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Final Fantasy 16 producers on trying to regain fans’ trust

by TodayDigitNews@gmail.com
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  • By Stephen Powell
  • game correspondent

image source, square Enix

image caption,

Final Fantasy 16 will be released on Thursday (featuring protagonist Clive’s eyes)

Exquisite hairstyles that never go out of place, a loyal brotherhood, and a story with even more plot twists than Succession. These are the elements that have made the Final Fantasy series stand the test of time.

But despite the mixed reviews of its predecessor, this latest installment, which launched on Thursday, has some work to do.

Final Fantasy 16 producer Naoki Yoshida said, “Final Fantasy 15’s story wasn’t as well-received as its predecessors, so we focused on regaining player trust and showing once again that this series is all about story. I needed it,” he explains.

Its story is clearly inspired by fantasy shows like Game of Thrones and encourages players to think about better defending the planet. A theme that has existed throughout the history of the franchise.

It’s up to the player to interpret these messages, but Naoki Yoshida said: “I see games as entertainment and I hope that players can get something out of this entertainment.

“Talking about the environment and those issues is very important, but I think the focus of Final Fantasy 16 is that there is darkness in the world, and there is darkness in us. In order to overcome it and move on to tomorrow, we must embrace the darkness.”

“But I’m not in a position to say this is what the players should feel, because everyone feels something different. But if they feel something, it’s us. I am very proud and happy for you.”

Most games avoid overt messages about social or political issues so as not to alienate potential players who may have differing opinions.

Aoif Wilson, who reviewed the title for Eurogamer, said that the ecological themes of the series are clear, stating, “In general, most Final Fantasy games boil down to the story being about protecting the Earth, and about saving the planet.” I think it says something about protecting the earth, mining it for selfish reasons.

“But what I really like about ’16’ is that it tries to tell the whole story through a much more human perspective than the previous titles.”

image source, square Enix

image caption,

Crystals have played an important role throughout the series, and that’s especially true in Final Fantasy 16.

The first game for the Nintendo Entertainment System was released in 1987, and since then nearly 173 million titles in the series have been sold.

An example of the Japanese role-playing game genre (JRPG), this series is unique because each title’s settings are independent of each other (with the exception of minor overlaps in some places). Characters, places and worlds he loves will live and die in one game. It’s as if The Sopranos ditched New Jersey and moved elsewhere, replacing Tony with a new character each series.

It’s a risky approach that asks players to forget their attachment to previous characters and become emotionally invested in new characters each time. But the series sticks with it.

According to Wilson, it’s a way to keep the series up to date, saying, “For example, you don’t have to play six games to be able to play seven.

“They’re all self-contained, but they have a bit of similarity, and even for fans, there’s a part of them that’s reminiscent of games from the past. I often think it’s the fact that we need to invent.”

Final Fantasy games aren’t for everyone. It requires patience and rewards the player’s investment. Attacks must be learned and mastered. In this series, there is a limit to just hitting buttons randomly.

The script was overdone, some story arcs were a bit traditional, and Final Fantasy 15 was criticized for having four male characters as the main focus. The female character, Jill, takes center stage this time around, attempting more diversity and featuring queer relationships, but the primary protagonists are still predominantly white.

With a lot of competition in the role-playing game space right now (for example, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Hogwarts Legacy are the best-selling games of the year), Final Fantasy 16 will attract players. I’m going out of my way to help. Even those who are not yet fans of the series.

But its tone, unique beauty, and fun set-piece battles definitely give it a different point.

image source, square Enix

image caption,

The original Final Fantasy was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987.

Wilson said this release was the first time in a long time in the series that he had an opportunity to make a breakthrough. He said, “When I was writing my review of Final Fantasy 16, I was asking myself, ‘Who would I recommend this game to?’

“Interestingly, for the first time in a long time, I think this is a title I can recommend to just about anyone interested in gaming. You can do it without too many warnings and explanations, but this is a very good sign. I think for the series.

“Honestly, it was difficult to do that with the more recent installments of the series. Fifteen was fine, had some great moments, but when it came out, it didn’t feel like the game was over. There were some good elements, but it didn’t all come together.”

This version has a darker tone than previous entries. The end of the series calls for making the series more appealing to new players who are more comfortable with this feel than the gothic-modern mashups we’ve seen.

image source, square Enix

image caption,

Final Fantasy 16 has plenty of big boss fights fans of the series have come to expect

A JRPG fan once told a friend that a classic of the genre “brings its true value after about 80 hours of gameplay.” Not everyone has the desire to stick with a game that long until they see the best part of it.

It wouldn’t be fair to say the same about Final Fantasy 16, but it’s a title that requires a significant time investment to get the most out of it. However, the success of similar releases such as Zelda, Elden Ring and Hogwarts Legacy these days suggests that shouldn’t be a barrier to success. A gamer’s appetite for a favorite title can easily amount to hours invested in a story-driven game like this.

Its creators hope that fans of the series aren’t the only ones wanting to go far.

Final Fantasy 16 launches on Thursday, June 22nd.

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