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Final Fantasy XVI’s PAX East Coverage Includes Brand-New Environmental Trailer and More

Benedicta turning into Garuda in Final Fantasy XVI

If you’re counting the days left until the highly-anticipated launch of Final Fantasy XVI, you’ll know we’ve reached the two-digit zone — fewer than 100 days remain, and Square Enix’s next mainline behemoth’s marketing phase is in full swing.

Producer Naoki Yoshida (of Final Fantasy XIV director fame) and localization director Koji Fox helmed an hour-length discussion panel at PAX East 2023 this past weekend, and while viewers streaming the event at home were unfortunately struck by technical mishaps, Square Enix mercifully released the full thing on YouTube a short while later.

The panel, adorably entitled “Yes, You Can Pet the Torgal”, encompasses a broad range of subjects. With a real PlayStation 5 and a working copy of the game at their disposal, the duo talks about the four “pillars” of Final Fantasy XVI‘s development, showcases several cool vids, and yes, eventually, Yoshida pets Torgal. (Though that particular moment isn’t without… incident.)

Later on, Yoshida answers some surprisingly candid fan queries; if you’ve scrutinized Final Fantasy XVI‘s marketing for not seeming “RPG” enough, the staff has clearly heard you, and hopes to reassure you. While non-combat in-game activities are evidently being held off from reveal until sometime in April, we do see some old role-playing game standby activities around the 36:00 mark as Yoshida tours part of Cid’s Hideaway, a major hub area with shops, a blacksmith, and more.

While there are some very cool bits elsewhere throughout the panel — including a sensational tour of various Eikon battles at almost exactly the one-hour mark — it’s the above environmental footage, viewable in the panel’s upload but separately released as the “World of Valisthea” trailer, that’s likely turning the most heads here.

Clocking in at just shy of two minutes, it’s hard not to say “just watch the thing yourself” and leave it at that, but, if for whatever reason you’re unable to access the trailer at the moment, here’s a quick overview. It begins with Clive, Jill, and Torgal overlooking massive waterfalls in a canyon-like area. We see them riding their chocobos shortly thereafter (well, Clive and Jill; Torgal’s sprinting merrily).

From there, it’s a whirlwind tour of separate biomes, with Clive walking or running across the realm. There’s a scenic little town with a wooden bridge overlooking grass; a bustling desert marketplace; a verdant forest; dilapidated docks beside a sapphire-blue river; golden wheat fields that make me think of the prologue from Stranger of Paradise even though I’m probably not supposed to; and a sweeping view of a big wetland area with some distinctly XIV La Noscea vibes.

An eerie storm beside a Mothercrystal; the innards of some volcanic region with striking shades of red; even a glimpse into the young Clive section, with a look inside his family’s castle that calls to my mind something of Orlais from Dragon Age: Inquisition.

The point is, it’s a lot. Hopefully, you like what you see. I know I sure do! Final Fantasy XVI releases for PS5 on June 22nd, which… doing the math here real quick… as of the moment I type this… that’s 87 more days, yep.

I’m not obsessed.

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