Final Fantasy XVI’s story, which spans decades, takes protagonist Clive Rosfield across the continent of Valisthea. With so much room to play, developer Creative Business Unit III has created five main nations at the center of the game’s story and wars.
As an introduction, let’s break down the key things to know about each of these realms and their place in Valisthea as it relates to the heavily protected and highly sought after Mothercrystals.
The Grand Duchy of Rosaria: Bastion of Tradition
- A group of small independent provinces of Western Valisthea formed long ago to create this nation, which now taps into the Drake’s Breath mother crystal for ether. This is where the story of FFXVI begins, and it is the home of Clive and Joshua Rosfield.
- Phoenix Dominant House
The Holy Empire of Sanbreque: where ambition is divine
- Valisthea’s greatest theocratic force, Sanbreque is home to the sacred capital of Oriflamme, built around Drake’s Head, a massive mother crystal that provides the people with an abundance of magical ether.
- House of the Dominant of Bahamut
The kingdom of Waloed: indomitable in its isolation
- Waloed claims the eastern half of Valisthea as his dominion, and while much of this nation remains a mystery, we do know that it is powered by Drake’s Spine Mother Crystal, making it a place attractive to any realm at war for the ether.
- Dominant House of Odin
The Republic of Dhalmekian: whose fortunes change like the sands of the desert
- Comprised of five parliamentary states, this republic’s mother crystal, Drake’s Fang, sits at the heart of a mountain range, allowing it to keep its dominance, much of southern Valisthea, safe from the intruder.
- Titan Dominant’s House
The Iron Kingdom: Forged in Faith and Fear
- The Iron Kingdom is made up of a small group of five islands off the coast of Storm, the western half of the twin kingdoms of Valisthea, and here the extreme Crystalline Orthodox Faith dictates everything under the shadow of the Mother Crystal. from Drake’s breath, the same crystal the Grand Duchy of Rosaria derives its power from.
- No Overlords have taken up residence in this realm as its inhabitants regard Overlords as unholy abominations, strictly executed at birth.
The Crystalline Dominion: Steadfast Eye of the Storm
- A peace treaty armistice keeps this small patch of land home to the Crystal Mothercrystal of Drake’s Tail neutral, but as the need for more ether increases among the other five nations, this dominion’s neutrality could be in jeopardy.
- Due to the neutral state of this dominion, no Dominant lives there.
I spoke to Creative Director Kazutoyo Maehiro about Valisthea and how it was made, and it all started with a look back at real-world history and a map.
“Often in medieval history, you had a lot of kingdoms, and we wanted to have kingdoms as well,” Maehiro explains. “When we knew we were going to settle on five main nations in Valisthea, having them all be kingdoms means it’s all going to be the same – you’ll still have one king making all the decisions, and it will trickle down from there. And when we tell a story, it becomes really one-sided.
“We wanted something that gave a bit more depth to the story to make it more interesting for the players and also for us writing it. We started thinking that we wanted to do something different for everyone, maybe – be that one is a democracy and the other a kingdom so that we can write from the point of view of these different governments.
Kazutoyo Maehiro, creative director of Final Fantasy XVI
Maehiro says that after creating the world, CBUIII used the map of Valisthea to design the “data” for this world. He tells me that magic, Mothercrystals and Eikons are just data because they have been around for so long that they are now simply part of every day. Society doesn’t view them as these amazing things – that’s just the way things are.
“[Then we] think, ‘Okay, if you have these Mothercrystals in those parts of the country, that’s where nations are going to form and then you’ll have people who want to fight for those,’ he says. “This is where the conflict will rise between the nations that have formed around the Mothercrystals.
“After creating the world map at the start, the next thing I did was create the world history based on that geography – where the cities were, where the Mothercrystals were. Once the history created, you put Clive in it and you say, ‘Okay, that’s where Clive appears [and] this stuff led to his story.
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