Final Fantasy XVI Director Wants To Shake Up The Series With Epic Monster Battles


What Naoki Yoshida is most excited about in Final Fantasy XVI is the eikon battles.

Speaking to The Tech Warrior, Yoshida, the game’s director, explained how earth-shattering, knock-down, drag-out combat between some of the franchise’s most prominent and popular monsters played a big part in this latest single-player. , non-remake entry in the 35-year-old JRPG series.

Summons – aka espers, aka aeons, aka eidolons, aka GF (lol) and now eikons – were a fixture in the Final Fantasy series and represent a sort of “emergency break glass” – option in combat. Over the years, players have had varying levels of control over them with the power to summon them for a one-time big hit like in Final Fantasy VII and IX, give them instant commands like in Final Fantasy X, or summon as NPC battle allies like in FFXII. But Final Fantasy XVI seems to offer more to summon fights than just show up a big dude to beat other dudes in front of you.

Image: Square Enix

“We have this epic summon versus summon battles,” said Yoshida, speaking through a translator. “And these won’t just be in cutscenes. The players will be able to actually step into those battles and control their own eikon and feel the excitement from within, not just from the outside.”

Eikons are at the heart of all the trailers, media, and lore we’ve seen of Final Fantasy XVI thus far, and focusing the game on these creatures of immense and awe-inspiring power is key to Yoshida’s vision.

“We see Final Fantasy XVI as a massive, super-fast rollercoaster that takes players on an exciting ride, both in story and gameplay.”

Final Fantasy is in the midst of a “hot Garuda summer period”. Final Fantasy XIV continues to be popular worldwide as fans eagerly await the arrival of not only a Crisis Core remake, but also the launch of the second installment in the Final Fantasy VII Remake trilogy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a single player or MMO Final Fantasy fan, you’ll eat well. But the arrival of XVI revives concerns about Square Enix’s ability to craft a successful, original, single-player Final Fantasy title.

Image of Final Fantasy XVI main character Clive Rosefield standing in front of a backdrop of flames

Image: Square Enix

The annoying title Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin made waves for being a weird “cringe but make it camp” game outside the traditional action RPG format, but it didn’t enjoy widespread success. In addition, Final Fantasy XV was a commercial hit, but a critical failure that was plagued by delays, scope changes, platform changes, and leadership changes, creating a messy medley of a game (albeit sprinkled with some truly brilliant series-defining moments) with a back. -half that’s almost indefensible.

Going to XVI, Yoshida and his team were aware of the issues that haunted the production of FFXV.

“One of the first things we did in the early days of Final Fantasy XVI development, when we were just a small team, was to focus first on what kind of game system we have,” Yoshida said. “And once we had that, we completed the flesh of the script and story.”

The result, Yoshida says, is a game that is currently fully playable from start to finish, hopefully without having to worry about needing DLC ​​or books to fill in gaps or flesh out the game’s story better afterwards. to push.

Fans are excited about XVI in a way that they may not have been for other Final Fantasy games because of Yoshida. He’s a major reason Square Enix saved Final Fantasy XIV from a barely playable mess in the critically acclaimed game that was so popular last year that sales and free trials had to be suspended to ease server congestion. I wanted to know what, if any, of its secret FFXIV sauce it made in FFXVI.

But Yoshida said that working on Final Fantasy XVI didn’t make too much use of his experience with Final Fantasy XIV, because they’re two very different games for players who want very different things.

“We see Final Fantasy XVI as a massive, super-fast rollercoaster that takes players on an exciting ride, both in story and gameplay.”

“Working on a main title and finding out who the fans of Final Fantasy are and what those fans expect from the series has been invaluable,” said Yoshida.

Yoshida explained that the experience of developing these games is the difference between a marathon and a 100m sprint. He is a marathon runner, used to stretching a story to keep the fans interested and playing continuously, and he had to train himself to run much faster over a much shorter distance, as it were.

“Compared to an MMO, single-player games are more about providing instant gratification,” he said. “They’re short bursts of extreme excitement and then when you get to the finish line they end with a bang that makes people think, ‘Wow, that was a great game.'”

Yoshida is not the only person from the FFXIV team working on FFXVI. Fans are equally excited to see how XIV’s composer, Masayoshi Soken, is working on XVI’s music. I asked if Yoshida had any insight into how Soken handled the new assignment.

Image of a monstrous grinning Eikon Titan from Final Fantasy XVI

Image: Square Enix

“Final Fantasy XIV has always been considered a Final Fantasy theme park, and this has allowed for many different kinds of music styles,” said Yoshida. “However, Final Fantasy XVI is a more focused experience that focuses firmly on Clive Rosefield and his journey. As such, I envisioned a more focused experience when it came to music.”

Yoshida shared that Soken confided in him that he was actually having a hard time adjusting to working on a single-player game.

“Focusing on one theme was actually quite challenging for him,” Yoshida said. “It’s been a long time since he’s had to do that and isn’t able to just do what he wants.”

Yoshida feels that Final Fantasy XVI is sort of coming of age for him. He talked about his time playing the first Final Fantasy as a kid and how his fantasy made him feel like he was playing a movie. Now, with all the technological advancements, he no longer has to rely on his imagination.

“I see Final Fantasy XVI as taking the best part of a movie and the best part of a game and putting them together to make a really interactive type of game/movie,” he said. “The most exciting thing about developing this game was the eikons with the sheer size and scale of their battles. When I was a kid playing Final Fantasy I, with its pixelated graphics, I imagined them to look like and to be able to see them now was really exciting.