A new salvo of Final Fantasy XVI interviews have bestowed new details about the 2023 action-RPG set to release on PlayStation 5. Featured is the game’s producer Naoki Yoshida, who is also the producer and director of the franchise’s latest MMORPG: Final Fantasy XIV.
As the latest numbered entry, Yoshida says he faced a lot of pressure taking on two Final Fantasy projects simultaneously, insisting to upper management that he would only take it on if he limited himself to a producer role rather than serving in two roles as he does on FFXIV. There’s also a lot of pressure in deciding the next destination for Final Fantasy, a series that has changed in myriad ways over its 35-year history, so much so that change is part of the tradition. However, Yoshida’s role here is more keeping things on the rails rather than participating in the day to day creative decisions.
The division Yoshida now helms, Creative Business Unit III, houses a lot of developers have a soft spot for the earlier titles in the series and their more medieval high-fantasy settings, and it was that affinity that lead them to create FFXVI’s setting as you see it, rather than a modern or modern-adjacent setting.
The game is also highly action-oriented, and while “one or more” party members will join Clive on his journey at various points, they will be governed by AI. They’ll join Clive in battle and banter with him, but he will be the focal point of gameplay. Torgal, the wolf puppy seen in the first trailer, will also have a role to play at Clive’s side — as some eagle-eyed fans noticed a paw print as one of Clive’s “Perks” in the Dominance trailer.
In said trailer we get a look at several sequences where enormous Eikons are fighting one another, with UI elements that resemble something of a fighting game. Yoshida comments that these sequences have a lot of moving parts, and that they’re not all the same. One encounter will feel like a fighting game, another a 3D shooting game, and another will transform an entire area into a battlefield. They are seeing to create a big impression with these sequences, and the UI elements were pared back for the trailer, but they wanted to avoid an impression that conveyed that these were not real-time.
The game won’t feature an open world, but will use “independent area-based game design” or, conventionally, “zones” that will impart the feeling of a game that takes place across a globe “and beyond.”
The story will explore “the inevitable clash of values and ideals when you get multiple different people with different ideals in the same room; what is truly right and what is truly wrong?” There story will follow Clive in his teens, 20s, and 30s, and will express more mature elements in its narrative. The team also wrestled with this and how the game would eventually be rated, and settled that a “Mature” rating would be the best fit for the game they wanted to make — marking a first in the [numbered] series. While FFXIV celebrates a lot of elements from the series past in its own way, FFXVI won’t be taking the same approach, though you can expect easter eggs that wink at what’s come before.
A third trailer is being planned for this coming autumn, and will focus on the game’s story, characters, and world.
If you’re looking for more things Final Fantasy XVI, check out Quinton’s excellent breakdown of what we know so far over this way.