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
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
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
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
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
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
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!