One of the things we’ve observed during recent preview events is just how eager Square Enix is to underline that Final Fantasy 16 is a standalone game. While enthusiasts will already know that each mainline Final Fantasy includes its own cast of characters and storyline, it’s easy to imagine how more casual players may be put off by the prospect of purchasing the 16th instalment in a long-running series.
Speaking with GQ Magazine, producer Naoki Yoshida admitted it’s something he’s mentioned to his bosses: “Maybe it's about time we removed the numbers from the title,” he observed. “For example, you have Final Fantasy 14. You get a new player coming in and it's like, 'Wait a minute, why do I have to play Final Fantasy 14 if 16 is out?' Why don't we just call it Final Fantasy Online – just get rid of the number altogether, and that'll make it easier to understand.”
Yoshida added, however, that nothing has been decided for the future of the franchise – and it won’t be his decision to make. “Whether Final Fantasy 17 or Final Fantasy 18 should have a number or not – that's going to be on whoever has to develop that game and whoever's in charge of the branding, so that's their problem, not ours,” he laughed.
How would you feel about Final Fantasy ditching its numbers moving forwards? We do think it’d benefit Square Enix from a branding perspective, but because there are already a number of spin-offs in the franchise, it may make it more difficult to separate the mainline entries from the side projects. We’re a little torn on this: the numbers feel like they’re a part of each major Final Fantasy’s identity. But from a marketing perspective, there’s simply no doubt it’d help if they weren’t there!