Designing combat in a Final Fantasy game seems like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you probably want to appeal to fans of the series, and on the other hand, you want to attract new players. But it’s impossible to please everyone during big changes like developer Creative Business Unit III does with Final Fantasy XVI – using a real-time action combat system that couldn’t be further from classic roots. turn-based series.
As someone who loves the franchise’s turn-based format and its more cutting-edge design lately, and as someone who’s played FFXVI for over five hours at this point, I’m pretty happy with the fight. It’s fast-paced, action-packed, and perhaps most importantly, suited to this world and these characters. I particularly like the focus on Clive, as you never control any of your party members (although you do issue combat-related orders to Clive’s canine sidekick, Torgal).
Designing this fight was the biggest challenge in developing FFXVI, according to producer Naoki Yoshida (the same Yoshida who is the director of Final Fantasy XIV).
“Probably the biggest challenge was with the design of the combat system and the real-time action,” Yoshida tells me at the Square Enix office building in Tokyo, Japan. “We’ve mentioned in the past that with Final Fantasy XVI we wanted to bring a new generation of players into the Final Fantasy series, and one of our main goals early in development was how to do that.”
Yoshida says CBUIII is full of developers who love turn-based games and grew up with them, even in Final Fantasy history. But when it came to designing FFXVI, the team wondered what games are popular today among younger generations of gamers and what games the team enjoys these days. It turned out that a lot of the responses from the teams were action plays.
“Instead of going back to turn-based, we said, ‘Okay, this is a chance for us to challenge ourselves to try and do something that the show has never done but that we want really try to do, and it goes to the full action-based system,” Yoshida continues. “There was always the possibility of trying maybe a hybrid type of system where we have action elements and at the turn-based, but again, rather than try that and have something that’s not complete and unsatisfactory, we decided to focus fully on bringing the action.”
And that action is what you can experience in FFXVI when it launches exclusively for PlayStation 5 on June 22.
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