With Final Fantasy XV, Square Enix was able to fuse a setting that is both a modern and fantasy world in one. When it comes to main-numbered Final Fantasy games, the directors think of everything from scratch with each installment. That said, it doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily see a modern setting for Final Fantasy XVI. Hashimoto says that they haven’t made anything for Final Fantasy XVI yet, but to keep in mind that just because Final Fantasy XV has a certain setting, it doesn’t mean the next one will follow in the same way.
Hashimoto emphasizes the differences we’ve seen in main-numbered Final Fantasy titles by using VII, VIII, IX as examples on how we saw it go from a very steam punk cyber world in Final Fantasy VII and then back to more of a fantasy world in Final Fantasy IX. He says that this is something that directors might do on purpose to change things up for the series.
As far as the battle system goes, this is also something that is decided by the director, so it doesn’t necessarily mean Final Fantasy XVI will be more on the action RPG side as we’ve seen in Final Fantasy XV. Hashimoto says when they start work on a new Final Fantasy, they set the bar to make the ultimate fantasy of the generation with each installment. So if a director feels that a certain battle system would work best in the current generation, that’s the main system they’ll go with. – Siliconera
From what Shinji Hashimoto says, we shouldn’t expect Final Fantasy XVI to neccesarily be:
A Modern Setting
An Action RPG
What else can we glean from Hashimoto’s statement? Reading in between the lines, that Final Fantasy XVI may not be based on Agni’s Philosophy be sprite based.
As Hashimoto said, the directors might change setting, just to change things up for the series. Why not graphical style? A 2D game would be a perfect callback, while providing something fresh for new players.
What might be the reason making Final Fantasy XVI 2D, if they decided to go down this route? Consider the current trend in gaming today: E-Sports, open-world, and multiplayer. Dissidia Final Fantasy NT fills the first role…sorta. Final Fantasy XV fills the second, while Final Fantasy XIV the third.
But what about those looking for an inevitable callback to retro games? With the sucess of the (S)NES Classic Edition, or (Super) Nintendo Classic Mini, a market exists for 2D gaming. Fans love the simple style 2D offers. All we need is a movement for a 2D graphical style.
And perhaps the movement might come soon. Capcom ressurected Mega Man for their eleventh installment, with a style similar to it’s 16- and 32-bit classics. Fans resonate with this style. And if SquareEnis is serious about make “the ultimate fantasy of the generation”, why not go 2D?
Of course, if Final Fantasy XVI were to scale back graphics, perhaps we might actually see 2.5D instead? The two-and-a-half-dimensional perspective uses techniques to simulate three-dimensional sceneries. Or they could use a combination of isometric projection, a way to represent three-dimensional objects in two dimensions.
Graphics aren’t everything. Fans received the Secret of Mana HD remake less than it’s SNES Classic Mini edition. And this wasn’t just due to nostalgia. Fans complained about the character models, proving that graphics aren’t everything.
Final Fantasy, and most other games, are so much more. What makes Final Fantasy, and most games, great is its gameplay. This is what many fans believed saved Final Fantasy XV from true mediocrity. Revert graphics to a beautiful redention of 2D wouldn’t be a bad option. If the demand for this graphic style were high, we could see a 2(.5)D version of Final Fantasy XVI.
But would they do this? Consider Agni’s Philosophy, the tech demo which shows what could be in terms for graphics. Final Fantasy represents the very best in graphical quality. Would Square Enix exit the tech race?