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Final Fantasy 16: What Clive’s face tattoo means for magic in Valisthea

Final Fantasy 16: What Clive’s face tattoo means for magic in Valisthea

If you’ve seen Final Fantasy XVI protagonist Clive Rosfield, you’ve probably noticed that he has a black tattoo on his left cheek. This tattoo more broadly connects to the world of FFXVI, Valisthea and the place of magic in it.

During my cover trip to Tokyo, Japan to talk to developer Creative Business Unit III, I learned a lot about magic in FFXVI and how it affects the life of Clive and everyone in this world. The special tattoo on Clive’s face is the mark of a wearer, indicating that he can use magic. It may seem like a great ability, but the nations of Valisthea regard wielders as something other than human. These nations mark their wielders to show they are enslaved, and nations trade wielders across borders depending on who needs their magical abilities. When Clive receives this branding, his life is changed forever.

In my hands-on time with FFXVI, I’ve seen various other people in the Grand Duchy of Rosaria, Clive’s home at one point, with the same mark. They performed tasks like fetching water, carrying heavy objects, etc. Skipping the game’s opening hours, Clive is on a mission to assassinate a key figure in a war, and he’s joined by a few other soldiers also bearing the mark. Before this trip, I thought Clive’s tattoo was unique to him, but a wearer’s mark isn’t as unusual in Valisthea as I first thought.

Valisthea’s reliance on the Conduits’ magical work attests to her greater reliance on magic in general. While the main storyline will drive Clive’s story forward, localization director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox says the world of FFXVI isn’t all politics, intrigue, and Clive’s story. time, and CBUIII has worked hard to inject minor, everyday issues into the world. . These issues speak to something bigger happening in Valisthea and the driving force behind the game: Mothercrystals depletion.

FFXVI director Hiroshi Takai said that these massive crystals are akin to the oil fields of our world, describing that the nations of Valisthea are fighting for their control, the same way our societies have fought entire wars for oil.

Koji says if you ask, “How do they do that in Valisthea?” the answer is probably magic powered by the Mothercrystals.

“Why do we have to find a way to make fire hot when we can just use a fire crystal and make fire hotter? You don’t have to invent bows and arrows in a world where you have magic projectiles that can be fired through a crystal,” he says. “And so because you have these people who depend on magic, they don’t learn how to do a lot of things, and they depend too much in some places on these crystals.

“[This reliance] becomes one of those centerpieces of the narrative: what happens when the magic starts to wear thin? How are we going to pour our water? How are we going to dry our laundry? And instead of finding ways to light their cigarettes without a crystal, the first thing they think of is, “Well, we have to go invade this country and get their crystal because this one still works.”

Creative director Kazutoyo Maehiro says FFXVI positions magic in this way to explain its base in a way that Final Fantasy games haven’t done in previous releases.

“In the Final Fantasy series, the magic is just something you see in every game, and it’s never really explained why it’s there,” Maehiro says. “It’s just always there. It’s always been that staple for the show. people use it [and] it’s an everyday thing. Everyone can use it. But we think in past Final Fantasies it hasn’t really been explained why people have this magic. Why can they use it? Yes, there is an MP bar, but what is this empty bar? What happens to the person casting it when they use magic?

“We wanted to introduce these themes into this Mothercrystals-centric story. And it’s the same with the [crystals of Final Fantasy]. What is a mother crystal? What are these crystals that people use to cast these spells? Why is it a daily thing for them? Let’s explore their daily life with this magic. How does this affect their life? Bringing that concept of magic and making it part of the narrative was something we wanted to do.

While magic, gameplay-wise, will primarily serve as a means of damaging enemies, it’s interesting to hear how much thought CBUIII has given to its place in Valisthea, and I’m excited to hear more about his role in Clive’s story.


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