Our Most Wanted Games of 2023 – #5 Final Fantasy XVI

Most Wanted 2023 - #5 Final Fantasy 16 Header

As far as some people are concerned, RPGs begin and end with Final Fantasy. This iconic series from Square Enix has straddled seven generations of console, across a myriad different game styles and mechanics. Final Fantasy XVI, due to release on the 22nd of June 2023, carries this immense legacy with it, but as is the Final Fantasy way, it’s changing things up to keep the franchise on the cutting edge of JRPG design.

We know a number of things about Final Fantasy 16, and there’s a plenty of reasons to be excited about this one beyond the iconic name at the top of the box. Firstly, it’s being produced by Naoki Yoshida, the now-legendary director of Final Fantasy 14. He not only revived the ailing MMORPG FF14 after its tawdry initial launch, he turned it into one of the most successful modern MMOs, and much of that was through his knowledge and respect for the Final Fantasy franchise. Turning this drive and creativity to Final Fantasy §6 is genuinely one of the most exciting aspects of the entire production.

That Final Fantasy 14 heritage is carried through to other members of the Final Fantasy 16 team, with big names like Hiroshi Minagawa liable to make fans drool with anticipation. The other most important contributor is likely to be composer Masayoshi Soken whose musical vision has made Final Fantasy 14 a treasure trove of thoughtful, moving and thoroughly invigorating RPG music. You just have to hope that his passion for the franchise continues to feed into 16’s soundtrack.

Final Fantasy 16 is set in Valisthea, a world divided between six nations. Each nation holds power through access to magical Crystals and Dominants, humans who act as hosts for each nation’s Eikon. Eikons take on the role of summons in FF16, with a number of recognisable forms from previous games already shown in the trailers. Tensions between the nations escalate as a sickness dubbed the Blight begins consuming the land. Clive Rosfield, the amusingly-named guardian to his younger brother Joshua, witnesses his kingdom destroyed and goes on a revenge quest in pursuit of the dark Eikon Ifrit. If nothing else, there’s plenty of opportunity for a severe case of political machination, with a side helping of classic Final Fantasy mysticism.

One of the things that may cause consternation in the Final Fantasy fandom is the battle system, with the team opting for a real-time action-based approach that likely builds on the system used in Final Fantasy 7 Remake. In all fairness, this has been the way that the series has been heading, but some will still decry the loss of a turn-based system, or at least the option of one. Yoshida has brought in Capcom veteran Ryota Suzuki who’s previously worked on the Devil May Cry series so that may be some indication of just how action-based it’s going to be.

Final Fantasy 16 is still definitely trying to please long-time fans of the franchise, returning to a traditional medieval fantasy setting after a number of years heading in a more sci-fi-flavoured direction. It looks fantastic, should sound fantastic, and has all the hallmarks of being the most lavishly designed and clearly focused Final Fantasy game in years – let’s hope that nothing happens to delay it from its June release date.

Final Fantasy XVI is set to release exclusively for PlayStation 5 on 22nd June 2023.

Want to catch up on our Most Wanted games list so far? We’ve got handy links for you to catch up right here:

Written by
TSA's Reviews Editor - a hoarder of headsets who regularly argues that the Sega Saturn was the best console ever released.