Final Fantasy XVI producer, Naoki Yoshida, is not shy about making big waves on the news. After going on a strange rant about how the term “JRPG” was discriminatory; a rant that stirred controversial takes amongst the JRPG fanzine. Yoshida takes controversy to a new level, yet again, by suggesting that Final Fantasy XVI took some inspiration from the GTA series and its success.
It all seems like it might be a brilliant campaign to keep Final Fantasy XVI relevant on News headings (on a weekly basis) as we approach the game’s launch. There is no such thing as a bad press…right?
GTA Series is a Major Reason for Final Fantasy XVI Choosing the Action Route
In a recent interview with Game Informer, Yoshida and other staff members were asked about FFXVI’s ditching Turn-Based combat in favor of an action system. Yoshida had this to say:
“So, again, creating a Final Fantasy, a numbered Final Fantasy, has become such an endeavor, to the point where your development costs can go upwards of $100 million, just to create one game. And so to recoup that development cost, you need as many people playing your game as possible. And while a lot of the older fans are used to what Final Fantasy had in the past, a lot of younger [players] have never played a Final Fantasy game. They grew up playing first-person shooters, they grew up playing games like [Grand Theft Auto], where basically you press a button and something happens immediately.”
Yoshida, in his statement, confirmed what we have been discussing on this site for years in regards to action combat taking precedence over turn-based in modern gaming trends. Yoshida has been unrestrained in recent interviews, and seems to pick interesting examples for his ‘go to games’ in his comparisons.
After all, in reality, most GTA players don’t like Final Fantasy (they are likelier to flock to something like Fortnite instead), and thus, perhaps, an example such as The Witcher 3 (which has sold over 30 million copies), was best in order to avoid controversy; while pointing towards a group of gamers that might actually be interested in diving into Final Fantasy XVI.
The important thing in Yoshida’s statements is that he is unveiling what goes on behind doors when Square Enix executives talk. Action-RPGs such as The Witcher 3, Skyrim, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Elden Ring have dominated the sales charts (in Skyrim’s case) for over a decade. If Final Fantasy is to continue as a AAA (big money budgeted) franchise, then it needs to sell as well as those games are selling.
All of the aforementioned games have action combat systems. As video games (and technology) move to “closer to reality” experiences with greater immersive and interactive components, it is likely that Turn-Based combat has seen its last days as a serviceable way to “fight” in AAA experiences.
Turn-based hardcore fans: Do not hate on Yoshida, he is just the messenger. A younger generation of 20-30 year olds has arisen, and they prefer action games.
Forspoken Flops by Square Enix’s Own Admission, and a Landfill of the Game’s Memorabilia is Found
So, this was easy to see coming. A bad game with technical hiccups that scored low on Metacritic, suddenly finds itself as a commercial failure as well. Metacritic matters, and Forspoken (64 Metacritic) is the most recent example of what bad scores can do to a game’s sales.
During a recent (February 3) financial report Square Enix admitted that, “Reviews of Forspoken… have been challenging” in reference to the game’s abysmal reviews which in turn led to poor sales.
“However, the game has also received positive feedback on its action features, including its parkour and combat capabilities, so it has yielded results that will lead to improvement of our development capabilities of other games in the future,” Square Enix president, Yosuke Matsuda, told investors.
“That said, its sales have been lacklustre, and while the performance of new titles with February and March release dates will be the ultimate determinant, we see considerable downside risk to our FY2023/3 earnings.”
Forspoken was, now that hindsight is 20/20, an ill conceived idea. The game did not only cost Square Enix millions in loses, but it also resulted in Luminous Studios’ closure, as its employees were absorbed into the company. Needless to say, Forspoken’s potential as a franchise ended with a thud.
Adding insult to injury, several Forspoken steel books were found in a landfill. This discovery suggests that the game’s pre-sales were as poor as the game’s post release sales. In Mont Cessna’s famous words: “Forspoken has been Forsaken!”
This hurts to see… No game deserves this. Not even #Forspoken.
— Niko (@NikoMueller) March 6, 2023
Unless Final Fantasy XVI is a massive success, Square Enix is in for some rough times ahead…
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