How Square Enix Addressed Accessibility in Final Fantasy 16

I recently previewed Final Fantasy XVI, testing the upcoming game for about two hours. I learned a lot about the game, which is due out for PlayStation 5 this summer, including how developer Creative Business Unit III approached accessibility in FFXVI.

You will not find difficulty levels like easy, medium and hard. Instead, there is a story-focused mode and an action-focused mode. The story-focused mode will be easier, while the action-focused mode seems to be the default difficulty setting. And within each of these modes, there are special accessories that can be equipped to tailor the difficulty of combat to your liking. I was able to use five, not sure if there are more, and I liked how easy they were to change and the effects on my in-game combat actions were great. It is fast, easy to understand and effective.

Here are the five accessories I previewed

Timely focus ring: With this equipped, just before an enemy hits you, time slows down to almost a stop. You will see an R1 button indicator appear on the screen with a depleting circle around it to indicate how much time you have left. R1 is the dodge button, so this build makes dodging enemy attacks much easier.

Timely assistance ring: Clive is joined by a dog named Torgal (yes, you can pet Torgal). You can manually select Torgal’s attacks, but using this ring allows Torgal to attack automatically.

Ring of Timely Hits: Combat in FFXVI revolves around mixing and matching various moves to create combos. With this ring equipped, you can simply press Square and Clive will perform the combos automatically. Basically, it allows you to complete combat scenarios with a single button.

ring of timely evasion: Allows Clive to automatically dodge most attacks.

Ring of Timely Healing: When Clive’s HP drops to a certain point, he will automatically use a potion to heal himself (as long as you still have potions).

During a group interview with FFXVI Producer Naoki Yoshida, Director Hiroshi Takai, and Combat Director Ryota Suzuki, the three discussed Creative Business Unit III’s approach to accessibility, especially as it relates to the different modes and accessories mentioned. previously.

“To talk about how we got to where we are with this and the idea of ​​making the game as accessible as it is, it starts when I’m 50 years old,” Yoshida says through a translator. “I pride myself as a gamer, so when you first play an action game, I love action games, it always says, ‘What? [difficulty level] do you want to play? Easy, medium or difficult? And again, because I have pride as a player, I don’t want to make an easy choice. But then, of course… the first time you die, it comes up, ‘Do you want to switch to easy?’

“I didn’t, so I didn’t want the players to feel that too. We wanted to create a system where players weren’t forced to make this easy/medium/hard decision. We wanted something that felt accessible but also customizable so that each player could create something that felt like a difficulty level that matched them and that was my first request to Takai.”

Takai then mentions the rings, citing that the first question asked after Yoshida’s order was, “What kind of players are there?”

“So we hear from players who maybe aren’t that good at comboing and attacking,” he says through a translator. “Some players may not be as good at dodging as other players. We figured out that each of these things players wouldn’t be good at, and then we wanted to create a system that would help players in those individual areas. And then for me, I told our battle director to make that happen.”

In steps, Suzuki, who has a 20-year history of designing various combat systems at Capcom, working on games like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Devil May Cry 5. He says the experience has given him a pretty good idea of ​​what action enthusiasts want.

“I know what to create for them…[but] you have a whole audience of players who may not be used to this in reality,” he says through a translator. “You have fans of the series and fans of the RPG genre. And we couldn’t just make a game for high-action users. We need to make this game for everyone… and make sure we include those players as well, so my top priority was, once again, to create something that would be accessible to those users who hadn’t played much of the arcade game genre. action”.

That led to the creation of the accessory system. Suzuki says that Creative Business Unit III believes this system creates something that makes the game accessible to players who aren’t as familiar with the action genre without getting in the way of what action fans want from FFXVI.

“We have a high ceiling… but we also lowered the floor to make it more accessible.”

Yoshida adds that instead of asking if players want an easy, medium, or hard experience, FFXVI asks, “Do you want to focus on the story or do you want to focus on the action?” But from there, he says, “It’s about the player deciding how much focus on the story and how much focus on the action they want, and not go into the system and change the difficulty of the system, but change the difficulty through customization.” of Clive”.

“By customizing [Clive]you can change the difficulty and customize it according to your playstyle and I think this is a very, very cool idea.”

I was also able to browse through the game’s settings to see what other accessibility features players can expect. However, it is important to note that this preview build was not completed and does not reflect the final game, so things could change. And if I had to guess, this wasn’t the entire setup we’ll see in the final game.

  • Subtitle: There are subtitles and you can adjust the size of the text. You can also add a background to the captions to make them more visible. There was also a setting for closed captioning for the hearing impaired.
  • conversation log: There is a chat log to see the conversations that have taken place, which is great because there were a lot of conversations in the two hours of FFXVI I played, being able to retrieve what I forgot or read what might be. lost while fighting an enemy is good.
  • controller layouts: I didn’t change the controller layouts, but the option is there.
  • follow target– This setting adjusts the camera when a target is off screen, presumably to move the camera towards them.
  • visual alerts: This was described in settings as an on-screen waveform that acts as a visual representation of the sounds and music in the game. You can adjust the size and opacity of the visual alerts.

There are also other mainstays like the ability to adjust camera controls, audio volumes, and more. But then again, we won’t know the full depth of the setting until Final Fantasy XVI hits PlayStation 5 on June 22.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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