Final Fantasy 16 producer reveals new details on subpoena, party members, and why it won’t be a ‘Final Fantasy theme park’

Final Fantasy 16 was first unveiled nearly two years ago, with Square Enix claiming that “base development” had already been completed. Despite this, Square Enix has been relatively quiet about the latest entry in its long-running franchise until very recently, when it finally released a brand new trailer featuring Eikons – the subpoena version

The trailer shed more light on what to expect from the still mysterious Final Fantasy 16, but left fans with plenty of other questions. How will Eikons appear in battle? And will Clive work with a party – a staple that harks back to the series’ original NES days – or will he fly solo?

In a new interview with IGN, producer Naoki Yoshida gave a little more insight into how combat, summons, and other mechanics will work in Final Fantasy 16, confirming that it will once again feature party mechanics in some form.

“We didn’t want to overwhelm users in our latest trailer, so we focused solely on Clive’s battles. That said, Clive will be accompanied by one or more companions for most of his journey. These companions will also participate in the battle as trade talk with Clive. That said, the party members will be AI-driven so players can focus solely on mastering Clive,” explains Yoshida.

While Yoshida somehow wouldn’t confirm, one of those party members could be Torgal, the wolf pup from the original trailer. Yoshida said fans will “wait and see” if the pup will eventually play a part in the fight, and promises more information about partying soon.

Final Fantasy 16’s battle will ‘translate subpoena into player actions’

In one way or another, looks like it’s at least somewhat like Final Fantasy 15, which also featured AI-controlled party members. This has been a trend in the series since it moved away from turn-based combat, with even Final Fantasy 7 Remake embracing action-based combat.

In that regard, Final Fantasy 7 Remake has been widely acclaimed for balance between depth and nuance with speed and excitement, Yoshida says Final Fantasy 16 will play a little differently.

†[Final Fantasy 7 Remake] would not exist without the original [Final Fantasy 7]and those original systems ultimately influenced what became Remake. [Final Fantasy 16], however, is a completely new game with a completely different concept. To steer the series in a new direction, rather than building on old combat systems, director Hiroshi Takai and combat director Ryota Suzuki have focused on real-time action,” explains Yoshida. Combat has allowed us to create a system that not only looks great, but feels really good to play.”

Summons played a big part in Final Fantasy 16’s most recent trailer, replete with the usual pyrotechnics fans have come to expect from such sequences. Ifrit, Ramuh, Bahamut, and Shiva – all of whom appeared in the trailer – have been the mainstays of Final Fantasy for many years, and their importance has grown along with the franchise’s leap in allegiance.

[Final Fantasy 16] is its own entity, separate from [Final Fantasy XIV] and the other games in the series, so you won’t find as many ‘honours’ as you will in [Final Fantasy 14]†

In Final Fantasy 16, Eikons are akin to weapons of mass destruction wielded by “Dominants” capable of leveling nations. Many fans likened their visually spectacular sequences to watching Godzilla, but Yoshida says the “combat type and scale are somewhat fluid.”

“Eikons appear in many different situations and iterations. There isn’t one design concept that covers them all. Some will face Clive as fierce enemies, some will be friends and come to Clive’s rescue,” explains Yoshida. “There will also be times when the player controls an Eikon in real time and fights other Eikons. The battle type and scale are somewhat fluid and change seamlessly in real time depending on the battle… keeping things at maximum excitement while maintaining immersion. These different types of Eikon-driven action-oriented combat are one of the main selling points of [Final Fantasy 16]and we’ll tell you more about them in the coming months.”

Final Fantasy 16 won’t be a ‘Final Fantasy theme park’ this time

While Final Fantasy 16 will no doubt be compared to more recent single player entries from the series, the connections to Final Fantasy 14 cannot be ignored. Final Fantasy 16 features a star cast of developers from Square Enix, many of whom have worked on Square Enix’s acclaimed MMO, starting with Yoshida himself.

Nevertheless, Yoshida says that fans of Final Fantasy 16 should expect a very different experience.

“The development concepts for [Final Fantasy 14] and [Final Fantasy 16] are intrinsically different. [Final Fantasy 16] does something that Final Fantasy doesn’t have yet – take aspects of the entire series and include them in what we like to call a “Final Fantasy theme park.” Although that a [Final Fantasy 14] concept, it’s not specific [Business Unit 3] hallmark of the development team,” says Yoshida.

Final Fantasy 16 new screenshots

†[Final Fantasy 16] is its own entity, separate from [Final Fantasy XIV] and the other games in the series, so you won’t find as many ‘honours’ as you will in [Final Fantasy 14]† That doesn’t mean there won’t be Easter eggs, though! That being said, [Final Fantasy 16]”The main focus will be on maintaining that series-wide feeling of ‘playing a movie’ rather than drawing on previous titles.”

Despite the differences, Square Enix has no doubts that Yoshida and the rest of the development team can transfer some of the magic of the MMO, which continues to grow with each new expansion

We’ll be able to see for ourselves soon enough Final Fantasy 16 launches Summer 2023† Check in the meantime everything we learned from our interview with Yoshida, like the rest of our ongoing Summer of Gaming coverage.

Kat Bailey is Senior News Editor at IGN and co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.

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