July 4, 2022

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I don’t recognize Final Fantasy 16 as the franchise I used to love

4 min read

Final Fantasy 16 Screenshots

Final Fantasy 16 – Things have changed a lot in 35 years (Picture: Square Enix)

A reader is not impressed by the new Final Fantasy 16 trailer and wishes Square Enix would make a more traditional modern entry.

After watching the trailer for Final Fantasy 16 on Thursday evening, I was hesitant to try to write this Readers feature. I didn’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction and I didn’t want to come across as one of those gatekeeper, reactionary jerks who always complain about everything falling apart and want things to stay that way forever . I’m not like that, I swear, but I have to come to terms with the fact that Final Fantasy is no longer for me.

I’ve played and enjoyed the franchise since Final Fantasy 7 on PS1 and have gone back to playing every other mainline game and many, many spin-offs. Everything about everyone that spoke to me as a gamer: over-the-top anime stories and characters, turn-based combat that didn’t require any arcade skills, and amazing artistry of visuals and soundtrack.

Some of these elements are still present in modern games, but I already felt they started to fade away from me after Final Fantasy 12, when the focus mixed sci-fi with action-based battles and lots of real-world elements. Went firmly to the settings. Fantasy, to me, was becoming less interesting and less recognizable as the franchise I knew. And then I saw the new Final Fantasy 16 trailer.

I already saw the reveal trailer last year and I was intrigued, but the new gameplay footage confirms two things to me: The fighting is entirely action-based and the setting is so Western that it’s barely recognized as Final Fantasy’s. could. It looks like a typical Tolkien-esque world mixed in with Game of Thrones and is a million miles away from other Japanese-made fantasy settings, such as Final Fantasy 9.

The wild inventiveness and exclusivity of that game is such a sharp contrast to Final Fantasy 16, that I don’t think anyone would identify as Final Fantasy or be made by Japanese developers if they were looking at raw footage without a logo.

I think this is important. If a game doesn’t look or feel anything like a franchise, what’s the point? You can call it anything else. But they won’t because the name Final Fantasy sells, and yet Square Enix seems against making anything that actually represents that name.

The only thing that can give it away is the inclusion of creatures such as Shiva, Odin, Bahmut and Ifrit, but they are depicted in a general way that they can be anyone. They don’t really fit in with the rest of it anyway and they seem to have been shoehorned into convincing fans that this is actually a Final Fantasy game.

Although that’s fine, I’m not going to complain. Or at least not angry, the way some gamers seem to be. If Final Fantasy games with weird fantasy settings aren’t going to make your money anymore, so be it. If I were in charge of Square Enix I would probably make the same business decision.

Although I wish they would make some good alternatives. All their attempts to make old-school Japanese role-players always end up in the form of strange, fossilized relics like Octopath Traveler and Triangle Strategy, with their ugly HD-2D graphics and their paganism of the past. That’s not what I want.

What I want is like an alternative, evolutionary path. Like, what if Final Fantasy had remained a turn-based series and wasn’t obsessed with sci-if? It’s a very different proposition to ‘Let’s Just Make a Pretend SNES Game’.

My thought would be more expensive than these other games, but not necessarily mega budget. A good old fashioned AA game would be fine. Something that was not only trying to replicate the past, but also desperately trying to imitate other games that are currently popular.

Reader by Tabernacle

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