How To Unlock Final Fantasy 16: The Rising Tide’s Secret Boss

How To Unlock Final Fantasy 16: The Rising Tide’s Secret Boss

Final Fantasy 16 is a pretty casual-friendly game, despite its shift to combo-heavy action combat. So it’s come as a bit of a shock that The Rising Tide DLC has upped the difficulty quite a bit, featuring some of the most intense boss fights in the entire game. But what if I were to tell you that there’s an even harder boss fight hidden within The Rising Tide that most players likely won’t ever see for themselves?

Spoiler warning: The first part of this post discusses how to reach the secret boss. A second section after that discusses the boss’ identity. If you do not wish to know who the secret boss is, scroll with caution.

Yes, there’s a secret boss stowed away in The Rising Tide’s new endgame mode: Kairos Gate. Per the “Leviathan the (Not So) Lost is Here” panel held at PAX East 2024, the secret boss is accessible by completing every stage of Kairos Gate on Final Fantasy mode with an S Rank rating. This will unlock a new “???” Circle at the end of the run that will pit Clive against the “new” foe.

Obviously, this is no small feat. Just surviving all 20 floors of Kairos Gate presents a huge jump in challenge, especially if you’ve relied on potions and checkpoints to clear tough fights (neither of which exist in Kairos Gate). Clearing it with perfect marks is, of course, even more demanding. Seeing this encounter will take some serious action game finesse.

However, if you’re expecting a huge surprise hidden away here, you’d best keep your expectations in check.

Who is the Kairos Gate secret boss?

Final warning: if you do not wish to know the boss’ identity, turn back now.

While this writer hasn’t quite reached this boss himself (it’s just because I haven’t started a Final Fantasy mode file myself, I swear), footage from top players online already show this encounter in action. From this, we can see that the secret boss is based on the Infernal Shadow, or The Shadow Within.

In other words, the secret boss in The Rising Tide is the “Shadow Clive” doppelganger boss from the “Buried Memories” chapter of the main story, albeit a more intense version of that encounter.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

This may disappoint some hoping for a bonus Eikon like Alexander or a cameo fight against, say, Gilgamesh. That said, it’s best to view this boss as more of a badge of honor for players who have mastered the combat mechanics of Final Fantasy 16. There doesn’t appear to be a significant reward for clearing this fight, so you don’t have to grind for this encounter if you’re just trying to chase trophies.

If you do manage to unlock this fight, feel free to show off your achievement everywhere you can. At the end of the day, that’s the real reward.

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