Final Fantasy 16 Devs Terribly Explain Why The Game Is So White

A king sits comfortably on his throne.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Two weeks ago, Square Enix released a new story trailer for their upcoming RPG, Final Fantasy XVI. There’s only one noticeable problem – there doesn’t seem to be a single non-white character. So IGN asked producer Noki Yoshida About whether the game will feature black people or people of color. Unfortunately, his response made me go “Yikes” in real life.

Yoshida explained that the fantasy world of Valestia was based on medieval Europe, and he wanted to limit the world culturally and geographically. “Walesthia will never realistically be as diverse as modern-day Earth… or even Final Fantasy XIV,He said, as if he was being asked to include every race on the entire planet. “Ultimately, we felt that while it was important to include ethnic diversity in Valisthea, over-inclusion in this single corner of a much larger world might violate the boundaries of the narrative we originally created. have set for themselves.”

Which begs the question: why did they implement the “whites only” limit in the first place?

After acknowledging that the real world is more diverse than Valisthea, he continued, “The story we’re telling is fictional, yes, but it’s also rooted in reality.” Which one is it, Yoshida? You can’t say your fantasy world isn’t bound by reality, and then use reality to explain why black people can’t exist in Valisthea. Choose a struggle and stick with it, please.

The really frustrating thing about all of this is that black and brown people have always existed in medieval Europe. If the creative leadership had done more research or examined their biases, they might have realized that black people Living in Britain for two thousand years.. Or that some blacks were Europeans. Canonized in the Holy Roman Empire. Or realized it. Iberia was under Islamic rule. For about 500 years. Instead of a realistic vision of medieval Europe, we get FFXVI Instead

I emailed Square Enix to ask how it decided whether or not a story element violated the developers’ “narrative boundaries,” and I’ll let you know when I hear back.

Square Annex

I just watched it again The latest trailer, which is embedded above, and sees a giant winged lady throwing snowflakes. Apparently this isn’t too much for fictional realism, but bringing in real people from different races is a step too far. Localization director Michael Christopher Koji Fox said IGN That the game inspired. Game of Thrones. but still GoT There were black side characters (though Very poorly represented). FFXVI Prestige could be worse about over-representation than one of the most white-bread shows on television.

So why did the developers decide to include only white characters in the trailer? Yoshida has an answer that sounds like a completely non-answer. He noted that it can be difficult to assign specific races to an antagonist or protagonist without triggering audience preconceptions, inviting unnecessary speculation, and ultimately fanning the flames of conflict. IGN.

I believe developers can overcome this challenge without blowing up the internet. If AAA Blockbuster God of War: Ragnarök can highlight A black ingroboda As a major character in his Norse mythology, then a fully formed world can do the same. Especially if developers are looking to build. Final concept In a modern franchise that feels fresh to newcomers to the series.

These new quotes made me feel very cynical about Yoshida’s comments. A previous interview. In August, he said he wanted to revive. Final concept series, which was tangled in its long tradition. “Depending on whether Final concept While successfully adapting to industry trends, I believe the series is currently struggling,” he said. Interview with upside down. Trying to make you know what doesn’t help Final concept Don’t feel like it’s over 30 years old? Giving fans an all-white cast goes against both industry standards and actual history.

For all of these, Yoshida is admired for being the man he is. saved the Final concept Franchisehis creativity is also limited by the genre which has never been fair to black and brown fans around the world. FFXVI Probably The most “adult” game in the series, but its approach to human history is a step backwards for modern JRPGs.

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