final fantasy 16 rising tide

We Spoke To Final Fantasy XVI’s DLC Director About Rising Tide’s New Locations, Powers And Fearsome Eikon Battle

Leviathan is coming home.

Almost a full year after release, Final Fantasy XVI is about to introduce its final Eikon in the legendary summon Leviathan. While notably absent from Clive’s conflict with Ultima, XVI’s second piece of DLC – The Rising Ride – is looking to explore exactly what happened to the Leviathan and its Dominant. We got to talk with DLC Director Takeo Kujiraoka about bringing the serpentine beast to Final Fantasy XVI, its potential narrative impact, how it changes up Clive’s combat capabilities, and more.

Echoes of the Fallen takes place before the final confrontation with Ultima in the base game. Can we expect the same of The Rising Tide? And if so, is there a possibility that Clive having all the Eikons might impact the final confrontation with Ultima?

Takeo Kujiraoka: Yes, The Rising Tide quest unlocks at the same point in time as Echoes of the Fallen. However, it will not change the final battle with Ultima or the ending.

Why did Ultima ignore Leviathan in the main game?

The story in The Rising Tide does address this point, so that’s something I hope players will look forward to uncovering.

There are a few reasons why the DLC doesn’t change the ending. First, we didn’t want to create an ending that people would have to buy DLC to reach. Second, Kazutoyo Maehiro, the scenario writer for the main game, surely chose to leave some parts of the ending up to the player’s imagination intentionally. It wasn’t for us to disregard and overwrite that.

Of course, I do understand what players were hoping to see – but as the director for the DLC, I decided it was more important to preserve the concepts in the original FINAL FANTASY XVI narrative.

Although this isn’t quite the same, the DLC does present an answer to the question of what might happen to Clive once he obtains the powers of all the Eikons – which is something else I think you can look forward to.

I’m sure taking each Eikon and developing an appropriate fight with them was difficult given their scale and capabilities. What are some of the challenges surrounding developing an Eikon fight with Leviathan given its sheer size and water-based powers?

TK: Personally, I think that serpent-like creatures are quite difficult to use as a base for huge enemies in action games. Their ever-changing shape creates problems with collision detection that can end with player characters getting caught and trapped between collision boxes. So, instead of having these enemies freely moving about the battlefield, a lot of games will simply bury their bodies in the ground, leaving only the head exposed.

And so, a lot of games have these sorts of enemies half buried in the ground or make them immobile.

But from past FINAL FANTASY games, wouldn’t you say that it’s pretty well established to see Leviathan move like it’s swimming through the sky?

For FINAL FANTASY XVI, we initially explored having Leviathan coming out of the ground, but I thought, “Nope, this won’t do!” And so, we switched to having it able to move around the arena – the way it is in the final DLC.

Thanks to the hard work of the team, I think we’ve created the most active Leviathan yet, so you can look forward to meeting it yourself!

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It also seems that The Rising Tide takes place in a locale separate from Valisthea. Will we be able to explore this new location and engage in side content or will it be more linear like Echoes of the Fallen?

TK: There are four field areas in the main game. The Rising Tide will add another field area on the same scale as those.

This new area features a settlement where people live, sidequests, and strong foes on the same level as notorious marks.

There’s also some completely new side-content that wasn’t found in the main game, similar to a treasure hunt. In amongst the beautiful scenery, we’ve packed in quite a lot for you to do – so I hope you’ll enjoy adventuring in this new setting.

Each Eikon in the base game is remarkable in how differently they play and how they expand Clive’s skillset. What kinds of abilities do the Eikon powers of Leviathan grant Clive and what kind of playstyle do they focus on?

TK: The Eikonic abilities of Leviathan are characterised by a specialisation in long-range attacks. Clive wears Leviathan on his arm, using it like a gun. Clive is more of a melee-type character, but the Leviathan abilities have been created in a way that fits his fighting style surprisingly well. Although I’m sure that each and every player has a set of abilities that they think are the best, the Leviathan abilities are compelling enough to make you want to break apart and rebuild your loadout. I hope players will enjoy experimenting with different combinations that use the new abilities.

The Eikonic feat, Serpent’s Cry, is particularly extravagant – just like Odin’s Arm of Darkness, all available actions change completely while using the feat. The roll action that can be triggered with R1 is particularly useful, and it feels great to use it to move around the field. Leviathan’s abilities give combat a completely different feel.

One of the things players enjoyed most about Echoes of the Fallen was the increase in difficulty from the base game. Can we expect the same kind of increase in The Rising Tide? Is there the possibility of another superboss like Omega?

TK: We also felt like the increased difficulty in Echoes of the Fallen was received well, so we’ve set The Rising Tide at about the same level.

The bosses that you’ll fight as Clive have a different kind of strength to Omega – the kind unique to humanoid bosses. You’ll need to pay close attention to how your opponent moves and make sure you determine the right time to pull back, or you’ll find your HP worn down in mere moments by fierce chain attacks. So, watch out!

The battle against Leviathan, where you’ll be controlling Ifrit, has also been balanced to be quite challenging. The Eikon battles in the main game were kept at a slightly lower difficulty to allow players to focus on the story. But as The Rising Tide is going to have the final Eikon battle, it may be quite tricky to beat unless you make full use of all of Ifrit’s abilities.

Even if you lose, levelling up Clive and getting stronger weapons and equipment will affect Ifrit’s strength as well – so don’t give up, and take on Leviathan again!