Clive looks downwards while standing in fire.

Image: Square Enix

Final Fantasy XVI producer Naoki Yoshida said in recent interviews that the latest entry in the long-running JRPG series will tackle “more mature” themes than its predecessors.

The game was first rated two years ago, earning the distinction of being the first M-rated mainline game in series history. Yesterday, Yoshida finally addressed the game’s mature rating in an interview with GameSpot, saying that he wanted to explore a “clash of ideals” and the question of whether or not people should follow their destiny. It sounds like typical RPG fare, but Yoshida said that the team purposely pursued a higher rating in order to allow for more creative freedom.

“When trying to tell a story with difficult adult themes, these ratings can end up becoming somewhat of a hindrance. And you find yourself changing things that you wanted to do in the game based on that rating,” said Yoshida. “This time, to make sure that we could tell the story that we wanted in the way that we wanted to, we decided to pursue a mature rating in most of the regions that will be releasing the game.”

Despite pursuing more mature content, the rating doesn’t necessarily mean that FFXVI will be more graphically violent or contain more titty than before. Yoshida was still relatively ambiguous about what specific content might push the game above Final Fantasy’s usual T rating. “This is not because we simply wanted to make the game more violent or the game more explicit, this is because we felt it was necessary to allow us to explore those more mature themes that the game tackles.” In a separate interview with the Washington Post, the producer mentioned that FFXVI is “not going to be a happy tale.”

The game has a lot to prove, which may be why the developers are looking to break with the poor reputation of its immediate predecessors, Final Fantasy XV and the first iteration of the MMO Final Fantasy XIV. Younger gamers aren’t as familiar with the 35-year-old series, so Yoshida wanted to make the new entry accessible to FF newcomers. He seems like the right fit to chart a course for the franchise’s future with this new title, since he was previously able to revitalize player enthusiasm for FFXIV after its disastrous early years.

FFXVI is currently planned for a summer 2023 release on the PlayStation 5.

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