In 2012, Square Enix blew us away with an amazing E3 trailer. It was a tech demo based off of Final Fantasy concepts. But what can the video tell us about this title? Could it be the next Final Fantasy?
So what do we see in this trailer?
First, the setting. Final Fantasy XV was THE Final Fantasy based on reality. Yet, it never really touched on world issues we experience in the modern world. Perhaps it was for the best; we play Final Fantasy games to escape from the real world. Yet, what if Final Fantasy XVI’s taking a different approach? What if Final Fantasy XVI setting mimics the conflicts in the Middle East/North Africa? Perhaps this Final Fantasy will be the more down-to-Earth Final Fantasy? Maybe Final Fantasy XVI will be the reality based on fantasy – whatever that means.
The next scene is a bit more terrifying. The scene cuts to a temple before an impending solar eclipse. Mages in red robes huddle around a demagogue holding a crystal, ranting about “evil”. What’s he doing? We can only assume he’s performing an ancient ritual. But the scenery is so dark and creepy, we can’t help but wonder if he’s a villain. This also brings back nostalgia to the Cult of Kefka in Final Fantasy VI. The hooded men seeking “Reunion” in Final Fantasy VII also come to mind. So, who are the “evil” he’s talking about?
Just them, armed men storm the premises. Who are these terrorists? Are they terrorists? Perhaps the trailer wants us to think they’re terrorists. For all we know, they could be freedom fighters. Why are they attacking? Does it have something to do with the ritual he’s performing? In this world, magic is no match for bullets. Red-robed mages die from taking bullets. These bullets aren’t rubber, as they injure one mage’s arm: our protagonist Agni.
So why is Agni in such a creepy place? Is she a willing adherent to the cult, or brainwashed? She willingly takes the crystal from the mortally wounded demagogue. Could this be the first Final Fantasy in which the villains hold the crystals? Perhaps the villain, however misguided, was protecting the sacred realm between HIS world and ours. What is this sacred realm? Is there where the gods reside? Were they communing with the gods? Do the armed men seek the crystals for this power?
Agni flees. Here, we get to see a good shot of the locale. It’s a stereotypical Middle Easterner marketplace. It doesn’t look anything like the marketplaces from Final Fantasy Tactics or Final Fantasy XII’s Dalmasca. Yet, it is strangely reminiscent of the two. In the street, armed men run after her and release hound-like creatures. These don’t look like fantasy monsters though. Perhaps they are, but maybe genetically enhanced dogs. How did the terrorists get their hands on these creatures? Would this mean they’re fighting for wealthier individuals who are the true culprits seeking the crystals?
Agni heals herself with what appears to be a potion, applying it to her wound. Suddenly, the mutated hound pins her to the ground. Before it can fatally bite her, Agni summons a dragon. Even the dragon looks more realistic, like a lizard with wings. Just who is Agni and what are her powers? She’s a summoner. Her dress reminds me of Ultimecia, so perhaps she’s a sorceress. In the previous frames, we’ve seen she’s able to use Lightning magic. But this dragon, is it dead? Perhaps the theme will be about life and death, two worlds, two realms and the communication between the two. Perhaps Agni’s powers are also that of a Necromancer. In a twist, perhaps Agni is able to summon the dead!
Agni has Sanskrit origins meaning “fire”, also as the name of the god of fire in Hindu mythology. A variant Agnes is a Greek female name meaning “pure” or “holy”. Her name alone, from the meteorological connotations to the origins, suggest she’s a protagonist.
The spectacular video ends as Agni climbs on the dragon’s back, soarings through the skies. And in a surprise twist, we see a shining futuristic city on the horizon.
Does this mean that Agni’s Philosophy will become Final Fantasy XVI? No, not necessarily. One thing to note, other non-Final Fantasy titles shared similar Final Fantasy concepts (i.e. Secrets of Mana). Perhaps Agni’s Philosophy will never be a Final Fantasy title. Of course, consider that the Playstation’s fifth generation may not appear until 2012. This would be more than enough time to spin the game into a worthwhile title. And why waste a concept? From what we see, the setting is definitely interesting.
Square Enix. If You Make Agni’s Philosophy Final Fantasy XVI, I’ll make the titular female character my new waifu idol.
There. That’ll convince them.