Final Fantasy XVI, the next big mainline entry in the storied franchise, is approaching its release in mid-2023 as eager fans are slowly drip-fed new information and looks at the game. Most recently, the world was treated to the new Dominance trailer that gave us our best look yet at the game’s combat as well as the unique relationship between the game’s setting of Valisthea and the series’ staple summon creatures – here called Eikons.
We had the chance to speak to none other than the game’s producer and a major figure in the world of Final Fantasy, Naoki Yoshida, about Final Fantasy XVI – in particular how some of the gameplay shown off in trailers is going to work. While chatting about one of the features shown off in the new trailer, giant kaiju-style fights between the game’s Eikons, Yoshida-san explained the origins of the idea for these gameplay sequences and it wound up being a fairly entertaining story of real life informing the game:
“I think that idea originally came, I can’t remember if it was 2014 or 2015, but it was back during the Tokyo Game Show. And I was there at the Tokyo Game Show for the Final Fantasy XIV booth.
“So during that time, I wasn’t just at the Final Fantasy XIV booth, but I was called to a lot of different other booths where I would go to, you know, talk on stage or talk with other directors or be a part of those things. And so I had to go from booth to booth (to booth to booth) during that show. While it’s changed recently because of the Coronavirus and all the restrictions back then, you know, there were tonnes of people and it was ridiculously packed.
“And so when I was fighting my way through the crowded venue to another booth I looked up and I saw these giant balloons, one was a Chocobo and one was a Moogle. And I thought at that time, man, if I was as big as those balloons, if I was as big as Ifrit I could just take one step and go from here to the place that I wanted to be and pass all of these people.”
I think we’ve all been there at a packed convention, but it takes someone like Yoshi-P to have both the imagination to put themselves in the shoes of the Final Fantasy equivalent to a god to beat a crowd and the position and resources to spin the idea into an actual game mechanic for the next Final Fantasy. That’s exactly what’s happened though, with Final Fantasy XVI allowing players to transform themselves into the fabled Eikons (more on that here) to square off against the enemy.
Yoshida-san also reveals that the idea came before he’d even been asked to make the game itself.
“That idea kind of snowballed into this, ‘Okay, but if I could turn into a summon and be that, wouldn’t that be kind of an interesting game? You know, you start off as small but rather than summoning a summon you could become a summon yourself – become large, fight things, fight other summons.’ And it kind of snowballed from there into this idea that if I was ever to maybe make the next game I could do this. But then again, this is all before I was even asked to make Final Fantasy XVI.”