Final Fantasy producer Naoki Yoshida, AKA Yoshi-P, isn't a fan of the term JRPG, as he used to consider it "discriminatory."
Of course, having worked on series like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy for more than 15 years, Yoshida's name is synonymous with the subtype of RPGs we refer to in the west as JRPGs. And while Yoshida recognizes that the term is generally well-regarded these days, he told SkillUp (opens in new tab) there was once a time where some Japanese developers saw it as an insult.
After Yoshida became became visibly irked by a question about the state of JRPGs vs western RPGs, translator and Final Fantasy 16 localization director had this to say:
"The thing that [Yoshida] wants to get across is that when we are creating games, at least with our team, we don't go into them thinking that we're going to be creating JRPGs, we just go into them thinking we're going to create RPGs."
Yoshida went on to elucidate exactly why he doesn't like the term JRPG and that he isn't the only developer who'd prefer everyone to just drop the 'J' when referring to his games.
"This is going to depend on who you ask but there was a time when this term first appeared 15 [sic] years ago, and for us as developers the first time we heard it, it was like a discriminatory term. As though we were being made fun of for creating these games, and so for some developers the term JRPG can be something that will maybe trigger bad feelings because of what it was in the past."
More specifically, Yoshida recalled an unspecified piece of media that referred to Final Fantasy 7 as a JRPG and how he was offended that it was "compartmentalizing what we were creating into a JRPG box."
With Final Fantasy 16 continuing with the more action RPG-oriented combat from Final Fantasy 15 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake, it makes sense for Yoshida to be making this distinction right now. And while the term JRPG will likely continue to be used to distinguish a game like Dragon Quest 11 from, say, Dragon Age 4, it's also absolutely understandable for a Japanese developer to bristle at the descriptor.
Final Fantasy 16 launches on PS5 on June 22, with a demo releasing two weeks earlier.
Read our hands-on Final Fantasy 16 preview to find out why June can't come soon enough.