Final Fantasy 16 is likely to receive a mature rating ahead of its launch in summer of 2023, which is somewhat of a novelty for games in Square Enix’s storied role-playing series. To date, there are only a handful of titles that go beyond the T- or E-rating, and Final Fantasy XVI looks set to be among them. In an interview with GameSpot, producer Naoki Yoshida said the team pursued this rating as it let them tell the story they wanted to more freely.
According to Yoshida, although he believes somewhat restrictive ratings are important to ensure the proper people are consuming the appropriate content, trying to tell a more mature story while adhering to the restrictions of ratings below the mature level can hamper the creative process and the experience for players.
“When trying to tell a story with difficult adult themes, these ratings can end up becoming somewhat of a hindrance. And you find yourself changing things that you wanted to do in the game based on that rating. You wanted to show something, but because you have this certain rating that you need to go to, you need to move the camera away. And that ends up making the entire experience feel a little bit cheaper.”
For Final Fantasy XVI, however, Square Enix is breaking from the norm and pushing for the mature end of the rating scale. To date, only Final Fantasy Type-0 and Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin have been rated mature, and both of these are spin-off titles. Final Fantasy XVI is the first in the mainline series to receive this rating.
“This time, to make sure that we could tell the story that we wanted in the way that we wanted to, we decided to pursue a mature rating in most of the regions that will be releasing the game,” Yoshida explained. “But again, this is not because we simply wanted to make the game more violent or the game more explicit, this is because we felt it was necessary to allow us to explore those more mature themes that the game tackles.”
Although the ESRB rating is pending as of the time of writing, PEGI, the European regulatory body, has already issued Final Fantasy XVI a provisional 18 rating and, based on the the latest trailer, it’s likely to stay this way, barring any major tweaks to the content of the game.
Final Fantasy XVI will be releasing Summer 2023 exclusively on PS5.