The Final Fantasy 16 team released a small preview of the game’s world, protagonists, and plot, and it is loaded with many of the clichés that define the Final Fantasy series nearly 33 years after its debut.
It’s understandable if your mind goes to a negative place when you hear the word “cliché.” The word is most frequently used in a derogatory fashion (sometimes rightfully so), but when you’re talking about a series as old and celebrated as Final Fantasy, thoseclichés become more like traditions. They’re these little plot beats we dance to every time they come up because they make us feel like we’re home again.
So, based on what we know about the sequel so far, here are some of the best Final Fantasy clichés you can expect to see in Final Fantasy 16.
It’s hard to find a Final Fantasy game that doesn’t feature crystals in some way. While a few games (such as Final Fantasy 9) largely save their crystal references for a few end-game areas, other titles (like Crystal Chronicles) really lean into them as a plot device.
Final Fantasy 16 looks like it will be a pretty notable example of the latter category. After all, the game’s world (Valisthea) is described as a land “studded with colossal mountains of glittering crystal called Mothercrystals.” The team even notes that “countless wars” have been fought over the right to harvest and control these crystals.
That actually leads us nicely into our next cliché…
A Kingdom in Danger/Warring Nations
Most of the Final Fantasy games feature some kind of kingdom that’s in danger (which is really fairly standard for most RPGs), but some recent Final Fantasy games have upgraded that dynamic slightly by adding the presence of a rival kingdom that’s at war with our protagonists’ homelands. The most notable example of that concept has to be Final Fantasy 12‘s brilliant story.
Well, Square Enix has recently revealed that Final Fantasy 16‘s story will feature no less than five warring nations battling over control of the Mothercrystals as well as differing philosophies. Warring kingdoms fighting over crystals? Now that’s a classic Final Fantasy story.
In all seriousness, I love a good warring kingdoms story when it’s done well, and what we know about Final Fantasy 16‘s world so far sounds intriguing.
A Great Evil That Threatens to Consume All
“A Great Evil” is another one of those clichés that’s actually fairly common, but the most famous examples of this concept typically involve some kind of Galactus-like figure that threatens to consume everyone and everything indiscriminately. Final Fantasy 10 features one of the more noteworthy examples of that concept in franchise history.
We don’t know much about Final Fantasy 16‘s great evil, but a passing reference to something known as “The Blight” strongly suggests that it will feature one. Whether that’s some kind of disease, an ancient being, or something else remains unknown, but it certainly seems like there may be something out there that interrupts the feud between the game’s kingdoms.
This is another one of those tropes that can work when done right, but as the end of Game of Thrones proved, balancing the overwhelming threat and warring kingdoms can be tricky.
Teenagers Save the World
To be fair, it’s a little strange to say “teenagers” in this instance since the ages of certain Final Fantasy characters aren’t disclosed and some notable protagonists (such as Cloud) are definitely older than that. Still, many Final Fantasy games (such as Final Fantasy 8) feature at least one teenager that has to save us all.
It’s not entirely clear if Final Fantasy 16‘s main characters are actual teenagers, but the way that Square Enix describes protagonists Clive and Joshua Rosfield strongly suggests that they’re on the younger side of the series’ roster of heroes.
While we’ve yet to see the grizzled older character who will lead the Rosfield’s through their journey, previous Final Fantasy games strongly suggest that one will appear at some point.
Final Fantasy Protagonists Descended From Royalty
This particular Final Fantasy cliché goes in and out of fashion. However, some of the best Final Fantasy games ever (such as Final Fantasy 6, Final Fantasy 9, and Final Fantasy 12) have featured protagonists or major characters who are descended from royalty.
Well, Final Fantasy 16 will carry on that proud tradition as the game’s main protagonist (Clive Rosfield) is described as the “firstborn son of the Archduke of Rosaria.” We’re not sure how the royal hierarchy of this game breaks down, but that certainly sounds like a royal title to us.
It’s usually a toss-up between this cliché and the downtrodden nobody from a small village who must fulfill a grand destiny, but this set-up makes more sense based on everything else we know about Final Fantasy 16‘s story.
The Child of Destiny
There are a few variations on this concept, but the one we just mentioned is usually the most popular. In any case, the basic idea is that there’s only one person in the world who can save us all and they’re typically the one that you’d least suspect.
It seems that a version of that idea will be featured in Final Fantasy 16, but an early description of the game offers a slight twist on this trope. Joshua Rosfield is described as a child with the ability to transform “into the Phoenix and fights to protect his nation,” which certainly gives us some strong child of destiny vibes. What’s interesting is that it actually sounds like there’s at least one person in every one of the game’s kingdoms who wields a similar ability.
Again, though, clichés aren’t necessarily a bad thing, and we actually love the idea of there being one of these figures in every kingdom and every kingdom treating them differently based on their customs.