The massive centerpiece of Sony’s E3 season State of Play this yr was the brand new trailer for Final Fantasy 16, revealing its Summer 2023 launch date and exhibiting off titanic summons and action-heavy fight.

That final level is what I’d wish to give attention to—it seems to be rad as hell, with protagonist Clive Rosfield zipping across the battlefield like a rejected member of Devil May Cry 5’s murderous twink boy band. Still, I discover it exhausting to flee the sensation that that is the tip of one thing—the Final Fantasy sequence’ decisive move away from the turn-based fight that initiated its legacy and popularized a style.

It’s been a very long time coming. Combat in 13 (and its sequels), 15, and the FF7 Remake is virtually unrecognizable in comparison with the previous Super Nintendo and PS1 video games. Final Fantasy has all the time aggressively reinvented itself between numbered instalments, although, with particular person video games forming the anchors of mini-franchises of their very own, most famously with the Compilation of Final Fantasy 7.

New Final Fantasy video games protect core ideas and mechanics whereas taking us to radically totally different settings. Each has pushed the bounds of what JRPG fight even seems to be like. Final Fantasy 15 and the remake of seven already reached the purpose of being action-RPG hybrids—Tim Rogers’ glorious (and really lengthy) assessment of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake consists of the critique that FF7R’s devs nearly appeared to have wished to make a personality motion game as an alternative. The menus, gadgets, and improve programs principally serve an obfuscating, comforting objective, as if to say: “This is still Final Fantasy, this is still a JRPG as you know it.”

With latest mainline entries edging so near full motion game territory, maybe it was time to chop the twine. For all its flaws, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin confirmed how properly the monsters, aesthetics, and job system of basic Final Fantasy might gel with refined Team Ninja motion.

FF16 shares Stranger of Paradise’s dedication to the Final Fantasy aesthetic, placing the sequence’ basic summons front-and-center of a narrative with the melodrama I’ve come to demand and so many correct nouns. In some methods it’s nonetheless very a lot Final Fantasy. 

Even with the sequence’ gradual flip towards motion, I’ve all the time felt there was nonetheless some continuity with prior video games, however the high-flying, Bayonetta-esque gameplay on show with FF16 seems like a ultimate curtain name on the turn-based fight puzzles that actually hooked me. This is the true farewell to the OG of ATB. 

When I first performed Final Fantasy 7 I felt cheated by the turn-based fight—I’d already watched clips of the high-flying anime bullshit from its feature-length film sequel, Advent Children, you see, and the game was a hair extra subdued. These days I not solely respect that distinctive tempo and mechanical depth, I additionally relish the distinction between the Final Fantasy 7’s cinematic aspirations and the fact of what Squaresoft might pull off on the time. It’s an enthralling relic of technical restraints, which you do not actually see in video games anymore. The falling away of sure aesthetic and mechanical kinds born of technological limitations was most likely destiny, however I can nonetheless mourn their passing.

At least there’s all the time Dragon Quest, child. Number 12 is on the way in which and you already know that if Yuji Hori turned it into an motion RPG all of Japan would riot. Hell, I might too! If the unthinkable occurs, catch me with a wrathfully nostalgic crowd pelting his automobile with our 3DS XLs.