Questions about the Final Fantasy 16 Ending? We got you covered. Spoilers inside.
**Heavy Spoilers beyond this point. You have been warned.
The ending of Final Fantasy 16 leaves many questions to be answered. Mainly because all of its finer details are hidden away in the game's lore sections and optional side quests. most of them only become available once you've completed every single one.
We'll answer all your burning questions and explain to you what exactly was going on during the bombastic finale of Final Fantasy 16.
What was Ultima's Plan?
Ultima is part of a race of godlike beings that lost their home to the Blight. To not repeat the sins of the past Ultima settled in Valisthea and began to work on a scheme that would allow them to cast a powerful spell. A spell would cleanse the world of earthly desires and free will to create a paradise without the Blight.
To achieve that, Ultima and its kind needed two things: massive amounts of Aether (the lifeblood of all living things) to fuel the spell and a vessel powerful enough to cast it.
To procure those amounts of Aether, Ultima's brethren who are part of a hivemind turned into the Mothercrystals. Those Mothercrystals pumped Aether from the core of the planet to the surface and would store it once the time had come.
Creating a suiting vessel would take a lot longer. For that Ultima created humanity, knowing that one day those inferior beings would produce a vessel capable of casting the spell.
Ultima left then humanity to its own devices and over time they developed free will. Which caused them at some point to master magic and rebel against their god. This would be later known as the War of the Magi and led to the fall of the people we now know as The Fallen.
The Ultima's plan finally kicked into gear when Clive awakened to his powers at Phoenix Gate, not just as the second Eikon of Fire but capable of absorbing the power of other Eikons and using them as his own.
Since that day, Ultima has been in the background orchestrating the events that led to the destruction and liberation of their brethren who formed the Mothercrystals. They would then merge together into one and take control of Clive who through millennia of human evolution had become the perfect vessel, Mythos.
Mythos and Logos Explained
The game doesn't do a good job of explaining those two terms outside the active time lore, so here is the short of it:
Mythos is the vessel Ultima needs to cast its spell “Raise”. Which would wipe the slate clean and create a new paradise devoid of any emotion or free will. This is also the reason why Mythos let a rampaging Clive in the form of Ifrit seemingly kill his brother, to break him and turn him into an empty husk only fueled by revenge.
But Clive chose to embrace “Logos” instead. The game describes Logos as free will, the spirit that makes humans human. Ultima can not control what they can't comprehend, mankind's stubborn and selfish pride which seems to be the cause of all bad things happening in Valisthea. Clive realized that all the war and strife are just part of what makes him human.
But to become Mythos, Clive did not need to take the power of the other Eikons but they gave him the strength to overcome Ultima at the end and defy fate itself.
After beating Ultima, Clive has spent most if not all of his power. And just like many of the bearers he has encountered on his journey he is also slowly turning into stone. Now that he has also consumed Ultima, he has the power to set things right at the cost of his own life.
He first tries to revive Joshua who had died before the final battle. And while his wounds seem to heal and Clive remembers his time with his brother it doesn't seem to work. Throughout the game, Joshua and the other characters keep mentioning that the Phoenix does not have the power to revive people. So why would it work this time?
Clive then decides to right the wrongs of Ultima and put an end to the endless cycle of suffering created by the Mothercrystals and magic. So he destroys the final crystal and undoes the spell Ultima used to hide the sun and turn people Akashic.
We last see him stranded looking up at the moonlit sky thinking about Jill and as he dies, the red star “Metia” also dies signaling the end of Ultima and the legacy of the crystals.
Final Fantasy 16 Ending Explained
After the credits, we get a scene of two boys carrying firewood into their home. One with black and the other with blonde hair, just like Clive and Joshua. The older one complains that he has to make fire with flint and steel and wishes he had the magick to make it.
Showing us that far in the future, Cid and Clive's dream became a reality. People finally live without magic reliant on crystals and the suffering of Bearers and Dominants. At the end, the camera zooms in on a book from which the children quote “War of the Eikons” a phrase the scholar Vivian used to describe most of the conflict in the game.
The book title is revealed to be “Final Fantasy”, its cover features the same emblem we see in the Hideaway and is written by Joshua Rosfield. While it's debated if this book was actually penned by Joshua or by someone using his name, we learn in a sidequest at the end that Joshua is an avid scholar of history and loves to write. So it's not far-fetched that he would've written it.
But how did he survive? We're told over and over again that the Phoenix doesn't have the power to revive the dead. Ultima was preparing to cast a spell called “Raise” to create a new world, a spell that the Final Fantasy franchise usually associates with reviving fallen party members. And with Clive being in possession of Ultima's power reviving Joshua doesn't seem to be out of the realm of possibility.
The game leaves this ambiguous for a reason. Clive's entire journey was about avenging and making amends for his brother's apparent death at Phoenix Gate. His reviving his brother brings the story full circle just like the narration at the start and the end of the game already indicates.
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