The man who saved Final Fantasy is forging its future with ‘FFXVI’

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The Final Fantasy collection is a staple in RPG tradition that helped standardize tropes which have outlined the style for many years. Though narratively unconnected, every sport’s turn-based fight, fantastical worlds and colourful, quirky characters struck comparable chords. You might at all times inform while you had been enjoying a Final Fantasy sport.

This brings us to “Final Fantasy XVI.” While the Sony State of Play game trailer confirmed acquainted summons which have turn into icons within the franchise, it confirmed little else that felt like gamers had been about to enter a Final Fantasy sport. The slower, extra methodical turned-based fight system is gone in favor of one thing that appears ripped straight from Devil May Cry. The fantastical setting is gone too, in favor of a extra lifelike medieval setting with darkish undertones akin to a Souls sport.

Working on the challenge is Naoki Yoshida, a producer first introduced on to salvage developer Square Enix’s critically panned enterprise into the MMORPG style, “Final Fantasy XIV,” and who is usually cited as saving not simply “FFXIV,” however doubtlessly the whole franchise. With this newest collection entry, he stated he’s needed to steadiness fan expectations with innovation.

“When you’re thinking about the future of the Final Fantasy franchise, you have to aim at that generation of players that have never touched a Final Fantasy before,” Yoshida stated in an interview with The Washington Post. “Maybe they think the series is too old, too classic. [So you] create something that shows them that this could be an exciting game.

“But I don’t want you to think that I’m abandoning those veterans players and fans of the series, because we’re definitely not. We want to create something that everyone feels is epic.”

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Square Enix has been battling an id disaster with the collection for greater than a decade. A tumultuous production cycle plagued 2006′s “Final Fantasy XII,” “Final Fantasy XIII’s” pivot to a extra action-based fight system polarized followers, and “Final Fantasy XV,” which strayed even farther from turn-based fight, featured a convoluted narrative that unfolded throughout a number of DLCs, a spinoff beat-em-up style game, an anime miniseries and a movie.

When “FFXIV” initially launched in 2010, it was closely criticized for its lack of content material, quite a few bugs and server failures. Yoshida, an avid MMORPG fan himself, was introduced on to steer a workforce that may primarily rebuild the sport completely. The outcome was “FFXIV: A Realm Reborn” in 2013, a way more streamlined expertise that mounted bugs and offered wealthy content material that not solely spoke to newcomers however longtime followers desperately searching for indicators of the franchise they as soon as knew.

Yoshida, now the producer of “FFXVI,” which is about to launch in 2023, is incorporating the teachings he’s taken away from “FFXIV” into “FFXVI’s” design philosophy. The fight system of “FFXVI” is a primary instance of this: It’s action-oriented, emphasizing flashy combos and read-and-react fight that the Final Fantasy collection has been trending towards since “FFXII,” however makes an attempt to include parts longtime followers will acknowledge.

Fighting received’t be a solo expertise, opposite to the way it seems within the trailer. The foremost character, Clive, can be accompanied by a number of AI-controlled social gathering members who will banter and join all through the sport, just like previous Final Fantasy video games. Yoshida additionally teases that there can be a “faithful buddy” that Clive can provide particular instructions to throughout the fight, regardless of nearly all of participant management specializing in Clive.

While particular particulars of the fight can be revealed at a later date, Yoshida is assured within the course the system is taking. He believes that Square Enix, now with titles like “Final Fantasy XV,” “Final Fantasy VII Remake” and the Kingdom Hearts collection below its belt, lastly has the experience to create a compelling motion fight system that gamers, no matter their familiarity with the collection, will get pleasure from.

“The Kingdom Hearts team at Square Enix has been especially helpful in contributing to those real-time combat and boss battles,” Yoshida stated. “It can be said that the battles in ‘FFXVI’ are in some ways a culmination of the company’s past experiences.”

The workforce, led by Battle Director Ryota Suzuki, previously of Capcom, who helped design “Marvel vs. Capcom 2,” “Devil May Cry 5” and “Dragon’s Dogma,” feels equally assured, in accordance with Yoshida. Issues that plagued earlier video games within the franchise — round battle animations, fight fluidity and messy UIs — have all been streamlined because of Suzuki’s steerage.

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Yoshida additionally believes that the sport’s story — which he says will not be going to be a cheerful story, and features a setting, Valisthea, that’s a lot darker than earlier entries — can have overarching themes paying homage to what followers of the collection have come to count on.

“One of the main themes that’s explored in ‘Final Fantasy XVI’s’ narrative deals with a clash of ideals. What is right and wrong? Should the people live the life that was chosen for them, or should they have the right to choose the path that they walk?” Yoshida stated.

Square Enix made positive that one of many first screens that masses up when enjoying “Final Fantasy XV” was a message that stated the sport was “A Final Fantasy for Fans and First-Timers.” Yoshida believes that “Final Fantasy XVI” can even capitalize on that message.

“Personally, I think all games should be like that,” he stated. “You can see the same thing in ‘Final Fantasy XIV.’ So our foundation [for ‘Final Fantasy XVI’] is to build something that’s going to be enjoyable for veteran fans as well as new players.”

Gene Park contributed to this report.


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Jhaan Elker

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