- Final Fantasy 16 is the latest entry in the legendary JRPG franchise, featuring a story that revisits the series’ roots with gameplay that breathes new life into the long line of titles.
- Being developed by CBU 3, an initial joke theory was how FF16 could be a part of Final Fantasy XIV as one of the reflections featured in the latter’s lore.
- While this fusion presents a whole list of pros and cons, the two games will go higher on their own than being a part of one universe.
Final Fantasy 16 launched on June 22, 2023, to glowing reviews from critics and players alike. While the road before its release was a bit bumpy and Square Enix panicked over pre-orders even though it was bound to happen considering timed exclusivity and other factors, Naoki Yoshida and the rest of Creative Business Unit 3 have successfully delivered a new yet authentic Final Fantasy experience.
Of course, the sole element in FF16 that sets it apart from other entries is its combat, since it took a pure action approach. But, another intriguing thing about the game is the story. Yoshi-P wanted the new entry to bring Final Fantasy to must-buy status and attract new players to the franchise. As such, decisions involving action gameplay and a medieval fantasy story revolving around various Kingdoms were the right choices.
CBU 3 is known for its work on Final Fantasy XIV, an MMORPG that started as a catastrophic disaster and now stands as one of the best games in the genre. Players who’ve spent time in the universe of FFXIV would know about its intricate lore. With that in mind, I can’t help but wonder how FF16 would have been impacted had it been integrated into the larger world of the MMO.
Depending on how you view the world of Final Fantasy 16 and XIV, this integration of worlds can either dull or elevate the experience. There are bound to be discrepancies due to the nature of both games but those elements can always be worked on. To understand why the integration is even possible, I have to explain the FF14’s lore.
The Universe Of Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV tells an original story while drawing inspiration from the many entries in the franchise since the first game. After the destruction of the original MMO in 2010, its lore was integrated into A Realm Reborn which told a new story in a world ravaged by the calamity shown in what’s known as 1.0. The universe of FFXIV is essentially divided into several different worlds and this is explained in its story.
There’s the main world which is known as The Source along with its thirteen reflections. Each reflection has its own unique history and civilization yet they all share similarities with The Source. These similarities are in the form of various races, wildlife, locations, etc. Due to how these reflections came into existence, the souls of people from The Source were spread across the reflections.
Final Fantasy 16’s story features new faces and locations that we’ve yet to see. It’s a bit far-fetched but this could have played into the whole “unique civilization” element of reflections in FFXIV’s lore. Moving on to the more supernatural elements of 16, the Eikons, possess great power and are different from the Primals we see in the MMO owing to the core of their existence.
While the Primals in XIV are fake beings born from the aether and fervent prayer, twisted with malicious intent due to the Ascians‘ meddling, Eikons in FF16 are entities that reside in Dominants who can call upon this power transforming into these beings. The Eikons we see in the sixteenth Final Fantasy are found in many other titles within the franchise, including the world of FFXIV. But this isn’t where it ends.
The Ascians in FFXIV are known to meddle with the existence of The Source and its reflections to achieve their goal of Rejoining. To put it simply, everything bad that has ever happened in its lore can be traced back to the Ascians. This includes all the events that take place in The Source and the other worlds. In case FF16 was to be a part of the MMO, the problems of the former could have been tied to the Ascians.
This includes all of the major events of Final Fantasy 16, like the death of the Phoenix, along with its overarching plot. By causing disasters on a grand scale, the Ascians would be trying to join the world of FFXVI to The Source in XIV. Knowing the MMO’s lore, this can be a viable approach if some issues are worked out.
Final Fantasy Has Always Been A Risk Taker
The origins of Square Enix’s flagship series are rooted in risk and innovation. It’s no secret that the first entry in the Final Fantasy series was a make-or-break effort that proved to be a huge success. Considering all the things this series has done and is known for, combining the worlds of two numbered entries to form a larger universe seems rather normal. In fact, I believe there’d be some merits to this as well.
Expanding the lore of both Final Fantasy 16 and 14 would lead to several new possibilities to tell interesting stories. It’s one way of unlocking fresh ideas by using another medium as the pivot. Given the scale of Valisthea and the depth of its kingdoms and characters, combining it with the diversity of FF14 will add a new flavor to the story. Some might call it fanservice but if it makes sense and elevates both games, what’s the problem?
Another thing is the interaction between the cast members and their reactions to seeing the uniqueness of each world. It’s already been established in Final Fantasy 14 that each of the thirteen reflections has its own unique history and civilizations and this was confirmed with Shadowbringers. Despite sharing similarities with The Source, Norvrandt was an entirely different region with a distinct ambiance.
Final Fantasy 16 features phenomenal action combat but the way it handles summons is a lot more intriguing. Turning into gigantic, godly entities and raining havoc is impressive, and incorporating it into FF14 would benefit its gameplay as well. Of course, implementing it in the MMO would require some adjustments but since we already have a job that channels Primal powers, transforming into them should be in line as well.
This won’t be the first time Final Fantasy has taken these kinds of risks. A lot of the elements people go to war for can be traced back to an entry back in the day. With the launch of FF16, many people have gone on to blast the latest entry for various reasons, but this evolution has also brought in a new wave of players. Sticking to the old formula for eternity is bound to restrict growth and Final Fantasy has always sought to grow.
Considering the issues of combining these two worlds, the benefits may come off as a contradiction. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to effort and execution.
The Problems Of Combining FF16 & FF14
While collaborations and out-of-the-box connections are something players and fans always want, such things don’t make sense in some scenarios. In the case of Final Fantasy 16 and 14, it seems logical at a base level but there would still be an array of problems to deal with, ranging from narrative and lore inconsistencies to possible adverse implications on business.
One of the many issues that would arise from joining these two worlds would be the ties shared by the games. In the long history of Final Fantasy, no mainline entry has been connected unless it’s part of the same universe. An example of this is FFX-2 or FFXIII-2 and Lightning Returns. Each mainline entry has been independent of the other and combing FFXVI and XIV would break this pattern.
Doing so would result in the possible exclusion of players since getting into the story of FF16 would be somewhat stressful due to the vast lore of FFXIV. While it wouldn’t be impossible to work out the narrative discrepancies, in this case, to ensure XVI remains a standalone experience, nods to the MMO would add an unavoidable layer of pressure on the player.
Aside from the possibility of alienating these newcomers, the lore problems would also be a tough nut to crack. While tying everything that happens in Final Fantasy 16 to the Ascians seems easy on the surface, the ongoing story of FFXIV makes it somewhat difficult. Of the fourteen Ascians that we know of, most are dead and the rest haven’t been mentioned in a very long time.
Final Fantasy XIV itself has a new direction to deal with as we move toward the next expansion. Combining these two titles would require the utmost effort to ensure narrative consistency. The fusion of these two worlds sounds great on paper and would actually be possible but a lot of things would have to be taken into consideration. After all, most people wouldn’t want an incoherent story since that’s one of Final Fantasy’s strong points.
While it’s true that any Final Fantasy title could be considered a reflection in FF14, the reason why it isn’t possible is that most of these worlds in the MMO are gone. Due to the Ascians wanting to rejoin The Source and its reflections, seven of these reflections no longer exist.
It’s A Fantasy Worth Falling Into
When it was revealed that Final Fantasy 16 was being developed by CBU 3, some fans of FFXIV jokingly theorized that the sixteenth entry could be one of the reflections of The Source. The reasoning behind this was simply because of the development team. Most of the people involved with FF16 have worked on the critically acclaimed MMORPG and contributed to its growing success.
While it may have started off as a joke, it’s hard to refute the plausibility of this theory and it’s definitely some food for thought, one that’s high in nutritional value. Of course, this will remain as conjecture only but there’s no harm in contemplating the possibilities and drawbacks of such a grandiose fusion.
Having sold over 3 million copies since launch, Final Fantasy 16 is shaping up to be a solid win for Square Enix. It’s safe to say that while joining these two universes has its benefits, they will achieve more on their own than being part of one another.
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