There are a few games that always seem to be rumored to come out, mostly because we know they are being developed. Examples would be franchises like GTA, which we always see (fake) rumors and leaks about. The same thing goes for Final Fantasy, after their latest numbered title releases, we know Square Enix is hard at work for the next main installment in the franchise.
Final Fantasy XVI is coming at some point, that is a fact. However, when will it be announced and what rumors are circulating around the game.
To answer if it would be possible for Final Fantasy XVI to be announced next week we have to look at the facts around the franchise. The three latest, “big” Final Fantasy titles to get released or supported are XIV, XV, and VII Remake.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Looking at Final Fantasy VII Remake, the team being helmed by Tetsuya Nomura is surely working hard on Part 2. It’s worth keeping in mind that the game was released this year, which means this game is still aways off. Nomura also stated the following this week in an interview with Famitsu
“Well, 2022 is the 20th anniversary of Kingdom hearts. So we’ll just have to do our best for the 20th anniversary. I’ve already shifted my thinking to the next installment, and the Kingdom Hearts team is already starting on something new”
Which is signaling the fact that his next title most likely won’t be Final Fantasy VII or XVI for that matter. He’s a busy man, hard at work on both Part 2 and the next big Kingdom Hearts title.
Final Fantasy XV
The title that might be the most important to look at is the fabled Final Fantasy XV, a game I personally adored from beginning to end. The game was released in November of 2016, looking at Square Enix and how they work, they would surely have to have gone into planning or pre-production for XVI around that time.
The developers of Final Fantasy XV, Luminous Productions, began work on their next title while supporting XV. Their next title would be an original project, which recently got announced the PS5: Future of Gaming showcase. The new title was announced to be Project Athia which according to different insiders… Is further along than we might believe.
However, this does confirm the fact that Luminous Productions isn’t working on XVI either. We can also assume that Square Enix has been working on XVI since 2016. I think it’s not far fetched to say that XVI might be further along than Athia depending on the scope of the two games. The reason I say that is because Luminous almost certainly has a smaller team, coupled with the fact that they supported XV for two years.
Final Fantasy XIV
The most important development team and game to take a look at however are FFXIV and the team behind it. First and foremost, the game is beloved. It does really well and has support to this day, with Expansion Packs and Patches coming out regularly.
It’s also worth bringing up that the director, Naoki Yoshida, has done an amazing job regarding XIV, saving the game and turning it around to one of Square Enix’s best games of all time creates a good picture around his importance. I also sense that Square Enix is in need of a big hit and return to form for the Final Fantasy franchise.
While XV wasn’t bad, it did have a lot of mixed reviews and opinions. Some calling it an embarrassment while others, like me, loved it. Before that, XIV‘s launch was a disaster, and even before that, we had the XIII trilogy which wasn’t well-received at all. To put it into perspective, these were the only mainline games we got during the entire PS3 and PS4-Era, and all three were launched with either mixed or straight-up bad reviews.
I think Naoki Yoshida and the XIV team would be one of the best choices for XVI. If not as a director, at least as a producer that oversees the game. And well, it’s actually rumored that the FFXIV team might be developing XVI. (More on that later)
There’s been multiple rumors floating around. They started quickly after the initial PS5 event. I’ll try to round them up here.
The game was supposed to be shown at the Playstation 5: Future of Gaming showcase but didn’t at the end. This was started by Resetera Insider Navtra, who has a really good track record. For example, they leaked the Sony / Avengers Spider-Man deal, the entire Future of Gaming showcase among other things.
It’s worth bringing up that gaming industry insider, ZhugeEX said the following on Twitter in response regarding this rumor
Navtra quickly fired back at saying that it was planned for the event. This is a classic case of two insiders that say different things. I tend to believe ZhugeEX because of his long and excellent track record, but I kind of believe that both speak the truth. Zhuge doesn’t discredit the fact that XVI exists either, which I think is important to bring up.
The game will be a timed PS5 exclusive title, similar to VII Remake. Again, this leak also comes from Navtra. This has been floating around and making headlines all over the place. Navtra has the following two quotes over ResetEra.
This is the first (second, if you count Athia) in a series of very big Sony x Square Enix collaborations
It has some kind of PS5 exclusivity (it was vague back then but it seems to be full timed exclusivity now).
I will talk about my opinions on this plenty in the conclusion segment if you’re interested in reading them.
The game will be announced at the Playstation 5 Showcase on Wednesday. This rumor comes from TwistedVoxel, which doesn’t state its sources. However, it quickly got some comments from other insiders. Navtra and Kagari on Resetera once again backed up the existence of the game and the fact that it was set to be announced at the Future of Gaming showcase.
This might be further backed up by the fact that a key figure at Square Enix, Shinji Hashimoto retweeted the announcement of the PS5 showcase. However, he quickly deleted the tweet. While it might not mean a lot, Hashimoto has a tendency to only retweet and talk about events if Square Enix will be there to show the games he’s responsible for. (Which is the Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy franchises)
Video game journalist, Imran Khan also said the following on Twitter.
There might be a Twitter account already created for Final Fantasy XVI. This has been talked about to death in the past, but the gist of the rumor is that an account for Final Fantasy XVI linked to an official Square Enix mail was found.
There are cases of games being found by this method, as the recent Prince of Persia Sands of Time remake for example. However, there’s also been similar findings that turned out to be fake, like the F-Zero and Mario 35th accounts that turned out to be troll accounts.
The game is developed by the Final Fantasy XIV team, and produced by director Naoki Yoshida. Regarding the development team and XVI, Kagari said earlier today that the game won’t be an MMO. Navtra also said earlier this year that Yoshida won’t be the director, but the fact that he’ll be the producer.
The development team of XIV also posted a new image, together with the following quote on their website regarding their next game:
“This project has already completed the initial development, the development environment has been prepared, and we are now in the full-scale large-scale development phase, We are looking for developers who will give the world ‘fun’, ‘fun’ and ‘surprise’.”
As for my conclusion, I feel like it’s an open fact that Final Fantasy XVI is in development. We could’ve figured that out without leaks, rumors, or even an announcement. However, I do believe in the fact that we might see XVI sooner rather than later.
The most interesting part is that it seems to be returning to Playstation as an exclusive franchise, even if it’s timed. Square Enix and Sony’s relationship seems to be developing at a steady pace. Currently, they’ve announced that Project Athia is designed exclusively for the PS5, Spider-Man will only be available on the Playstation version of Avengers and we might see Final Fantasy XVI exclusively on the PS5.
I think it begs the question of a bigger partnership taking place. In an industry that is rapidly changing, we’re seeing acquisitions and partnerships from almost every big publisher. Sony does lack a proper JRPG franchise on its platform, while they have franchises like Persona it’s worth keeping in mind that they don’t own Persona nor Atlus.
While I don’t think we’ll see a proper acquisition of Square Enix, as that would be absolutely insane, I do believe there’s something bigger at play here. In Sony’s latest corporate report they said
“In addition to improving the personnel and work environment in its own studios, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) continues to invest in, or acquire, firms with abundant creativity and cutting-edge technologies to build up Worldwide Studios (WWS), an association of first-party title production studios,”
I think this is exactly what they’re talking about. The fact that Sony is investing heavily in companies like Square Enix, to have it’s content exclusive on Playstation. This begs the question, will other franchises be affected by this? For example, will Kingdom Hearts 4 / Next Big Title be a PS5 exclusive?
My final conclusion would the fact that I believe we’re going to see it on Wednesday. Whether or not we actually do doesn’t matter, it will show up eventually. But I do believe Square Enix will show it and I will be unreasonably hyped for it.
I have to say that I’m just excited about the possibility of Final Fantasy XVI being announced on Wednesday. As a fairly new fan of the franchise that finished Final Fantasy IX for the first time this year, I can’t wait to see what Square Enix has in store for the next entry. I think the current rumors and leaks regarding the game all sell the game well, even though they don’t have any details at all. If Yoshida and the FFXIV team are helming the project like it’s rumored, I feel optimistic about the project from the get-go.