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Exclusive: Final Fantasy 16’s Developers Open Up About Game of Thrones Comparisons, Sidequests, and Representation – IGN

Final Fantasy XVI is lower than a yr away, however Sq. Enix has left most of the small print to be speculated on by the followers. A latest trailer provided extra hints about what to anticipate, together with a touch of what crystals – a Final Fantasy standby – imply for the world. Now Final Fantasy XVI’s improvement workforce are delving deeper than ever into their upcoming RPG, opening about matters starting from persistent comparisons to Game of Thrones to questions on illustration for Black characters and different folks of coloration.

For this interview, IGN spoke with director Hiroshi Takai, localization director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox, and artistic director Kazutoyo Maehiro, with producer Naoki Yoshida additionally weighing in for some prolonged ideas of his personal. They speak about it being the primary M-rated recreation within the collection, how sidequests will work, and a number of different matters. In addition they open up a bit extra about its feminine protagonist, purported to be Jill Warrick, and how Clive will work together along with his companions.

“Whereas [Final Fantasy XVI] does function a distinguished feminine protagonist, I’d hazard the similarities finish there. Celes and Aerith are distinctive in that a lot of their video games’ narratives revolve round their very own respective tales,” Koji Fox says. “[Final Fantasy XVI’s] story, nonetheless, has, because the early idea section, all the time been about Clive. However as is the case with all Final Fantasys, Clive’s story is about encounters. It’s about companions. It’s about relationships and how, via these relationships, Clive grows. No Final Fantasy character value his or her salt ever saved the world on their very own. Fortunately, Clive gained’t should attempt, as he, too, just isn’t alone.

You could find the remaining of the interview beneath, and make sure that to take a look at our dialog with Yoshida from earlier this yr. Final Fantasy XVI is slated to launch in summer time 2023.

Final Fantasy XIV Lore Interview – The Growth Crew

IGN: Are you able to speak concerning the function of the crystals in Final Fantasy XVI, and how they’re each related and completely different to earlier video games within the collection?

Hiroshi Takai, Predominant Director: I imagine they’re just like crystals in earlier installments in the best way they’re crystallizations of aether, the supply of all magic. In Final Fantasy XVI, folks mine the crystals and devour them – as if they’re deposits of sources, like oil. Maybe you can say the best way that crystals are portrayed as a significant and acquainted half of folks’s means of life is one thing that’s distinctive about their depiction in Final Fantasy XVI.

The nations of Valisthea conduct giant-scale wars over these crystals, one thing deeply linked to the story, so I hope folks can be excited to find extra. Though, the crystals might have one other, vital that means…

IGN: The mural within the trailer reveals Bahamut, Titan, Garuda, Shiva, Leviathan, and Ifrit. Are these all of the Eikons? Can we anticipate some shock summons in Final Fantasy XVI?

Kazutoyo Maehiro, Inventive Director; Authentic Screenplay: The mural proven on the finish of the trailer we not too long ago revealed doesn’t recount the story being informed in Final Fantasy XVI – it was painted in an historical age, many eons in the past. So, you’ll be able to take into account these Eikons showing within the mural the Eikons which have traditionally existed in Valisthea. I can’t say something extra concerning the mural at this cut-off date – and it might really be slightly tough to reply whether or not all these Eikons proven within the mural will seem… regardless, any greater than that is nonetheless a secret, haha. Eikons are on the core of Final Fantasy XVI’s story.

In contrast to the Summons of different installments within the collection, there aren’t too many of them, nor are there any hidden, shock Eikons. However it’s because the story focuses on the Eikons – not together with any hidden Eikons or having an enormous quantity of them means we are able to discover every

Eikon and their Dominant extra completely.

IGN: That is the primary mainline Final Fantasy recreation to doubtlessly get a Mature ranking. Are you able to speak about why the workforce determined to make this recreation darker and extra violent than its predecessors? What does it imply for the collection as a complete?

Hiroshi Takai: Within the early levels of improvement, we determined that we wouldn’t inform a juvenile story. Some of the foremost issues had been the age vary of the gamers we anticipate to kind our core viewers, and additionally that we have now an elevated functionality to painting issues, in a number of meanings of the phrase. You say it’s a extra “violent” route – however the important thing level right here is that we didn’t wish to simply make issues extra excessive, we wished to point out issues extra realistically and naturally.

The world of Final Fantasy XVI is wracked by limitless wars between nations, so we inevitably needed to embrace scenes of battle. And if a personality doesn’t have any blood splatter on them after slashing somebody with a sword, that finally ends up wanting unnatural with trendy graphical capabilities – which creates a fair stronger sense of dissonance. I’m positive the collection will proceed to butt up in opposition to this query of depicting issues realistically and naturally sooner or later as nicely.

Within the early levels of improvement, we determined that we wouldn’t inform a juvenile story.

IGN: Watching the trailer, I discover myself mentally evaluating it to fashionable fantasy like Game of Thrones and The Witcher. Particularly, the give attention to political intrigue and the warring kingdoms, with Clive seemingly standing in for Geralt. What do you assume of these comparisons?

Michael-Christopher Koji Fox, Localization Director: The 2 collection being so distinguished, I suppose it’s laborious to make a medieval excessive-fantasy recreation as of late with out drawing no less than just a few comparisons to Game of Thrones and The Witcher. And whereas we’re in the end

aiming for one thing that we hope can stand alone by itself deserves, the reality is, there are lots of followers of Game of Thrones on the event workforce, and so you will see some cases of similarity in narrative themes and character design. For probably the most half, nonetheless, these similarities normally don’t lengthen a lot past just a few outward options, be they regarding look or characterization.

And that isn’t restricted to Game of Thrones. Look laborious sufficient, and you’ll discover bits and items from many differing types of media — be they novels, video games, films, anime, or manga. Drawing inspiration from different works is usually how lots of concepts are conceptualized within the early levels of improvement. When describing the way you’d like a sure battle blocked, it’s merely simpler to say, “like that one scene in so-and-so” and then work from there to provide it its personal life. The identical might be stated for characters. Broad strokes like Indiana Jones cocky, however with the seems of Vigo from Ghostbusters 2; assist get everybody on the identical web page. The ultimate outcomes should embrace some vestiges of that unique idea that folks might level at and say “Look, Vigo!” however when you dig deeper, you’ll discover that it was actually solely the hairline. (Please be aware, there aren’t any Indiana Vigos in XVI…in all probability.)

As for intrigue and warring kingdoms, nicely…it’s laborious to save lots of the world when the world doesn’t want saving, simply because it’s laborious to justify going out and beating up on troopers from the imperial military if you find yourself at peace with the empire. Rather a lot of good tales are rooted in battle. They offer characters goal. Generate loss. Present heroes with one thing to beat. Intrigue feeds into that. That stated, I wouldn’t say that [Final Fantasy XVI] is a narrative about political intrigue. It’s a narrative about Clive. And whereas politics play an element within the issues occurring about Clive, he’s not on the middle of all that, however reasonably on the mercy of bigger forces.

A prisoner of destiny who has determined it’s time to interrupt out.

IGN: The trailer introduces two new characters in Dion Lesage and Barnabas Tharmr. Are you able to speak concerning the course of of designing these characters? Are they meant to symbolize the Dragoon and Darkish Knight courses?

Kazutoyo Maehiro: Clive, the protagonist, is a personality with a considerably darkish ambiance, having sworn revenge. And so, Dion Lesage is a personality who was created as a mirrored image of varieties, made within the conventional picture of a prince. He’s an all-spherical Superman, with an Eikon’s energy, attractiveness, and expert in each the martial and mental arts.

Having stated that, not all the things in his previous and his upbringing is all the time as gilded because it appears…so he’s fairly a compelling character. Alternatively, Barnabas Tharmr was conceptualized within the picture of a king cloaked totally in thriller. Taking a look at previous installments, they completely embody the Dragoon and Darkish Knight archetypes.

Final Fantasy 16 – Story Trailer Screenshots

IGN: Are you able to speak about what you take into account to be the “essence of Final Fantasy storytelling” and the way you’re incorporating it in Final Fantasy XVI? What’s your private favourite Final Fantasy story thus far?

Michael-Christopher Koji Fox: That’s laborious to say, as every Final Fantasy within the collection is impartial of the others. Story-smart, there may be little to tie any of them collectively outdoors of a handful of shared monsters, magicks, and music. And thematically, the one actual similarity is that all of them revolve round a band of unlikely heroes setting off to save lots of the world. Oh, and crystals. Rather a lot of crystals. That gained’t change in Final Fantasy XVI.

Nonetheless, when you look past the floor, and deeper into the core of Final Fantasy storytelling, I believe you will see a standard thread, and that’s emotion. The Final Fantasy video games do a superb job of getting the viewers to care about their characters and eliciting real emotional responses. We rejoice their victories and lament their tragedies as in the event that they had been our personal—the shock, anger, unhappiness, pleasure we really feel is actual…and that’s the reason it’s lasting.

From a pure story/lore perspective, Final Fantasy XII is one of my favorites, however after I assume again on what FF second has stayed with me the longest, it would all the time be Galuf’s battle with Exdeath in FFV for precisely the rationale I discussed above.

IGN: With regard to range within the recreation, can we anticipate to see Black characters in Final Fantasy XVI, or folks of coloration (non-white characters) typically? To make clear a bit extra, there’s been dialogue across the trailers thus far that includes principally white characters, and I wished to get readability on whether or not we are able to anticipate the ultimate recreation to be extra various.

Naoki Yoshida, Producer: It is a tough query, however not one which was surprising, seeing as range in leisure media has turn into a a lot-mentioned matter as of late. The reply I’ve, nonetheless, might find yourself being disappointing to some relying on particular person expectations.

Our design idea from the earliest levels of improvement has all the time closely featured medieval Europe, incorporating historic, cultural, political, and anthropological requirements that had been prevalent on the time. When deciding on a setting that was finest suited to the story we wished to inform—the story of a land beset by the Blight—we felt that reasonably than create one thing on a world scale, it was essential to restrict the scope it to a single landmass — one geographically and culturally remoted from the remaining of the world in an age with out airplanes, tv, or telephones.

Because of the underlying geographical, technological, and geopolitical constraints of this setting, Valisthea was by no means going to realistically be as various as say a contemporary-day Earth…and even Final Fantasy XIV that has a whole planet (and moon) value of nations, races, and cultures at its disposal. The remoted nature of this realm, nonetheless, does find yourself taking part in a big half within the story and is one of the explanations Valisthea’s destiny is tied to the remaining of the world.

In the end, we felt that whereas incorporating ethnic range into Valisthea was vital, an over-incorporation into this single nook of a a lot bigger world may find yourself inflicting a violation of these narrative boundaries we initially set for ourselves. The story we’re telling is fantasy, sure, however it is usually rooted in actuality.

Conversely, the Final Fantasy collection of video games have all the time inherently handled battle and wrestle, particularly between the empowered and these used and/or exploited by these privileged few—a distinguished pattern in human historical past. In a recreation that, by design, permits gamers to expertise that battle and wrestle first- hand via dynamic, practical battles, it may be difficult to assign distinctive ethnicities to both antagonist or protagonist with out triggering viewers preconceptions, inviting unwarranted hypothesis, and in the end stoking flames of controversy. The perfect half of pulling inspiration immediately from historical past, nonetheless, is that it permits us to revisit and re-look at our personal pasts, whereas additionally permitting us to create one thing new.

Ultimately, we merely need the main focus to be much less on the outward look of our characters and extra on who they’re as folks—people who find themselves advanced and various of their natures, backgrounds, beliefs, personalities, and motivations. Folks whose tales we are able to resonate with. There may be range in Valisthea. Variety that, whereas not all-encompassing, is synergistic with the setting we’ve created and is true to the inspirations from which we’re drawing.

IGN: Can we anticipate to see a feminine character on par with Celes, Aerith, or Basic Beatrix?

Michael-Christopher Koji Fox: Whereas [Final Fantasy XVI] does function a distinguished feminine protagonist, I’d hazard the similarities finish there. Celes and Aerith are distinctive in that a lot of their video games’ narratives revolve round their very own respective tales. [Final Fantasy XVI’s] story, nonetheless, has, because the early idea section, all the time been about Clive. However as is the case with all Final Fantasys, Clive’s story is about encounters. It’s about companions. It’s about relationships and how, via these relationships, Clive grows. No Final Fantasy character value his or her salt ever saved the world on their very own. Fortunately, Clive gained’t should attempt, as he, too, just isn’t alone.

These companions, nonetheless, aren’t merely static, one-dimensional plot gadgets there to prop up Clive. They’ve their very own pasts, their very own motivations, and these are explored in-depth because the participant progresses via the story. One such character does find yourself being featured extra prominently. Sturdy, but flawed. Courageous, but full of doubt, her relationship with Clive impacts him in ways in which reverberate all through his arc.

IGN: Will Final Fantasy icons via historical past seem in Final Fantasy XVI, particularly Moogles and Cactuars? If not, why?

Kazutoyo Maehiro: Chocobos and Moogles will seem in Final Fantasy XVI. They every have their very own function, liable for sure options and elements of the sport. There are tons of different frequent parts as nicely, together with monsters like Bombs and Morbols, and some terminology. Having stated that, the world of Final Fantasy XVI is kind of critical in tone, so we’ve not gone out of our solution to embrace something overly comical or issues that don’t match clearly into an ecosystem. This doesn’t relate to the gameplay expertise, however we’ve additionally included a good quantity of homages to previous Sq. Enix video games in names, and so on. These are similar to easter eggs – if you realize, it’ll make you smile. For those who’re the sort of participant who likes discovering these items, I hope you’ll attempt and uncover the assorted little nods!

IGN: How linear is the story? How expansive are the person areas? How a lot exploration is on the market? Will there be non-obligatory facet quests that develop considerably on the lore?

Hiroshi Takai: The half that we name the major story is a wealthy, expansive narrative that strikes ahead with none branching factors. Nonetheless, there are tons of facet tales interspersed round the principle story. These facet tales give lots of perception into the lore and present completely different sides to the characters. The areas themselves are of various sizes, some smaller and some bigger, however there are a number of so-known as “discipline” areas of round [two square kilometers], containing settlements and different options inside them.

As you progress via the story, you’ll additionally encounter fairly quantity of areas known as “levels”. Though you’ll be able to stroll pretty freely across the discipline areas, it’s not like you might want to actually pour your vitality into exploration to keep away from the sport changing into tough to make progress with afterward. In every space, we’ve included locations to collect sources, seek for sturdy enemies known as Elite Marks, and conditions that Clive might want to overcome while the powers he’s obtained from the Eikons are restricted – so it’s not a recreation which you can end in its entirety by solely following the principle story.

IGN: What are the story parts which have been refined and up to date probably the most over Final Fantasy XVI’s improvement, from preliminary idea to the place the story and script at the moment are? Are you able to give examples of this as nicely? In relation, which character has developed probably the most via the voice performing, writing, and visible design course of? Which character do you discover most intriguing?

Kazutoyo Maehiro: In precise truth, there haven’t been any main adjustments from the very first draft of the story that I confirmed the Producer and Director. I spent an immense quantity of time on the story within the early levels – I didn’t assume of it as only a story, however “a narrative ready particularly for folks to play within the recreation Final Fantasy XVI”. This meant that there weren’t any vital updates from that time onwards. The identical is true of the characters.

Nonetheless, as I labored on the script, the character of Clive, the protagonist, turned a lot clearer and higher outlined. Every time this occurred, I went again and re-wrote dialogue, time and once more. That is one of the explanation why I do assume Clive is probably the most impactful character within the recreation. Having stated that, there are tons of memorable characters within the recreation, and I hope gamers will discover their private favourite from among the many in depth solid.

Kat Bailey is a Senior Information Editor at IGN in addition to co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Ship her a DM at @the_katbot.

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