How Final Fantasy XVI can do the impossible and please its pickiest fans

Final Fantasy XVI is going to face a lot of scrutiny. While FF7R probably slaked the thirst of RPG fans, players went into the game knowing what they were getting, more or less.

Now, following the positively received FFXV, Square Enix has the impossible task of trying to please the players and critics. Do they do another futuristic entry like the compilation of FFXIII and XV? Do they bring back the crystal lore from the older games?

Square Enix could take any direction with this game, and I actually feel some confidence in their skills after Final Fantasy VII Remake. Still, I have a few ideas about what they absolutely have to do to please their fan base with a new entry.

Put the Fantasy Back in Final Fantasy

It was a simpler time.

From the steampunk-ish FFVI to the futuristic hodge-podge of FFXIII, the Final Fantasy series has taken us to some unique settings. All the games released on the current generation of consoles have been futuristic. Personally, I think we could use a break from the worlds packed with beam cannons, missile launchers, and computer screens.

Don’t get me wrong, the games have been solid. I’d just like to see the series go back to a “high fantasy” setting for the next game. It would cleanse our palate as players and let the creative teams go in a different direction. 

I did enjoy the medieval setting in Final Fantasy: Tactics, but I’d also be open to something completely new, too. With the power of a new console, I can only imagine what kind of world the developers could render. 

Give the Player More Choice in Party Configuration

Umaro is below deck eating Mog. Shadow is in the picture, but you can’t see him. 

Another thing I’d like to see in the next entry in the series is the ability to choose which characters to take with you. Not only will that bring back a feeling of personal investment in the story and game, but it could be used to provide different experiences to players. 

Final Fantasy XV was neat because you had a set group to travel around with throughout the game, but that can get old. Final Fantasy XIII didn’t offer much choice in terms of which party members to play as for a substantial part of the game.(Then again, I found half of the characters in that game insufferable so it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.)

I’m not saying that the next game needs to have an FFVI size group of characters and no point in the story where you split up, but you want enough available characters to make a decision.

The developers would also have need to make the characters interesting enough for players to want to discover more about them. Otherwise, you’re going to have people “on the bench” the whole game, like Snow from FFXIII. It’s a tall order, but I think Square Enix could make it work as they have in the past. 

Bring Back the Classic Class System

So. Many. Choices.

This choice probably doesn’t need much explanation. I’ve liked the FF games that have characters able to do it all, and I’ve liked the games where characters are set in certain roles. However, building on the last point I raised about having more characters and choices, I believe that having the classic class system would ultimately support customizable, player-driven game experiences

I remember playing through FFV with two warriors, black mage, and a white mage. It was fun and interesting. I also remember playing a file with nothing but ninjas at the endgame. That was also fun, even though I ended up blowing my characters’ retirement savings

The point is that choosing the classes for your characters can vastly change the approach that you take during the game. You can be methodical to win fights or you can try to plow through them with pure power. If the combat system is anything like Final Fantasy VII Remake, then the return of the class system could lend itself to some very interesting, thoughtful combat, unlike what we saw in games like FFXV. 

Dial Back the Open World 

FFXV had a ton of open space and not a lot to put in it.

The world in FFXV was gorgeous. Whether you were travelling the open roads, exploring the countryside, or strolling through towns, the world was a pleasure to traverse. Yet, something didn’t feel right. It’s like the developers tried to overcorrect the linearity of FFXIII and gave us a lot of empty space to play in. The world was vast, but sparsely populated. 

I’m not going to pretend to understand the limitations of the next generation consoles and the impacts they’ll have on what the developers can put in the game. However, I do believe that I’d rather have a world that was more like the older Final Fantasy games

In my mind’s eye, it would be like the world from FFVII after you leave Midgar. You can travel to different places with a little bit of freedom, but not too much. That way, the world is more focused. You won’t be overloaded with linear pathways, and you won’t waste hours journeying across a vast open world. 

Keep Innovating the Combat

You mean I can’t just button mash? UGH!

Everyone has a favorite combat style in the FF series. Some people love the ATB of yesteryear and other people enjoyed the paradigm shifts of FFXIII. I don’t have a particular form of combat in mind for the next game, but I liked the direction that FF7R took. 

The game was surprisingly tactical. Players could change their approach based on their specific enemy’s weaknesses. Physical attacks, magic, and positioning could all be used to give you an edge. The movement in combat was nothing fans haven’t seen before, but it definitely worked 

That sort of innovation gives me hope that the next generation of consoles could allow even more interesting forms of combat. I would definitely prefer a fair bit of action in there, but I am not sure how far they can take it and still manage to have a party system.

In short, I want the combat to get refined instead of taking an easy way out and doing the same things over and over again. 

Also, I want to mount a chocobo and do some fighting. Is that too much to ask?

Has Final Fantasy XVI Been Confirmed?

Before you go looking for anything about Final Fantasy XVI, you should know that there has been sparse news about the game. I haven’t seen anything confirming whether it’s in the works, or even the name of a project director. Of course, there have been all kinds of “leaks” and “rumors”, but I wouldn’t even bother paying attention to them. Basically, nothing is set in stone right now. 

With so many rumors flying around, I can’t help but start thinking ahead. While I’m hopeful that Square Enix will give us an exciting game, it seems to be pretty far away. One thing is for sure, the new consoles should have more than enough power to make something truly special. 

Bonus: Random Stuff I Want to See in FFXVI

Oh, bubby!

I couldn’t fit this stuff into the article, but I came across a bunch of other stuff that I’d love to appear in the next game. 

  • Flying an airship
  • Chocobo racing
  • Mounted combat
  • A playable Cid
  • Old-school crystals
  • An villain that’s actually menacing

None of this stuff is important, it would just be fun to see it make an appearance. Thanks for reading and let me know what you want to see out of the next game!

4 responses to “How Final Fantasy XVI can do the impossible and please its pickiest fans”

  1. FF7R absolutely did NOT give us a FF RPG, it gave us an action FF game. Also, you cannot please the real FF fans and the new FF fans at the same time. True FF fans want a RPG, new fans want non-rpg action games. FF16 will be another FF15, a disappointment to everyone.

  2. Ffviir was such a let down to me. I thought it would be a jrpg, but alas! They could have made it a puzzle racing sim that it would be closer to the original… I wasn’t able to finish the demo because of the combat mechanics.

    One of the problem I realise is with today’s technology you have to get in so much detail that it is easy to get off fast. Most people say that kefka was one of the greatest villain of rpg. But what did he really do? He had the laugh, poisoned doma, appeared on the flying continent and final boss. If it was remade, they would have to get into much more details and that would probably make kefka a really sucky character, because it could easily be off in some way.

    As for me, the FF franchise has ended some years ago. If they wanted to do a next good iteration, it would have to be downgraded to 16bits. That would be awesome!

    1. I think Kefka gets a lot of credit because he actually “won.” He messed up the balance of magic so bad that it tore entire continents apart and became a living god. Most of the time, we stop the villain before they do anything like rip the world apart.

      I do agree that they might end up trying to do too much with Kefka and that might make him sucky. Sometimes, it’s best to leave a little mystery, but I think there was some potential to get into the magitek soldiers a little more.

  3. Lo que enriquece un rpg. Es el factor de la historia gral. Los personajes inesperados y secretos. Los premios, armas y lugares secretos. Los enemigos extraños. Las historias paralelas de personajes. (No quest) los minijuegos vinculados a premios misteriosos. Las mejoras de armas.

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