For those interested in learning more about the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XVI, your wait is over.
Like us, you’ve probably pored over every text, screenshot, and trailer since the game’s initial announcement in 2020. We got the first intel about its world and characters, and more recently, a closer look at the gameplay. as well as this all-important release window. Producer Naoki Yoshida walked us through all three here on PS.Blog.
Now we can interview Yoshida-san to lift the curtain (a bit) on the game’s development. Here we get his personal perspective on, among other things, answering the call to create Final’s latest main title. Fantasy, developed for PlayStation 5, and his favorite Summon. Let’s go.
Naoki Yoshida, producer of Final Fantasy XVI
PlayStation.Blog: What do you think are the fundamentals of a Final Fantasy game? Did the development team look to older titles in the series for guidance or inspiration when creating FFXVI?
Naoki Yoshida: I would say the core elements of a Final Fantasy game are a deep story, deep gameplay, cutting edge graphics and cutting edge sound…and chocobos and moogles, of course.
Over the 35-year history of the Final Fantasy series, the guiding policy has always been that each new installment should be the best game the director at the time could put together, regardless of game world, characters, or the combat system may change. Because of this, Final Fantasy players and fans around the world have very different ideas of what a Final Fantasy game should be, but for me, those are the things I mentioned.
“Each new episode has to be the best game the director of the day can put together”
When it came to deciding what to do with Final Fantasy XVI, I thought back to when I played the original Final Fantasy and remembered how it felt like playing the lead role in a movie . I wanted to get that feeling back in XVI, but with cutting edge game design and the latest modern technologies. The entire development team, under the leadership of Hiroshi Takai, has come together to make this dream a reality, so I hope you’re all looking forward to it.
PSB: Thinking back to when the FFXVI project started, do you remember how the conversation went when you were asked to produce this new main entry? What was your first reaction?
NEW YORK: I said “Thanks, but I have my hands full with Final Fantasy XIV, so let me think about it.” I was truly honored that the company chose my section, Creative Business Unit 3, to be responsible for the next entry in the FF series. But, as you probably know, I’m already the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV. I was afraid that if I also took on the direction of XVI, fans of both games would have good reason to believe that I wasn’t giving either project my full attention.
To ensure that the development of XVI does not affect that of XIV, we chose a very small group of core team members to start with, and over the course of several years we slowly and carefully transitioned them to start. working on the new game, until the full team is assembled.
PSB: How was the composition of the rest of the FFXVI development team decided?
NEW YORK: Being the director of a Final Fantasy game is a tougher job than most people imagine. Not only do you have to meet fan and media expectations, but you’re also under constant pressure from the development team. You always have to be ready for the challenge.
I’ve worked with Hiroshi Takai for many years, and he’s one of my most trusted colleagues, as well as a seasoned developer, so I asked him if he’d take the role, and luckily he did. accepted. That’s how it all started. We brought two other members into the group, and between the four of us, we sketched out the basic concepts of the game and its universe, as well as the key themes we wanted to convey, and began to work on the writing of the main story. . Later, we brought a few more members on board to support the combat system and graphics, and through a process of building on what worked and removing what didn’t, we gradually moved towards large-scale development. And all the while, deep down I was thinking “Please don’t let this impact Final Fantasy XIV!”
PSB: Speaking specifically about the process of writing the story (not the narrative details), how did you feel going from a multi-year arc and multiple expansions to a self-contained, self-contained story?
NEW YORK: I’ve worked on games that aren’t MMORPGs before, so that wasn’t a major sticking point. Also, each new Final Fantasy XIV expansion has a similar level of new story content as a standalone RPG, or maybe even more, so it wasn’t too different from my work on that game. major difference I noticed was that if I wanted to foreshadow something, I had to pay it back much faster!
PSB: Every Final Fantasy logo conveys a central theme of the game in some way. How does the Final Fantasy XVI logo do this?
NEW YORK: Yoshitaka Amano’s design for the logo is full of meaning, as you’d expect. It shows two Eikons facing each other…and the rest, for now, is a secret.
PSB: After the launch of FFXVI’s new “Dominance” trailer during State of Play, we finally have a release window! Where will the development team be focusing their efforts over the past year before the game launches?
NEW YORK: At the moment the game is fully playable from start to finish, but we have a lot of voiceovers in multiple languages that have yet to be recorded. Final Fantasy XVI is a very action-oriented game, so we also do a lot of playtesting to fine-tune the difficulty levels, as well as put the finishing touches on cutscenes and go through a full-scale debugging process. A year is a short time in the development of a game, so we are all striving to push it through.
PSB: It has now been confirmed that some members of the Final Fantasy XIV development team (including you!) are working on FFXVI. Do you have any specific systems or processes in place to ensure teams can perform to the best of their abilities on two distinctly toned games? without getting exhausted (or exhausted)? I imagine a lot of work on XVI must have happened around the same time as the final preparations for FFXIV Endwalker…
NEW YORK: I wouldn’t call it a system per se, but the project managers and assistant producers on both projects do a great job planning my schedule to make sure I’m not overwhelmed. I would have no idea how to organize myself without them!
All decisions regarding the overall management of the division, I try to leave as much as possible in the hands of upper management, which allows me to concentrate on my work as a producer and director. Rather than a specific system or process, it is a sense of teamwork that we have developed over the years. Masayoshi Soken has his own employees in the sound department who manage his schedule for him.
The Eikons Garuda and Titan, and their Dominants, Benedikta Harman and Hugo Kupka
PSB: Two-part question: what is your favorite recurring summon from the Final Fantasy series, and why? What is your favorite summon in Final Fantasy XVI, and why?
NEW YORK: It must be Bahamut for me. He doesn’t just destroy his enemies, but the ground they stand on, even entire planets! Every time he appears, you know something amazing is about to happen. It also helps that he’s a big part of Final Fantasy XIV’s story. As for the summons that appear in Final Fantasy XVI, I have my favorite, but I can’t tell you right now because it’s bound to lead to a lot of speculation. What I can tell you is that they are all as cool as hell!
PSB: The new ‘Dominance’ trailer also teased more of the game’s music. With Masayoshi Soken now confirmed as FFXVI’s composer, can you share a preview of the trailer’s music? Was the music we heard in the trailer made just for this beat, or does it include themes and leitmotivs we can expect to hear in full in the game?
NEW YORK: Not all of the music is done yet, but Soken is the kind of composer who likes to repurpose parts of the game’s soundtrack into trailers. I’m sure you’ll have heard some of the themes and motifs that will make their way into the game’s music in the latest trailer. You’ll have to invite Soken to an interview to find out more, but please, only after he’s finished working on the soundtrack!
PSB: What are the opportunities offered by PlayStation 5 hardware that would not have been possible in previous generations?
NEW YORK: With the increase in processing power, we can obviously make the graphics even richer than before, but it’s the super-fast load times that really impress me. In Final Fantasy XVI, you go straight from story cutscenes to real-time battles and back again without any load times, making gameplay smooth at a fast pace. It’s only through the power of the PlayStation 5 system that we can make Final Fantasy XVI the roller coaster ride that it is.