Square Enix has already made it known that Final Fantasy 16 won’t have an open-ended universe. But in a recent talk with IGN, the creators delved into the details of how the segmented map operates, unveiling that Valisthea’s world is composed of a variety of zones with various sizes that will bring about chances for non-linear traversing.
Talking as part of a roundtable discussion with the press, Final Fantasy 16 director Hiroshi Takai revealed that the world is created from various maps; some minuscule, others vast. Referencing the larger scale ones, Takai elucidated, “We have – I believe – four zones that traverse two kilometers by two kilometers.”
Producer Naoki Yoshida elaborated on how adventurers will traverse and discover the varied regions of Valisthea. “On the world map you have the areas that you can travel to, and by selecting one of them you can transition there seamlessly. Then, you can continue on the main quest line in that area. After completion, you’ll be taken back to the hub area, called the Hideaway“.
Takai paints the Hideaway as a hub of activity, where adventurers can begin their journey to save the world, or take a detour to complete optional tasks such as hunting monsters. Along the way, they can visit the item shop, enlist the help of the blacksmith to craft and upgrade weapons, and make further preparations for their quest.
Much of this set-up will evoke a sense of nostalgia for long-term fans; even in the era of when Final Fantasy had the concept of an ‘open world’, the roaming area was more akin to a hub for a multitude of regions (or ‘field maps’) instead of the traditional definition of a truly open world. However, unlike the majority of its beloved predecessors, Final Fantasy 16 will be absent of any concealed dungeons or areas.
“We chose not to create any hidden dungeons or maps,” mentioned Takai, “so that players could concentrate more on the main story, rather than worrying that every nook and cranny must be explored. That way, we wanted to focus our development efforts on the main areas.”
“However, areas that could be considered dungeons,” he said thoughtfully, “are located off the field. These are all intricately connected to the narrative and meticulously crafted to create an enticing environment. We didn’t want to design something that would go entirely unnoticed.”
Despite this, Yoshida wanted to allay any fears players may have had that there was nothing left to discover in the world of Final Fantasy 16. “The thing to remember is that even if it may not sound like it, there are plenty of places to explore,” he said soothingly. “Don’t fret.”
For FF16, it was only achievable on PS5 hardware, and its novel accessibility has been detailed. Our hands-on preview offers further insight, and Yoshida’s comments on the variety of its characters and cultures can also be read.
Matt Purslow is the UK News and Features Editor at IGN – a role which requires a deft touch and an eye for the latest news stories. He’s the one to turn to for all the breaking news and in-depth features you need to know.