Final Fantasy XVI will be the first mainline numbered Final Fantasy game with a mature rating. Speculation could have been that developer Creative Business Unit III wanted the game to include more violence in its new action-packed combat, but that’s not the case. According to multiple members of CBUIII that I interviewed for our Final Fantasy 6 cover story, the team gave little thought to ratings – it just came naturally.
“We actually get this question a lot — people asking us if the ratings are up because [we] Wanting to make a more violent game, the answer is no,” says producer Naoki Yoshida. “Out there, it’s not coming [the rating system] already changed. You still have your E, you still have your Teen, you still have your Mature. The thing is, over the years, as more and more games came out, the rules in them actually changed a lot as we progressed. “
Final Fantasy XVI Producer Naoki Yoshida
Yoshida said the team understands that these ratings are ultimately meant to protect children from sensitive content, but it still places more restrictions on what the studio can do with the game. He used to say that studios could do “a lot, a lot,” but now, “we find ourselves unable to do as much to get the same ratings as before.” But if that character is human, you push the rating higher. Assuming someone gets shot with an arrow, Yoshida says the teen level will no longer be allowed – it will immediately take you to the M level, “because it’s so realistic now”, as the game strives for higher fidelity visuals.
He also brought up the differences in rating systems between different parts of the world. In the end, though, CBUIII made the game it wanted.
“We wanted to create something based in reality that felt really real and talked about complex and violent subjects like war,” Yoshida said. “You can’t go to war without a specific image. Clive is in the trenches, he’s fighting for his life, he’s covered in dirt and blood. Once you start limiting it, when you’re trying to create something very real […], it takes the player out of reality and makes the player feel more like a game. That’s something we don’t want to do. So instead of keeping a teen rating, let’s keep a teen rating, which limits a lot of what we can do, [what we] Shown in cutscenes, maturity ratings allow us to tell the stories we want, the way we want to tell them.
“We don’t intentionally create violent or sensational content. We just want to create […] We want to tell stories that feel real and that resonate best with players without hiding anything.This is done by allowing our own maturity rating [that we’re allowed] Don’t hold back and tell the stories we want to tell. “
I asked Yoshida if he and the CBUIII were concerned about Square Enix’s backlash, since maturity ratings would theoretically limit the player base. He says it’s no big deal, joking that maybe he’s not as scared of his corporate overseers as he should be. But ultimately, he said Square Enix understood why the team needed to move away from FFXVI’s rating constraints. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Yoshida is on Square Enix’s board of directors, and he has to keep them informed as well.
Director Hiroshi Takai echoed Yoshida’s thoughts, saying the maturity rating “allows us to […] Now there are fewer constraints on our narratives and the way we tell our stories. ”
“The Final Fantasy series has always been about getting games to as many people as possible, which is why historically, the series has been aimed at people with lower ratings — like teens — to get as many gamers as possible. as much as possible.”
In the past, he said, this was much easier due to hardware constraints. But as consoles became more powerful and visuals became more realistic, earning a lower rating became more challenging.
Final Fantasy XVI Director Hiroshi Takai
“As new generations of hardware and visual effects become more realistic, if you want to tell a real story, it also needs to look real,” Takai said. “By showing [realistic] Visuals, it’s hard to keep it in the lower rating range because it’s become so visceral, and I think the graphics have become more realistic since PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, and you can see that trend.
“By raising the ratings, it allows us to tell the story we want to tell without having to fake it. If you’re trying to tell a story about war and you can’t show blood, that’s not going to be realistic.”
Takai reiterated that CBUIII didn’t use the maturity rating to make FFXVI overly violent – it just helped the team maintain a “real feel.”
Localization director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox says the maturity rating allows him to expand the conversation because “there are some words that kick you from a teen rating to a mature rating, and if you stick with a teen rating, you have to avoid those types of words, even Characters look like characters who would use these types of words.”
Final Fantasy XVI Localization Director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox
He said that if you sense a character is avoiding what they might say, that character is no longer natural, which is something the maturity rating allows CBUIII to avoid.
“Like it or not, there are a lot of people in the world who swear and it’s part of how they communicate,” Koji continued. “Having a world where no one swears at all feels like a real world.” That doesn’t mean every character swears, he added, as some people in the real world don’t swear.
“While Clive will use [swear words and Mature language] Every now and then, we try to do it in the right situation, like, “Oh, a boulder is coming my way.” Of course, they’ll say, ‘S—! But he doesn’t use it in everyday conversation because that’s not Clive’s character. ”
If you’ve been paying attention to the Final Fantasy VI trailers, you’ve heard and seen how the maturity rating shows up in the game’s actions and dialogue. This rating (and tone) also permeates the few hours I played the game for this cover story tour, and I can’t wait to see how far this game goes this summer.
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