In Yoshida I trust
The Final Fantasy XVI combat system is surely going to be polarizing when it arrives, even if it nails the action blueprint it’s trying to accomplish. Producer Naoki “Yoshi P” Yoshida knows this, and recently spoke to Famitsu (as translated by VGC) on the matter, providing some interesting insight into why the series will continue down an action-oriented path.
Yoshida says the decision on where to take Final Fantasy XVI combat is a multi-faceted issue, citing “the past decade” of some users questioning command-based video games, the opinions of younger audiences who don’t play RPGs, and the sheer march of time and technology. Yoshida explains:
“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’… 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.”
I heard a good anecdote recently about how much trust Yoshida invokes on the Into the Nexus podcast (which normally covers Heroes of the Storm, but has shifted into several games, including FFXIV). One of the hosts mentioned that they were enamored by Final Fantasy XIV mostly by a string of Yoshida interviews, and how much confidence he had in the game and the production team.
That’s kind of how I feel about Final Fantasy XVI. I’m not fully sold yet, but I’m much more confident in it compared to the last few mainline entries: at least initially.