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Why Final Fantasy 14's Director Thinks The Series Is 'Struggling'

"Final Fantasy" is one of the longest running and most iconic franchises in video game history. Featuring 15 main titles, with "Final Fantasy 16" on the way, and numerous spinoffs, remakes, movies, and TV series, "Final Fantasy" has built an impressive legacy with a passionate fanbase. Even an established franchise isn't immune to challenges, however, and — despite its many successes — one prominent director of "Final Fantasy" games thinks the series is "struggling."

Speaking to Inverse, Naoki Yoshida, director of "Final Fantasy 14" since 2010 and producer of the upcoming "Final Fantasy 16," said he thinks that "the series is currently struggling" to keep up with changes in the gaming industry and to respond to the desires of players. Yoshida acknowledged that no game could make everyone happy and that the industry is changing rapidly, but still seems to think that developers can do more to adapt to changing circumstances. "My current impression is that all we can really do is create multiple games, and continue creating the best that we can at any given time," Yoshida explained.

This relatively bleak assessment may seem strange when "Final Fantasy 16" is set to release next summer and, as PCGamesN reported, "Final Fantasy 14" continues to be going strong and is breaking records for player numbers. However, Yoshida has established his reputation as someone who knows the series and whose opinion would be taken seriously.

Naoki Yoshida says Final Fantasy needs to adapt to changing expectations

Yoshida has had a long and impressive career in the video game industry and in the "Final Fantasy" franchise in particular. When "Final Fantasy 14" first launched in 2010, it was a bit of a mess and looked like it could be a failure for Square Enix. It was Yoshida who took over as director of the game and is largely credited with making the desperate moves necessary to keep the game relevant and to make it inviting to new players. Since rebuilding the game and turning it into a success story, Yoshida has continued to work to improve the experience by incorporating features based on what modders have tried to add.

To his credit, Yoshida is continuing to work to improve the series and seems to be practicing what he preaches. It was recently revealed that "Final Fantasy 16" is throwing out the old, turn-based combat of the series and continuing with the realtime variety introduced in "Final Fantasy 15" and the "Final Fantasy 7" remake. Yoshida defended the decision as a means to reach a larger audience and attract younger fans. This would seem to fit with his assessment that the series must work to keep up with changing times, technology, and expectations.

While apparently optimistic about the future, Yoshida clearly believes there is more work to be done and he is leading the way himself. How these changes will be received and what the future holds for "Final Fantasy" remains to be seen.