In this interview, Naoki Yoshida reveals some interesting new information about Final Fantasy XVI.
Final fantasy: The game’s producer gives a wide-ranging interview in which he discusses a variety of topics, including the game’s development, how he manages to work on both it and Final Fantasy XIV, his favorite Summon, and many more.
The wait is finally over for those of you who have been itching to learn even more about the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XVI.
Since the game was first announced in the year 2020, it’s probable that you, just like us, have read every piece of text, looked at every screenshot, and watched every trailer.
The initial details regarding the game’s setting and cast of characters have been revealed, and only lately, we got a better look at the game’s mechanics as well as the all-important release window. Here on PS.Blog, Producer Naoki Yoshida has walked us through all three of them in detail.
Now that we’re in this position, we can ask Yoshida-san some questions about the creation of the game, which will maybe shed some light on the process.
Here, we hear his own perspective on a variety of topics, including creating for PlayStation 5, his favorite Summon, and answering the call to produce the latest mainline Final Fantasy release. Let’s get to it.
PlayStation.Blog: In your opinion, what are some of the most fundamental aspects of a Final Fantasy game? When creating Final Fantasy XVI, did the production team refer to previous installments in the series for any assistance or inspiration?
Naoki Yoshida: I’d say the essential components of a Final Fantasy game are an in-depth plot, an in-depth gameplay system, cutting-edge visuals and sound, and cutting-edge technology in general… including, without limitation, chocobos and moogles.
When it came time to make a decision about what to do with Final Fantasy XVI, I reflected on my time spent playing the first Final Fantasy game and recalled how the experience made me feel as if I were the main character in a movie.
This helped me decide what to do with the new installment. I aimed to recreate that sensation in XVI while utilizing cutting-edge approaches to game design and the most cutting-edge innovations in contemporary technology.
The entirety of the development team, with Hiroshi Takai serving as director, has collaborated in order to turn that goal into a reality; therefore, I hope that you are all looking forward to it.
PSB: When you think back to the commencement of the Final Fantasy XVI project, do you remember the conversation that took place when you were requested to create this new mainline entry? What was your first impression of the situation?
I responded by saying “Thank you, but I am now quite busy with Final Fantasy XIV, so I will have to think about it.”
It was a tremendous privilege for me to learn that the firm had selected my division, Creative Business Unit 3, to be in charge of developing the following installment in the Final Fantasy series.
On the other hand, as you most likely already know, I have already assumed the roles of producer and director for Final Fantasy XIV.
I was concerned that if I also directed XVI, fans of both games would have a valid reason to suspect that I was not giving either project the full attention that it deserved because I would be directing two projects at once.
We chose a very small group of core team members to begin with so that the development of XVI would not interfere with the development of XIV.
Over the course of several years, we slowly and carefully transitioned them across to start working on the new game, until we had the full team assembled. This allowed us to ensure that the development of XVI did not affect the development of XIV.
PSB: How did you decide who would make up the rest of the development team for Final Fantasy XVI?
The majority of people have an inaccurate perception of how difficult it is to direct a Final Fantasy video game. You are not only expected to live up to the standards set by the fans and the media, but you are also continuously under pressure from the team that is responsible for the game’s development.
You should never give up and should always be willing to try anything new.
Since I had known Hiroshi Takai for a long time and considered him to be one of my most reliable coworkers in addition to being an experienced programmer, I approached him with the proposition of taking on the responsibility and, thankfully, he accepted. That was the beginning of everything.
We recruited two more people to join our team, and between the four of us, we began the process of writing the primary storyline while also sketching out the fundamental ideas behind the game and the world it takes place in.
In addition, we brainstormed the central ideas that we wanted to convey to players. Later on, we added a few more people to our team so that they could be in charge of the fighting system and the graphics.
We also began the process of progressively moving towards full-scale development by expanding on what was successful and discarding what was unsuccessful.
And the whole time I was thinking, “Please don’t let this have an effect on Final Fantasy XIV!” in the back of my mind.
PSB: Speaking strictly about the process of creating the story (rather than the specifics of the narrative), how has it feel to transition from writing a multi-year and multi-expansion arc to writing a self-contained, solo story?
Since I’ve previously worked on games that aren’t massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), this wasn’t a significant obstacle for me.
Additionally, each new Final Fantasy XIV expansion contains the same amount of new story content as a single role-playing game (RPG), or possibly even more, so my work on that game wasn’t too dissimilar from my current endeavor.
The only significant difference that I observed was that I have to pay anything off much more quickly if I wanted to foreshadow something in the story.
PSA: Every single logo for Final Fantasy communicates a fundamental aspect of the game in some fashion. How is it that the Final Fantasy XVI logo manages to accomplish this?
As would be anticipated, the emblem that Yoshitaka Amano designed for New York is rich with connotation. It depicts a battle between two Eikons who are going head to head… and everything else is a mystery for the time being.
PSA: Following the presentation of the new “Dominance” trailer for Final Fantasy XVI during State of Play, we now have a release window for the game! In the last year leading up to the release of the game, where will the development team put the majority of their attention and effort?
NY: At the moment, the game may be played in its entirety from beginning to end; however, there is a significant amount of voiceover in a variety of languages that has not yet been recorded.
Since Final Fantasy XVI is a very action-oriented game, we are currently putting the finishing touches on the cutscenes, going through a full-scale debugging process, and doing a lot of playtesting.
This allows us to fine-tune the difficulty levels of the game, which is another thing that we are currently working on. In the world of video game creation, one year is a blink of an eye, which is why everyone here is working so hard to get it finished.
PSB: It’s now been confirmed that some members of the development team for Final Fantasy XIV (including you!) are working on FFXVI. My question is this: do you have specific systems or processes in place to ensure that teams can perform to the best of their abilities across two games with drastically different tones without burning themselves out (or yourself)?
I can only guess that there was a significant amount of work being done on XVI about the same time that final preparations were being made for FFXIV Endwalker…
NY: I wouldn’t call it a system per per, but the project managers and assistant producers on both projects do an excellent job of planning out my schedule to ensure that I am not overwhelmed by everything that has to be done.
If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t have a clue how to keep my things in order!
My ability to concentrate on my work as a producer and director is made possible by the fact that I try to leave any decisions regarding the overall management of the division as much as possible in the hands of the upper management.
The sense of teamwork that we’ve developed over the years is more important than any particular method or procedure that we follow. In the Sound section, Masayoshi Soken is assisted with maintaining his schedule by a team of his own employees.
PSB: Two part question: Which recurrent Summon from the Final Fantasy series is your absolute favorite, and why do you think that is? Which Summon in Final Fantasy XVI do you consider to be your favorite, and why?
NY: If I had to choose one, I’d go with Bahamut. Not only does he demolish his adversaries, but also the land they stand on and even entire planets in some cases.
When he makes his appearance, you may be sure that something extraordinary event is about to take place. The fact that he plays such a significant role in the narrative of Final Fantasy XIV also helps.
Regarding the Summons that make an appearance in Final Fantasy XVI, I do have a favorite, but I can’t tell you which one it is right now because doing so will undoubtedly lead to a great deal of conjecture. I can assure you that each and every one of them is wonderful beyond compare!
PSB: The latest “Dominance” video featured a snippet of more music from the game. Can you provide us any insight into the music that is being used in the video now that Masayoshi Soken has been confirmed as the composer for Final Fantasy XVI?
The music that was played throughout the trailer, which we have already heard, was it composed only for this section, or does it comprise themes and leitmotifs that will be present in the game in their entirety?
NY: Some of the music hasn’t been completed yet, but Soken is the kind of composer that frequently reuses elements of the in-game soundtrack in the trailers for his work.
In the most recent trailer, you’ve probably already picked up on a few of the melodies and motifs that will be included into the background score of the game.
In order to learn more, you will need to extend an invitation to Soken for an interview; however, this should only be done after he has completed his work on the score.
PSB: What are some chances that are available with the PlayStation 5 hardware that were not possible with earlier generations of consoles?
NY: With the increase in processing power, we are obviously able to make the graphics even more rich than we were able to do before, but the extremely quick loading times are what really amaze me about the game.
Because there are no loading screens in Final Fantasy XVI, the action moves at a dizzying rate, and you are able to transition seamlessly from cutscenes depicting the tale to actual combat and back again.
Because of the capability of the PlayStation 5 hardware, we are able to create Final Fantasy XVI into the thrilling roller coaster trip that it is.