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What Should We See In Final Fantasy XVI?

As many of you know, I am madly in love with the Final Fantasy games with Final Fantasy IX being my absolute favourite game of all time! No one can deny that the series has been influential for many other games and conventions that we see in modern gaming, but a lot of fans, myself included, feel like the series may have lost its spark.

Games Up To Now

One through six had a very similar setting running through them, being set in a sword and sorcery, high fantasy world with some steampunk elements thrown in for good measure. They all had a pretty similar battle system too, with the exception to III and V. They used a job class system which I always struggle with myself.

Final Fantasy VII and VIII moved away from the high fantasy setting and into worlds of cyberpunk and sci-fi. This was a huge change for the series and it definitely paid off because VII is the best selling Final Fantasy title. There are other contributing factors to that of course, like the fact that it was the first 3D entry in the series and it was a huge adventure across three discs. Producer Yoshinori Kitase has said that players found fault with these settings and wished for a “simple fantasy world”.

Final Fantasy IX  (the best game ever made) also had this type of world as it was made as a throwback, a celebration of the first six games. Since IX, we have seen a variety of different worlds and settings. X kicked off the major change with the beautiful world of Spira. Unlike the Medieval Europe themed earlier titles, Final Fantasy X was inspired by the South Pacific, Thailand and Japan and their culture.

I’ll skip over XI and XIV, but let’s look at XII. I haven’t spent much time with XII. I bought it for the PS2 back in the day, but never got more than an hour in, so I was very happy when it was released on the PS4 and bought the special steelbook edition on the day it was released… It’s still in the cellophane. I’m not sure how to explain the setting of XII. From what I have seen, it looks like Ivalice is based on the aesthetic of North African countries like Morocco, but as I said, I’ve not spent enough time with it.

I don’t know whose crazy mind cooked up Cocoon and Gran Pulse, but the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy has an amazing world. It has a sci-fi feel to it, but all technology is powered by magic and I love it! There’s a real dystopian look to Cocoon with the purge and the rebellion that’s happening and it really sets the scene for what’s to come. The battle system for Final Fantasy XIII is one of my favourites and was refined for the second entry in the trilogy. Characters don’t have a set role or class, instead using the paradigm system to shift the characters abilities in battle. Aside from the auto-battle function, I thought this was a great system because you didn’t have to micro-manage each character and could make quick and easy decisions based on the situation.

Final Fantasy XV is a self-proclaimed “Fantasy based in reality” and that really shows as soon as you boot up the game. Starting with our four companions or chocobros having some car issues on a highway, they need to start pushing the car to the nearest service station and that’s where we start to see the dynamics of this friendship. Traditionally, you wouldn’t think Final Fantasy and then car tune-ups or fuel refills, but the series has always tried to be different. The car is used as the main mode of transport to explore the world of Eos, as long as you stick to the roads, which looks like a North American desert. Otherwise, walking is the other option. The world of Final Fantasy XV is gorgeous. It’s different but is still absolutely a Final Fantasy game. You can feel this most when it comes to the battle system which takes a more action-orientated approach than the other games in the series.

Agni’s Philosophy

Square-Enix revealed a tech demo at E3 2012 called Agni’s Philosophy. This was supposed to show off the capabilities of the Luminous Engine which was being used to create Final Fantasy XV. Watching Agni’s Philosophy again, I can say that seven years later it still looks fantastic! 

It starts off showing a truck driving through a shantytown built into a mountain and some sort of religious ritual taking place. This ritual must be dangerous or something because out from the aforementioned truck steps a group of rebels who bust down the door and start lighting up the place with their boom sticks. One of the disciples in this ritual reveals herself to be Agni and after being shot, the Grand Master passes the glowing crystal to Agni for her to escape with. Chase scene ensues! Luckily, she finds herself a bottle of Pepsi and manages to turn it into some sort of potion to heal herself and push out a bullet which looks pretty cool. Agni is then attacked by a mutated dog-wolf and she uses the crystal to summon a dragon from the temple where the ritual was taking place. I’m assuming she just finished the ritual. The dragon then comes to her rescue, destroying all the homes in its path. Like these people don’t have enough problems! She then rides on the dragon in the direction of a metropolis that looms over the shantytown and reminds me of the start of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

Again, Agni’s Philosophy is a tech demo. It’s not showcasing any sort of game they have in the works and I think Square-Enix were right to create something new for the demo. The tech demo they released in 2005, showing the capabilities of the PS3, was a remake of the opening scene from Final Fantasy VII. Well, that was it! Since then fans have been demanding that a remake be made and have been pestering Square-Enix non-stop. I guess it paid off because we are now getting that sweet, sweet remake in March of 2020 (fingers crossed there’s no delay). Despite them choosing to create something new as opposed to re-creating something from the Final Fantasy series, fans are now speculating that Agni’s Philosophy is the start of what we will begin to see take the form of Final Fantasy XVI.

The demo really impressed me with its showcase of hair and water physics, and the lighting in the scene was incredible! The plot, so to speak, was interesting and typical of something to come from Square-Enix, but I would rather see that turn into a brand new IP. Agni’s Philosophy is not what I want to see as the next Final Fantasy, so moving on to What Should We See in Final Fantasy XVI?

What Should We See?

The first thing I want to talk about is the setting. What should the world of Final Fantasy XVI look like? It’s no secret that Final Fantasy IX is my favourite game of all time and you are probably all sick of seeing me tweet about it. One of the main reasons for this is the world of Gaia. It’s a beautiful world and the last time we were in a medieval setting so it would be great to go back there after twenty years. Give me a vast, vibrant world like the ones we used to see and I know it will look absolutely stunning with the tools Square has at their disposal today.

There’s a difference between a needlessly complex and a robust battle system. I started playing The Witcher 3 recently and can see that the battle system in that game is very deep and carefully thought out. It gives the player full control over what is happening and forces them to think about the type of enemy they are facing and the weapons and buffs they must use. The Final Fantasy series has never used an overly complicated battle system but it has had its fair share of good and bad. Final Fantasy XV has taken the series down a more action-orientated route and that is okay, in fact, it’s welcomed, but it needs to be more robust. It gets to a point where you can almost hold down one button and the fight will play out for you. Final Fantasy XVI needs to have a more in-depth battle system which doesn’t hold the player’s hand too much and allows them to have control and responsibility for their actions.

My favourite progression system in the series is the sphear grid from Final Fantasy X. Its choice of standard or expert means the player can follow a set path for a character’s progression, or they can branch-off and discover new tactics and challenges by going whichever way they like. A similar concept with poor execution is the Crystarium from Final Fantasy XIII. This funnelled players down a set path and ultimately took thought and fun from progression. It could have been completely removed and had characters improve stats and learn abilities after each level. That’s not what I want in XVI though. I would like to see something similar to the sphear grid for stats, but take the ability learning part from Final Fantasy IX where characters learn abilities from equipping different weapons and gear.

As for the plot? Who knows? It’s a Final Fantasy game so it’s not gonna make any sense.

Thank you for reading what I think should be in Final Fantasy XVI. What would you like to see in the next instalment of Square-Enix’s biggest franchise? Please subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with more of my content. If you would like to see more from my daily life then head over to my Instagram by clicking the icon below where you can view my stories or visit my YouTube channel where I upload Let’s Plays, Reviews and video versions of select blog posts.

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