It's fitting that Phoenix features so prominently in the Final Fantasy XVI gameplay, revealed as a surprise timed-exclusive for PS5. As a recurring summon, Phoenix rarely receives the same love and attention that is traditionally afforded to the likes of Bahamut, Shiva, Titan, and, of course, Ifrit. But here it is, locking horns with the famed fire-elemental above a sleepy medieval city – a conflict so formative to the twin realms, in which this game is sure to cross, that it finds itself burned into the shimmering logo itself.
Where Naoki Yoshida and Hiroshi Takai were once tasked with casting Flames of Rebirth on a fledgling Final Fantasy XIV – a realm literally reborn from the ashes of a failed launch – the producer and director are now tasked with engineering an even trickier transformation: bringing Final Fantasy into the next generation. Phoenix isn't merely a dominant Eikon to the warring factions that make up the world of Final Fantasy XVI, it is also recognition of the enduring success of Final Fantasy XIV and a reflection of its impact behind the scenes at Square Enix.