Producer Naoki Yoshida shares his vision for FINAL FANTASY XVI

The game’s Producer shares more information about the highly anticipated action RPG, including the combat system, music and more!
By Duncan Heaney

It’s hard to imagine a more highly-anticipated game than FINAL FANTASY XVI.

The debut of the recent “Dominance” trailer thrilled fans with its focus on the characters, thrilling combat and powerful Eikons featured in the game. It also revealed the release window for the game - Summer 2023!

FINAL FANTASY XVI Dominance trailer

The reveal probably left you excited, and with more burning questions than Ifrit himself!

The talented team is working hard to deliver to an epic experience that new players and fans alike will love, but Producer Naoki Yoshida generously agreed to take some time to answer some of our queries and share some additional thoughts about the game.

Hello Yoshida-san. You’ve previously described the story of FINAL FANTASY XVI as being like an intense rollercoaster. What did you mean by that?

My idea for FINAL FANTASY XVI was to bring to life the feeling of playing the lead in an epic motion picture - the same thing I felt when I played through the original FINAL FANTASY.

To give players a breathtaking experience through a combination of an expansive storyline, dramatic cutscenes, and real-time battles, including gargantuan-scale Eikon clashes - all seamlessly connected.

It’s a white-knuckle rollercoaster ride in video game form!

Why have you chosen an action-based battle system for this game and what reaction do you hope it inspires from players?

Each new entry in the FINAL FANTASY series brings with it a new world, new characters, and a new battle system.

We get a lot of different suggestions from fans about what they want to see in future games, and unfortunately it isn’t possible for us to satisfy every one of them. There are also a lot of younger gamers out there who might never have played a FINAL FANTASY game before.

With FINAL FANTASY XVI, we wanted to appeal to as wide a range of gamers as possible by setting the story in a classic fantasy world that’s reminiscent of the early FINAL FANTASY games, but combining that with fast-paced, real-time action.

We have a comprehensive support system in place for players who aren’t too confident with action games, so even if action isn’t your thing, I hope you’ll give it a try.

One other reason we went with an action-based battle system this time round is to push the boundaries of what a FINAL FANTASY game can be and expand the range of possibilities for the developers who pick up the reins of the series after us.

The Eikon Ifrit in FINAL FANTASY XVI

Summons - or ‘Eikons’ - are an important part of the game. What was so appealing about this element of the FINAL FANTASY series?

The Eikons of Valisthea are similar to weapons of mass destruction in the real world. Each nation has one, dwelling inside a human host, who inherits their powers by particular rules. These hosts are known as Dominants, and each Dominant has the power to physically transform themselves into their Eikon.

As the aether provided by the Mothercrystals begins to fade, and the nations of Valisthea wage war to seize their rivals’ crystals for their own, they resort to sending their Eikons against each other on the field of war.

The main storyline of FINAL FANTASY XVI centers around the Dominants and their Eikons. The reason why we wanted to give the Eikons pride of place in the game is to deliver a unique experience where you’re controlling these enormous summons and using them to battle against each other.

It’s a FINAL FANTASY first!

Eikons battle in FINAL FANTASY XVI

You’ve reunited with Masayoshi Soken for the game. What made him the right choice to lead this game’s music?

I’ve been making games with Soken for many years now, and he’s the composer who best understands not only what I, but what our director Hiroshi Takai and creative director Kazutoyo Maehiro imagine as the right kind of soundscape for a FINAL FANTASY game.

Of course, the most important factor in that is that his musical style inherits a lot from Nobuo Uematsu, the father of FINAL FANTASY music, and he’s always striving to follow in the master’s footsteps.

Finally, do you have a message you’d like to share with the fans?

I know I’ve kept you all waiting for a long time, but it’s a great relief to finally be able to bring you the latest information about FINAL FANTASY XVI.

We plan to share some more details about the world and the story sometime this autumn, but I hope the latest trailer and media interviews can keep your imaginations racing until then.

The whole development team, helmed by our director Hiroshi Takai, is pulling together to make the game the best that it can be, so please look forward to it!

Many thanks to Yoshida-san for his insight into the game.

FINAL FANTASY XVI releases Summer 2023 for PS5. For more information, check out the official website, and be sure to follow the team on social media to see news and updates!