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News video games 15 April 2023, 10:45

author: Matt Buckley

Final Fantasy XVI Looks Awesome But Is It Still Final Fantasy?

The recent State of Play showed that Final Fantasy XVI will drop all pretense of turn-based combat, instead becoming a full-fledged real-time action RPG.

Source: Square-Enix

Recently, PlayStation hosted a State of Play featuring over twenty minutes of gameplay from the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI. Visually, the game looks incredible, and shares a lot of the same style as the previous games in the series. But there is one major change. Final Fantasy XVI is strictly not a JRPG anymore.

This may seem like a small change, however, the Final Fantasy series has been around since the original games released in 1987, and has long been considered one of the first in the unofficial JRPG genre. During the State of Play, the narrator stated that the combat in Final Fantasy XVI would not be turn based, and would take place in real time.

Hey, it’s my turn!

Final Fantasy XVI Looks Awesome But Is It Still Final Fantasy? - picture #1

Source: Square-Enix, Final Fantasy XVI

The Final Fantasy series has been moving in this direction for some time, with even the previous game, Final Fantasy XV, ditching the idea of turn based combat almost entirely. Final Fantasy XI and XII were the original games to take a few steps away from the idea of Final Fantasy being exclusively turn based, and the changes have only escalated from there.

Part of the State of Play also focused on specific items that will be particularly helpful to players inexperienced with action games. For example, the Ring of Timely Focus and the Ring of Timely Strikes gives the player a window of slow motion, giving them more time to evade or land an attack. So, even though the series is moving away from a slower, turn-based combat system, it is still considering players who are less experienced with fast-paced action.

JRPG is discriminatory?

Producer Naoki Yoshida said in an interview with Skill Up on YouTube that when “we create games, we don’t go into them thinking we are creating JRPGs, we are just creating RPGs. The term JRPG is used by western media rather than users and media in Japan.” Yoshida went on to say that he and other developers first felt the term “JRPG” was discriminatory, and though they have eventually come to understand the more positive connotations of the term, they still don’t want to be “compartmentalized” in any way with how a RPG should look in terms of graphics, story length, or otherwise.

Final Fantasy XVI Looks Awesome But Is It Still Final Fantasy? - picture #2

Source: Square-Enix, Final Fantasy XVI

Some might argue that this evolution of gameplay was inevitable, and that eventually to keep up with modern gameplay standards the turn-based combat had to be dropped. Plus, with sixteen entries in the series, it’s not surprising that the latest one will have some stark differences from the first. But then again, gameplay is not everything. The aesthetics, characters, world, and story are all still reminiscent of the franchise.

What are your thoughts on these changes? Has Final Fantasy strayed too far from its roots? Or is this a welcome change that only enhances the experience? Leave a comment letting us know your thoughts.

Matt Buckley

Matt Buckley

After studying creative writing at Emerson College in Boston, Matt published a travel blog based on a two-month solo journey around the world, wrote for SmarterTravel, and worked on an Antarctic documentary series for NOVA, Antarctic Extremes. Today, for Gamepressure, Matt covers Nintendo news and writes reviews for Switch and PC titles. Matt enjoys RPGs like Pokemon and Breath of the Wild, as well as fighting games like Super Smash Bros., and the occasional action game like Ghostwire Tokyo or Gods Will Fall. Outside of video games, Matt is also a huge Dungeons & Dragons nerd, a fan of board games like Wingspan, an avid hiker, and after recently moving to California, an amateur surfer.