Despite being roughly a year off from release, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy 16 is one of the most anticipated games ever. The latest trailer offered a look at how Eikon battles worked and the types of enemies that protagonist Clive would face. However, it turns out that he won’t be flying solo after all.
In a new interview with IGN, producer Naoki Yoshida confirmed that there will be companions accompanying Clive on his journey. “We didn’t want to overwhelm users in our newest trailer, so we focused solely on Clive’s battles. That said, for most of his journey, Clive will be accompanied by one or more companions. These companions will participate in battle, as well as trade banter with Clive. That said, the party members will be AI-driven to allow players to focus solely on controlling Clive.”
It also seems that the wolf-pup from the first trailer, who’s named Torgal, could end up as a party member. Yoshida responded “wait and see” when asked if Torgal would play a role in combat. More details on parties will reportedly be coming soon.
Regarding combat, Yoshida talked about the comparison between Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s approach and that of Final Fantasy 16 (which is entirely real-time). “[Final Fantasy 7 Remake] would not exist without the original [Final Fantasy 7], and those original systems ultimately influenced what Remake became. [Final Fantasy 16], however, is a completely new game with a completely different concept. To take the series in a new direction, rather than build off old battle systems, director Hiroshi Takai and battle director Ryota Suzuki made real-time action their focus.
“Translating traditional summon abilities into player actions, and allowing for the real-time swapping and chaining of these abilities in battle has allowed us to create a system that not only looks great but feels good to play.” Combat with the Eikons, which are essentially each nation’s weapon of mass destruction, has been viewed as akin to kaiju battles but Yoshida says that “battle type and scale are somewhat fluid.”
“Eikons appear in many different situations and iterations. No one design concept covers all of them. Some will face Clive as fierce enemies, some will be friends and come to Clive’s aid. There will also be times when the player will control an Eikon in real-time, battling other Eikons. The battle type and scale are somewhat fluid and change seamlessly in real-time depending on the battle…keeping things at maximum excitement while maintaining immersion.
“These varied types of Eikon-driven action-oriented battles are one of the main selling points of [Final Fantasy 16], and we’ll be bringing more to you in the coming months about them.”
Given its history and Yoshida’s work on Final Fantasy 14, fans can expect some Easter eggs. However, you won’t find as many “tributes” to previous titles as Final Fantasy 14 did. “The development concepts for [Final Fantasy 14] and [Final Fantasy 16] are inherently different. [Final Fantasy 16] does something that no Final Fantasy before it has — take aspects of the entire series and incorporate them into what we like to call a ‘Final Fantasy Theme Park.’ However, while that is a [Final Fantasy 14] concept, it is not a specific [Business Unit 3] development team characteristic.
“[Final Fantasy 16] is its entity, separate from [Final Fantasy 14] and the other games in the series, so you won’t find as many ‘tributes’ as you will in [Final Fantasy 14]. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be some Easter eggs, though! That said, [Final Fantasy 16]’s main focus will be on maintaining that series-wide feel of ‘playing a movie’ rather than drawing from past titles,” said Yoshida.
Final Fantasy 16 will release in Summer 2023 for PS5. More details on the story and world will be revealed this Fall so stay tuned.