Final Fantasy 16 might be the last numbered entry in the prolific series - at least, if producer Naoki Yoshida gets his way.
It's something most Final Fantasy fans have likely pondered: will we eventually wind up with, say, Final Fantasy 26? A Final Fantasy 100? Where does it end? For Yoshida, AKA Final Fantasy 14's Yoshi-P, the amount of numbered entries could be daunting to newcomers simply wanting to experience the newest game without having to play 15 other games.
"A lot of players are going to come in and they're going to look at it like a comic book where you have to read from the beginning to know what's going on now," Yoshida told GQ. "It's hard for marketing because every numbered title that we release in the series, we have to go into it like, 'It's OK, you don't have to play the rest of them.'"
Apparently, Yoshi-P has given enough thought to the issue that he's raised it with the decision-makers at Square Enix, though it's unclear how receptive they've been or how likely it is we'll actually see a new titling system for the Final Fantasy series.
"Maybe it's about time we removed the numbers from the title," he continues. "For example, you have Final Fantasy 14. You get a new player coming in and it's like, 'Wait a minute, why do I have to play Final Fantasy 14 if 16 is out?' Why don't we just call it Final Fantasy Online – just get rid of the number altogether, and that'll make it easier to understand. Whether Final Fantasy 17 or Final Fantasy 18 should have a number or not – that's going to be on whoever has to develop that game and whoever's in charge of the branding, so that's their problem, not ours!"
Indeed, Final Fantasy is one of the longest and most consistent video game series in terms of numbered sequels. Even the MMORPG spinoff is simply titled Final Fantasy 14 instead of, as Yoshi-P himself suggest, Final Fantasy Online or something else to distinguish it from the mainline series. Dragon Quest is another series that seems to be sticking with simply numbering its sequels ad infinitum, but unlike Final Fantasy, those games have subtitles to make them stand out somewhat. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 is a rare exception to this rule, for example.
Final Fantasy 16 launches on June 22 for PS5, with a demo expected to arrive roughly two weeks ahead of that date focusing on protagonist Clive's teenage years. We recently spent some hands-on time with the sequel for our Final Fantasy 16 preview and found that its homages to the series' history kept it rooted in its past despite a ground-breaking new combat system.
The sequel is just one of many news games of 2023 to look forward to.