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Final Fantasy 16: What Are Eikons?

The highly anticipated "Final Fantasy 16" will feature a group of massive and powerful creatures called Eikons. Every "Final Fantasy" game is set in its own unique world with its own history, lore, and battle systems, yet there are several monsters, magic spells, and even a few character names that cross over from world to world. Among the more iconic of these common traits is a collection of deity-like creatures — commonly referred to as Summons — that have been largely inspired by the mythology of our own world.

Square Enix has managed to concoct a lot of different names for these entities across the franchise. They've been called Eidolons, Espers, Guardians, Aeons, Avatars, Scions, and Primals, but they are most often collectively referred to as Summons because this is what they were called when they were first introduced in "Final Fantasy 3," and that name has carried over to many of the other games that followed in its footsteps. Sometimes these creatures act as a sort of super-move, dealing a heavy amount of damage before disappearing like in "Final Fantasy 7." Other games allow the players to actively take control of them for a span of time — like in "Final Fantasy 10." Even so, no two iterations of them are exactly alike. Now it seems that Eikons will be taking their own place on the field in "Final Fantasy 16."

What role do Eikons play in the story?

Within the world of "Final Fantasy 16," there are certain people who are referred to as Dominants who are magically tied to the Eikons. According to Square Enix, "Eikons are powerful and deadly creatures that reside within Dominants — a single man or woman who is blessed with the ability to call upon their dreaded power." These special individuals have been connected to their respective Eikons and are now able to serve as their hosts. This makes it possible for them to bring these powerful entities into the material world and command them in battle.

Being a Dominant is seen as a blessing in most of the world. Clive Rosfield, the protagonist of "FF16," is a Dominant from the grand duchy of Rosaria. He is referred to as the First Shield of Rosaria in reference to his role in protecting his younger brother Joshua. It seems that there are some areas in this world that are not so accepting, however. There are certain countries, like the Iron Kingdom, which view Eikons either as weapons to be harnessed or abominations to be killed, forcing those Dominants unfortunate enough to live within their borders to survive as fugitives, hiding what they are.

Dominants and Eikons revealed so far

Clive is linked to Ifrit, one of the Eikons of Fire. This entity is based on a creature from Islamic mythology and is one of the most frequently occurring Summons in the "Final Fantasy" franchise. In fact, Ifrit was one of the original eight that were introduced in "Final Fantasy 3." Ifrit also seems unique from the others in "Final Fantasy 16" as it has been described as "The Dark Eikon," though it remains a mystery exactly what that title means. Clive may also have some unique abilities that extend to multiple Eikons. According to PlayStation's description of the game, "Clive Rosfield can [utilize] the power of the game's many Eikons to expand his arsenal of attacks, as he battles monsters, enemies and powerful Dominants."

Several of the other characters that have been revealed are Dominants as well, each bearing their own Eikons. Clive's brother, Joshua Rosfield, is the Dominant of the Phoenix, Jill Warrick is the Dominant of Shiva, Cidolfus Telamon is the Dominant of Ramuh, Benedikta Harman is the Dominant of Garuda, Hugo Kupka is the Dominant of Titan, Dion Lesage is the Dominant of Bahamut, and Barnabas Tharmr is the Dominant of Odin. All of these are Summons that have been seen in past "FF" titles — though it's possible that new ones will be introduced later.

How will players use them in combat?

During 12 minutes of gameplay, viewers can see a boss battle where Clive is forced to face off against the Wind Eikon, Garuda. The video showed Clive whittling down a pretty beefy health bar before having to succeed in numerous quick time events in order to get through the fight. There were also several cinematic sequences showcasing the epic battle.

Later in the video, Clive suffers from what looks like a scripted loss and is forced to bring out Ifrit in order to defeat the Wind Eikon. Ifrit doesn't fight alongside Clive, however. The Eikon actually appears to take the place of the Dominant in the fight. So the player will actually be able to control the Eikon and use its incredible strength to crush their enemies in massive, Kaiju-style battles. This is similar to how Aeons worked in "Final Fantasy 10" in theory, but the cinematic action battle mechanics in "16" look very different from the turn-based battles of older generations.

All in all, it looks like Eikons will not just be useful tools in the battles to come as past generations of Summons have been, but rather, Square Enix has put these creatures front and center in the mechanics of the game.