Final Fantasy 16 reignites an exhausting debate about video game squeeze holes

A Final Fantasy 16 squeeze hole
(Image credit: Square Enix)

A brief new Final Fantasy 16 clip has revealed that the game features tight spaces to squeeze through, and these squeeze holes are reigniting one of the most exhausting debates in gaming.

The clip was posted by the Japanese Final Fantasy 16 Twitter account, and is meant to show how your canine companion Torgal can help guide you to points of interest in the world. In this case, Torgal points to a crack in the wall, which leads to a secret area. Everyone's focus has been on the animation of Clive squeezing through that hole, however.

You've seen this in approximately one million video games in the past decade. Roughly the same animation exists in Uncharted, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, God of War, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - basically any modern third-person game is going to have a sequence where the camera moves in close to your character while they squeeze through a squeeze hole.

This clip has effectively done a speedrun of the video game discourse cycle. First, people who were already disposed to dislike Final Fantasy 16 made fun of it, then those tired of the proliferation of squeeze holes in modern games lamented its appearance. Then came the counter-backlash about how a three-second squeeze isn't that big of a deal.

I don't mind the 3 seconds squeeze but I don't understand something from r/FFXVI

You can head to the relevant parts of Reddit or Twitter to see the full breadth of reactions for yourself, but pretty much all of the talking points are predicated on the idea that these squeeze holes are built to mask loading screens. While that's a logical conclusion to jump to, I'm not sure we've ever learned for certain that it's true. In fact, developers have in the past pushed back against the idea that squeeze holes are covering up loads, instead suggesting that they're usually built to control pacing and gate off segments of levels.

None of that really matters for end users, of course, except when it comes to setting expectations for why these squeeze holes exist in the first place. They're still one of the most prolific design tropes in modern gaming, and immediately recognizable as a moderately annoying roadblock to getting to a more interesting part of a video game. Games will always need ways to control the pace at which you explore their levels, but here's hoping the next round of design tricks to make that happen don't become as obvious as the dreaded squeeze hole.

More importantly, the devs have shown off Torgal's combat abilities in another recent clip, and he is clearly the goodest boy in all of video games.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.