Standing boldly in front of a colossal, gothic city and surrounded by flaming beasts, Clive Rosfield stands tall in red-and-black armour. His oversized sword flowing a flaming red resembling his burning, left arm which is clearly far more than human. This introduction to Clive, within the poster-image for the game, surely paints a vivid picture of the game’s protagonist.
Despite his relatively mundane forename, especially when compared to previous protagonists from the Final Fantasy series, Clive is the vibrant, powerful and exciting player character in the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI.
The First Shield of Rosaria
Son of the Archduke of Rosaria—leader of one of the six kingdoms in the land of Valisthea—Clive is the First Shield of Rosaria. This title places upon him the responsibility to protect the foundational symbol of their kingdom: the Fire Eikon.
Although a first-born son, as Clive is, would usually inherit the Eikon (summon for Final Fantasy veterans) of their ruling parent, this time the Eikon was passed onto his younger brother, Joel. As such, Clive’s foremost task is to ensure the safety of his brother—a sibling responsibility which is sure to bring much tension and narrative flair to the story of Final Fantasy XVI.
This tie to the Fire Eikon—which is embodied by a phoenix—also explains Clive’s flaming left arm. Due to his close relation to the Eikon and his brother, Clive wields a small portion of its power which (at least from what we have seen so far) is encapsulated in his arm. This connection can be seen in action through the snippets of gameplay we have seen so far incorporating a motif of fire-like wings into Clive’s attacks. But for now, the true potential this link to the Eikon will bring to the gameplay is up for speculation.
Despite being tied to his brother this sibling responsibility may be short lived, as suggested by the game’s Awakening Trailer. Near the trailer’s climax, we see a young Joshua transform into the dark Eikon known as Ifrit. From what we can tell thus far, this interaction ends in tragedy.
The trailer then ends with Clive growing into his prime, potentially suggesting a jump in time within the game itself. However what’s most striking are Clive’s words—“I’ll kill you if it’s the last thing I do”. This establishes Clive’s key motivation—that of revenge.
While much still lurks in the shadows regarding Final Fantasy XVI, it’s clear that Clive is going to be a bold central character gluing the game’s sprawling story together. And, hopefully, he will be an absolute joy to play as.