Final Fantasy Mode offers a tougher difficulty for New Game+, while Ultimaniac increases that even further for Arcade Mode.
Square Enix’s Final Fantasy 16 is a pretty big game. Playing through the story can take 35 to 40 hours and goes up to 70 hours with side content. However, it also offers New Game+, which the development team said would have new battles and changes to enemy placements.
Speaking to Game Informer, creative director Hiroshi Takai and combat director Ryota Suzuki talked more about New Game+. They revealed it’s available for Story and Action Mode, but two more difficulties become available: Final Fantasy Mode and Ultimaniac. The former is where the difficulty increases, monster placements change and enemy types are “remixed.”
Suzuki said, “The main design philosophy is that the first playthrough is about learning Clive, learning the controls, and then enjoying the story. In the second playthrough, we want to shift that focus – because the story hasn’t changed – to the action.
“For example, in Story Mode, while players may encounter waves of enemies, a lot of times, enemies don’t attack at once to allow players to be able to handle everything. In the harder modes of the game, we have removed these limitations so that you have multiple enemies all attacking Clive at the same time.
“What we’ve done with [Final Fantasy] Mode is give players controlling Clive the sense that they’re always in danger, that death is around the corner, and that you’ll need to really, really pay attention to be able to clear the content.”
If you interact with the Arete Stone in the Hideaway on Final Fantasy Mode in New Game+, you can play stages with the same difficulty in Arcade Mode. However, there’s also Ultimaniac Mode, an even tougher difficulty.
“[These modes were] pretty much created solely for the hardcore players, those players that pride themselves on their skills in action games. [It’s] a challenge that, even for them, is going to be very difficult to complete.” There’s no reward for doing so – it’s simply for bragging rights.
Even if you indulge in New Game+, you can upgrade weapons and accessories further (though the latter is only possible in Final Fantasy Mode). You can also access the Chronolith Trials (or Final Chronolith Trials on Final Fantasy Mode), the toughest challenges available.
Trials are time-based and have several stages with multiple rounds of enemies, starting with regular waves that increase in difficulty and ending with a boss. You can execute different moves and combos while completing objectives to add to the time. However, there’s no healing available.
Since they’re based on the Eikons, there should be at least nine (unlocked by access stones akin to the Arete Stone). One of those is Trial by Fire, based on Phoenix, which provides access to that Eikon’s abilities alone.
Final Fantasy 16 is out on June 22nd for PS5, so stay tuned for more details. A demo is out two weeks prior, and progress carries over to the full game.