When it was first announced, many believed that the upcoming Final Fantasy 16 would follow in the footsteps of its predecessor and launch as a large-scale open-world RPG. However, there were instances in which games adopted a concept but have dropped that very same concept in the sequel. It would seem that Final Fantasy 16 is one of those sequels since the creatives decided to abandon the open-world setting of the upcoming game.
According to ComicBook, the upcoming Final Fantasy 16 won’t be an open-world game, as stated by the game’s producer Naoki Yoshida. Instead, the game will focus more on an “area-based design” that would provide gamers with a more global feel of the in-game world. This, in turn, allows Square Enix, the developer, and publisher of the game, to create several focused areas. The size of these areas still remains to be seen, but according to Yoshida, their scope will still retain the open-world feel.
For those that haven’t played Final Fantasy 15, the game has tried its hand at the open-world format, but the development team got too many things wrong that ultimately did more harm than good to an otherwise great game. And therein lies the main reason for Square Enix’s decision to make an area-based game. After conducting market research, the company found that younger generations of gamers haven’t played any of the Final Fantasy games or simply don’t have any interest in the series.
In their attempt to appeal to the gaming masses and still resonate with the core fandom of the Final Fantasy series, the team has shifted its focus on creating an area-based Final Fantasy 16, whose massive in-game world draws inspiration from recent triple-A open-world RPGs. To achieve a story that feels like it spans the entire globe, the devs have created six in-game realms, independent areas within the game, that provide a truly “global scale” for players to experience. This feels similar to a 2005’s Sudeki, which had a similar level design.
From what we’ve gathered so far, the in-game world is modeled after a traditional European fantasy, with each nation having a Dominant — a special person who wields a power that can level nations. The company’s decision to avoid going with the current trends within the gaming industry isn’t all that surprising, considering Final Fantasy 15’s poorly designed open-world setting, so making Final Fantasy 16 into a massive area-based game allows Square Enix to make up for the poor level design of the previous game.
Final Fantasy 16 was first announced for PlayStation 5 back in 2020 but suffered a crushing delay recently. It’s currently scheduled for a Summer 2023 release if everything goes according to plan, and reports suggest that we’re looking at a times PlayStation 5 exclusive, with the game dropping on other platforms after a while. Whether or not this is the case remains to be seen. However, impatient fans who can’t wait for a whole year can revisit Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which recently dropped on Steam.