Final Fantasy producer Naoki Yoshida has said that the reason Final Fantasy 16 doesn’t feature turn-based combat is so that the game will to appeal to a younger audience.
Speaking in the latest issue of Famitsu, translated for VGC by contributor Robert Sephazon, the developer said that the team had to reassess the audience Final Fantasy was appealing to.
“I’m from a generation that grew up with command and turn-based RPGs,” Yoshida said. “I think I understand how interesting and immersive it can be. On the other hand, for the past decade or so, I’ve seen quite a number of opinions saying ‘I don’t understand the attraction of selecting commands in video games’.
“This opinion is only increasing, particularly with younger audiences who do not typically play RPGs.”
Yoshida went on to explain that he believes the evolution in console technology has pushed RPGs towards action-based mechanics rather than turn-based.
“For several console generations now, all character expressions can be done in real-time. Actions such as ‘press the trigger and your character will shoot a gun’ and ‘press the button and your character will swing their sword’ can now be easily expressed without going through a command system.
“It’s now common for gamers younger than me to love such games. As a result, it seems that it does not make sense to go through a command prompt, such as ‘Battle’, to make a decision during a battle.
“This is not an argument of what is good or bad, but there is a difference based on the player’s preferences and age. Furthermore, there is a big difference between a command system and a turn-based system, and these are often conflated, but are two different concepts.
He added: “RPGs originated with tabletop RPGs, and I think that gaming RPGs were invented by replacing the tabletop discussions with commands in video games.
“As I said, I believe I know the fun of command system RPGs, and I want to continue developing them, but I thought about the expected sales of Final Fantasy XVI and the impact that we have to deliver.
“At times, I said that it was okay if the development team would explore new options, and the system would be only half-finished, and as a result, it would be remade many times.
“It’s the same feeling as not utilizing an open world: if you have a good idea, you should approach it, but if you feel differently and think ‘it’s better not to have a command system’ instead, I don’t mind.
“From this, I think it is definitely possible that the next Final Fantasy may also utilize a command system again, or be an open world game. However, at this point, if we were to develop it, Final Fantasy XVI will be like this.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Yoshida claimed that an open-world version of Final Fantasy 16 would take “15 years to make”.