In an interview with IGN, producer Naoki Yoshida confirmed that Final Fantasy 16, the upcoming next main title in the popular Japanese role-playing game series, will not be an open-world game. Fans were surprised by the news, especially given the popularity of open-world games in recent years. Many major franchises have begun to experiment with the open-world formula. Both the upcoming Sonic Frontiers and Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have been described as open world games, and the Legend of Zelda series is likely hoping to capitalize on its previous open-world success with the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Yoshida described the game as "inspired by" the open world formula, featuring a set of distinct areas players can explore, similar to 2022 title Pokemon Legends: Arceus. When asked to give his reasoning for choosing this style, Yoshida stated that publisher Square Enix wanted the game to feel truly "global," featuring different nations to visit in a world inspired by classic European fantasy. He explained that the traditional AAA open world formula was "too limiting," as players had only one single, interconnected area to explore rather than multiple large, separate ones.

This may be a wise decision on Square Enix's part. Previous main series title Final Fantasy 15 was criticized for having an open world that felt barren and underdeveloped, with not enough for players to do when exploring their surroundings. A return to a more structured story with clearly defined areas based on different countries may be what the game needs to draw in both hardcore Final Fantasy fans and complete newcomers to the series.

Currently, Final Fantasy 16 is scheduled to release in Summer 2023. It will focus on the conflict between six realms within a land called Valisthea. Specifically, the war between each realm's Dominants, powerful individuals capable of channeling and working together with Eikons - great beasts such as Titan and Phoenix.

For more on Final Fantasy 16, stay tuned right here at GameLuster.