In a recent interview, Final Fantasy 16 writer and senior translator Michael-Christopher Koji Fox offered fresh insight into the upcoming RPG from Square Enix.
Speaking about the game’s lore and development process, Fox made it clear that “there’ll be a lot of very bad puns in the quest names and achievement names”. However, the Final Fantasy 16 developer also had a lot to say about the more substantial ins and outs of the game’s story.
In an interview with Game Informer, Fox made it clear that “we want to give players a lot of the lore just through playing the game; not just lore dumps. We didn’t want to have instances where players were just going into a cutscene with one [character] just talking at you for five minutes telling you everything you need to know.”
Fox and co. “wanted to tell the story through the cutscenes, through what’s going on [and to] imply a lot of things through the dialogue [which is] a lot more focused, implying more things rather than just telling them directly.”
Releasing for PS5 on June 22, Final Fantasy 16 comes as the latest in the long line of Square Enix’s world-renowned series of RPGs. A great deal of expectation falls on the shoulders of the developers, but, since Fox's team at Creative Business Unit 3 have already cut their teeth on critically acclaimed story-driven MMO Final Fantasy 14, it seems likely that the title is in good hands.
In terms of inspirations for the title, Fox spoke about the likes of “Ultraman” and “Godzilla” as influencing Final Fantasy 16’s emphasis on titanic clashes between mythical monsters. “Things are very much ‘in your face’... the motions that [the characters] do are all very action TV show [and] action anime style.”
Fox mentioned his love of “literary fantasy”, specifically “Mordew”, a fantasy novel by Alex Pheby which tells a dark story in the gothic style. “It’s fantastical and philosophical, but what [really] inspired me is [how] at the end, there’s this huge glossary that goes into descriptions of all the terms in the word [with prose] that was funny, as well as informative.”
This was “exactly” how Fox wanted to do his lore translations for the game. Given the sheer volume of deep, satisfying lore that can be found in Final Fantasy 14, for which Fox is the co-lead world and lore developer, it seems likely that he’ll be able to follow through on his ambitions.
In my own hands-on with Final Fantasy 16, I was certainly very impressed by the high quality of world-building and writing that seems to ooze from the title's every pore. I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game in June.