Final Fantasy XVI producer explains why the game isn’t turn-based or open-world

Old man yells at Cloud.

Image via Square Enix

Ever since the first Final Fantasy XVI trailer, fans have seen a mix of new ideas and throwbacks in the upcoming RPG. While the game will have lots of classic summons, the battle system doesn’t utilize traditional turn-based menus. There’s a reason for that.

Speaking to Famitsu (as translated by VGC), producer Naoki Yoshida said that the game uses a real-time battle system in order to appeal to younger players. “I’m from a generation that grew up with command and turn-based RPGs,” Yoshida said. “For the past decade or so, I’ve seen quite a number of opinions saying ‘I don’t understand the attraction of selecting commands in video games.’ This opinion is only increasing, particularly with younger audiences who do not typically play RPGs.”

It makes sense: turn-based Final Fantasy games began with the inception of the series in 1987, and the idea came from tabletop RPGs, popular years before that. While there are certainly fans who’ve continued to play since then, there are plenty of others who were born in the 30-plus years that proceeded. Despite the appeal to a younger audience, Final Fantasy XVI does have a Mature rating. That’s mostly due to the kind of story that Square Enix wants to tell.

The studio doesn’t want to set that story in an open world, though. Final Fantasy XVI is not open-world, because that simply would’ve been too much for the team. In another story translated by VGC, Yoshida explained the game’s development goals: “I want a story of a hero who saves the world. I want a summon to go wild and destroy the map. I want to release this game as soon as possible.” Those goals didn’t line up with open-world design, at least not in a practical sense. “If we had a development period of about 15 years, we may have had the opportunity of challenging ourselves with an open world,” Yoshida added. “Delivering what we believe is the best story does not require an open world.”

Final Fantasy XVI isn’t turned-based or open-world, but it is coming next year. While the highly anticipated game has no specific release date, it’s currently slated for summer 2023.