Final Fantasy XVI Producer Naoki Yoshida Interviewed – Real-time battles, AI party members, no open world, more

What do you think are the basic principles of a final fantasy Game? Did the development team seek guidance or inspiration when creating previous titles in the series? Final Fantasy XVI?

Naoki Yoshida: “I would say the core elements of a final fantasy Game is a deep story, deep gameplay, cutting-edge graphics and sound… and of course Chocobos and Moogles.

“In the 35-year history of the final fantasy Throughout the series, the guiding principle has always been that each new installment must be the very best game the director can put together, no matter how the game world, characters, or combat system may change. Because of this, players and final fantasy Fans around the world have very different ideas of what a final fantasy game should be – but for me it’s those elements that I mentioned.

“When it came to deciding what to do with it Final Fantasy XVII thought back to playing the original final fantasy, and reminded me how I felt about being the lead in a movie. I wanted to capture that feeling again Final Fantasy XVI, but with state-of-the-art game design and cutting-edge technology. The entire development team, led by Hiroshi Takai, has come together to make this dream a reality, so I hope you all look forward to it.”

When I think back to the beginning Final Fantasy XVI Projekt, remember how the conversation went when you were asked to produce this new mainline entry? What was your first reaction?

Yoshida: “I said, ‘Thanks, but I’ve got my hands full Final Fantasy XIV, so let me think about it.’ I was truly honored that the company had chosen my department, Creative Business Unit 3, to be responsible for the next entry in the final fantasy Series. But as you probably know, I’m already the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV. I was concerned that if I took over the management of Final Fantasy XVIEven fans of both games would have good reason to assume that I don’t give either project my full attention.

“To ensure that the development of Final Fantasy XVI didn’t affect that Final Fantasy XIVwe first selected a very small group of core team members and slowly and carefully handed them off to work on the new game over the course of several years until we had the entire team assembled.”

What was the composition of the rest Final Fantasy XVI‘s development team decided?

Yoshida: “As director of one final fantasy Gaming is a tougher job than most people imagine. Not only do you have to live up to fan and media expectations, but you’re also under constant pressure from the development team. You always have to face the challenge.

“I’ve worked with Hiroshi Takai for many years and he’s one of my most trusted colleagues as well as an experienced developer, so I asked him if he’d take on the role – and luckily he agreed. That’s how it all started. We brought two more members into the group, and the four of us outlined the core concepts of the game and its world, as well as the key themes we wanted to convey, and began work on writing the main story. We later brought a few more members on board to handle the combat system and graphics, and through a process of building on what worked and discarding what didn’t work, we gradually moved towards full development. And the whole time, in the back of my mind, I was like, ‘Please don’t let this affect you Final Fantasy XIV!’”

How did it feel going from a multi-year arc with multiple expansions to a self-contained, standalone story?

Yoshida: “I’ve worked on non-MMORPG games before, so that wasn’t a huge stumbling block. Also each new Final Fantasy XIV Expansion has a similar level of new story content as a standalone RPG, or maybe even more, so it wasn’t too different from my work on that game. The only big difference I noticed was that if I wanted to anticipate something, I had to pay it off a lot quicker!”

Everyone final fantasy Logo conveys a core theme of the game in a way. how does it work Final Fantasy XVI logo do this?

Yoshida: “Yoshitaka Amano’s design for the logo is full of meaning, as you’d expect. It features two Eikons facing each other… and the rest is a mystery for now.”

After the debut of Final Fantasy XVI‘s new “Dominance” trailer during State of Play, we finally have a release window! What will the development team focus their efforts on this final year before the game’s release?

Yoshida: “Right now the game is fully playable from start to finish, but we have a lot of voiceovers in multiple languages ​​that have yet to be recorded. Final Fantasy XVI is a very action-oriented game, so we also do a lot of playtesting to fine-tune the difficulty levels, put the finishing touches on the cutscenes, and go through an extensive debugging process. A year is a short time in game development, so we’re all working hard to get it across the finish line.”

It has now been confirmed that there are Final Fantasy XIV Members of the development team (including you!) are working on Final Fantasy XVI– Do you have special systems or processes in place to ensure teams can play their best in two sonically different games without overexerting themselves (or themselves)? I imagine a lot of work Final Fantasy XVI must have happened around the same time as the finale Final Fantasy XIV: Endwaler Preparations…

Yoshida: “I wouldn’t call it a system per se, but the project managers and assistant producers on both projects do a great job of planning my schedule to make sure I don’t get overwhelmed. I would have no idea how to organize myself without them!

“As much as possible, I try to place all decisions regarding the overall management of the department in the hands of upper management, which allows me to focus on my work as a producer and director. It’s not a specific system or process, but a sense of teamwork that we’ve built over the years. Masayoshi Soken has his own people in the sound department who do his schedule for him.”

Two-part question: What is your favorite recurring summon from the final fantasy series as a whole, and why? What is your favorite summon in Final Fantasy XVIand why?

Yoshida: “For me it has to be Bahamut. He not only destroys his enemies, but the ground they stand on – even entire planets! Every time he shows up, you know something incredible is about to happen. It helps that he’s a big part of the story of Final Fantasy XIV, to. As for the subpoenas that appear in Final Fantasy XVI, I have my favorite but I can’t tell you right now as it’s bound to lead to a lot of speculation. What I can tell you is they are all cool as hell!”

The new “Dominance” trailer also teased more of the game’s music. With Masayoshi Soken now as confirmed Final Fantasy XVICan you give us, the composers of , an insight into the music of the trailer? Was the music we heard in the trailer made just for that beat, or does it contain themes and leitmotifs that we can hear in full in-game?

Yoshida: “All the music isn’t finished yet, but Soken is one of those composers who likes to reuse parts of the in-game soundtrack in trailers. I’m sure you’ve heard some of the themes and themes that will make their way into the in-game music in the latest trailer. You’ll need to invite Soken for an interview to find out more – but please wait until he’s finished working on the soundtrack!”

What possibilities does the PlayStation 5 hardware offer that would not have been possible in previous generations?

Yoshida: “Of course, with the increase in processing power, we can make the graphics even richer than before, but it’s the super-fast load times that really impress me. in the Final Fantasy XVIjump straight from story cutscenes to real-time combat and back again with zero load times, making gameplay flow at breakneck speed. We can only do that thanks to the power of the PlayStation 5 system Final Fantasy XVI the roller coaster ride that it is.”