Square Enix published on June 22, 2022 via the the Japanese PlayStation Blog a new Final Fantasy 16 interview with Naoki Yoshida alias YoshiP, revealing new development details on the upcoming PS5 JRPG.
The core staff of Final Fantasy XVI is quite plural: Masayoshi Soken of Final Fantasy XIV fame is composing the music. The game is directed by Hiroshi Takai, who worked on the battle graphics of the Romancing SaGa games, and was most notably the director of Last Remnant, which was a great SaGa game in everything but name. (Most notably thanks to its PC version which greatly improved the game over its original Xbox 360 release.) Moreover, Final Fantasy XVI‘s battle director is Ryota Suzuki, who worked on Devil May Cry V and Dragon Dogma‘s battle systems at Capcom.
However, the cornerstone of the Final Fantasy XVI development team is definitely its producer, Naoki Yoshida, who is also the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV. Just like many producers in Japanese media (and in Idol culture), Yoshida’s name is often shortened with a P for “Producer”, giving him his nickname YoshiP. I translated below the biggest highlights from his new interview on the Japanese PS Blog.
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Final Fantasy XVI: Naoki Yoshida Reveals New Early Development Details
When Naoki Yoshida and his Creative Business Unit III were asked to make the next mainline Final Fantasy game, he was honored but didn’t immediately accept. He felt that it would affect his work negatively if he became the director of Final Fantasy XVI on top of already being the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV. So he picked someone else for the job.
Being an FF director is stressful, and YoshiP wanted to be sure to pick the right person. He ultimately picked Hiroshi Takai. The development of Final Fantasy XVI initially began with four members including Naoki Yoshida and Hiroshi Takai, and they decided on the game’s core concepts, battle system, themes and lore. After that, they made a small team to work on the battle system and graphics with a scrap and build approach until they found what worked best.
YoshiP’s main concern during FF16‘s early development was making sure at all times that FF14‘s development was unaffected, only picking a very small amount of the FF14 core staff to work on FF16.
YoshiP also mentioned there’s a hidden meaning behind Final Fantasy XVI‘s logo that he can’t talk about yet. And reconfirmed that as usual the logo was designed by Yoshitaka Amano.
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YoshiP: We Have One Year Left To Finish Final Fantasy 16
Right now, FF16 is playable from beginning to end but there’s still a lot to do. YoshiP explained they’re currently recording the voice acting for some languages other than English and Japanese. They’re also adjusting the game’s difficulty, improving the cutscenes, debugging, etc.
When asked about how he’s balancing his workload between FF14 and FF16, YoshiP explained there are several project managers and assistant producers helping him out and making sure he’s not overworked with a crazy schedule.
The Final Fantasy XVI OST is not finished yet and Masayoshi Soken is still working on it. He also has his own personal manager to make sure he doesn’t overexert himself.
YoshiP mentioned his favorite Summon overall in FF is Bahamut and it’s one of the reasons why it played a big role in FFXIV. He didn’t answer who’s his favorite Summon in FF16 though to avoid fueling fan speculations.
YoshiP also explained that thanks to being developed for PS5, Final Fantasy XVI will not only have incredible graphics but also propose a seamless experience, thanks to its story, direction, the real-time battle system, and the PS5’s super fast loadings.
That’s all for the interview. Keep in mind this is only a short summary I made after reading through it. An official English version of the interview will probably be published in a few hours on the English PS blog.
As a side note, the tweet for the interview was published 12 hours early by the Japanese PlayStation blog Twitter, who had mistakenly scheduled it out for midnight instead of noon JST. We all had to wait 12 hours until the interview actually became available.
Final Fantasy XVI will be out on PS5 sometime during Summer 2023. If you’re not in the global north, that should mean sometime between June and September 2023.