When Final Fantasy 15 was launched to critical and commercial success last November, one aspect that was warmly-received by critics and players was the open-world, which was one of the largest settings in a Final Fantasy game to date. With such a positive reception to this new change in direction, Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata suggests that future installments could follow a similar route.
Speaking to GameSpot during PAX West, Tabata discussed a variety of topics related to Final Fantasy 15 and one question that came up was what he would like to achieve with his next project. While the director didn’t confirm whether he and his team are working on a new Final Fantasy game, he did say that the next installment will aim to give players a similar gameplay experience offered by Final Fantasy 15‘s massive open-world.
“It’s hard to say at this point if the entire game is gonna be based on an open world. But I would say that the overall experience that users get from playing in a massive area, that overall game experience is something that we’re gonna make sure is in the next project as well.”
Should Tabata indeed be working on a new follow up Final Fantasy game, he says that he hopes to not only incorporate the lessons learnt from Final Fantasy 15 but also what The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild did to revolutionize open-world design. While the director has yet to play Nintendo’s critically-acclaimed title due to a shortage of Switch systems in Japan, Tabata says that his team has kept him in the loop about the game and he would like to create a similar experience with his own team’s technology and expertise.
“I’ve heard a lot from the dev team and their reactions to having played it. But just from hearing the stories and the feedback, you know, we can tell that it’s a really complete game. It’s very polished, almost a perfect game in that regard. And our goals are probably to take that experience that players felt with Breath of the Wild, but with our own technology and our own know-how.
We have in our disposal to create a very, very high-quality game with a strong visual element to it, while creating a world that’s really immersive and really beautiful. That’s probably our goals in terms of what we want to be with our next project.”
Aside from a few rumors suggesting that Final Fantasy 16 might already be in pre-production, all indications suggests that Square Enix intends to focus on supporting Final Fantasy 15 for the time being. Not only is the third episodic DLC pack, Episode Ignis, still scheduled for release in late 2017, but Tabata and his team are also working on a number of supplementary projects such as the Monster of the Deep VR game, a multiplayer mode, and pocket edition spin-off for mobile devices.
With support for Final Fantasy 15 continuing into 2018, it will likely be quite some time before Square Enix will be ready to announce a follow-up installment. It remains to be seen whether Tabata and his team will even be assigned to work on a potential Final Fantasy 16, but with critics and fans all positively receiving 15‘s open-world approach, the director’s hopes of bringing back massive explorable areas in the next installment may very well still be on the cards.
Final Fantasy 15 is available now on PS4 and Xbox One.