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The land of Valisthea is studded with Mothercrystals—glittering mountains of crystal that tower over the realms around them, blessing them with aether. For generations, people have flocked to these beacons to take advantage of their blessing, using the aether to conjure magicks that let them live lives of comfort and plenty. Great powers have grown up around each Mothercrystal, and an uneasy peace has long reigned between them. Yet now the peace falters as the spread of the Blight threatens to destroy their dominions.

Official description[1]
FFXVI World Map

Map of Valisthea.

Valisthea (ヴァリスゼア, Varisuzea?) is the setting of Final Fantasy XVI. A land home of the Mothercrystals, huge crystalline mountains that fill the surrounding lands with aether.

Valisthea is divided into two main continents: the continent of Ash (灰の大陸, Hai no Tairiku?) in the east and the continent of Storm (風の大陸, Kaze no Tairiku?) in the west.[2] It is geographically and culturally isolated from the rest of the world.[3] At least some, if not all Valistheans believe in a monotheistic God.[4]

Valisthea's technological development has been stunted by its reliance on magic, which is used for everything from generating water to forging steel.[4]


Valisthea on crystal display from FFXVI

Ultima shows a map of the Valisthean continents on a crystal display.

Dragons are commonly considered to be some of Valisthea's most ancient creatures and one of the most prominent myths is that Valisthea itself was formed when a mighty drake fell from the sky.[5] Countless eons ago, the Ultima collective arrived to Valisthea, fleeing the Blight that had devoured their own homeland.[6] The beings had discarded their physical bodies to migrate and did not intend to make Valisthea their new home: instead, they resolved to rebuild the world where only they would exist. Ultima placed the Mothercrystals in each corner of the land to harvest aether for this plan.[6] Ultima then created mankind, who took shape as various tribes on the lands near to each Mothercrystal.

Great nations sprouted around each of the Mothercrystals, and eventually, a precarious peace with them.[2] The Fallen were an exception, as they were able to build their civilization in the sky, along with airships. The Fallen civilization fell (literally) and lost access to magic, their cities plummeting to the surface all over the continent. Even 1500 years later, these ruins remained. To most people, the story of the Fallen was one of hubris; of a people advancing too far, becoming too close to God. However, there were always those who saw the Fallen as a source of power.[4]

Things changed when the Blight began encroaching the lands.[2] As magic began to run out, the continent's realms began invading one another to secure the crystals that still worked.[4]


Behind the scenes[]

FF16 Valisthea Alphabet & Numbers

Valisthea is inspired by medieval Europe.[3] Three key designers for the setting were Hiroshi Takai, Kazutoyo Maehiro, and Hiroshi Minagawa. The decision to make Valisthea a medieval-inspired, high fantasy setting came from Maehiro, as in his mind, the Final Fantasy series has always been a high fantasy IP. With this in mind, Maehiro started creating the world map, deciding where to put mountains, seas, rivers, and other features. Attention was paid to more minute aspects, such as the direction the wind would blow from, and how it would affect elements of the landmass. These decisions informed Valisthea's climate, which in turn influenced village/town/city composition, which affected the types of civilizations that would develop on the continent. The primary real-world geographical inspirations for Valisthea are England, Iceland, Slovenia, the Middle East, and Africa. Dalmasca (from Final Fantasy XII) was also an inspiration.[7]

After solidifying the continent's climate, Maehiro began developing the continent's history, using real-world inspiration for the lore. For instance, if a nation relies on its proximity to water to thrive, Maehiro scoured history for real-world examples of nations/societies that likewise relied on the sea. Researching real-world history made Maehiro realize that not every nation in Valisthea should be a kingdom, and that more variety was needed in regards to how its nations operated. In an interview, Maehiro explained that in the real-world, multiple kingdoms existed in Europe's medieval period, whereas it was decided that Valisthea would only have five. He saw this as a problem, as five kingdoms would all operate under a monarchy, leading to a lack of variety in the setting. The developers decided to make each kingdom unique (e.g. make one a democracy), and have the kingdoms' perspectives be shaped by the nature of their governments. This, in turn, would influence how the lives of the people in Valisthea's countries.[7]