Final Fantasy XVI Key


I have been covering the video game industry as media since 2015, and it is not uncommon for video game companies to aim their launch events for video games towards journalists. After all, the journalists are the ones who will be writing up the news articles, drafting the social media content, and sharing their thoughts and opinions with a large audience all around the world. With FINAL FANTASY XVI, arguably the biggest flagship title that SQUARE ENIX has launched since April 2020’s FINAL FANTASY VII Remake and December 2021’s FINAL FANTASY XIV Online: Endwalker expansion, you would expect SQUARE ENIX to follow the industry tried-and-true formula with their launch event: push the media in front of everything to break through all the other journalism noise out there for a game that is releasing in 10 days.

Instead, SQUARE ENIX put the fans first-and-foremost and made the FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Launch Celebration about them and their excitement for FINAL FANTASY XVI. And you know what? It was a fantastic decision.

FINAL FANTASY XVI | Torgal Plushes
The Torgal plushies were announced for preorder on the SQUARE ENIX Store at the FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Launch Celebration, and they are the cutest things ever. (Photo by author).

The event was spread across two areas: 1) an inside warehouse-like area that housed a stage with giant video screens running around the walls, FINAL FANTASY XVI demo stations and influencer streaming stations, interactive guest activities and 2) an outside area with a bar, food trucks, a few minor activities, the tables where the autograph and photograph sessions took place, and most importantly: a giant screen with a great sound system that ensured that you could be inside or outside while the event panels were running. You were also free to move between the inside and outside areas without having to wait in a queue.

What this meant was that if you wanted to check out part of the Eikon Powers Presentation (with Maximilian Dood, Hiroshi Takai, and Ryota Suzuki) and then wander outside to get a churro snack with your friends, then you absolutely could do so without missing any of the content. This sheer amount of freedom to move around meant that fans did not have to crowd the stage for five hours to make sure that they didn’t miss an important moment of the event. In fact, the only time that people were ever truly crowding up inside around the stage was about a half-hour before the final panel, Music of XVI, when it had been teased much earlier in the day that Masayoshi Soken would be performing some of the music from FINAL FANTASY XVI and people obviously did not want to miss that (including yours truly!).

“I believe games offer infinite possibilities- they have the potential to alter the course of our lives. As the new CEO of SQUARE ENIX, I will continue to cherish those childhood memories that instill in me a gamer’s spirit and strive to deliver all of you, all the fans across the world, the entertainment that promises new, unforgettable experiences.” ~ Takashi Kiryu (Producer’s Keynote, FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Launch Celebration June 11, 2023)

I know I’m going on and on about how the FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Launch Celebration was set up, but I am so used to having to camp inside hallways to attend a panel at conventions that not having to do so out of fear that I will miss all the content was a breath of fresh air. It also helped to keep the crowd’s energy levels up for the (admittedly long!) evening even beyond the general excitement of seeing various people take the stage.

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This FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Launch Celebration was also one of Takashi Kiryu’s first public appearances after he accepted the CEO role for SQUARE ENIX earlier this month. He not only talked about why he loves video games and FINAL FANTASY but did so with an earnestness that you can’t help but believe comes from a true love for the gaming industry and a real love for video games. There was no mention of his predecessor’s NFT or blockchain efforts like I was cynically expecting to be tied into FINAL FANTASY XVI somehow, and we instead got a speech -in English!- that quickly put the audience onto CEO Kiryu’s side and personally inspired my own confidence in his new role at the company. I am genuinely looking forward to see what Takashi Kiryu has in store for SQUARE ENIX in the future.

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The development team panels were fantastic too. You can check out the VODs for yourself, so I won’t recap them all for you here other than to say that each panel gave an in-depth look at how FINAL FANTASY XVI was made instead of just providing a surface level preview with a push to “PREORDER NOW!” The three panels, Eikon Power Showcase, Narrative of XVI Panel, and Music of XVI Panel, were clearly a chance for the development team to show off their hard work for the past several years and explain the influences behind, and the development choices made, for FINAL FANTASY XVI. My personal favorite moment (and again, check the VODs for all the panels!), was when Masayoshi Soken was explaining how he developed the dynamic and reactive battle soundtrack through video example of two different Ifrit fights: one for a player who is quite skilled with the game, and one who is definitely not. The lauded composer explained at an easily accessible-level (i.e. not discussing the number of song stems he undoubtedly had to create to pull it off) how FINAL FANTASY XVI utilized this type of reactive and dynamic music in order to create an experience for anyone while maintaining the appropriate gameplay mood. If you played Untitled Goose Game, you undoubtedly remember the Debussy soundtrack that reacted to and matched the goose gameplay in a similar fashion…but this panel showed off how you can make that kind of music concept not only work in an incredibly busy and chaotic battle environment, but why he chose to do so.

FINAL FANTASY XVI | Revenge Trailer Liver Performance |
Alex Moukala and Masayoshi Soken rocked the Music of XVI panel with a live rendition of the music from the FINAL FANTASY XVI Revenge trailer. (Photo by author).

The other surprise was that the voice actors for FINAL FANTASY XVI and some of the panel hosts could be seen wondering around the fan celebration event and were absolutely approachable to talk to. Heck, I even heard that FINAL FANTASY XVI Producer Naoki Yoshida appeared on the floor as well and got (politely!) mobbed by fans during the event. On top of that, fans could obtain one of three redeemable cards for either 1) a chance to play the demo, 2) an autograph session with the voice actors, or 3) a photo session with the developers. This level of fan accessibility to the FINAL FANTASY XVI makers really told me that SQUARE ENIX was committed to making this pre-launch celebration an event for fans to remember before anything else.

FINAL FANTASY XVI | Photograph session.
The development team and the voice acting team did photograph and autograph sessions during the FINAL FANTASY XIV Pre-Launch Celebration. (Images by author).

FINAL FANTASY XVI | Photograph session.

All that said, I had two minor quibbles with the event. First, cell reception proved to be a bit spotty inside of the event building for me and some others, and so I wish that there was free WIFI available for people to use. Second, I wish that more people could have attended the event. There are a lot of people who undoubtedly would have loved to attend the FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Launch Celebration but couldn’t get tickets. The second was fairly understandable however, as it really felt like the venue was at capacity for the event and it was just enough to allow everyone to experience as much as possible, not so much as to overwhelm everything.

FINAL FANTASY XVI | Narrative of XVI Panel
The various panels were expertly moderated and addressed a lot of what went into the game’s development. (Photos by author).


There are a few more things to mention before I wrap up: the two photo opportunities were fun. The giant Ifrit statue has to be seen to be believed, and I never imagined that I would be caught up in Garuda’s fist during the other photo opportunity. Seeing all of the new FINAL FANTASY XVI merchandise on display was amazing too, and the FINAL FANTASY XVI Collector’s Edition and Torgal plushes look beautiful in person. I actually pre-ordered both plushes as soon as I saw them on display because they were SO cute. I was also shocked at how Creative Business Unit III teamed up with PlatinumGames for FINAL FANTASY XVI. I am one of the comparatively few people who have Platinumed BABLYON’S FALL (the other SQUARE ENIX/PlatinumGames collaboration), and I am curious to see what parallels FINAL FANTASY XVI and BABLYON’S FALL have, as they would undoubtedly have been both worked on at or near the same time at some point. Finally, there was an opportunity to sign a couple of FINAL FANTASY XVI banners with messages for the development team to see. This reminded me a lot of the display that people signed at the first-and-last KINGDOM HEARTS Union χ[Cross] Dandelion Meeting back in 2018 that I covered, and I really hope that the development team take all the messages of love and support to heart.

FINAL FANTASY XVI | Ifrit statute
The Ifrit statue (and the Garuda’s claw!) had to be seen to be believed. They were expertly sculpted.


Overall, SQUARE ENIX put on a FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Launch Celebration to remember, and the FINAL FANTASY XIV FAN FESTIVAL 2023-2014 that I am attending in July has a lot to live up to! It was an event made for fans of the FINAL FANTASY series, no matter when they started playing these games. It was an event that celebrated FINAL FANTASY XVI and showed that there is a lot of love and care that went into crafting the latest entry for this venerable series.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have the now worldwide-released FINAL FANTASY XVI Demo to play.

FINAL FANTASY XVI | End of Pre-Launch Celebration.
Confetti went off at the end of the FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Launch Celebration, and it served as a fitting ending while everyone said goodbye. (Photo by author).

You can download the FINAL FANTASY XVI Demo here.

FINAL FANTASY XVI releases worldwide on June 22, 2023, and you can still preorder it from the SQUARE ENIX Store.

I want to thank SQUARE ENIX for inviting me to cover the FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Launch Celebration.

Are you planning on picking up FINAL FANTASY XVI when it comes out in just a few days? What are you most excited to see about the game?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.