Warning: full spoilers for the events of Final Fantasy 16 follow.
As you’d expect from a game in this series, the final hours of Final Fantasy 16 go to some wild places. This is a game featuring huge monsters fighting each other, after all, and so naturally the finale had to be super-sized. If you’ve completed the game and want a detailed breakdown of what it all means, or you don’t plan to play it and want to skip straight to the end, you’re in the right place. We’re going to reveal everything that happens in the last few hours of Final Fantasy 16, so prepare yourself for the biggest spoilers.
The Ultima Plan
Once upon a time, the god Ultima and her kin created magic. They were allowed to thrive, but it also came with a price: the world-destroying Blight. The gods are powerless to stop this, so the sixteen survivors flee to a new world: Valisthea. But the Blight followed them to this new land, and so the gods realized there was only one choice: to build a whole new world.
Casting a spell to create this new world would require a large amount of magical power, and a vessel powerful enough to use it. To gain that power, the gods sacrificed their own physical form to create the Mothercrystals, large structures that would drain the natural aether that flows through Valisthea’s land. To get the vessel, they created mankind. After many generations, this new race will create the Mythos; a person capable of wielding unimaginable powers. The Mythos could be home to Ultima, who would use the power harvested by the Mothercrystals to cast the spell that created the world.
Said plan would take a thousand years to come to fruition, so Ultima and her kin went into hibernation. But by abandoning their pious duties to humanity, the new people of Valisthea were lost. They struggled to fight for themselves, eventually gaining their own will and self-determination. Which led to the discovery of magic, which in turn led to conflict and war, and ultimately the Blight engulfing the world. In other words: mankind repeated the failures of their creators.
Ultima wakes up when Clive and Cid destroy Drake’s Head. While Joshua was able to use the power of the Phoenix to trap Ultima’s spirit, the god Clive, who could use the power of many Eikons, recognized the Mythos. And so Ultima begins the final stages of her plan. By influencing King Barnabas and Emperor Olivier, Ultima ensured that Clive fought the major powers so that he could kill their Dominants, capture their Eikons, and gradually build the power of the Mythos . He also used his influence to encourage Clive’s efforts to destroy the Mothercrystals, as each one shattered meant that the spirit of another god was released.
Now that Clive has gained the power of each Eikon, the Mythos has almost reached its full potential. It’s time for Ultima to prepare “Above”; a spell he reveals will allow the gods to ascend to paradise but destroy all of humanity and Valisthea in the process.
Mythos and Ifrit Risen
The final form of the Mythos is Ifrit Risen, a monstrous creature that is a combination of Ifrit and Phoenix. The image of Ifrit Risen can be seen throughout Valisthea as part of religious murals, but it wasn’t until Joshua visited the Gjallarhorn in Waloed that he discovered the full version of the mural.
The painting shows the seven Eikons – Garuda, Ramuh, Shiva, Titan, Bahamut, Odin, and the lost Leviathan – all looking in worship at Ifrit Risen. The absence of Ifrit and Phoenix in their solo forms indicates that they, and by extension Ifrit Risen, are not Eikon in the same way as other summons. This is further hinted at when Clive and Joshua find Ultima Prime, a decaying body that looks like Ifrit, in The Interdimensional Rift. It makes sense that Ultima’s vessel would take a similar form to her previous physical form.
As Ultima’s plan revolved around the creation of the Mythos, she also predicted the possibility of the Logos; the corrupt version of the Mythos with a will of its own. This is what made Clive so effective. Because humanity was abandoned by their gods, they gained their own will, and thus Mythos was born with the will to make their own choices. Furthermore, in the generations since Ultima left Valisthea, the people’s faith in her had faded, which in turn weakened her. But Clive, strengthened by the faith of his friends, is able to fight Ultima and put an end to his apocalyptic plans.
After the battle at the fortress of Stonhyrr in Waloed, where the last five Mothercrystals of Valisthea were destroyed, the defeated Ultima retreated to Twinside. The city is revealed to be built on top of the Source, the ark from which the gods came to Valisthea a thousand years ago. Ultima lifts Origin into the sky and encases it in crystal, which immediately begins to flow aether from the ground. As it does so the Blight spreads more rapidly and floods the earth, turning humans and animals into mindless servants of Ultima known as the Akashic.
Clive, Joshua, and Dion decide to launch an attack on Origin. Dion transforms into Bahamut and flies the brothers into Ultima’s army and the Origin crystal. Inside, the three use their Eikons to create a massive explosion. The explosion only stops the Ultima, but kills Dion and seriously injures Clive. Joshua uses the power of the Phoenix to heal his brother, but it severely weakens him, leaving him barely able to walk.
Clive takes Joshua to the Core of Origin, where Ultima is waiting. The god merged with the spirits of his relatives freed from their Mothercrystals, and then pulled the last piece – the spirit trapped back in Drake’s Head – from Joshua’s chest. With all the gods united in a single consciousness, and the Source filled with all the necessary aether, the spell to create a new world is primed. All Ultima has to do now is live in the Mythos.
In his final moments, Joshua gives Clive the full power of the Phoenix so that he can become Ifrit Risen himself. Clive then takes on Ultima in a huge, three-stage battle where both use the Eikons’ powers to deal massive damage to each other. While Ultima does everything in her power to force Clive into submission, she is ultimately defeated by her own creation.
As he lay dying, Ultima asked Clive what he would do with his newfound freedom. While Clive acknowledges that humanity is not perfect and that there will likely be generations of poverty in the future, he explains that those struggles to be free are worth it. He then absorbs the power of Ultima, and finally becomes the Logos.
Learning of the toxic effects of magic on not only Valisthea but the world before it, Clive realizes that in order to save humanity he must eradicate magic completely. The only way he can do that is by using the full power of Ultima’s vessel to burn the heart of the Source and destroy the last Mothercrystal.
“Ultima’s power seems too good for this vessel all the time,” said Clive. “But while I’m here, maybe I can use it to set things right, and see Ultima’s legacy burned. Even if it means the end of me.”
It was a deed that would kill him. But, realizing that this was the only way, Clive made the ultimate sacrifice. The last Mothercrystal is destroyed, and the world is freed. Later, Clive washed up on a beach. There, he looked up at a new clear and starry sky. He watches his own magic, and then slips into a hero’s death.
Or is he? We later see Jill and Torgal looking up at the night sky, where the star of Metia is burning. Among Valistheans, it is believed that wishing upon Metia will fulfill your deepest desires. At the sight of the star, Jill burst into tears and Torgal groaned, but they may have been crying tears of relief rather than grief. Jill often prays to Metia for Clive to come back to her, and maybe the hero’s wish-granting powers saved Clive? The fate of our hero is unclear.
After the credits roll, we are shown a short post-credits scene that serves as a sweet epilogue to the journey. A boy who looks like Clive is seen building a fire with wood and stone, and he tells his mother that he wishes he had the fire of an Eikon. He tells her that magic is just a fairytale. As the boy walks to play with his blonde-haired brother and loyal dog, the camera pans to reveal a book: Final Fantasy, written by Joshua Rosfield. Joshua seems to have written a fairly complete account of his journey before heading to Origin. But while the real events of the game were recorded, but hundreds of years later they were thought to be more than a myth. The two brothers and their dog, in a happy echo of Clive, Joshua and Torgal, play in the garden and recreate moments from their favorite book. They live freely because of the sacrifice of the brothers.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Features Editor.
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