Square Enix is known for letting fans interpret the finale in Final Fantasy saga.
From what I’ve seen in the Final Fantasy XVI community, I can count various possible ways of concluding this masterpiece.
1. Clive survives, he “Found the flame”
After the boss fight with Ultima, Clive acknowledged its power and decided to remove magic and aether from his land. Build a future where no more Eikons and bearers are enslaved and grant a better future for his people where everyone can decide how to live and die on their own terms. After using Phoenix’s power to preserve Joshua’s dead body, his second step was to absorb every bit of magic. In the last scene, he looks at the moon, remembering his promise to watch the moon with Jill, and after that he falls asleep. The curse does not spread, but stops at the wrist because magic stopped being dangerous that moment. Plus Jill and Torgal stopped crying after the sun rose, just in time when the star Metia (Jill’s prayer) lights off to let Jill know she fulfilled her request. No more corruption and a limpid sky to be seen and restart over with no more cruelty. When the credits end, we see two kids playing outside calling themselves Eikons and the devs pointed at Final Fantasy book, written by Joshua Rosfield. In this case Joshua did not survive but Clive took his name to honor him, the same as Cid. A hint of this view is plausible after Hapostoles told Clive in a side quest to narrate his past in a book, putting aside the sword once and for all.
That means that Clive and Jill had a happy ending, Clive wrote the book himself because he’s not left-handed and began to live as he pleased. Also, remember that the game starts with a story teller narrating how all of this started, and that teller was Clive himself, the only one knowing the whole story.
2. Joshua survives but Clive dies
A lot of fans thought that Clive, after absorbing Ultima’s power, got the ability to heal soul and flesh, mixing Ultima and Phoenix’s Eikon power. So Clive, before absorbing the magic and the aether, revives Joshua and dies on the beach watching the moon. This means Joshua wrote Final Fantasy book honoring his big brother, while the star that Torgal and Jill looked at in the sky is Metia lighting off and failing to protect Clive.
Also Joshua, accepting the curse to save his brother, sacrificed himself to prevent his brother’s death, but Clive, instead, as a true Rosarian’s Shilder, fulfilled his duty. In this case Joshua narrated the book in Clive’s eyes, like Hajime Isayama did with Attack on Titan.
3. Both Rosfield brothers died, they are “Away”
This is considered the most tragic finale, the one people accepted to mantain the tragic course, where Clive’s idea of recreating a better world failed to be a part of it is settled. Like Final Fantasy XVI teached, he put others before himself and this led to his death, becoming a stone consumed by aether. Then Joshua didn’t get revived because Clive failed to use his power toward him and the book was written by Jill, maybe Gav too, honoring both brothers in two ways: talking about Clive’s journey and named herself Joshua.
4. Both Brothers survived, “All as one” big family
To make it short, Clive revives Joshua, removes the magic and writes the book with Joshua. The book is about Clive’s past so they decided the author it’d be Joshua. Jill, Torgal and Gav tears are of joy, because the sun rose and Metia’s prayer has been listened to. Now they can live in the hideaway as normal humans and not as bearers and outlaws. To cite Clive’s iconic line: “The only Fantasy here is yours and we shall be its final witness”.
Final considerations and traces to be added on in Final Fantasy XVI story: DION and Ultima power
Bahamut’s bearer is considered one of the most loyal and best characters in the game. Fans literally enjoyed the character in every aspect, same goes on deciding his fate. For most of them he was killed by Ultima, for others he survived. And who thought he survived might be correct for two reasons. First of all, he’s the one most close to Medicine Girl. Her name is Kihel, translated means “born of a land of the waters”, and we are thinking she has Leviathan eikon’s power not awoken yet. In reality Kiel is a german city, adjacent to a narrow bay that cuts across it, like the Twins in the game. In the mural, Leviathan is the closest one to Bahamut, same goes for the main quest.
Second, Bahamut is a dragon, he has no fall damage and he just lost consciousness while floating. That means that might come true if this will be explained in the DLC, and we consider why Ultima took so long to reach the two brothers too.
About Ultima’s power, he generates shapes, souls, life forms and magic. An optimistic fan could think everyone is alive, Cid too, thanks to Clive after he absorbed Ultima’s power. But he’s the only one and it’s his own choice to bring them back to life. Like Clive and Vivian said already, everyone lives a personal fantasy, the truth is real when most believers think it’s possible. Same goes for those who witnessed the game.
I hope Yoshida-san will let fans enjoy Final Fantasy XVI more with new contents and DLCs, but i won’t exclude a sequel either like FFX did. Foor most of us is Goty and game of the century, i wouldn’t dislike at all a Final Fantasy XVI-2. Let’s cross our fingers.