Game news Why is Final Fantasy 16 so much more exciting than Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth?
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As the release of Final Fantasy XVI is fast approaching, many fans seem to have turned their attention to the next game of the license, namely Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. However, the new numbered episode has solid arguments to attract franchise regulars and newcomers alike.
This article is an opinion piece, it is by nature subjective. The opinion of the author is personal and is not representative of that of the rest of JV’s editorial staff.
- The best of both Japanese gaming worlds
- A project led by a lesser known FF team
- Finally something new, a leap into the unknown!
No, this post is not here to say that Final Fantasy XVI will necessarily be better than Final Fantasy VII Rebirth which is condemned to be less good, even bad. Given what we have seen with Final Fantasy VII Remake, it seems impossible for this sequel to crash with such solid foundations. On the contrary, the purpose of this article is to highlight elements of the next numbered episode that you may have missed and are worth getting excited about before its release, a story that all the excitement around Rebirth shares. better between the two titles.
The best of both Japanese gaming worlds
Since its announcement, Final Fantasy XVI surprised many with its action-oriented approach. If Final Fantasy XV had already taken this shift with its open world, Final Fantasy VII Remake followed suit by offering a hybrid formula, with the introduction of the ATB gauge characteristic of previous turn-based games in the franchise. But FF16 goes further by going downright flirting with the beat’em up. If it was surprising at first sight, by discovering the people involved in the project, doubts were quickly dispelled. In the post of combat director, we find a certain Ryota Suzuki who has made a large part of his career at Capcom. After being a combat planner on Devil May Cry 4, he became a designer on Dragon’s Dogma and Devil May Cry 5, while he held the role of programmer on Monster Hunter World in the meantime. It is therefore someone who knows about action games and who provides valuable assistance on the project.
With this recruitment to a combat director position, it looks like Final Fantasy XVI is about to bring together the best of both Japanese video game worlds. Let me explain. For a long time, the name Final Fantasy was synonymous with several qualities found in Japanese titles. A well-written and gripping story, a captivating universe and a memorable soundtrack. Everything that we currently find in Final Fantasy XIV for example. Then it was the turn-based role-playing game that put off more than one, partly in the West where players are less fond of this kind of experience. On the other, we have Devil May Cry, the benchmark action game series that continues to prove that the beat ’em up is not dead and that it gives birth to the most complex and visually impressive combat systems that that is. You see me coming with my big hooves, but Final Fantasy XVI seems set to be the sum of these two facets of Japanese video gaming. On the one hand all the qualities of the narration and writing of a role-playing game, on the other hand the rich and advanced combat system of a beat’em up. And that is a mixture that we have rarely had the opportunity to see and which therefore makes the release of Final Fantasy XVI very exciting.
A project led by a lesser known FF team
Beyond its combat director, Final Fantasy XVI is a title that promises to be captivating by the cast that is behind it. These are developers whose work is less known on the license, but who are nevertheless at the origin of many games considered cult. On the side of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, we find Square Enix’s Creative Business Unit 1 led by Yoshinori Kitase, a team that made the great hours of the saga (Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII Final Fantasy X) as well as less well received projects (Final Fantasy X-2, the Final Fantasy XIII series). As saying that the productions of this division are the best known to the general public and that they helped build his reputation in the eyes of the world. If you want to know more about the distribution of teams between FF projects, we put a little diagram below.
Final Fantasy XVI is developed by Creative Business Unit 3 headed by Naoki Yoshida. It is the division that takes care of the MMORPG part of Final Fantasy, namely Final Fantasy XI Online and of course Final Fantasy XIV. Moreover, it is under the leadership of the latter that FFXIV met the popularity that we know today, to the point of going to compete with World of Warcraft. On the strength of this success, the division had the right to develop the new numbered episode of the franchise, the famous Final Fantasy XVI which interests us today. Too busy being the director and producer of FFXIV, Naoki Yoshida is “only” a producer on FF16, which still gives him a central role in the project, make no mistake. And then, we find most of the key roles of trusted men who helped in the “rescue” of FFXIV 1.0, which testifies to a certain continuity between the two works.
Thereby, Hiroshi Takai is the director of Final Fantasy XVI, he who we know recently for having been assistant director on version 2.0 of FFXIV, alongside Yoshida. In the past, he had worked on the combats of Romancing SaGa, then on the effects of Final Fantasy XI, before being director of The Last Remnant. On the music side, we find Masayoshi Soken, composer who created the vast majority of FFXIV’s soundtrack and whose quality of work places him alongside the great musicians of the series such as Nobuo Uematsu or Masashi Hamauzu. If with all this, we are already entitled to a great team that makes you want to have confidence, we are all the more so when we take a look at its creative director: Kazutoyo Maehiro.
Well, presented like this, this name may not mean anything to you, but the gentleman has worked on many cult games. In charge of the interactive novels of Final Fantasy Tactics, he was director of the sets on Vagrant Story, before playing the role of chief designer of the fights of Final Fantasy XII, and especially of being the chief scriptwriter of version 2.0 of FFXIV . In the process, he will also take care of the history of the first extension of the title, Heavensward. If you are well informed, you have understood that he is part of the close guard of Yasumi Matsuno, a Japanese developer behind most of the projects mentioned above. The latter stood out in the 90s with his titles which staged a theatrical geopolitics as well as philosophical reflections which make them fascinating and cult works. This legacy can be found in Final Fantasy XIV and therefore in Final Fantasy XVIwith a different take on Creative Business Unit 1 that focuses more on characters than on the game world. FFXVI is the perfect opportunity to experience this way of telling a story on a AAA budget.
Finally something new, a leap into the unknown!
There where What sets Final Fantasy XVI apart from Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is that it’s a completely new experience. On the side of Rebirth, this one has the double cap of being both a sequel, but also a remake. Suddenly, it is even less of a real novelty since we already know the game system and we have an idea of the scenes that we will find. Despite everything, we will be entitled to a great deal of mystery and revelations because FFVII Remake made it clear to us that the events of Rebirth would not be identical to those of the PS1 title. Even knowing this, we know very well the universe of FFVII and its characters for twenty-five years so much the game was a revolution in its time.
Next door, Final Fantasy XVI brings a real breath of fresh air with an experience that contains only new things. Well, of course, if all the episodes of FF are independent of each other, we still find a certain number of similarities: the chocobos, the moogs, the classes, the magic or even the invocations which also play a central role in FFXVI. Despite that, discovering a new experience remains valuable in 2023, especially in an increasingly chilly industry which relies on the same licenses to make sequels, remakes, remasters or even spin-offs to avoid any commercial failure. And if FFXVI can be considered as a “sequel” to a great franchise, since everything it offers is new, both the gameplay and its universe through its scenario, then we can accept it as a real novelty.
In a nutshell: for its unique combat system for the series, the inspirations of its developers and its original proposal which is neither a sequel nor a remake, you should wait for Final Fantasy XVI with a firm footing. Just like me.
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