Final Fantasy 16 producer Naoki Yoshida has discussed the possibility of dropping numbers from future games in the series.
Each game in the Final Fantasy series is individual – only a couple have had direct sequels – but Yoshida admitted this can be tough for marketing as some players approach the latest game wondering if the story continues from previous games.
“A lot of players are going to come in and they’re going to look at it like a comic book where you have to read from the beginning to know what’s going on now,” Yoshida told GQ in an interview.
“It’s hard for marketing because every numbered title that we release in the series, we have to go into it like, ‘It’s OK, you don’t have to play the rest of them’.”
When asked if Square Enix would ditch numbers entirely, Yoshida said it had been “discussed with the higher-ups”.
“Maybe it’s about time we removed the numbers from the title,” he said. “For example, you have Final Fantasy 14. You get a new player coming in and it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, why do I have to play Final Fantasy 14 if 16 is out?’ Why don’t we just call it Final Fantasy Online – just get rid of the number altogether, and that’ll make it easier to understand.”
Ultimately, the future of the series isn’t necessarily his call. “Whether Final Fantasy 17 or Final Fantasy 18 should have a number or not – that’s going to be on whoever has to develop that game and whoever’s in charge of the branding, so that’s their problem, not ours!” he said.
Yoshida also noted that the series has endured due to each game being distinct.
“I definitely believe that because the Final Fantasies all have their unique character stories and settings, that’s the reason that has endured for 35 years,” he said. “If this was like a story that had been continuing for 35 years, you’d think we’d run out of ideas.”
Plenty of series have dropped numbers after a few entries. Assassin’s Creed originally had numbers for each new assassin, but dropped this after the fourth entry: Black Flag. And for the fourth Mass Effect game, Bioware moved on from its original trilogy and named it Andromeda.
But sometimes playing with numbers is more confusing than it should be. When Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 came out last year it was a sequel to a reboot that was technically the 19th in the series. As recently as last week, Mortal Kombat 1 was revealed despite being the 12th in the series – NetherRealm’s Ed Boon had to explain this restart after the announcement.
Personally, I hate this idea for Final Fantasy. There’s 35 years of history in this series and fans all have their favourites – ditching numbers would ignore its legacy.
The one exception would be Final Fantasy 14. Though it has a continuing storyline, it’s become something of a platform for future expansions, so simply calling it Final Fantasy Online would make sense.
For more on Final Fantasy 16, I spoke with Yoshida, plus art director Hiroshi Minagawa and localisation director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox, about the essence of Final Fantasy – and they all had different answers.
Final Fantasy 16 is due out on 22nd June on PlayStation 5.
Be the first to comment