Final Fantasy XVI Preview - An Interview With Naoki Yoshida On Eikons, Boss Fights, And When We’ll See More

Final Fantasy XVI Preview – An Interview With Naoki Yoshida On Eikons, Boss Fights, And When We’ll See More

Square Enix unveiled a new trailer for Final Fantasy XVI during a recent PlayStation State of Play. It was our biggest look yet at the upcoming RPG and the trailer revealed that Final Fantasy XVI is due out sometime during the summer of next year.

game informer spoke with the game’s producer, Naoki Yoshida, who is also the director of Final Fantasy XIV, about this new FFXVI “Dominance” trailer, which includes the franchise’s return to a more medieval setting, Eikons, boss fights, and much more. plus.

game informer: Final Fantasy has a history of experimenting with different combat systems in new mainline entries and Final Fantasy XVI appears to be doing the same, with probably the biggest emphasis on action in the mainline series thus far. How did the team come to this style of combat, and what is it like to see it brought to life through combat director Ryota Suzuki (a designer whose credits include Devil May Cry 5, Dragon’s Dogma, and Marvel vs. Capcom 2)?

Naoki Yoshida: You asked me about the direction with the combat system and I replied that in order to contribute to the overall evolution of the Final Fantasy series, we decided that instead of building on the previous Final Fantasy battle systems, we would shift our focus to one of action instead. real time. And so once we had that concept, that we were going to go in this direction, it was easy for our director and our battle director, Ryota Suzuki, to take the reins and bring something that was really action-focused.

For the battle system, we’ve not only given the main character, Clive, an arsenal of powerful attacks and abilities based on these traditional Final Fantasy summons, but also let him cycle through those attacks in real time, to deal to those attacks in real time. [This allows] for powerful combos and smooth, sleek gameplay that looks and feels great.

An example of this is how you saw it in that [Dominance] trailer where you have one of Garuda’s abilities where you lift the enemy up into the air and then while you’re in the air Clive can switch to Titan and use one of Titan’s abilities to knock the enemy into the ground. This kind of continual swapping of actions and chaining them together to create these unique combinations…it all depends on the different playstyles of the players. There’s a lot of room to customize these types of builds that Clive has and for the player to find a build that matches his play style is one of the fun things about the action system that we have.

Many of our developers on our development team at [Creative Business Unit III] I had no experience creating an action game. It was very challenging for us. And to have the immensely talented action veteran Ryota Suzuki on our team, who has seen our development progress, from battle systems to animation and everything in between he has pretty much touched, morphed and made into something beyond what we thought possible. what could. has been. We are very, very happy to have him and we are blessed.

American soldier: Throughout the trailer, there are a number of health bars at the top of the screen, both in human vs. human fights and Eikon vs. Eikon battles. What is going on with these, and are they meant to be reminiscent of fighting games?

Yoshida: Regarding the health bars and UI, I saw a lot of comments on social media after the trailer was posted about how the UI is a bit reminiscent of a fighting game. When we started developing the game, and we had our “Clive vs. smaller enemies” battles or our “Eikon vs. Eikon” battles, when we were first developing them, we did them with almost no UI on screen. But we realized that when playing this it was very little information: we needed more information. That said, we didn’t want the screen to be cluttered, so after a lot of back and forth and trying a lot of different things, we got to the design… in the trailer, and it looks like it’s a fighting game. just something that ended up happening.

However, the overall game design for these Eikon vs. Eikon battles is meant to be unique, and in fact, we don’t actually use the exact same system twice. Each battle is completely unique in its style of play, so we’re doing something that’s a little crazy.

For example, maybe an Eikon vs. Eikon battle, if you have Eikon A vs. Eikon B, that battle will be reminiscent of a 3D shooter. Whereas another Eikon against a different Eikon, it’s more like a professional wrestling match, and then maybe even a third one with an Eikon against another Eikon will transform an entire area into a battlefield. And again, we don’t reuse these systems and each of these Eikon vs. Eikon battles is unique and will change with each battle. Because of that, and because the battles are so different in nature, the user interface has to change for each battle. And so you will see slight differences in UI between these battles. However, we ended up having to cut a lot of the trailer because it ends up being story spoilers and we didn’t want to have that.

He then asks, “well, if you’ve hidden part of the UI, why didn’t you hide the entire UI like those HP bars? Why did you leave those? and that was simply because if you remove all the HP bars and all the UI, people start saying, “oh that’s just pre-rendered, it’s not running in real time.” We wanted to show that what you saw in the trailer was in real time, so we made the decision to leave a bit of that UI.

American soldier: Many gamers are excited about the prospect of a single-player Final Fantasy from the developers behind FFXIV. What learnings, mechanics and systems, and storytelling techniques, if any, from FFXIV can fans expect to show up in some capacity in FFXVI?

Yoshida: So Final Fantasy XIV was designed as an MMORPG from scratch, while Final Fantasy XVI was designed as a single-player game from scratch, so from the beginning you will have completely different design concepts. As you know, MMORPGs are all about the long haul – you’re chaining experiences together over an extended period of time to maintain that user base.

Single player games, on the other hand, are much more about that, I guess you could say, instant gratification. They are fast, they hit you with emotion. That excitement is concentrated in a smaller package. So with that in mind, you can imagine that, at least system-wise, Final Fantasy XIV may not have influenced Final Fantasy XVI all that much. With that being said though, one of the most unique things about Final Fantasy XIV is the kind of connection the development team has with the community. [and] the amount of communication that goes back and forth between the development team and the community. Over the last 11 years, interaction with the community has given us a lot of valuable information about what fans want and expect from the series. And having this knowledge base of 11 years has helped us and allowed us to put some of those ideas and incorporate them into the development of Final Fantasy XVI.

American soldier: Recent mainline Final Fantasy games have leaned more towards modern timelines, with a heavy emphasis on integrating technology with magic, but FFXVI feels decidedly more medieval or classic FF. How did the team get to this stage and time period when developing the game?

Yoshida: The answer to that is quite simple: it happens that many of the core members in [Creative Business Unit III] I really enjoyed those classic Final Fantasies as well as that classic medieval European fantasy feel, myself included, and we wanted to create a game that had that feel. In creating this game, we wanted to take that aspect, that medieval European classic fantasy aspect, and merge it with our own unique idea that we had, and then take all of that and try to express it with the current level of technology and make something that is very, very exciting.

As you know, the Final Fantasy series is quite famous, or infamous, for being different with each entry in the series. That being said, after doing some recent user research, we found that many of the users were finding that much of the recent Final Fantasy [games] We were getting a bit static on that vision, so we wanted to use this as an opportunity to step back and try something different; not only for us, but thinking about the future of Final Fantasy and upcoming projects, we wanted to try something different and maybe show that yes, the series can go in different directions instead of focusing on just one.

While we just released our second trailer, we are currently working on preparing a third trailer for release this fall. In that trailer, we’re hoping to focus a bit more on the world, the lore, and the story, and hopefully bring a bit more of that information to the players, showing what the story is going to be like, how the narrative is going. be, and how that is going to fit into the world.

American soldier: Obviously you are a very busy person with FFXIV, but now you are producing FFXVI. What’s it like working on a new mainline singleplayer FF and having Creative Business Unit III running the project?

Yoshida: It doesn’t really matter what kind of project I’m on. Being the boss of any game or any project, the pressure is always immense. There are always a lot of people and money involved in this. As you know, in Final Fantasy XIV I am both producer and director. However, this time in the XVI, I’m just a producer. So in that sense, it took a huge weight off my shoulders.

The fact that Final Fantasy XVI is the most recent entry in the series means that all eyes will be on us, as pretty much everyone is struggling to figure out what kind of game it will be, and a lot of that pressure goes directly to The principal. And again, with all that pressure not falling on the producer, but rather, like I said, the director, Hiroshi Takai, or the battle director, Ryota Suzuki, or our creative director and screenwriter, Kazutoyo Maehiro, or even if I I’m the localization director and I help with world lore and things like that, there’s a lot of pressure on us. And as a producer, it’s my job to see that this pressure isn’t too much for the people who work below me. To be able to come in and do these kinds of interviews and talk to the media and make sure important information gets out there so the burden doesn’t fall on the team. It’s something I can do, again, to take that burden off of them and for me, that’s a lot easier than being a director.

Once again, I was very honored when the company came to me and [Creative Business Unit III] and asked us to direct the last numbered Final Fantasy. But again, that opportunity would never have been possible if it wasn’t for the time we put into Final Fantasy XIV and the voice of the users and the voice of the media that covered us. So I would like to thank you for giving us this opportunity to create the ultimate Final Fantasy.


To learn more about Final Fantasy XVI, check out the Dominance trailer and admire the beautiful scenery in these new screenshots. After that, read about how excited I am for the Kaiju-style fights it seems to be giving us, and then check out Game Informer’s ranking of each major Final Fantasy game.


What excites you most about Final Fantasy XVI?

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