Final Fantasy

Is Final Fantasy 16 (FF16) an open-world game?

A world that isn’t so open.

Image via Square Enix

Many fans expect Final Fantasy 16 (FF16) to be an open-world game, just like its predecessor, Final Fantasy 15. In general, fans would (and probably should) expect a sequel to include not just open-world gameplay, but an even bigger open-world map with more to do. Now that the game is out, though, it’s clear to us that Square Enix wants the game to be big, but not as people might imagine.

In Final Fantasy 15, players could explore, discover, and learn about the world’s lore in an open-world setting. Players moved freely around the world of FF15 without waiting for loading screens. Due to the large size of the world, players were given a car to shorten the trips.

Some newer games, however, have gone the route of zones or hub worlds rather than one giant open-world game. Dragon Age Inquisition and Pokémon Legends: Arceus, for instance, are great examples of beloved games with sectioned large areas with tons of things to do without creating an open-world game. This is also the case with Final Fantasy 16.

Is Final Fantasy 16 open-world?

Final Fantasy 16 (FF16) is not an open-world game but instead uses larger zones, similar to The Witcher 3, Greedfall, and the Outer Worlds. Players can explore large areas, but there is a noticeable limit. This way, Final Fantasy 16 can show more areas while showing a smaller overall area.

Producer Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida told IGN this was because the Final Fantasy series is losing the interest of the younger generation of gamers. To attract a younger audience, the devs followed examples set by popular games, such as Pokémon Legends: Arceus. From these games, they realized larger games don’t need to be open-world but can instead be multiple larger areas.

Due to this, the devs decided not to do another open-world RPG and instead made multiple large zones where players could go, featuring the six realms of Valisthea. This way, they then could put a lot of detail in each area and make the playable area as large as they wanted.

Many games with zones feature a lot of detail in each hub world since designers can make them as large as they want and don’t need to worry about how they fit together. This is one of the biggest benefits of having zones, and Final Fantasy 16 uses this with an area called the Hideaway, which is the player’s home base.

Related: Players agree Final Fantasy 16’s map is a welcome change to recent RPG games

Does Final Fantasy 16 have optional explorable content?

Now that the game is out, we have a much clearer picture of the type of experience players can have within Valisthea.

Director Hiroshi Takai told the press in a preview event before the game’s launch that the devs didn’t create any hidden dungeons or parts of the map because they wanted everything to be connected to the story, and they didn’t want players to miss any content.

“We didn’t create any [hidden dungeons or maps] because we wanted players to focus more on the main scenario and not have this feeling that you have to go to this area and clear this area,” Takai said. “We wanted them to focus on this and we wanted to focus our development more on the main areas. So we didn’t go out of our way to create maps that didn’t need to be visited.”

Although some might be disappointed in this news, Yoshi-P stressed that there would still be plenty to explore in Valisthea even though the game isn’t open-world. And he was telling the truth, as the areas in FF16 are still quite vast.

Related: Does Final Fantasy 16 have multiplayer co-op?

Final Fantasy 16 was released exclusively on PlayStation 5 on June 22 and might stay exclusive for longer than the six-month period that was originally planned due to a port taking so much time and money.

About the author

Jorge Aguilar

The Weekend Editor for Dot Esports. Aggy loves the video game industry and loves telling stories. Aside from that, he is an Author, Illustrator, and Computer Animator.

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