Final Fantasy XVI is easily my most anticipated PlayStation game. Hell, it’s probably the most excited I’ve been for a PS5 game to date. So when Sony confirmed a new State of Play broadcast featuring over 20 whole minutes of fresh Final Fantasy XVI gameplay, I turned away in disgust.
Why? Because I feel like I’ve seen half of the bloody game already. From characters to locations to battle systems to full-on boss fights, I’m genuinely worried I’ve had impactful moments spoiled through official press materials.
Now look, that’s a bit melodramatic. You would hope that Square Enix knows what it’s doing, and that what we’ve been shown so far is just scratching the surface of an immense RPG. But I still feel like modern game marketing has a bad habit of showing too much.
I’ve seen a few trailers in recent years that have featured key story moments or even twists, and at the time, you might not think much of it. But then when you’re playing the game, and you realise you’ve already seen what’s unfolding on screen, the experience can definitely be diminished. Just off the top of my head, SEGA’s managed to do this once or twice with the newer Yakuza / Like a Dragon titles — and they’re all about the story!
I get it, though. In Final Fantasy XVI’s case, Square Enix probably feels like it has to go hard on marketing. It’s not that the game won’t be a hit, but the publisher does have to convince some people that this new direction for its beloved series is justified. From that perspective, a deep-diving 20 minute gameplay presentation makes sense.
But if you’ve been keeping up with Final Fantasy XVI over the last month or so, you’ll have probably seen all of the raw, uncut gameplay clips from the developer’s PAX panel. If you add all of that footage to the 45 minutes of gameplay we got back in late February / early March, that’s plenty of pre-release material. And now we’re getting another 20 minutes?!
For me personally, it’s too much. Others might not agree — maybe you need more convincing, and that’s fine! — but I’ve simply seen enough. More than enough — to the extent where I’d just like to play the game and discover things for myself.
Ultimately, this is a contractual thing for Sony and Square Enix. The former has been pushing Final Fantasy XVI like it’s a first-party project (and it will be a PS5 exclusive at launch), so a big State of Play blowout is a somewhat predictable move. I don’t have a problem with that, but again, it just feels like we’ve seen so much of Final Fantasy XVI already. I’m tempted to say most onlookers will know whether they’re sold or not at this point.
I think the rumoured Sony showcase is worth a quick mention as well. I’ve seen loads of people online bemoaning this State of Play announcement because they’ve been waiting on the big event — and that’s understandable. If that showcase does happen in the relatively near future, before the release of Final Fantasy XVI on the 22nd June, chances are that we’ll get yet more footage, followed by a launch trailer — and then we’re skirting dangerously close to Deathloop territory.
Okay, perhaps that’s a bit unfair; you’d have to be mad to compare the soaring hype levels for Final Fantasy XVI to what Deathloop had prior to launch — but you know what I’m getting at.
Having said all that, me not wanting to see any more of Final Fantasy XVI is probably a good thing, in that it basically means Square Enix has managed to snag my interest. And I suppose the fact that we’ve been handed so much footage in the first place is a positive; the developers certainly aren’t afraid of showing this game off.
But for the sake of my future self, I’m covering my eyes for this one!
Have you seen enough of Final Fantasy XVI? Will you be tuning into this week’s State of Play? Summon your own Eikon in the comments section below.