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The Real Reason Final Fantasy 16 Is Rated M

When "Final Fantasy" comes to mind, players' first thoughts likely aren't of an overly violent experience rife with adult content — yet some may be surprised to learn that the upcoming "Final Fantasy 16" is likely to don an M rating from the ESRB for just those reasons. It's not the first time that a "Final Fantasy" title has come out of the gates seeking a more mature audience, with "Final Fantasy Type-0" and the recent, mostly-enjoyed "Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin" also leaning into themes and situations that earned the titles an M rating. It's not something players see often, so when "Final Fantasy 16" started showing off more and more mature-themed content, fans took notice.

After a recent trailer seemed to imply there could be some nudity in the upcoming "Final Fantasy" entry, onlookers' curiosity was stoked. Why was "Final Fantasy 16" pursuing such a drastic tonal shift from what fans have come to expect from the long-running franchise? Now, "Final Fantasy 16" Producer Naoki Yoshida is weighing in on the matter, and why it's important that the title exists on the higher end of the rating spectrum. It's not about making a franchise that typically includes admittedly edgy characters even more so, it's about having the freedom needed to tell the "Final Fantasy 16" story without restrictions. 

Ratings systems have become more restrictive

Speaking with GameSpot in a June 21 interview, Naoki Yoshida took some time to answer a variety of questions surrounding "Final Fantasy 16." After remarking on some inquiries about the title's lore and major themes, the latest trailer's implied nudity was brought up and Yoshida was asked if the upcoming entry was going to be rated Mature. Before diving into an answer, Yoshida took a moment to acknowledge that while important, video game ratings have become more stringent than they've been in the past.

Yoshida said, "when trying to tell a story with difficult adult themes, these ratings can end up becoming somewhat of a hindrance. And you find yourself changing things that you wanted to do in the game based on that rating ... And that ends up making the entire experience feel a little bit cheaper." To avoid these pitfalls and ensure the story doesn't become a prisoner of its rating, Yoshida plans to release "Final Fantasy 16" with an M rating (or equivalent) in the regions it's available. 

That said, the producer wants fans to know the decision wasn't made just for the sake of adding explicit violence or nudity. Yoshida went on to say, "But again, this is not because we simply wanted to make the game more violent or the game more explicit, this is because we felt it was necessary to allow us to explore those more mature themes that the game tackles."