In response to diversity criticism, Final Fantasy 16 producer says the game investigates "various cultures from all around the world"

Final Fantasy 16 PS5 screenshot
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy 16 producer Naoki Yoshida has expanded on his comments about the game's lack of diversity, suggesting that "various cultures and value systems from all around the world" are "woven" into the game, despite its predominantly white, Euro-centric cast.

In a Final Fantasy 16 combat interview with Yoshida, GamesRadar+ asked whether he'd like to revisit comments made in November 2022 in which he suggested that the game's medieval, European setting meant that a cast that didn't reflect the demographics at the time would distract from the "reality" that the game was aiming for. 

In response, Yoshida said that "what I would like to take this opportunity to say is: we have created the world of Valisthea and the story of FF16 with a great deal of research and investigation into various cultures and value systems from all around the world and have woven them into the sweeping fantasy narrative and world with great respect and care. I would ask players to experience FF16 and see with their own eyes the diverse range of values we have included in the creation of the game."

Yoshida also suggested that each person's response to his answer "may vary greatly," and that "people all have their own thoughts on the scope and their understanding of the term 'diversity'." The producer says he doesn't see that variation as a negative, but that different peoples' varying definitions will lead to different interpretations of the development team's approach.

In November 2022, Yoshida was asked about the game's predominantly white cast in an interview with IGN. His response at that time - that the game's medieval European setting meant that "over-incorporation" of diverse skin colours risked "a violation of those narrative boundaries we originally set for ourselves" - was met with disappointment within the wider industry. Final Fantasy 16 will not be the first game to draw ire for its creators' decision to view a medieval fantasy setting through an (almost) all-white lens, but perhaps the controversy that has occurred around some of those games should have been enough to change Square Enix's approach.

We also got a closer look at combat in our recent Final Fantasy 16 preview.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.

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