Next years Final Fantasy XVI it purports to be the first numbered main game in the franchise to receive a rating of M (for Mature) from the Entertainment Software Rating Board. That’s according to producer Naoki Yoshida, who told GameSpot in a recent interview that a higher age rating is needed to tell a story with “difficult adult themes.”
Responding to a question about “implied nudity” in a recent trailer for the game, Yoshida complained a bit about the age ratings he sees as “becoming[ing] more and more restrictive recently regarding what can and cannot be shown.” While acknowledging that those ratings are important to protect younger players, Yoshida said that a lower age rating can be “something of a hindrance ” for storytelling.
“You find yourself changing the things you wanted to do in the game based on that rating,” Yoshida said. “You wanted to show something, but because you have this specific rating that you have to go to, you have to zoom out. And that ends up making the whole experience feel a little bit cheaper.”
To get around that problem, Yoshida said Final Fantasy XVI will be “pursue[ing] a mature rating in most regions that will release the game.” That’s not just to be “more violent or…more explicit,” he said, but to “explore those more mature themes than the game’s tackling.”
In the US, early 2D Final Fantasy games have generally received ESRB ratings of E (for everyone) or E-10+ (for everyone over 10). Entries in the 3D-era series overwhelmingly top out at a T-rating (for teens); final fantasy XVfor example, it received a T rating for “Language, Mild Blood, Partial Nudity, [and] Violence.” The ESRB’s article on the game’s content noted “realistic gunshots” and impaled characters, as well as “some female characters [that] they are depicted topless, with breasts that lack perceptible detail (i.e., no nipples).”
Only two spin-off games that use the Final Fantasy have received M ratings in the past: 2015 Final Fantasy Type-0 HD and 2022 Stranger from Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. However, the story of the last game did not seem to benefit from the rating’s relative lack of restrictions; VentureBeat’s review summed up the critical consensus by describing the game’s “ugly graphics, shallow characters, and pointless script”.
In other promotional interviews around Final Fantasy XVIPlanned to release in summer 2023 on PS5 and PC, Yoshida revealed that the game will depart from its predecessor by not offering players freeform “open world” exploration. “In order to bring a story that feels like it spans an entire world and beyond, we decided to avoid an open world design that limits us to a single open world space, and instead focus on an area-based standalone game design. that can give players a better sense of a truly ‘global’ scale,” Yoshida told IGN.
Yoshida also promised some extreme variety in the fights between the Final Fantasy XVIThe powerful Eikons of , which can be summoned by gifted characters in the game world. “For example, maybe an Eikon vs. Eikon battle… will be reminiscent of a 3D shooter. Whereas another Eikon vs. a different Eikon, it’s more like a professional wrestling match, and then maybe even a third with one Eikon against another. Eikon will transform an entire area into a battlefield,” Yoshida told Game Informer. “And again, we don’t reuse these systems, and each of these Eikon vs. Eikon battles is unique and will change with each battle.”