Final Fantasy XVI developers discuss accessibility, Active Time Lore, and kaiju-inspired combat

Final Fantasy XVI goes all in on Eikon fighting.

Image via Square Enix

Game director Naoki Yoshida and a few other developers have just come off a media tour to answer questions about Square Enix’s upcoming giant of a game, Final Fantasy XVI. This next installment has massive hype swirling around it, as the team behind Final Fantasy XIV is heavily involved, and it looks to be shaping up as a title worthy of the franchise’s popularity. Yoshida breaks down the removal of difficulty settings, as well as how the team is providing an in-game mythology reminder during cutscenes called Active Time Lore.

PlayStation’s official site has a ton of new footage to show off the gameplay of Final Fantasy XVI. The devs describe combat as having a high skill ceiling while still being accessible for those not familiar with action fighting. The game has actually removed difficulty settings, instead allowing the player to select between action-focused or story-focused experiences. The difficulty remains the same, but story-focused mode lets the player equip certain accessories that provide unique benefits such as slowing down time or automatically dodging incoming attacks.

Final Fantasy XVI will also feature the ability to have a more difficult experience with a New Game Plus mode after finishing the game that alters enemy strength and placement. Combat took some inspiration from Final Fantasy V, letting the main character, Clive, learn abilities from the Eikons he encounters to put together impressive combos. Players will also get a lot of time to fight as giant popular Eikons (also known as summons) in large-scale kaiju-inspired combat.

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The story of Final Fantasy XVI is looking to go back to the high fantasy roots of the series and is inspired by medieval Europe. Players will explore the vast realm of Valisthea built around Mothercrystals that fuel the world with aether. The story features a large cast of characters with unique backstories and motivations. Square Enix has implemented a new system called Active Time Lore (ATL for short) that lets players pause the game and click prompts during cutscenes if they need a refresher on any of the characters, themes, or nations mentioned.

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Final Fantasy XVI launches on June 22 for PlayStation 5. Square Enix plans to take full advantage of the system, providing a graphically impressive experience with seamless battles, no intrusive loading screens, and DualSense technology.