Final Fantasy XVI’s director Naoki Yoshida doesn’t like the term JRPG and doesn’t want Final Fantasy XIV to be called one, according to a surprising new interview. In a Q&A session with the Skill Up YouTube channel, Yoshida, known as Yoshi-P to FFXIV fans, explained that he didn’t think FFXVI was a JRPG, and that he sometimes sees that term as “discriminatory.”
“This is going to depend on who you ask, but there was a time when this term first appeared 15 years ago, and for us as developers the first time we heard it, it was like a discriminatory term” said Yoshida, referring to JRPGs. “It wasn’t a compliment to a lot of developers in Japan. We understand that recently, JRPG has better connotations and its being used as a positive, but we still remember the time it was being used as a negative.”
Certainly, in the time scale Yoshida mentions, JRPGs often suffered from some rather unreasonable criticism that has gone away over time. For example, the biggest JRPGs of the mid-2000s were the likes of Final Fantasy XII, Persona 4, Kingdom Hearts 2, and others. With this came a reputation that JRPGs had anime-like stories, pretty boy protagonists, overly long stories, and complex battle systems. They also drew unfavorable comparisons to the rough and tough “Western” RPGs like the Elder Scrolls games and Fallout.
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While obviously the JRPG label has expanded beyond just a category for RPGs made in Japan, it seems Yoshida and the rest of the game’s developers are still wanting to avoid that label for Final Fantasy XVI. As a result Yoshida states the team are making something that won’t fall into that category.
Yoshida wants to make Final Fantasy a top-tier franchise that doesn’t abide by the standards set by its past. This could sound like a red flag for some fans, especially those who remember the early 2010s, where Japanese games struggled after attempting to emulate Western standards. But perhaps we put our trust in Yoshida, who turned FFXIV from one of the most disastrous game launches of all time to the poster child of game resurrection that every game with a bad launch trots out as an example. Only time will tell who’s right.
For more Final Fantasy XVI news, guides, and more, check out A War of the Eikons consumes Final Fantasy XVI on Pro Game Guides.
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Naoki Yoshida says FFXVI isn’t a JRPG, doesn’t like that term