Among the many new details that producer Naoki Yoshida offered on Final Fantasy 16 last month was that it wouldn’t be an open-world title. This was done to present a globe-spanning (and beyond) story, which would have felt limited by “a single open-world space.” In a new interview with Famitsu magazine (translation by VGC), Yoshida reveals that going open-world would have resulted in a significantly longer development time.
He explained, “When I played the first Final Fantasy, I thought ‘this is a movie-like gaming experience.’ The production, the dialogue timing, the drama, the sound—they all combined to create the greatest gaming experience possible. Once a Chocobo or Moogle was included, I thought it was already a Final Fantasy experience. That game experience must be felt in Final Fantasy 16 as well.
“Additionally, it is necessary to understand the overall outline of the game design by taking into account the strengths of the team itself. When thinking about it, I thought, ‘I believe an open world would not fit for what we are planning now.’”
Yoshida’s main aims for the project include “a story of a hero who saves the world because this is Final Fantasy. I want a summon to go wild and destroy the map. I want to release this game as soon as possible. I cannot release this game in parts.
“When considering these four main points, I believe it is practically impossible to ask for everything. If we had a development period of about 15 years, we may have had the opportunity of challenging ourselves with an open world [smiles]. After all, it’s almost impossible in terms of time and cost to create a global story within an open world.
“I thought that the development team would be worried about this. Delivering what we believe is the best story, in an experience that blends games and movies, does not require an open world. For example, if you say, ‘I have a good idea and I can definitely do it!’ I will support you. However, if you are unsure if we should do it, I would tell you that we shouldn’t.”
Final Fantasy 16 is slated to release in Summer 2023 for PS5. It takes place in the world of Valisthea, which consists of six realms. Each has its own respective Eikon, a powerful summon like Garuda or Titan, and Dominant, a host capable of wielding their power. Players control Clive, the Dominant of Ifrit, who embarks on a journey of vengeance.
Along with utilizing different abilities from each Eikon, players will engage in massive Eikon battles, each with its unique mechanics (one is said to resemble a pro wrestling match). More details on the story and world are coming this Fall along with a new trailer so stay tuned.