Final Fantasy 16 has been making waves since its initial announcement, with the latest trailer showcasing massive Eikon bosses, new characters, and incredible visuals. Of course, as big as the narrative can be, there is plenty of side content to play through.
In a new interview with IGN, director Hiroshi Takai was asked about the story’s linearity and if any optional side quests expand on the lore. He said, “The part that we call the main story is a rich, expansive narrative that moves forward without any branching points. However, there are lots of side stories interspersed around the main story. These side stories give a lot of insight into the lore and show different sides of the characters.
“The areas themselves are of varying sizes, some smaller and some larger, but there are multiple so-called ‘field’ areas of around [two square kilometres], containing settlements and other features within them. As you progress through the story, you’ll also encounter quite a good number of areas called ‘stages’.”
Though there’s quite a bit of exploration, players don’t need to “really pour your energy into exploration to avoid the game becoming difficult to make progress with later on.” It’s a possible indication that players won’t have to worry about diverting from the main quest to grind out levels.
For those who do go off the beaten path, there are places to gather resources, strong foes called Elite Marks, and “situations” that Clive needs to survive while his Eikon powers are restricted. As Takai notes, “It’s not a game that you can finish in its entirety by only following the main story.”
Final Fantasy 16 is out in Summer 2023 for PS5. Development has entered the home stretch, and the team is currently working on “debugging, tweaking, polishing, and optimization.” Stay tuned for more details in the meantime.