of course has a variety of abilities and skills he can unlock, including those special skills inherited from Eikons, AKA summons. 

Previews ran at 30fps - but a 60fps performance option will be available

The preview from Push Square notes that the demo as played ran at 30 frames per second and at 4K, but FF16 Producer Naoki Yoshida also noted that a 60fps ‘performance option’ will also be available.

The 60fps option won’t be a patch, either - it’ll be available at launch.

There’s Four Types of Gear

This one is pretty much what it says on the tin - FF16 appears to feature four types of equippable gear for Clive, as seen in new screenshots and footage.

That’s a weapon slot for his sword, a belt slot, a wrist slot for a wristband or the like, andd then three accessory slots - making for six slots total comprising four unique types of gear.

As mentioned above, the difficulty-augmenting Timely Accessories take up accessory slots - so if you have two of those equipped, the maximum, you’ll have four slots to play with, one for each type of gear. 

This will likely be able to be expanded as the game goes on, however, as Yoshida notes in an interview with Gematsu that certain side content can allow for players to earn “more inventory slots and things like that.”

The Main Scenario is around 35 hours long

Asked about how long they expect FF16 to take to complete, director Hiroshi Takai tells Famitsu that it’ll be around 35 hours.

Describing the scenario as being “like a roller coaster,” Takai notes that if you include detours and side content, “it might go to twice as much.”

That makes potentially 70 hours of content - less the 11 hours of cutscenes. 

In the same interview, Yoshida explains that his initial concept for the game was to make the main story something that players see from beginning to end. That’s where the 35 hours comes from, but players who want more will find it. About that…

There are Side Quests - but don’t expect casual minigames

Asked about FF16’s dark tone and FF’s tradition of mini-games such as fishing and Blitzball, Naoki Yoshida makes clear that fans shouldn’t expect this from this entry in the series.

“We have some very dark themes that the story revolves around. We have countries at war—we can't really have some blitzball matches going on when people are killing each other,” Yoshida tells our buds over at Gematsu.

“And then when you have this hero who's talking about and driven by revenge be like, 'I'm gonna go out and fish!' In that sense, there aren't those types of light things that are going to detract from the story that we're trying to tell.”

Yoshida and FF16 director Hiroshi Takai do go on to reassure that there’s plenty of other side content, however. That includes traditional side quest content, hunts, and quests that’ll tell storylines that dive into the game’s themes, including some lighter material that'll tread some familiar thematic ground to lighter entries in the series.

"There are lighter aspects, there are more emotional aspects of the game. You have themes such as brotherly love, and the love of a nation, love of others—these friendships, these bonds, and things that you've come to expect from the Final Fantasy series," Yoshida reassures.

FF16 will feature a New Game Plus mode

Buried away elsewhere in Gematsu’s interview with the FF16 staff is a quiet confirmation that FF16 will have a new game plus mode - confirmed by director Takai in his comments about side quests and other side content. 

“There’s also New Game Plus, which carries over your play data, and you’re able to play the game again,” Takai notes.

“You can do that in story-focused mode or action-focused mode, but for New Game Plus we also have a third mode that we introduced called the Final Fantasy mode, which not only is more difficult, but also changes enemy placement and the enemies that you fight, so it’s a completely different experience. It isn’t just a harder version, it’s a completely different type of experience.”

There’s also new combat challenges available as side quests in the new game plus. Referred to by Takai as ‘arcade mode’, which challenges you to defeat combat scenarios with certain skills. This mode even features an online leaderboard.

Expect Cutscene & Gameplay Parity

A key focus during FF16’s development, Yoshida has explained, is ensuring that there isn’t a mismatch between cutscenes and the gameplay - something that, to be fair, is fairly common in the FF series thanks to its lavish CG scenes.

“We didn’t want to have cutscenes where Clive was doing something that you couldn’t do in-game,” Yoshida notes in the same interview with VG247, citing the classic Balamb vs Galbadia Garden cutscenes in FF8 as an example. 

“You always had these cutscenes where the characters are doing all of these excellent things, and you’re like ‘wow!’, and then you get into the game and you can’t do any of that… we hate that.”

Combat Accessibility is all about Equippable Rings

Like most recent Final Fantasy games, FF16 will feature difficulty options to help players less comfortable with action-based combat - but instead of typical ‘modes’, the recent demo played by media and influencers saw the difficulty of the game instead defined by what the FF16 team has dubbed ‘Timely Accessories’.

There’s six of these, ‘Ring of Timely’ items covering Assistance, Evasion, Focus, Healing, and Strikes. You can equip up to two of these at any given time, and each takes the pressure off a particular element of FF16’s combat. This is ideal for those less comfortable with combat that plays a lot like Devil May Cry - so not exactly the most traditional Japanese RPG wheelhouse.

The Focus Ring simply slows down time before you’re hit by incoming attacks, for instance, giving you time to react. But if you need even more help, you might be more comfortable with the Evasion Ring, which automatically dodges most incoming attacks, or the Healing Ring, which auto-heals with potions when things get dicey.

On the offensive side of things, the Strike ring basically allows you to perform complicated combos by just mashing one attack button, while the Assistance ring issues commands to your canine buddy Torgal automatically. This is useful because Torgal is often used as a combo-extender - and can even occasionally heal protagonist Clive.

In the demo, this takes the place of actually having settings of different full-blown ‘modes’, like Mass Effect’s ‘story mode’ offering which outright streamlines and even removes some elements of combat. Selecting Story Mode will ensure some of these helpful rings auto-equip into accessory slots - and you can remove or swap them at any time, too. 

A PC version? Probably someday, but not in six months

Many fans have latched onto the phrasing in FF16 ads that declare that the game is PS5-exclusive for six months. While this likely means this is the length of any given exclusivity deal with Sony, Yoshida is quick to squash the idea that there will be the PC version’s release timing in a new interview with Famitsu.

In the interview, Yoshida confirms that there is a six-month time-limited contract for FF16 to be released on PS5 - but then notes that the game has been optimized for the PS5, and doing that work again for PC is likely to take more than six months.

“I want to release a PC version someday, so that as many people as possible can play it,” Yoshida concedes, before noting that “in the six months after the PS5 version, it’d be impossible to optimize it for PC.”

So, there you have it. Worst kept secret: FF16 is a timed exclusive, and likely will come to PC… but you might be waiting a bit longer.

There will be a Trial Demo before release

In the interview with Famitsu, Yoshida confirms that a trial version of FF16 is in the works - however, it’ll be released quite close to the game’s formal release date.

Yoshida says the exact timing isn’t confirmed, but that it’ll probably arrive “about two weeks before the release date”, so the start of June. 

As with many recent Square Enix releases, the save data from this trial will carry over to the final game.

It’s not getting delayed

Final Fantasy XVI is currently scheduled for release on June 22nd as a PlayStation 5 exclusive - and producer Naoki Yoshida has one clear message: it isn’t getting delayed.

“I know Final Fantasy games can get delayed at the last minute,” Yoshida told the media at the preview event,  “Unless a meteor falls on Japan, there will be no delay.”