Final Fantasy 16 - I've come up with a new recipe!
Final Fantasy 16 news is few and far between. I came across this video a few months ago, well technically not this video. It was this video posted on April 1st under the title of Final Fantasy 16 trailer. Luckily with these sort of things the first destination I check is the comments. It didn’t take long to realise this was a April Fools joke designed to pray on my desire for number 16 in the franchise. On the plus side though, the video is actually by Visual Works as a character prototype.
It really does look a quite impressive and interesting concept It also sets my imagination ablaze wondering what the next mainline iteration of Final Fantasy will look like. At the moment. hype is at fever pitch for Final Fantasy VII Remake. As a result, it’s unlikely number 16 will see the light of day for probably a decade or longer
Although it is impossible to accurately predict how Final Fantasy 16 will look and play. The best thing we can do is look back at old games in the franchise and decide what features we would take from which game.
Lets think of it like a recipe. First and foremost we need the ingredients and we are going to take these from other games in the series.
Arguably the most vital component of any Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy 16 needs a solid, well paced, compelling story. I am going to give this one to Final Fantasy X. Firstly the story is not overly complex and is easy to follow. ( as far as Final Fantasy goes anyway). The goal of the story was clear, the characters lovable and some of the scenes are so unbelievable touching I find myself remembering them fondly.
Yes some of the scenes are hilariously corny and the voice-overs awfully dubbed in places. However, this was the first game with voice actors and it really isn’t bad for a first effort. In additional to a strong overall narrative, 10 also has probably one of the best love stories. Final Fantasy 16 must emulate to allow players to empathise with their characters.
Also considered: Final Fantasy VI, VII, VIII,
2) Character Roster
Final Fantasy 16 needs a set of characters you can love and support. Final Fantasy 9 encapsulates this, The characters are charming and personalities clearly defined. The duty driven knight to the somber mage, the roguish protagonist to the determined princess struggling to become a queen. Whilst other games may have stronger individual characters, I find it difficult to find a full roster as strong as number 9.
Final Fantasy 16 needs to mirror this. Possibly not the aesthetic which although strong is a very acquired taste but simply by defining clear roles and engaging story arcs. I think part of the strength in 9 also lies in the Active Time Event system. Expertly utilised by the developers, it allows you to follow the actions of your esteemed comrades whilst not in your party. This adds to their character development.
Also considered: Final Fantasy VI and VII
3) Overall World
The best world for me is that of Final Fantasy VII. Most Final Fantasy’s do follow a similar world build. However the key difference in Final Fantasy VII is the sheer variation of towns and cities. From the urban sprawl of Midgar to the playful Golden Saucer. The only world that comes close is Final Fantasy 9.
Final Fantasy 16 will also need a world with plenty of variety. One of the main criticisms of Final Fantasy XV was although the world looked gorgeous is was bland and repetitive. The settlements all looked the same. The NPCs all looked the same. Finally the main flaw was the lack of interactivity and emptiness of the environment.
Also considered: Final Fantasy VIII, IX,
You could pick the musical score from any Final Fantasy and not be disappointed. We are going with Final Fantasy VIII on this occasion. The Landing, Premonition, Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec (opening score) stick out but the hauntingly beautiful The Extreme is the pièce de résistance in Uematsu’s arsenal.
Once again there maybe entries in the series that have individual stronger scores, One Winged Angel, Dancing Mad and Dark Messenger come to mind. However it is the overall quality of the soundtrack in Final Fantasy 8 that secures it at the head of the pack.
Also considered: Final Fantasy VI, VII, IX, X,
Check out Enrico Deiana’s stunning rendition of The Extreme below.
The first victory for Final Fantasy VI goes here. Final Fantasy 16 will need a villain of similar menace to Kefka. I mean the guy literally just wants to see the world burn and actually succeeds! Sephiroth drives him very close however Kefka wins for pure sadism, and one can;t help but notice similarities between Batman’s Joker and Kefka.
By the end of the game he is a God, lets be honest everyone has a little bit of Kefka in them.
Also considered: Final Fantasy VII, IX and XV.
As far as protagonists go there is only one winner. Cloud and his giant Buster sword. He is equal parts cool, goofy (let’s mosey) and complex as far as main protagonists go. We see vulnerability in a lot of characters in Final Fantasy. 7 stands out as it is one of the first incidents in gaming where we really explore mental illness and the resulting suffering.
I am hoping when Final Fantasy 16 does finally begin production (maybe it already has). The developers remember the affinity players had for Cloud was not only because of his strength, prowess and aesthetic but also because of his weakness and vulnerabilities naked for the world to see.
Also considered: IX, XIII and XV
There are many to choose from. Blitzball in Final Fantasy X, Hunts in Final Fantasy XII, Chocobo Breeding in VII, Chocobo Hot and Cold in IX.
I am giving it to Triple Triad in VIII. The Final Fantasy equivalent of Gwent. Despite the game breaking mechanic when combined with Card Mod. The game as a lot of depth for something so simple.
Various trading rules and localised rules and the ability to spread them is ingenious. I am actually a little sad this will not be released in real life. Every Final Fantasy game has an addictive mini-game and this is the standard for Final Fantasy 16.
Also considered: Final Fantasy VII, IX, X, and XII
8) Battle System
Some will be disappointed with the choice of battle system but hear me out. Final Fantasy 1 through 9 have very similar turn-based mechanics. I love and adore them. As well as this, next year I could be awarding this to Final Fantasy VII Remake. However for now Final Fantasy XIII takes the crown.
This is controversial with some people stating the game plays itself however I believe it has a lot more depth. The paradigm shift and combinations make battles enjoyable and dynamic. It is fast paced and I really enjoyed the stagger mechanic. I am actually super hyped they are bringing it back for Final Fantasy VII Remake.
A lot of criticism can be labelled at Final Fantasy XIII. Its’ linear corridors, weakly executed story and lack of NPC and towns to interact with are rightly critiqued nevertheless the battle system was innovative and made battles exciting.
Also considered: Final Fantasy VI, VII, IX, X, XII, (definitely not XV)
9) Overall Aesthetic
Lord forgive me, I cannot believe I am about to say this. I am going to give this again to Final Fantasy XIII. I am by no means a Final Fantasy XIII fan and I actively acknowledge its’ flaws. Nonetheless no one can deny the graphical superiority of XIII which still looks stunning when compared to current generation games. This was a PS3 game!!
The characters and world look cool! as do the overall visuals of the game. There could be an argument to award this to X or XV as well. However the main reason XIII was selected is because how well the game has aged. The only criticism I can lay towards my favourites in the series (VII and VIII) is they have aged horribly. On the other hand Final Fantasy XIII has aged beautifully. Hopefully Final Fantasy XVI can follow suite here, taking all of the games positives but none of the negatives.
Final Fantasy XVI will most likely be guided by the remake of Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII Remake is an re-imagining of the original loved game. It looks to be a really innovative approach to the old classic. As a result you can’t but wonder that if successful it may serve as a platform for the next numbered installment. Will Square Enix stick or twist?
To stick risks staleness, yet may be the safest approach. On the other hand to twist could lead to another Final Fantasy XV or possibly even worse.
In conclusion I am in envy but almost glad I am not the person to make the key decisions when Final Fantasy 16 progress through its’ lengthy development cycle.