As Aussie media we were invited out to Square Enix's Shinjuku, Japan, studio to not only get hands-on with Final Fantasy XVI, but to also spend time with the development team to learn as much about the game as possible. What we walked away with was a sense that this series has finally matured in a way that transcends its own lineage.
In talking about the influences that kept them away from any classic JRPG settings, tropes or pitfalls, the game's producer Naoki Yoshida and his general instead spoke of the broader influences that had crept into their tinkering of the long-running franchise, led first and foremost by Game of Thrones but also backed up by the more recent God of War games.
Here's a snippet:
“I love Christopher Nolan and The Dark Knight Returns, and of course Game of Thrones,” Yoshida-san loosely suggests during our presentation, as translated by the game’s localisation director and key Western writer and influence, Koji Fox (who also directed a lot of the Western-first VO and mo-cap and is a rad dude). We’re not supposed to use any of the material from the presentation as directly translated, so that’s not strictly verbatim from him, but the essence and truth of those influences is there. In fact all of the key players throughout our presentation list Game of Thrones and other ‘mature Western games’ they’ve been playing as clear influences on this new Final Fantasy’s direction, and we’re all the better for letting them run with such expansive guidance...Click here for our full Final Fantasy XVI hands-on and dev experience.
And stay tuned for more from our studio visit over the coming days.