Final Fantasy XVI’s decades-spanning story takes protagonist Clive Rosfield all across the continent of Valisthea. With so much space to play in, developer Creative Business Unit III created five main nations at the center of the game’s story and wars.
As a primer, let’s break down the key things to know about each of these kingdoms and their place in Valisthea as it relates to the heavily protected and highly sought-after Mothercrystals.
- The Grand Duchy of Rosaria: Bastion of Tradition
- The Holy Empire of Sanbreque: Where Ambition is Divine
- The Kingdom of Waloed: Indomitable In Its Isolation
- The Dhalmekian Republic: Whose Fortunes Shift Like The Desert Sands
- The Iron Kingdom: Forged In Faith And Fear
- The Crystalline Dominion: The Unblinking Eye of the Storm
The Grand Duchy of Rosaria: Bastion of Tradition
- A group of small independent provinces in Western Valisthea formed to create this nation long ago, which now draws upon the Drake’s Breath Mothercrystal for aether. It’s where the story of FFXVI begins, and it’s the home of Clive and Joshua Rosfield.
- Home of the Dominant of the Phoenix
The Holy Empire of Sanbreque: Where Ambition is Divine
- The largest theocratic force in Valisthea, Sanbreque is home to the holy capital of Oriflamme, built around Drake’s Head, a massive Mothercrystal that supplies the people with an abundance of magical aether.
- Home of the Dominant of Bahamut
The Kingdom of Waloed: Indomitable In Its Isolation
- Waloed claims the eastern half of Valisthea as its dominion, and while much of this nation remains a mystery, we know it’s powered by the Drake’s Spine Mothercrystal, making it an attractive location for any kingdom warring over aether.
- Home of the Dominant of Odin
The Dhalmekian Republic: Whose Fortunes Shift Like The Desert Sands
- Made up of five parliament states, this republic’s Mothercrystal, Drake’s Fang, lies in the heart of a mountain range, allowing it to keep its dominion, a large portion of southern Valisthea, safe from intruders.
- Home of the Dominant of Titan
The Iron Kingdom: Forged In Faith And Fear
- The Iron Kingdom is composed of a small group of five islands off the coast of Storm, the western half of Valisthea’s twin realms, and here, the extreme Crystalline Orthodox faith dictates everything underneath the shadow of the Drake’s Breath Mothercrystal, the very same crystal the Grand Duchy of Rosaria draws its power from.
- No Dominant calls this kingdom home as its people view dominants as unholy abominations, strictly executed upon birth.
- A peace treaty armistice keeps this small plot of land home to the Drake’s Tail Mothercrystal neutral, but as the need for more aether increases amongst the other five nations, this dominion’s neutrality might be in jeopardy.
- Because of this dominion’s neutral state, no Dominant calls it home.
I spoke to creative director Kazutoyo Maehiro about Valisthea and its creation, and it all started with a look back at real-world history and a map.
“A lot of times in medieval history, you would have a lot of kingdoms, and we wanted to have kingdoms as well,” Maehiro says. “When we knew we were going to settle on five main nations in Valisthea, having them all be kingdoms means everything’s going to be the same – you’re always going to have a king making all the decisions, and it trickles down from there. And when telling a story, it becomes really one-sided.
“We wanted something that gave the story a little more depth to make it more interesting for players and for us writing it as well. We started out thinking we wanted to do something different for each one, maybe having one be a democracy and another being a kingdom so that we can write from the perspectives of those different governments.”
Final Fantasy XVI Creative Director Kazutoyo Maehiro
Maehiro says that after creating the world, CBUIII used the map of Valisthea to design the “givens” of this world. He tells me magic, Mothercrystals, and Eikons are all just givens because they have existed for so long they’re now simply a part of every day. Society doesn’t look at them as these amazing things – these are just the way things are.
“[Then we] think, ‘Okay, if you have these Mothercrystals in these parts of the land, that’s where the nations are going to form and then you’re going to have people wanting to fight over those,” he says. “That’s where conflict is going to rise between the nations that have formed up around the Mothercrystals.
“After creating the world map at the beginning, the next thing I did was create the world’s history based off of that geography – where the towns are, where the Mothercrystals were. Once the history is created, you put Clive in that and say, ‘Okay, this is where Clive appears [and] this stuff led up to his story.’”
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