Producer Naoki Yoshida, has read your (or at least from some fans) responses regarding his latest game, Final Fantasy XVI. Needless to say, he is not pleased.
According to tweets from Audrey (who translated Yoshida’s comments from a mini documentary), Yoshida is frustrated by the ‘hate’ that he has received from a segment of the Final Fantasy fandom.
Yoshida is Right to Complain
Yoshi-P reading negative Japanese comments on #FF16
"There's a lot of people who just yell at you, people I've never seen, met, or talked to before. It's weird. What did we do to them? Perhaps they just write it from a place of negativity and malice. It's tiresome." pic.twitter.com/jW2AY1WAgr
— ☆オードリーAudrey☆ (@aitaikimochi) July 23, 2023
To be fair, Yoshida had to know that Final Fantasy, as a series, has been a source of controversial reception ever since its original creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, was forced to leave Square Enix. While the series has mostly hovered between an 80-90 range (as opposed to Sakaguchi’s 90-94 rated entries) in critical reception, old time fans have been quite a bit harsh to some of the new numbered entries.
Yoshida had to know that his own chapter within the long running saga would be met with controversy, and yes, hate. There is a segment of fans, who despite knowing that action combat is what sells these days, still want the series to return to its turn-based roots while remaining a AAA game with a multimillion dollar budget.
Then, there is another segment who found the game ‘too easy’ despite the fact that Final Fantasy has rarely had a ‘hard’ main entry, as the game was originally (during its turn-based roots) a more accessible answer to Dragon Quest.
Finally, there are those, who are just never going to be happy about Final Fantasy until it returns to its Sakaguchi days…something that will never happen..Sakaguchi will never return to the series, and even if he did, can he even craft a modern Final Fantasy that can compete against the current market juggernauts?
Given this, Yoshida is right to complain about the hate messages that the he has received. What else could the man have done? He brought storytelling back to the franchise’s forefront, and delivered one of its most stirring entries.
Square Enix’s Executives Plot the Course of the Franchise
Yoshida and his team, did the best they could within what was expected of them by Square Enix. The series ditching its turn-based roots did not happen because of Yoshida, but because the market dictated that the shift to action combat during the last decade was a necessary step in keeping the series relevant against western RPG titles that dominated, and continue to dominate the sales charts.
In the other words, why shoot the messenger? Yoshida and his team, clearly, put forth a commendable effort in making Final Fantasy XVI the best that it could be in the one area where the series had lacked the most since FFXII, its storytelling.
As a long time fan, I was pleased with Final Fantasy XVI. No, the game isn’t as deep, or as monumental an achievement as Tears of the Kingdom is, but again, when was the last time that Final Fantasy was in contrast to Zelda? You would have to go back to the 1990s to find Final Fantasy titles that could go head to head with Nintendo’s critical darling of a series.
For what it is, Final Fantasy XVI is a fitting entry in the series, and within Sony’s PlayStation story driven single player lineup of games. Yoshida should shut off the negative comments, and focus, instead, on the potential that the title has for DLC content.
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