Final Fantasy XVI: The Rising Tide Preview – DLC dose of Leviathan


Final Fantasy XVI, the latest wholly new single-player installment in one of gaming’s most storied franchises, is nearing its first anniversary this June. After the surprise release of its Echoes of the Fallen DLC, which focused Clive and Co.’s efforts on combat in a single dungeon, Square Enix is readying its final announced batch of FFXVI content with The Rising Tide DLC. Announced at The Game Awards back in December alongside the reveal and shadow drop of Echoes of the Fallen, The Rising Tide features Leviathan, the water Eikon mysteriously absent from the main game’s events.

While that reveal trailer promises some watery Eikonic action in the DLC, which takes place before the finale of FFXVI, little else is known about it. But Game Informer spoke to FFXVI producer Naoki Yoshida and DLC director Takeo Kujiraoka to learn more. The first thing I asked the duo about the DLC is why Leviathan was left out of the game. It turns out Square Enix was playing smart and leaving something on the table for the team to examine with potential DLC.

“In terms of making the decision of creating and selling a DLC, we had to wait until the game was actually released,” Yoshida tells me through a translator, explaining Square Enix wanted to see if demand for more FFXVI was there. “That being said, we actually did think of a possible route, a possible story, that we could do if we were to do one.”

That’s why, in the base game, the route to the tower where Echoes of the Fallen takes place was present from the jump. Fans have speculated that a mysterious head-shaped crystal stuck into the side of a continent in FFXVI might be Leviathan or at least related to the god – that remains unclear, but if so, it shows another example of Square Enix creating doors for it to open with DLC such as The Rising Tide.

With it taking place before the game’s finale, I was curious if Clive obtaining Leviathan powers would affect the ending. Yoshida says it won’t and that the ending will remain as is. However, “You will get a deeper understanding of how the world of Valisthea is and how the characters are in Final Fantasy XVI,” he adds, stopping short to prevent himself from spoiling too much.

Anyone who’s played FFXVI knows the Eikon fights are the highlight of the experience, which means Clive’s forthcoming bout with Leviathan carries some lofty expectations. Kujiraoaka, who led design on the Eikon battles in the base game, says he understands that but approached Leviathan like any other: “[ensuring] that we were moving these Eikons in the way that players envision and imagine.”

“In terms of what players can expect for this battle, when you look back at past Final Fantasy titles, there actually aren’t many cases where you see Leviathan moving around crazy and in a real-time action battle system,” Kujiraoaka says.

With the Phoenix Eikon fight reminiscent of third-person on-rail shooters and the Ifrit fight in spired by professional wrestling, I wondered how Kujiraoaka would describe Leviathan’s inspiration. He plays coy, explaining there isn’t one word or genre to describe it. “One thing I can say is that there’s going to be a lot of water involved – visually, graphically, there’s going to be a lot of attacks made from Levithan and that comes with a lot of water. It’s going to look really different from past Eikon battles, and that’s one thing that players can look forward to.”

Unlike Echoes of the Fallen, which runs about three hours, this Leviathan DLC features around 10 hours of content, and I can’t wait. The Rising Tide DLC for FFXVI has no release date but is due out this spring.

This article originally appeared in Issue 364 of Game Informer.

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