Final Fantasy XVI has gone gold, as announced today with a celebratory tweet by the developers at Square Enix. It's very early, considering the game won't be out until June 22nd, which is nearly three months out.
Usually, games reach gold status (when the printing of physical copies begins) about one or one and a half months in advance. That bodes well for the level of polish of Final Fantasy XVI. It also serves to reassure fans on the ever-present danger of a delay, given that it is extremely rare for a game to be delayed after going gold (CD Projekt RED's Cyberpunk 2077 being the exception to that rule).
本日 #FF16 マスターアップしました！
— FINAL FANTASY XVI (@FF16_JP) March 31, 2023
Final Fantasy XVI is the first mainline entry in the popular JRPG series since 2016's FFXV. Its development went far smoother than its predecessor, likely due to the presence of Naoki Yoshida, who more than earned his stripes on Final Fantasy XIV, as the game's producer.
Originally announced in September 2020, Final Fantasy XVI was immediately showcased with an in-game trailer to reassure fans of the advanced status of development. It would have likely been released even earlier if it wasn't for COVID, which caused at least a six-month delay in the schedule, according to the developers.
Unlike Final Fantasy XV, the new franchise entry won't feature a seamless explorable open world. Yoshida-san cited several reasons for that choice, such as wanting to tell a globe-spanning story that wouldn't be limited to a single space. To do that in an open world would have taken fifteen years or so, making it nearly impossible to create a global story within an open world game.
Final Fantasy XVI is also the first game in the series to completely abandon turn-based combat in favor of action combat. On that note, Naoki Yoshida commented that realistic graphics and turn-based combat don't fit well anymore, creating a kind of dissonance that some players wouldn't be able to get over. Another major change from most previous Final Fantasy games is the darker tone that earned Final Fantasy XVI a mature rating for violence and sexual elements.
In terms of length, the developers estimate it would take around 70-80 hours to be fully completed. They also commented on the game's action and RPG formula being fairly similar to the new God of War titles.
Final Fantasy XVI will be released exclusively for PlayStation 5. A PC release will probably happen, but not anytime soon. For our recent hands-on preview and Q&A with the developers, click here and here, respectively.
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