Final Fantasy 16 is easily one of the most anticipated games that's on the horizon for the PlayStation 5. The franchise has always drawn a lot of excitement from fans, but the next mainline entry is in a unique position. Final Fantasy 16 is following the success of FF7 Remake, which helped put a well-executed modern spin on a classic formula, and it's going to be the first next-gen mainline game on top of that. Square Enix has been very quiet about details regarding the new game, though, which has the potential to help or hinder the title's success.
Fans have not received much information about Final Fantasy 16, as two years after the original announcement trailer, almost no new details have been released. The game's official website was updated with some important information about Final Fantasy 16's world, but beyond that, no new footage has been revealed. The game is embracing a much darker atmosphere and an emphasis on action that looks to be building on FF15, but fans haven't been able to actually see any more of how these changes are shaping up so far. While staying quiet about its development has some positives, some of the negatives could end up outshining them.
Final Fantasy at large has a massive and dedicated fanbase. Games like Final Fantasy 14, the MMO offering, have only grown in popularity. Further, FF7 Remake was one of the biggest releases of 2020. That being said, there are a lot of games in the action-RPG landscape that are already available, and even even more are on the way. While veteran fans that may have been with the franchise since the beginning are unlikely to lose sight of it, there's a chance that the game gets lost in the wave of similar titles for casual fans. It's unlikely that Final Fantasy 16 will release in 2021, so it will be stacked against some heavy competition by the time that it does make its debut.
Even with its exclusivity on PS5, which deserves a pros/cons discussion of its own, FF16 is going to be arriving in a marketplace packed with similar offerings. Embracing the darker tones and emphasis on combat has shown to be something that resonates well among many fans. FromSoftware games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne have drawn massive success and opened the floodgates for action RPGs that feature brutal combat and morose atmospheres. Square Enix seems to also have taken this to heart with games like Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, and FF16 seems to draw an amount of inspiration from this movement as well.
That's ultimately the biggest possible hurdle for FF16 to cross. Being so sparse with updates about the game means a higher chance of it getting lost, or simply being outpriced for more frugal fans. It seems likely that FF16 will miss Tokyo Game Show, and this could be another missed opportunity to generate excitement from potential buyers that might not be keeping a focused eye on the game. While the hardcore fans of Final Fantasy are sure to not forget about the next major release, the more casual fan or potential new ones that are just fans of the genre stand a solid chance of forgetting about the game if there aren't more major reveals. This isn't to say that staying guarded about the game is all bad, though. In the modern era of near-constant leaks and rumors, Final Fantasy 16 keeping tight-lipped could work to its benefit.
It's becoming more and more rare for a game to not have major plot or gameplay elements revealed ahead of the publisher's plans. Leaks and rumors about new games run rampant and can often negatively impact the expectations that fans have ahead of a release. False information that sounds appealing about new titles can lead for fans to be disappointed about a new title, even if the game itself is solid. Despite the negatives of Final Fantasy 16 being sparse on reveals, less could prove to be more if fans don't have as many preconceived notions.
Much like movie trailers, it's easy to give away too much about a game ahead of its release. So much of the draw of a Final Fantasy game is the new world and plot elements that come with each new mainline game. Final Fantasy 16 seems to have an interesting new take on the typical stories told in the franchise. As such, giving away too much of that ahead of time could spoil a lot of the sense of discovery that comes with a new Final Fantasy game. When the game does eventually release, the lack of expectations and revealed story elements could help create a sense of freshness that can be rare.
The other glaring positive about the slow and quiet development means that fans will likely receive a polished product at launch. Many fans have experienced the disappointment of a AAA title that they preordered, watched every new trailer for, and devoured every new rumor for, only to see it release full of bugs or bereft of fleshed-out content. FF16 may have only given out minor details so far, but it has been enough to get fans excited about the possibilities without it seeming like Square Enix is rushing the game. There's certainly a line between the decade-long wait for FF15 and rushing the game to completion, though.
Final Fantasy 16's quiet cycle has been rough for some fans. Diehard players have been looking forward to the game since it's announcement, with many likely braving the current hardware climate to secure a PS5. Ultimately, this approach is both good and bad. Only releasing small details about Final Fantasy 16 can both captivate and aggravate. It allows for fun speculation about where the game can take the franchise, but could also bite Square Enix with potential purchasers. While there is a dedicated fanbase that won't need to see more on Final Fantasy 16 anytime soon, Square Enix should consider the plethora of other offerings and the often-short attention span of the internet. Either way, only time will tell if this approach pays off for Square Enix when Final Fantasy 16 eventually releases.
Final Fantasy 16 is in development for the PlayStation 5.