Final Fantasy is Struggling According to Popular Producer Naoki Yoshida

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Naoki Yoshida transformed Final Fantasy XIV from a disaster to the most profitable Final Fantasy game of all time. He is currently the producer of the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI and spoke with Inverse about Final Fantasy struggling as a series as well as the future of gaming.

“In terms of whether Final Fantasy is successfully adapting to industry trends, I believe the series is currently struggling. We’re now at a point where we receive a wide variety of requests regarding the direction of our game design. To be honest, it’d be impossible to satisfy all those requests with a single title. My current impression is that all we can really do is create multiple games, and continue creating the best that we can at any given time.”

Naoki Yoshida

With countless remakes, reboots, and new Final Fantasy titles on the way, Square is taking that approach seriously. In 2022 alone, Square released Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade and is scheduled to release three more games in the Final Fantasy VII universe. Then Final Fantasy XVI in 2023.

Is it the best strategy? We will find out, but successful creatives know to balance vision and catering to your audience.

People follow confident leaders who stand behind a strong vision and clearly communicate that vision. The vision could be a story, product, or country. Sell your followers and your audience on a vision they want or didn’t know they wanted. Say what you want about Steve Jobs, but he knew how to sell people on a vision.

On the other hand, there is value in listening to feedback from your customers. Sometimes they see opportunities for improvement that the creators miss. Unfortunately, if you lose track of your vision and prioritize the feedback, the product you create loses its coherence.

In a pursuit to appease everyone, you appease no one.

Final Fantasy Struggling as Every Franchise Does

It’s difficult to keep any series going indefinitely while maintaining the same level of quality from start to finish. We see this in franchises like Call of Duty video games, Star Wars films, and the Game of Thrones television series.

You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

Harvey Dent, Dark Night

Final Fantasy has been through some rough patches with titles like Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy XV. Those games didn’t flop and millions enjoyed them. But fans and critics don’t look up to with the same reverence that titles like Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X, and Final Fantasy XIV are.

You can’t win ’em all, but the Final Fantasy development teams do a solid job given the shear number of games they put out over the last 35 years.

“I believe the essence of a job is getting paid to do what others find troublesome,” Yoshida says. “The more your job is something people don’t like, or don’t want to do, the more praise and recognition you will receive for accomplishing it. Once you build up credibility, you can take on bigger challenges and will be permitted to spend greater sums of money. As such, my mentality remains unchanged even today.”

Well said, Yoshida. Well said.

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