Square Enix is currently gearing up for the release of Final Fantasy XVI next month, and while longtime fans are excited, some people new to the franchise wonder if they have to play the older games to get into the latest entry.
Talking to GQ, FF producer Naoki Yoshida explained how he did consider dropping the numbers from future Final Fantasy titles. Yoshida says, “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… 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.’”
Yoshida says that he already had discussions with the higher-ups, and it’s possible future games would eventually lose the numbers. Yoshida continues:
“Maybe it’s about time we removed the numbers from the title. 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… 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!”
Final Fantasy is undoubtedly one of the more revered game franchises today, but it’s admittedly threatening to jump into the franchise when the next game implies you have to catch up to fifteen more games worth of lore. Like The Legend of Zelda, though, Final Fantasy reboots its setting every entry, and you can always jump into a new game with fresh eyes.
Dropping the numbers does seem like a logical choice marketing-wise, but I think some traditional fans may miss seeing how far the series has gone with every new entry.
Final Fantasy XVI launches for the PlayStation 5 on June 22.