Tright here aren’t a number of main, established franchises on the market which can be as immune to the thought of staying nonetheless and following the established order as Closing Fantasy is. It is a franchise that reinvents itself time and time once more, in additional methods than one. Every recreation has a special setting, story, aesthetic, and set of characters, sure, however past that, new instalments additionally have a tendency to return with radicaly gameplay overhauls, from the way in which they construction their world and the various emphasis they placed on exploration to the core fight and development mechanics and extra.
Closing Fantasy 16 is not any totally different in that regard. After years of sci-fi settings and story, FF16 takes the sequence again to the fantasy setting- but it surely additionally does that in a means Closing Fantasy by no means has earlier than, by way of the rather more mature and gritty lens of an M ranking, a primary for a mainline numbered Closing Fantasy recreation. It additionally deemphasizes exploration, drops the sequence’ conventional deal with celebration techniques, and places all of its energies into the franchise’s first ever absolutely real-time motion primarily based fight system.
It’s a really totally different form of Closing Fantasy recreation, however that’s what you anticipate from a brand new instalment on this series- which implies it’s honest to imagine that when Closing Fantasy 17 rolls round, every time that occurs, it would as soon as once more head into uncharted waters (or at the least waters that it hasn’t sailed into for a very long time). With that in thoughts, nevertheless, what classes can the subsequent Closing Fantasy take from its predecessor? There’s an entire lot to like about Closing Fantasy 16, whereas by that very same token, there’s additionally lots that has room for improvement- so what classes can the subsequent recreation within the sequence take from its final outing, each by way of what to do and what to not do?
That’s a very tough query to reply for a franchise that adjustments as a lot and as radically as Closing Fantasy does, however there may be, on the very least, one main lesson from Closing Fantasy 16 that’s staring Sq. Enix within the face- one factor that it will get completely proper, one thing that Closing Fantast 15 failed at. That’s the truth that Closing Fantasy 16 is an entire, coherent story, one with an outlined starting, center, and finish. In contrast to the mess that was Closing Fantasy 16, this can be a recreation the place the builders had a narrative in thoughts proper from the get go, and it was a narrative they instructed utterly and completely. There’s no reliance on companion films or animes, no bait left hanging for a direct sequel, no holes left within the story that may be crammed in with future expansions. Now, a few of that stuff might very properly find yourself taking place anyway, but when it does, it’ll be additive, slightly than being required studying if you wish to absolutely perceive and benefit from the recreation’s story.
That was the norm for Closing Fantasy, and it looks as if it’s as soon as once more. At the least we hope it’s. We don’t begrudge Sq. Enix’s want to show profitable iterations of the franchise into subfranchises of their very own. Not within the slightest, particularly as a result of which means we get sequels which have shorter dev cycles than what you’d anticipate from a brand new numbered entry, which can primarily have to start out from scratch in each conceivable space. However the method that Closing Fantasy 15 took was the fallacious one. Certain, a number of that was led to because of the extended growth troubles that recreation bumped into over its protracted dev cycle, however as Closing Fantasy 16 proves (not that we ever thought it’d want proving), an entire story is rather more paletable than one that’s begging for sequels and spinoffs.
On the similar time, nevertheless, there’s a number of components of FF16 that we’re hoping gained’t present up within the sequence’ subsequent recreation, and that is coming from somebody who adores FF16. Its uninspired aspect quests, its larely linear degree design, how little it emphasis exploration and non-obligatory content material, how shallow its RPG mechanics are- all of those are points which can be very noticeable within the recreation. To be honest to Closing Fantasy 16, its greatest strengths assist masks a few of these flaws fairly properly – from the wealthy, dense lore of the world to the stellar fight system – but it surely’s additionally simple to see that it might have been a good higher recreation if these flaws didn’t exist. There’s nothing in Closing Fantasy 16 that actively prevents it from having higher aspect quests or degree design. These had been selections made by the builders, and so they’re selections we hope gained’t be made once more when it’s time for Sq. Enix to maneuver on to Closing Fantasy 17.
Past that, the teachings that Closing Fantasy 17 can take from its predecessor begin getting a little bit extra nebulous. Take the fight system, as an illustration. FF16’s fight is certainly one of its greatest strengths, and there’s little doubt that it’s possible going to go down as one of many sequence’ finest fight techniques up to now (which is ridiculously excessive reward). However will we need to see one thing comparable in FF17? We definitely wouldn’t thoughts it- in truth, there are methods that the subsequent recreation might construct on this technique to make it even higher, and that’s one thing we’d like to expertise. However maybe iterative enhancements like that needs to be left to direct Closing Fantasy 16 sequels, slightly than Closing Fantasy 17. Once more, this can be a franchise that has a historical past of innovating (and sticking the touchdown) with new fight techniques with new mainline instalments, and we’d hate to see it lose that.
The identical could be stated of the subsequent recreation’s tone and setting, in truth. Closing Fantasy 16’s setting is a stellar one. The world of Valisthea is brimming with dense, compelling lore and fascinating conflicts and politcs, and the mature, darkish fantasy tone that every one of that’s filtered by way of helps it stand out that rather more. However once more, an enormous a part of the enjoyable with any new Closing Fantasy recreation is experincing utterly new worlds with their very own histories, personalities, and aesthetics. Would we thoughts one other mature fantasy setting in Closing Fantasy 17? Completely not. However would we favor one thing utterly new and totally different? We definitely would- as a result of that’s the way in which of this franchise. Perhaps it ought to do sci-fi once more. Perhaps it ought to do a special form of fantasy. Perhaps it ought to do steampunk. We don’t know- and that’s the purpose. That’s what makes each new Closing Fantasy recreation so particular.
Given how a lot Closing Fantasy has modified over time, and what number of totally different types it’s taken, it’s honest to say that there’s nobody route a brand new recreation might take that might enchantment to all sects of the fanbase. There are fantasy Closing Fantasy followers, and there are sci-fi Closing Fantasy followers. There are turn-based Closing Fantasy followers, and there are motion Closing Fantasy followers. There are linear Closing Fantasy followers, and there are open world Closing Fantasy followers. It’s not possible for Sq. Enix to conjure up a recreation that can enchantment to each single a kind of teams, which Closing Fantasy 16 proves all too properly. However there’s lots that FF16 does (and many that it doesn’t do) that the sequence can be taught from because it heads into its subsequent mainline entry, even when that’s within the distant future proper now.
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