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Why FF16’s The Rising Tide DLC could alter the PS5 exclusive’s ending

In Final Fantasy 16’s The Rising Tide DLC, Clive will now be able to take the Eikon Leviathan's powers, and that could change everything.

Clive from Final Fantasy 16 in front of FFXV's Leviathan and a background of The Rising Tide DLC

Despite a killer reveal at The Game Awards 2023, showcasing the two epic Final Fantasy 16 DLC expansions (one of which is now available), there was only one thing on my mind; could Leviathan’s return signal a huge change for the conclusion of Clive’s story. As The Rising Tide DLC seems to bring the missing Eikon back to Valisthea, considering the void it left in the main story, there are some huge possibilities for Final Fantasy 16’s post-DLC world.

One of the best PS5 games and PS5 exclusives yet, FF16’s release made huge changes to the classic Final Fantasy formula, which we praised in our Final Fantasy 16 review. While the core experience is just as thrilling as ever, and one that you’ll need to experience once in your life, the appeal of the game’s second DLC, The Rising Tide, offers some huge potential for the future of Clive and his cohort.

For those who have forgotten or don’t care about me spoiling the Final Fantasy 16 ending, the basic gist is that Clive, the chosen vessel for the antagonist and god-like figure Ultima, received all of the Eikon’s powers bar one in an attempt to defeat Ultima and fight fate, a recurring theme of the story. However, Clive’s brother Joshua (the one who was seemingly killed at the start but was actually alive) is killed by Ultima during the final confrontation, and even Clive’s fate is left ambiguous in the ending after Ultima’s death.

The reason for this is seemingly the fact that Clive wasn’t a full vessel for Ultima, meaning he didn’t have the power to save his brother or fully absorb Ultima’s powers, succumbing partially to the crystals that most Valistheans (even the Dominants of the various Eikons) get after using their abilities too much. As Clive falls from Ultima’s base in the sky, fittingly called Origin, his slow shamble onto the beach is left uncertain for now.

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That is, at least, until The Rising Tide releases… potentially. During the story, there are various bits of lore and teases that an Eikon of Water, called Leviathan, has been missing for years, with murals fittingly calling it Leviathan the Lost. While none of the major story beats really make note of this, the leading theory (one that I believe is also true), is that Clive getting Leviathan’s powers could drastically change the final fight with Ultima and what happens to Clive and Joshua.

It’s unclear right now how The Rising Tide fits into the main story, with some players theorizing that it takes place after the events of the main narrative. However, I don’t believe that’s true, since in the trailer you can see, very briefly, that Joshua and Jill are part of Clive’s party, indicating that it should take place within the storyline of FF16 – or in some alternate timeline of events where we get to see a different ending. Obviously, if it ends up being post-Ultima, this idea of Clive absorbing Leviathan’s abilities changing the ending is for naught, but I can’t imagine that this takes place post-game considering that Ultima’s death seemingly leads to the end of the Mothercrystal’s magic.

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As for what I believe might change in the ending, I’m unsure. Maybe it’ll see Clive taking Ultima’s role as one-god for the entirety of Valisthea, where he’ll rule it with more kindness and drastically change the political landscape of the continent. Or perhaps it’ll simply spell the end of Ultima’s reign, allowing Clive and Joshua to spend more time together away from the fear of death or enslavement, especially after the latter was assumed dead for most of Clive’s life.

We won’t know the answer until Final Fantasy 16 The Rising Tide DLC finally releases, which we’re very excited about. For now, you can find us enjoying the best open world games in an attempt to make the wait for the DLC less agonizing, or potentially the best RPG games too.