Final Fantasy 16 tells a more realistic story, but keeps Moogles

Final Fantasy 16 tells a more realistic story, but keeps fan favourites such as Moogles, Bombs, and Morbols for the next entry in the Square Enix JRPG series

Final Fantasy 16 tells a realistic story - a woman with shoulder-length blonde hair yells as her eyes glow orange, blood splatters streaked across her cheek

Final Fantasy 16 tells a story that shows things more “realistically and naturally,” say developers at Square Enix working on the next entry in the long-running JRPG game series. However, despite comparisons to other ‘mature’ fantasy series including The Witcher and Game of Thrones, FF16 isn’t shying away from some of Final Fantasy’s more cutesy creations such as Moogles and Morbols – or its love of crystals.

Speaking to IGN, several leads on the fantasy game project discuss popular comparisons, the more mature tone of the new game, and returning aspects of the series. Asked about comparisons to popular series such as Game of Thrones and The Witcher, localisation director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox says, “I suppose it’s hard to make a medieval high-fantasy game these days without drawing at least a few comparisons.” He acknowledges that there are many GoT fans on the development team, but that any influences drawn “usually don’t extend much beyond a few outward features.”

FF16 director Hiroshi Takai says the team decided early on “that we wouldn’t tell a juvenile story,” pointing to an older age range of its expected core audience, but emphasises that “we didn’t just want to make things more extreme, we wanted to show things more realistically and naturally.” He notes that the more realistic scenes of battle combined with the expectations of modern graphics mean that a lack of blood would create “an even stronger sense of dissonance.”

Despite this increased push towards realism, however, some iconic Final Fantasy creatures will still be making an appearance. We’ve already seen Chocobos at several points in trailers, but creative director Kazutoyo Maehiro confirms that the beloved, pom adorned Moogles will be making a return, along with many classic monsters including Bombs and Morbols, along with “some terminology” (we’d imagine this refers to the likes of Phoenix Down). “Oh, and crystals,” adds Koji Fox, “A lot of crystals. That won’t change in Final Fantasy XVI.”

“Having said that, the world of Final Fantasy XVI is quite serious in tone,” Maehiro reaffirms, “so we’ve not gone out of our way to include anything overly comical or things that don’t fit clearly into an ecosystem.” He adds that the team has also included “a fair number of homages to past Square Enix games in names, etc. These are just like easter eggs – if you know, it’ll make you smile.”

You can read the full interview via IGN, which also digs into the game’s representation of minorities and its leading female characters, as well as some of the team’s favourite Final Fantasy story moments.

With the Final Fantasy 16 release date set for summer 2023, we’ll be sure to keep you up to date on all the latest developments for the RPG game, such as how the Final Fantasy 16 plot revolves around a fight to control magical oil. Meanwhile, FFXIV live letter 74 is scheduled to show off the MMORPG’s next major update, patch 6.3, on November 11.