Screen shot of a battle in Final Fantasy Tactics.

Final Fantasy 16 Producer Discusses the Loss of Interest in Turn-Based RPGs

Stephanie is a writer at VGKAMI and a long-time lover of video games—specifically JRPGs. Anything in the fantasy genre is her jam, and she vows to bring back The Legend of Dragoon one day. Stephanie has also worked as an editor at TheGamer and published features for NME.

Naoki Yoshida has appeared in yet another interview regarding Final Fantasy 16. This time, he talks about gamers’ desire for live action games over turn-based ones and why “battle commands” aren’t intuitive to some gamers.

The news surrounding Final Fantasy doesn’t seem to stop coming. Last week, Square Enix held a livestream on June 16 to celebrate Final Fantasy 7’s 25th anniversary. During this livestream, we got numerous Final Fantasy 7 announcements, including details on the launch of Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Part Two (named Rebirth) and a new remake of Crisis Core. This week, we’ve seen multiple interviews posted in which Final Fantasy 16 producer, Naoki Yoshida, discusses details on the upcoming game.

Today, Yoshida appeared in yet another interview, this time with Famitsu. In this interview, he discussed different details about the battle system and the world. But one point that stands out as unique among the interviews he’s done are his comments about turn-based RPGs and command systems in games. Yoshida explains how the new generation seems to feel about that genre. Note that the quotes used in this article have been translated from Japanese with Google Translate, so they may not be an exact match to Yoshida’s original wording.

I’m from a generation that grew up with command and turn-based RPGs. So, I think I know how interesting it is and how immersive it is. On the other hand, in the last 10 years or so, I’ve seen quite a few opinions that ‘I don’t understand the feeling of choosing a command and fighting in a video game.’ This opinion is still increasing, especially among users of the younger generation and users who do not usually play RPGs. Since consoles a few generations ago, all character representations can now be done in real time.

Screen shot of swords on hill from Final Fantasy 10 trailer.

It’s true that interest in command and turn-based RPGs has been on the decline over the years, despite some groups of dedicated fans. It’s unclear exactly why this is the case, though we could speculate that it may come from people’s overall shrink in attention span over the years. Whatever the case, Yoshida seems to think that it ultimately boils down to some people simply not understanding the use of “commands.”

Actions such as ‘If you pull the trigger, the character will shoot a gun’ and ‘If you press the button, the character will swing the sword’ can be expressed without going through the command. For a generation of gamers younger than me who have become obsessed with these kinds of games, it has become commonplace. As a result, even though they are already in battle, it seems to have led to the statement that they do not know the meaning of choosing a command such as ‘Battle’ and making a decision on the action. This is not a story about whether it is good or bad, but rather that the difference has widened greatly depending on generation and preference.