As the launch date for the highly anticipated Final Fantasy 16 draws near, the game’s producer, Naoki Yoshida (affectionately known as Yoshi-P to fans), has been actively feeding the excitement through numerous interviews. However, a statement made in a previous interview has sparked discussion and confusion, leading Yoshida to clarify his comments on the future of the franchise.
During an earlier interview in May, it was suggested that Yoshida had considered abandoning the convention of numbering Final Fantasy’s future releases. This was understood to be a topic of discussion with Square Enix, even though such a decision would be beyond Yoshida’s control. The numbering system, Yoshida had reportedly said, could potentially deter new fans, who might feel obligated to play preceding games before starting the latest installment.
However, Yoshida has since clarified these comments, in an interview with Weekly Ochiai, a Japanese news YouTube channel. He stated that his words were misconstrued by journalists. While he acknowledged having contemplated removing the ’16’ from the upcoming game’s title, he confirmed that he had no intention of discontinuing the numbering of future titles.
Yoshida reasoned that discarding the numbering system could lead to confusion, with fans mistaking a main series game for a spin-off. Given the multitude of spin-offs within the franchise, removing the numbers from the mainline games wouldn’t make sense. In addition, he expressed the belief that the numbering system holds significance to the game’s identity and fans’ attachment to the legacy of Final Fantasy.
Translations from the aitaikimochi Twitter account provide a more comprehensive view of Yoshida’s sentiments: “I was asked if I ever thought to remove [the number 16] from this Final Fantasy title. I said yes, we did have a discussion. […] Removing a number will make the game seem like it’s not Final Fantasy but a part of something else, like a spin-off.”
Furthermore, Yoshida conveyed that the mainline games’ numerical identity would be too entrenched to eradicate. This is why Final Fantasy 16 proudly carries its number in the title. He humorously mused that not many gaming franchises have as extensive a numbering system, with The King of Fighters being one of the few comparable examples.
Although he was amused and surprised by how his original statement was twisted, Yoshida was appreciative of the opportunity to clear the air. Final Fantasy fans can rest assured that the numbering convention is not in danger of being abandoned, emphasizing the continued legacy of this long-standing franchise.
Final Fantasy 16 is set to release on June 22, exclusively for PlayStation 5.