For a few years now, we’ve heard Final Fantasy XVI is inspired by HBO’s Game of Thrones, and during my cover story trip to Tokyo, Japan, to speak with Creative Business Unit III, I learned more about this. Specifically, and perhaps critically, I learned that the team was inspired by the first four seasons of Game of Thrones. Or at least, that’s where it started.
“Right around the start of the game’s development back when we’re in that early period is right about when [Season 4 of Game of Thrones on HBO] was airing,” FFXVI producer Naoki Yoshida tells me. “We had seen it grow into this television show that was loved around the world, not just by older generations but younger generations as well. So we bought the Blu-Ray box of Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4, and made everyone on the team watch it basically to get across to developers that this is what’s trending in the world – that this is the type of fantasy that people are enjoying.”
But Yoshida says the team took great caution to avoid FFXVI feeling like a carbon copy of Game of Thrones. While its inspirations are clear, it feels like its own thing after playing and watching the game for roughly five hours. Plus, with everything else going on in the game – specifically the Eikon vs. Eikon combat – the team drew on other sources of inspiration like Attack on Titan, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Godzilla, Ultraman, and more.
Not only does Game of Thrones inspire the story and world feel of Final Fantasy XVI, but it also inspires a lot of its visual style, according to art director Hiroshi Minagawa.
“When I joined the team and spoke with Takai-san about the overall look of the game, we had that broad stroke that we wanted to have something that’s going to have that Game of Thrones feel, that kind of pure standard high fantasy that you’d see in that type of program and visual medium,” he tells me.
While people today still argue where Game of Thrones began to falter, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks the answer is somewhere in those first four seasons. Those episodes are fantastic television, and if FFXVI’s take on fantasy comes close to rivaling them, we could be in for something special. Fortunately, we don’t have too wait long because FFXVI hits PlayStation 5 on June 22.
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