Final Fantasy 16 will include party members in combat, despite the fact that recent trailers have focused solely on protagonist Clive.
Fans have speculated whether other characters will join battles, which producer Naoki Yoshida confirmed to IGN – although they will remain AI-controlled.
“We didn’t want to overwhelm users in our newest trailer, so we focused solely on Clive’s battles. That said, for most of his journey, Clive will be accompanied by one or more companions. These companions will participate in battle, as well as trade banter with Clive. That said, the party members will be AI-driven so as to allow players to focus solely on controlling Clive,” said Yoshida.
He elaborated further to Games Radar: “Clive has a massive amount of unique abilities in his fully customisable arsenal. We wanted players to master these, and customise these to the point where they can use them fluidly and stylishly.
“But by spreading out battle controls, out across multiple party members, it can end up hindering the action – or just making things more complicated. And that’s why we decided we’d rather have players focus solely on just controlling Clive.”
The game will feature an action battle system from battle director Ryota Suzuki (Devil May Cry 5, Dragon’s Dogma, and Marvel Vs. Capcom) with the aim of enticing in new fans, but Yoshida promises old fans won’t be alienated.
“Of course, we know that there are a lot of players out there who may not excel at action games – that action games might not be their forte,” Yoshida told Games Radar. “But those fans do not need to worry, because we have been developing systems and developing in-game features that will lend a helping hand to those players.”
Suzuki has had a major contribution to the feel of the game, ensuring pace and fluidity.
“Our development team had very little experience creating action games, and in those first few days of development we really struggled. That’s why bringing in Suzuki-san really really helped us out,” said Yoshida.
“And by bringing in this super-talented veteran in Ryota Suzuki, he was able to bring everything together that we had, and then build upon that using his plethora of experience on past titles. Whether it be for the overall battle system, or the animation trees – Clive has so many different abilities, and being able to string all of those abilities together seamlessly without any stress, and have it look really, really natural, he helped us do that. His contribution has been great, and without him we wouldn’t have been able to do this.”
Another major area of combat will be the Eikon summons. Clive will have a number of abilities from the Eikons he can wield in combat: for instance, a Garuda ability allows Clive to lift enemies into the air which he can follow up with a Titan ground pound.
What’s more, as the recent trailer showed, Eikons will also be summonable to face each other.
“This battle system has allowed us to create a lot of very, very unique battles, and we have a variety of different types of battles,” Yoshida told Games Radar.
“Whether it be Clive versus smaller enemies, Clive versus larger bosses, Clive versus Eikons, or even Clive becoming an Eikon and having these Eikon versus Eikon battles; these battles feel fresh and unique, and not repetitive. A lot of our Eikon versus Eikon battles were created to be one-off battles, where they were created specifically for that instance – and that system was not used anywhere else. And so you’re going to have something that feels fresh and new each time you play.”
Yoshida explained further to Game Informer: “For example, maybe one Eikon versus Eikon battle, if you have Eikon A versus Eikon B, that battle will be reminiscent of a 3D shooter. Whereas another Eikon versus a different Eikon, it’s more like a pro wrestling match, and then maybe even a third with one Eikon versus another Eikon will transform an entire area into a battlefield. And so again, we didn’t reuse these systems and each one of these Eikon versus Eikon battles is unique and will change with each battle.”
Final Fantasy 16 also won’t be open world, Yoshida confirmed.
The game is set for release in summer 2023.