worldbuilding, differing viewpoints and favourite characters  Gaming Novelties

Final week, Closing Fantasy XVI Producer Naoki Yoshida and Director Hiroshi Takai debuted the sport’s newly launched trailer, entitled Ambition. In that PS Blog post, they touched briefly on the sport’s lore in addition to sharing extra details about two newly revealed characters. 

After that reveal, we had but extra questions. So in the present day, they’re going to dig a little bit deeper into the world of Valisthea, the Dominants and Eikons. Joined by Artistic Director Kazutoyo Maehiro and Localisation Director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox, this interview covers the creators strategy to its story, worldbuilding, key gamers’ motivations, and extra.  

“The world of Final Fantasy XVI may not be particularly kind or gentle. Still, I think we’ve managed to portray how its people live without abandoning hope – how they struggle, how they stand firm, and how they keep on living.”

Hiroshi Takai, Predominant Director

PlayStation Weblog: What did you need to obtain on this story that hadn’t been carried out in a Closing Fantasy earlier than? 

Hiroshi Takai, Predominant Director, Closing Fantasy XVI: I’d say that, to start with, the Closing Fantasy collection got down to create pure fantasy worlds and inform wealthy tales in regards to the inhabitants of these worlds. The collection has step by step constructed out from that start line, generally attempting out parts nearer to sci-fi, and delving extra deeply into the coming-of-age tales of its youthful characters. As we come to Closing Fantasy XVI, simply as our gamers appear to have grown up, the years have taken their toll on us builders, too. The world hasn’t at all times been form, and we’ve learnt that you may’t anticipate every little thing to end up effectively for you. And issues don’t at all times end up effectively on the planet of Valisthea, both – in many various senses of the phrase. Its inhabitants all carry their very own burdens. That was the sort of world we wished to indicate. And so, the world of Closing Fantasy XVI will not be notably form or light. Nonetheless, I feel we’ve managed to painting how its individuals reside with out abandoning hope – how they battle, how they stand agency, and the way they carry on dwelling. So I really need as many individuals as attainable to expertise the world of Valisthea. (And naturally, it’s not all doom and gloom!)

Final Fantasy XVI interview: worldbuilding, differing viewpoints and favorite characters 

Are you able to stroll us via the earliest phases of concepting this world? Do you begin with the long-lasting parts you need to embrace, akin to Crystals and Summons, then discover distinctive takes on these with the Dominants, then that leads organically to warring nation states and so forth? 

Kazutoyo Maehiro, Artistic Director & Authentic Screenplay, Closing Fantasy XVI: From the very begin of the mission, we had determined that Closing Fantasy XVI would give attention to the Eikons. Summons are an necessary component of the Closing Fantasy collection as an entire, so I believed that if we had been going to indicate the Eikons, we must always be certain that they had been correctly woven into the story as an alternative of merely being spells or abilities.

That was what led me to begin enthusiastic about the query, “Say there was a world where Eikons actually existed – what kind of world would that be?” It must be a world the place it could be pure to see an enormous Summon with your personal eyes, and it could have a corresponding historical past.

The subsequent steps are largely about how I personally strategy the creation of a narrative. I began by creating the world map, and from there, I constructed up the surroundings of the world: establishing the move of the winds and rivers, the ocean currents, and the location of cities. With this as my base, I added within the iconic parts from the Closing Fantasy collection – together with the crystals – and different parts distinctive to Closing Fantasy XVI that arose from its total construction, writing the historical past of the world as I went. As soon as all that is full, we lastly arrive on the beginning line for the story. After that, I created a story that will at all times preserve Clive (= the participant’s avatar) at its nexus. I took care to make sure that he actually feels just like the protagonist, not only one character amongst a number of storylines.

“Yoshida-san’s core design concept for XVI has always been a “rollercoaster,” so a mix of gradual, constructing ascents, adopted by thrilling freefalls is an efficient option to describe how we’ve tried to ship the narrative.”

Michael-Christopher Koji Fox, Localization Director

Are there any learnings from structuring and writing FFXIV’s Heavensward storyline and characters that you simply’ve dropped at constructing out FFXVI’s? 

Michael-Christopher Koji Fox, Localization Director, Closing Fantasy XVI: Sure and no.

Initially, the FFXIV Warrior of Mild being a silent protagonist vastly affected how scenes could possibly be written. Because of this, most XIV cutscenes concerned OTHER individuals speaking TO you, the burden to relay necessary info falling nearly solely on NPCs. For XVI, having Clive be an energetic a part of each dialog adjustments loads about how we’re in a position to relay data to the participant. Cutscenes are undoubtedly extra dynamic in that sense. Additionally, the addition of high-quality facial seize to plenty of scenes enable us alternatives to relay emotion and that means by way of expression reasonably than precise dialogue.

Variations in style additionally affected our strategy.

With an MMO akin to XIV, it’s all about making a story that you may lengthen over the 2+ years of an enlargement cycle. With a standalone sport, the ensuing narrative must be a little bit extra compact and streamlined. When that standalone sport is closely motion centered (versus a standard slower-paced RPG), narrative tempo turns into doubly necessary. Whereas political intrigue will be thrilling, it tends to be advanced, and require plenty of clarification which might gradual issues down. Leaning an excessive amount of on intrigue and complexity generally causes you to lose sight of the larger image, and the sport can endure due to it. As we’re creating one thing that’s interactive, we wished there to be a superb steadiness. Yoshida-san’s core design idea for XVI has at all times been a “rollercoaster,” so a mix of gradual, constructing ascents, adopted by thrilling freefalls is an efficient option to describe how we’ve tried to ship the narrative.

That Dominants are considered otherwise relying on their dwelling nation – be they commemorated or pressured into being weapons of battle – makes for wealthy storytelling potential. What knowledgeable your growth and selection of how every nation considered and used their Dominants?

Koji Fox: Making every nation’s angle in the direction of Dominants totally different provides us the chance to discover how sure issues are perceived when considered via totally different lenses—one thing particularly related in an age the place an inclination is to compartmentalize issues as both black and white, proper or improper. As a result of finally the Dominants reside, respiratory human beings, how they’re employed by their respective nations turns into a reasonably correct reflection of how these nations deal with their very own populace. A nation that treats its Dominant like a pawn, almost definitely additionally sees its individuals as pawns, to be sacrificed with a purpose to save the extra necessary items. A nation that fears its Dominant is one that’s more likely to lash out in opposition to all magic customers (Dominants and Bearers), whereas a nation that reveres its Dominant is extra more likely to view its individuals as equals.

“The way in which the Dominants act according to their human will even after manifesting the Eikons might be something that’s quite distinct about Final Fantasy XVI.”

Hiroshi Takai, Predominant Director

Bahamut and Odin are two iconic figures in Closing Fantasy mythology who’ve been interpreted in several methods in earlier video games. How is the crew making FFXVI’s variations distinct from previous titles? 

Takai: This doesn’t simply apply to Bahamut and Odin, however I’d say one distinct facet of Closing Fantasy XVI when in comparison with previous installments of the collection is the way in which that people (Dominants) manifest the Eikons into themselves. Dion, who’s Bahamut, and Barnabas, who’s Odin, every carry their very own burdens within the story, and I feel one of many fascinating issues about Closing Fantasy XVI is how the monstrous kinds manifested by the Dominants come to in some way resemble the human characters once you take a look at them. For the precise look of the Eikons, as an alternative of making a very new design, we’ve deliberately gone with kinds that could possibly be simply imagined from earlier iterations. Eager about it, the way in which during which the Dominants act based on their human will even after manifesting the Eikons is likely to be one thing that’s fairly distinct about Closing Fantasy XVI.

The Eikons could also be omnipotent, however their actions are on the behest of their Dominants, and by extension, the nations they battle for. All characters (not simply Dominants) consider what they’re doing is correct. How do you strategy fleshing out morally advanced characters? 

Maehiro: Not everybody treats the Dominants in the identical approach. Being people, there are many differing ideas and beliefs. In a single nation, Dominants could also be handled with nice respect, like stately visitors of honour – whereas in one other, they’re handled as slaves. And whereas there are those that battle for justice, there are those that will solely act for their very own private profit, in addition to those that are being coerced to serve in opposition to their will for some cause or different. You may assume that the Dominants ought to have the ability to do no matter they need with the immense energy of the Eikons, however utilizing this energy comes with the downside of petrifying the Dominant’s physique. This offers rise to turmoil confronted by Dominants who can not act as they need, in addition to shaping the relationships they’ve with their aligned nations and the individuals surrounding them. The character of every Dominant has been created by depicting the state of affairs they discover themselves in, their private will and beliefs, and the battle that arises from these elements.

“When [FFXVI composer] Masayoshi Soken heard the sung lines, he and his team decided to handcraft a background lute part for each one…despite the extra work that meant for them because we had recorded the songs acapella and tempo and pitch were all over the place.” 

Michael-Christopher Koji Fox, Localization Director

Who has been your favourite FFXVI character to put in writing and why?   

Naoki Yoshida, Producer, Closing Fantasy XVI: There are many characters within the sport, and so they all have their very own life and future – so it’s very tough to select one… I think about this would be the identical reply as for Mr. Maehiro, who was answerable for the script, however I must say that Clive, the protagonist, is uniquely particular. Being our protagonist, the entire growth crew is united behind pushing Clive ahead with all our may. How are we going to shine the highlight on him? How are we going to present his phrases weight? Along with Mr. Maehiro, I’ve checked each particular person half and made repeated requests for issues to be tweaked. Because of this, I’m notably connected to Clive.

Takai: He hasn’t been introduced but, however I just like the character of Byron, who seems partway via the story. He’s a personality with a particularly likable character: very cheerful and magnanimous. So I anticipate plenty of gamers will find yourself liking him, simply as I do! Sadly, I can’t go into an excessive amount of element, because it’ll enter spoiler territory, however the scene the place he first seems makes me actually emotional. After I was initially finishing up the cutscene checks, I discovered myself tearing up regardless of myself. I think about he’ll be introduced in future promotional materials, so once you see him within the sport, assume again to this interview, haha.

Maehiro: My favourite character must be the principle character, Clive. Of all of the characters I’ve written so far, he’s actually the character I’ve poured essentially the most feeling into – a lot so, I’m unsure I’ll ever have the ability to write a greater character. There are literally a number of characters within the sport that I actually like however can’t discuss at this level. If I’ve one other interview alternative after the sport has been launched, I’ll point out them in my solutions, haha.

Koji Fox: There are such a lot of distinctive characters in XVI, it’s arduous to decide on (much more so once I can’t truly discuss most right here as a result of it could spoil the story). So coming in a, let’s say, shut fourth after [redacted], [redacted], and [redacted] must be the bard who sings of Clive’s exploits. Initially this NPC was merely presupposed to recite imprecise poems relying on the place Clive occurred to be in the principle situation, however we thought it could be enjoyable to have him sing the strains in true spoony bard vogue, so we reached out to a proficient voice actor who additionally occurred to have skilled coaching within the bardic arts (bardic arts?) and had him do two variations of every—a spoken one, and one expertly crooned in “ye olde” type—assuming that we’d most likely simply find yourself utilizing the previous. Nonetheless, when Mr. Soken (Closing Fantasy XVI’s composer) heard the sung strains, he and his crew determined to handcraft a background lute half for each…regardless of the additional work that meant for them as a result of we had recorded the songs acapella and tempo and pitch had been far and wide. The end result, nevertheless, was so good that every one the opposite voiced languages (Japanese included) determined to observe go well with, recrafting their lyrics to suit the melodies and hiring proficient singers to nail the elements. And all this for a random NPC that some gamers might by no means even converse with as soon as within the sport!

Closing Fantasy XVI will launch on PS5 in 2023. 

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