According to Final Fantasy XIV savior, and FFXVI producer, Naoki Yoshida, the series is struggling to keep up with current industry trends. The beloved producer said as much in a recent Inverse interview.
The producer recognizes that the mainline series is behind the times, but understands that it will be hard to please every fan with a single entry.
Final Fantasy Used to Set Trends but Times Have Changed
Yoshida had this to say about the current state of the series:
In terms of whether Final Fantasy is successfully adapting to industry trends, I believe the series is currently struggling. We’re now at a point where we receive a wide variety of requests regarding the direction of our game design. To be honest, it’d be impossible to satisfy all those requests with a single title. My current impression is that all we can really do is create multiple games, and continue creating the best that we can at any given time.”
In what, I (as a FF fan), would take as a positive sign, Yoshida seems to be aware that the Final Fantasy product released over the last two decades hasn’t been “loved” universally by series’ fans.
Since Hironobu Sakaguchi left Square Enix, the series’ main titles have been divisive. This is mainly due to a constant shift in FF game design from the various teams that have worked on the series after Final Fantasy X.
Quite simply, Final Fantasy no longer feels like “Final Fantasy” for long time series’ fans.
But Final Fantasy’s problems are larger than that. The entire industry has moved past it. Final Fantasy used to be the premier gaming series when it came to story telling back in the 1990s. These days, with the advancement in modern technology, 3rd person action games like the The Last of Us can provide a more stirring narrative experience than say…Final Fantasy XV did.
Final Fantasy is no longer the only sheriff in town within RPGs either. Western RPGs took over the industry over the last decade. With vast open worlds, player freedom of choice (in some cases), and strong narratives these games provided a sense of epic adventuring that modern FF games have failed to match.
Since Final Fantasy XIII, the series has had issues adapting to new ways of storytelling, and with FFXV, the franchise delivered one of the most bland looking and uninteresting semi-open worlds that we have seen. When Sakaguchi left Square Enix, he took the series identity with him, and no one at SE seems to find a new formula that clicks.
Fans Demand Different Game Design and Play Styles But Not Everyone Can Be Pleased
When Yoshida says, “We’re now at a point where we receive a wide variety of requests regarding the direction of our game design. To be honest, it’d be impossible to satisfy all those requests with a single title.” He is referring to the requests of making Final Fantasy more like the Witcher 3, or by contrast, a return to the “Sakaguchi era” philosophy in design.
Others, want turn based combat back, though the very industry trends that Square Enix wants the series to adapt to, favor action combat instead. It is a difficult position to be in for Yoshida. Even if Final Fantasy XVI turns out to be a “very good” game, there will be, in all likelihood, a section of fans that are not pleased with the final product, and its direction.
As it stands, I have gotten a better RPG, and story telling experience from Horizon Zero Dawn (and now Forbidden West) than I did with any Final Fantasy game released over the last 15 years, and this is something that Yoshida aims to fix with FFXVI.
At some point, if Final Fantasy wants to return as the premier RPG (not just JRPG) series on home console, it will have to do something better than its western contemporary rivals.
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6 thoughts on “Yoshida: Final Fantasy is Struggling to Keep Up With Industry Trends”
This is too biased and doesn’t support what they say.
FF has always changed between titles, especially gameplay. They all feel like FF (and yes, I’m an adult gamer NOT in my 20s).
Not to mention many complaints are shallow (cry, 15 is all guys. I want to look at girls bc im a straight guy).
15 while I agree about narrative, but to learn the narrative, you needed to play the game. Many complained bc it wasnt straightforwardly fed to them.
FF games never really had super impressive stories. Only 7-10, 14 are executed well. 13 actually is up there too, sorry not sorry.
Less bias, less vague. It’s so vague pretty much everyone would agree.
Um, no dude. Final Fantasy 6 and 4 had great stories and MUCH better music than anything recent. ANd FF13 was a piece of absolute garbage, as was 15.
What are you on about with regard to FF15? Are you really accusing people of wanting the plot ‘spoon fed’ to them when more than half the goddamn plot and backstory to the game isn’t even IN the finished product and you have to go buy and watch two other piece of media to even know wtf is going on? That’s criminally unacceptable
I am so glad that’s the case, I thought I was maybe dumb and didn’t get it. I beat the whole game without ever knowing wtf was going on. Like, my dad was killed and overthrown by an evil Empire while I was out doing . . . something? There’s this guy who is bad to me but not really, and he’s the final boss. The lady who appears to be my fiance is really important and I have to save her but I don’t even know why. And then I beat the final boss which doesn’t really do much as far as I can tell because I still don’t have my kingdom back and I still don’t really understand what all is going on.
I can’t agree with what was said. The game is great. There is always a wait. I play this game daily where as I couldn’t get into The Witcher.
What I don’t like about “the industry trends” are that they call action RPGs JRPGS which is not correct. Final Fantasy 7, with its beautiful pre rendered backgrounds oozing with detail and atmosphere, is in no way comparable to the generic plain and dull 3D environments of FF10 and later.
Nothing after FF10 is a JRPG. It is an entirely different genre. It’s no wonder fans feel betrayed because they took everything that made Final Fantasy, “Final Fantasy” and threw it in the trash.
They took what was unique, and made it more like everything else. I feel that there is more detail and charm in a single scene of FF7 than the entire game of FF7 Remake. Those pre rendered games were almost similar to point and click adventure games with their atmosphere.
The environments created in every FF 1-9 were absolutely otherworldly and unique, totally surreal art. FF10 onward went to dull 3D uninspired and boring environments.
The real artists and talent have gone or are not allowed to function.
Problem with se these days it’s all about money and no love or passion for the game, although I have hope for yoshi p. They used to set trends and now they chase them. And don’t get me started on nfts..