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Producer Says Final Fantasy 16's Diversity Will Depend On Your "Understanding Of The Term"

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In November last year, regarding Final Fantasy 16, producer Naoki Yoshida said, "We felt that while incorporating ethnic diversity into Valisthea was important, an over-incorporation into this single corner of a much larger world could [violate] narrative boundaries we originally set for ourselves." This drew backlash fueled further by the series' historical lack of people of colour in key roles. Now, he's discussing the issue again.

"What I would like to take this opportunity to say is: we have created the world of Valisthea and the story of FF16 with a great deal of research and investigation into various cultures and value systems from all around the world and have woven them into the sweeping fantasy narrative and world with great respect and care," Yoshida told GamesRadar in a new interview. "I would ask players to experience FF16 and see with their own eyes the diverse range of value we have included in the creation of the Game."

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However, when Yoshida says "diverse", it depends on your interpretation of the word, so it's unclear what exactly these "various cultures" are, or whether this means Final Fantasy 16 will step away from Euro-centric fantasy.

Final Fantasy 16

"People all have their own thoughts on the scope and their understanding of the term 'diversity'", Yoshida said. He believes that each person's interpretation of his answer "may very greatly" as a result, and did not clarify whether that means Final Fantasy 16 will feature any prominent people of colour, something the series has failed to do historically.

There wasn't a playable Black character until Final Fantasy 7 with Barret, a decade into the series. Final Fantasy 8 introduced Kiros, followed by 12's Fran - the first playable Black woman. However, while more Black playable characters were introduced, none were the leads of their Games, something that has not changed with Final Fantasy 16.

Given that Yoshida's answer depends on your interpretation of what diversity means, it's unlikely that the newest Game will represent a major shift in the series' approach to representation.

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