Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Square Enix office in Tokyo to be among the first in the world to have hands-on playtime with Final Fantasy XVI, the epic new mainline series entry being helmed by Final Fantasy XIV’s Creative Business Unit III and its fearless leader, Naoki Yoshida.
You can read all about my experience with more than two hours of the game right here, but following that session I also had the chance to speak to Yoshida-san along with the game’s Director, Hiroshi Takai, the Combat Director, Ryota Suzuki as well as Localisation Director, Koji Fox – joined by my fellow Aussie, SkillUp.
If my previous chats with Yoshi-P have proved anything, it’s that the man loves to talk passionately about his work and the work of his team, so much so that an hour session quickly disappeared this time around, but there’s always an idea or a notion that really stands out.
For me, it was something that Yoshida said in response to a question from SkillUp about the team’s hopes for Final Fantasy XVI and its lasting legacy.
In response, what the beloved producer described as his goal is, “For players to play this and then, five years later, have them say that it was just an amazing experience. Like a wow. That it blew them away.
“And wow can be perceived in a lot of different manners, you know? Because of the story or because it’s got lots of crazy boss battles.”
Yoshida explains that he wants players to think, “Whoever made this must have been out of their minds.”
“What we want is just for players to have that sense of wow. And for that to be the one word that describes [Final Fantasy] XVI.
“Hopefully, through Final Fantasy XVI, we can regain that sense that the Final Fantasy series is a “must-buy,” that you must check this out. It’s something that we don’t have now and that we can return to – when a Final Fantasy comes out, it’s something that you must play.”
It was refreshing to hear someone so senior talk about the series with the admission that it’s fallen from the lofty heights it once enjoyed, and doubly so that there’s a belief it could rise to those same heights again.
After having ample time with the game myself to get a feel for its bold new action combat system, grim fantasy setting and astounding Eikon battles I’m fairly confident to suggest that such a bold goal might not be out of reach for the team credited with “saving” Final Fantasy XIV, at least as long as the full game has me saying wow just as much as I did in my preview session when it launches in a few months time.
You can read more about our time with Final Fantasy XVI and some of its key development team right here.