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Final Fantasy XIV Initial Failure Taught Producers About Winning Trust

Final Fantasy XVI is the next numbered sequel in the long-running series. It’s actually double-duty for producer Naoki Yoshida, who also produces and directs the popular MMO Final Fantasy XIV. That game wasn’t always the success it has grown into being, though, and Yoshida said the team learned hard lessons from its failed launch, and it’s tried to apply those to its latest project as well.

“Because the project had failed and we had failed our audience, we lost the trust of that audience,” Yoshida told GameSpot, via translator. “We lost the trust of the media, and the first thing we had to do was regain that trust before we could rebuild the game. We learned that the best way to rebuild that trust is by being honest and straightforward with what we can do, what we can’t do, why we can’t do it, why we can do it. It’s all about that communication, being open and being honest and showing the player and the fanbase and the media that we can be trusted.

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“Learning how important that was in Final Fantasy XIV, we’re able to bring that over into Final Fantasy XVI. We’re trying to be honest with what we’re creating with Final Fantasy XVI, for example, right out of the gate. We could’ve just said, yeah, this game is great, it’s everything you imagined, and try to promote it that way. But we came out and said, ‘Okay, we’re not an open world.’ That’s one of the first things we said, knowing that a lot of players would be like, ‘What? It’s not an open world?’ But by explaining why we’re not an open world, why we made these decisions and what they bring to the game, hopefully that shows the player that we’re being honest with them and so that they can go into the experience knowing what we are aiming for. So when they do get in the game and they try it for themselves, they won’t be surprised. They’ll know exactly what they’re getting.”

Though Final Fantasy XVI doesn’t have an open-world environment, the producers do say it has larger spaces to explore when you’re out on a mission or side quest, as well as a mission hub to act as your base, similar to the recent God of War games. That isn’t a coincidence, as the director says he was influenced by God of War and his love for that series. In an extensive hands-on preview with Final Fantasy XVI, we saw a narrow sliver of a stage design, but came away convinced of its new action-oriented approach. For those who may not feel as comfortable with action games, though, it uses a clever new take on difficulty systems to let you tweak things to your liking.

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