Wield Cloud Strife's iconic Buster Sword and face off against Omega in Echoes of the Fallen.
Final Fantasy XVI players will soon be able to enjoy two new DLC chapters for the critically-acclaimed action-RPG, one very soon indeed: Echoes of the Fallen launches on PlayStation Store today! The second DLC, entitled The Rising Tide, releases Spring 2024. Both are paid-for DLC, but players can purchase the Final Fantasy XVI Expansion Pass to enjoy both chapters at a discounted price.
Echoes of the Fallen unlocks a whole new story, battles, weapons, accessories, level cap and more. For players who have completed the required quests, this new adventure begins before the base game’s final battle, as strange, dark crystals begin to circulate on the black market. Players will follow Clive and his friends during their investigations as they encounter a group of suspicious traders, leading them to a long-abandoned Fallen tower known as the Sagespire. There, they will unravel the terrible secrets that await within.
Special bonus items for purchasing Echoes of the Fallen or the Expansion Pass include the Buster Sword, allowing Clive to wield Cloud Strife’s iconic weapon from Final Fantasy VII, and the “Away (1987)” Orchestrion Roll which allows a chip-tune version of the song “Away” to be played as background music in the hideaway.
The Rising Tide, set to release in Spring 2024, will bring new challenges and more, including the confrontation between Clive and the legendary Eikon, Leviathan.
We had an early hands-on preview with Echoes of the Fallen, and were able to send a few questions to Takeo Kujiraoka, Final Fantasy XVI’s Lead Combat Designer, who also served as director for this DLC to find out more.
PlayStation Blog: Omega is a classic Final Fantasy boss, with many appearances in early Final Fantasy games. Can you tell us a little about which versions of Omega inspired you for its XVI incarnation?
Takeo Kujiraoka: The Omega fight is broadly divided into two halves, each with differing concepts and inspiration.
For the first half of the Omega fight, we took inspiration from the boss’s past appearances in the FINAL FANTASY series , including its origin in FINAL FANTASY V, and molded that into the action of FINAL FANTASY XVI in a way that fits right in. Rather than taking inspiration from a specific entry, however, we strongly focused on the “Omega-feel” familiar to series fans, including myself.
That said, we deliberately aimed to deviate from the “Omega-feel” in the second half. We put some rather bold twists on this iteration of Omega so that its physical characteristics and actions will convince players that this Omega is unique to XVI and leave a lasting impression. I think that players will get to see that FINAL FANTASY XVI’s take on Omega is more aggressive than ever before.
The boss fight against Omega felt unique and different gameplay-wise from the Eikons. Can you tell us a little about the concept behind Omega gameplay?
The production of the Omega battle actually started from the idea of making a boss battle that was comparable to an Eikon battle.
You may wonder, then, if that was the case, why it felt unique from other Eikon battles. I like to think of this as a feat achieved by our team, who, during development, not only improved their skills, but remained highly motivated. Work on the main game helped them gain a deeper understanding of XVI’s development environment, which ultimately allowed them to create content that takes further advantage of that environment’s unique characteristics.
The final product is a result of them having the mindset to deliver a fresh, distinct game experience.
The way this battle incorporates the entire area around it is unlike anything from the main game, and it is structured in a manner that allows it to tell a story without the need for excessive cutscenes.
According to you, what makes a good Eikon fight?
Needless to say, engaging combat (a player-controlled battle with an enemy) is essential, but I believe that a story being told through the way the battle unfolds—through each and every one of the enemy’s actions—is critical for a good Eikon battle. I think that instead of simply showing a heated clash, illustrating the mentalities and motivations of its participants and meshing these elements with the combat can enhance a player’s immersion and overall game experience. I’d say that one of the unique characteristics of Final Fantasy XVI’s Eikon battles is the dedication to create a one-off system in pursuit of achieving this.
I’m fine if every single thing we prepared doesn’t come across to players, and if players just feel a sense of “wow, I don’t really know what’s going on, but this is awesome,” that’s more than enough for me. Ultimately, these are the kind of things I try to consider when I’m developing.
The boss fight music was distinctive, and a stark contrast to the rest of the soundtrack. Can you tell us how the music came about and what, if any, previous Omega iterations inspired this new boss’ theme?
The story of this DLC focuses on the “Fallen.” The Fallen had a civilization that was far more advanced and futuristic, so to speak, than the one in which Clive lives. As such, we wanted to do something completely different for the sounds and visuals than what we did for those in the main game.
The music used in the main game mostly consists of orchestral pieces, so we decided to change up the genre and asked the Sound team for something more akin to electronic rock. We also requested it to be something that goes hard, so that it fit with the aggressive battle. And that’s how the track was born.
The track includes arrangements of Omega-related music from FINAL FANTASY XIV. While this was the composer, Masayoshi Soken’s idea, there are no narrative connections with our Omega and the one in FINAL FANTASY XIV.
Regardless, the final product is still extremely cool and fits perfectly with the battle, so we ask that you try to enjoy it without any preconceptions.
How do you ensure Sagespire lore and history brings new player understanding of the world, even though many players will likely be experiencing it after they’ve finished the game?
The first DLC focuses on and fleshes out the story around the Fallen, a topic that remained shrouded in mystery in the main game. That said, one will not need to play the DLC to fully understand the main game. The content has been designed to provide a deeper insight into the world of FINAL FANTASY XVI, and should prove enjoyable regardless of whether or not you have seen the main scenario’s ending.
Please note, however, that this DLC will only shed light on a few aspects of the Fallen, as we don’t want to overwhelm anyone. Think of it as filling in a few missing pieces of a puzzle, while leaving out others so as to allow room for imagination. Fans of the world’s lore should have a fun time delving not only into the questline, but learning even more about Valisthea via both the story and the Thousand Tomes.
In celebration of the nominations and wins at The Game Awards, Final Fantasy XVI is discounted on PlayStation Store from December 7 through 11.