Final Fantasy 16 Needs to Treat Clive's Mental Health Carefully - freetxp

Final Fantasy 16 Needs to Treat Clive’s Mental Health Carefully

Final Fantasy protagonists have a reputation of being “spiky-haired, broody boys.” A cursory glance through the franchise will support this well enough, but the “brooding” aspect may be taking a serious issue and making light of it. Truth is, most Final Fantasy protagonists are complex, negative, and hurting—not brooding. Throughout the franchise, there are several characters who, on their quests, show and/or indicate several types of mental health issues.


One can look at Final Fantasy 7 and how Zack’s death impacts Cloud’s self-identity to see how far this can really go. Final Fantasy 7 Remake needs to deal with this carefully, especially after the changes to the core story. If Zack Fair is alive and comes face-to-face with Cloud, it shouldn’t downplay or erase Cloud’s trauma. It is a vital aspect of his character, and looking at the Final Fantasy 16 trailer, it’s clear Clive will require the same level of expertise in storytelling to get it right.

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Final Fantasy 16 Trailer and How Clive Changes

Not much is known about the franchise outside this trailer, and this Final Fantasy 16 trailer is the definition of open interpretation. Fans have not settled on whether Jill is Shiva’s Dominant, whether she was a traitor or was an ally, whether or not Joshua houses both Phoenix and Ifrit, if Clive is actually Ifrit’s Dominant, if Clive is killed and resurrected, and/or what happens to Joshua—just to name a few debates. The seemingly most-agreed upon aspect is that something happens to Joshua, spurring Clive into a quest for vengeance.

ff16 clive marking

Clive seems hopeful in the narration and full of youthful cheer early in the trailer. After the attack on his home and the potential death of Joshua, Clive’s entire outlook and countenance changes. He’s no longer a happy warrior; he’s a grizzled veteran in the pursuit of righteous vengeance, inspired by levels of anger that only true pain can bring. Make no mistake, Clive appears to be broken by the events that take place prior to Final Fantasy 16‘s time skip.

As it stands, it would seem that Clive has PTSD—and that’s certainly not a stretch if he was brought back from the dead, lost his brother, and had his home attacked/destroyed. All of this could lead to the strange mark on his face, his pursuit of vengeance against the killer, and a seemingly new hatred of Final Fantasy 16‘s Eikons. If it’s not dealt with the entire game, it glosses over the issue; If it is but not done well, it risks romanticizing these very issues.

There’s an old saying, crudely speaking here, that a man who pursues vengeance might as well dig two graves—he’s not just destroying his enemy, but he is destroying himself is one interpretation of that (the continued cycle of vengeance is another). Clive’s pursuit of vengeance appears to be a form of self-destruction, engaging in a pursuit of power and war with the simple motive of revenge, and so Square Enix will hopefully ensure that this story is given the care and attention, from this angle, that it deserves in Final Fantasy 16.

Final Fantasy 16 is in development for PS5.

MORE: Final Fantasy 16 May Be The Next Elden Ring

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