Is Final Fantasy 16 the future of the franchise or should it return to its roots?

Patrick Dane
An image of Clive in Final Fantasy XVI, one of the Dominants.

Final Fantasy 16 has caused a lot of debate, so Dexerto thought it would get in on the action. Two writers discuss, should the game be the future path for the franchise or should it return to its roots?

Final Fantasy 16 is proving to be a controversial title for the broader community. While the game has received massive plaudits, it hasn’t sat well with all players. In particular, it seems older players who love the RPG elements the series is known for, feel let down by the game’s new action-orientated focus

On the flip side, those more flexible on the interpretation of Final Fantasy, as well as new players, are praising the game for its complex combat and soaring story. 

Regardless of which side you ultimately fall on, everyone seems to have an opinion on the focus of the game, and ultimately, the future direction of the franchise. Is this the path Final Fantasy should continue to explore? Should the franchise return to its RPG roots in the future? Or should it go in a new direction again? All are options that fans of the game will have opinions on. 

Even on Dexerto itself, we’re not unified. While I, a Final Fantasy newcomer, gave the game a 5/5 in our review, others on staff, like Cassidy Stephenson feel less than excited about the game, even as a longtime fan. So, we thought we should put our stances to you all to consider both sides of the argument.

No matter what side of the conversation you land on, hopefully, you’ll find something to agree with, or potentially, vehemently disagree with. Here’s what Dexerto has been talking about behind the scenes about Final Fantasy 16. 

We need more action games like Final Fantasy 16

A screenshot of Clive fighting in Final Fantasy 16
Final Fantasy 16’s combat is excellent

Words from Patrick Dane (A new Final Fantasy player) 

Final Fantasy 16 is an excellent video game. I wrote as much in my review. I’ve played around 10 hours of Final Fantasy 15, but that’s all I’ve really experienced from the franchise. That said, I know quality when I see it. 

Final Fantasy 16 provides a stellar action combat game, on top of a great story and compelling cast of characters. As someone who didn’t expect to, I fell in love with the game. It’s what’s made this broader discussion about the franchise a bit frustrating. 

When it comes to this discussion, for me, the reality is this: the gaming market is flushed full of RPG games, and especially RPG elements. We have our Baldur’s Gate IIIs and our Xenoblade Chronicles. We have God of War and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, which while lighter, are ridden with mechanics of the genre. 

What we don’t have is an abundance of excellent action games, at least not in this style. Devil May Cry 5 was great, but nothing has quite scratched that combat itch for me since. While RPGs are over-saturated, we really could do with another exceptional action combat game. 

That probably isn’t what fans of the series want to hear. I obviously don’t have the emotional attachment and reverence for the series, though I have always respected it from afar. However, I think video games could use a game like this. 

The combat system is, for my money, the best third-person combat in a single-player game I’ve ever played, and I’ve been doing this for a while. I’d hate to lose that. Add on top of that the exceptional presentation and captivating story, I think that if Square Enix chooses to explore this vein of game in the future, it will be for the better. 

Final Fantasy is better as a turn-based franchise

An image of Clive, Jill, Cid, and Torgal in Final Fantasy 16.
Many players are missing parties from Final Fantasy 16

Words from Cassidy Stephenson (Long time Final Fantasy player)

As a lifelong Final Fantasy fan, I can’t say I’ve felt intrigued to buy Final Fantasy 16. I happened to purchase my first Final Fantasy – Final Fantasy 10 – from a thrift store at around 12 years old. The game ended up becoming my favorite of the series, and the rest was history.

I fell in love with FF10’s beautiful storyline and excellent turn-based combat system. Therefore, I bought the remake almost instantly. However, I feel hesitant to purchase Final Fantasy 16.

When I think of Final Fantasy, I think of turn-based combat that persuaded me to start playing JRPGs. Because of Final Fantasy, I also picked up Chrono Trigger, Octopath Traveler, and the Persona franchise, to name a few.

Turn-based combat is my personal preference because I enjoy having complete control of my party. For example, I can decide who attacks, heals, or de-buffs. Turn-based systems also let you take your time making the next move, creating a less stressful environment.

Also, you don’t have to worry about accidentally dying during a bathroom or snack break.

If I wanted to play Final Fantasy, FF16 doesn’t seem like something I would consider. While I have heard rave reviews about the game, I strongly prefer turn-based systems over action-oriented combat.

Despite my opinion, I hope Final Fantasy 16  convinces players to enjoy more fantastic entries from the series. I understand Square Enix went in the direction of attracting new audience members – which it definitely has – but it hasn’t appealed to this traditional RPG fan.

Related Topics

About The Author

Patrick Dane is Dexerto's Gaming Editor. He has worked as a professional games journalist for over eleven years, writing for sites like TechRadar, IGN, PC Gamer, GamesRadar, International Busniess Times and Edge magazine. He has over 2000 hours in both Overwatch and Destiny 2, though has a wide and diverse appreciation for a variety of genres.