In a new interview, Final Fantasy producer Naoki Yoshida has spoken more about how Final Fantasy XVI’s shift towards a more action-focused approach is so that it can appeal to a younger audience.
Speaking to Famitsu (and translated by VGC), Yoshida said that the decision was made to move away from traditional turn-based RPG mechanics as the studio believes that younger audiences aren’t interested in the genre.
“I’m from a generation that grew up with command and turn-based RPGs,” Yoshida said. “I think I understand how interesting and immersive it can be. On the other hand, for the past decade or so, I’ve seen quite a number of opinions saying ‘I don’t understand the attraction of selecting commands in video games’. This opinion is only increasing, particularly with younger audiences who do not typically play RPGs.”
The producer added that advancements in gaming technology had largely made the idea of a battle command prompt an unnecessary step for pulling off actions, but he isn’t against the idea of revisiting a classic RPG formula in the future. The reality of Final Fantasy XVI according to Yoshida is that Square Enix expects it to be a commercial and critical success, while also being capable of growing the franchise for a newer and younger audience.
“As I said, I believe I know the fun of command system RPGs, and I want to continue developing them, but I thought about the expected sales of Final Fantasy XVI and the impact that we have to deliver,” Yoshida said.
Final Fantasy XVI includes a number of industry veterans in its team, with one notable name being Ryota Suzuki, the game’s combat director. Having previously worked on Dragon’s Dogma, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Devil May Cry 5, Suzuki is also working alongside art director Hiroshi Minagawa and Last Remnant’s Hiroshi Takaim, who is credited as the main director.
Even though it’s being designed to appeal to a younger audience, Final Fantasy XVI still features a mature storyline and unique spaces in which Eikon battles play out. Final Fantasy XVI is aiming for a Summer 2023 launch, exclusively on PS5, and will be followed by Final Fantasy VII Rebirth in Winter 2023.