Final Fantasy 16's Focus On Story Is A Direct Response To FF15's Lackluster One
Producer Naoki Yoshida acknowledged that franchise fans were let down by Final Fantasy 15's incomplete narrative.
In an interview with RPG Site, Yoshida made clear that even more so than the stylish new action-battle system, the story is FFXVI's real focus. It's an effort to return to what many fans love most about the series, and a response to what was lacking in the previous entry in the franchise.
"We put our main focus, even more than action, on that story," Yoshida said. "And you look back at the previous games, at FFXV - they have their story, but it wasn't complete. And then they try to make it complete, and then they promise more story, but then they don't give us the story…and so you had a lot of people that went into the series wanting us to give them a great story, and they didn't get that."
Yoshida's quote references the fact that many fans felt FFXV's story was incomplete when it released in 2016. Additional cutscenes and DLC expansions would further flesh out the game's cast of characters and main story, but those would come years after the game's initial launch, culminating in 2018's FFXV Royal Edition.
Yoshida said that story is one of the main pillars of the series, and that disappointed fans didn't get a complete story in FFXV when it first released. It's for that reason Yoshida is most interested in seeing what players think of FFXVI's darker narrative.
"That's what I want to know," Yoshida said. "I want to know if they're going to say, 'This was the greatest thing ever,' or 'this was a really interesting story.' I'm just waiting to see how the fans react to the story, because that's what we've put so much effort into."
Based on impressions from the game's opening hours, FFXVI's story sounds like it will be a brutal affair, with GameSpot editor Michael Higham writing FFXVI's "opening makes it abundantly clear that it's working in a much more grim context" compared to earlier games in the series.
In a recent interview, Yoshida floated the idea of dropping the numbers from future Final Fantasy entries, considering the vast majority of games in the franchise are standalone. It's something Yoshida "has discussed with the higher-ups," but ultimately comes down to marketing, Yoshida said.
FFXVI arrives exclusively for PlayStation 5 on June 22, 2023.
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