Final Fantasy 16's Wearable Assists Are A Great Alternative to Difficulty Settings
Why have an Easy Mode when you can just have cool inventory items?
Final Fantasy 16 will not have multiple difficulty settings for players to choose from. However, in an interview on Famitsu with the game’s producer Naoki Yoshida did say the game will contain something along those lines. Two game modes, one of which will contain a treasure trove of in-game wearable assists that will help inexperienced players as they navigate the game’s action-based combat system. “In Story Focus Mode, AI-implemented accessories are provided from the start, and Clive’s basic controls can be changed by attaching and removing them,” Yoshida said.
Yoshida went on to discuss how one of the wearable assists helps inexperienced players counter moves, and that the assists are designed to be attached and removed in order to fit each player’s preference. It’s a lot like MLB The Show where if you have trouble with fielding or just do not want to, you can turn on assists and even have the CPU field for you. It’s important to note in the interview that Yoshida mentions the reasoning for this is because some players feel if everything is automated it takes out the action part of the game, and he’s right. There is nothing wrong with getting as much help as you need, but some might feel that having too many assists may drag down their overall experience with the game.
It is a very smart concept because for what seems like an eternity there have been debates over certain games, most notably FromSoft offerings like Elden Ring and Dark Souls, having multiple difficulty settings. The wearable assist solution actually gives players two different and acceptable paths to play Final Fantasy 16 without adding fuel to the ‘difficulty setting’ fire.
Plus, some of them sound pretty cool too! “There are also some features that allow you to perform spectacular combos while switching between summons and abilities simply by pressing certain buttons, so if you feel that the Clive you’re controlling isn’t cool enough, you can equip accessories to increase the immersion,” said Yoshida. Some people may feel differently, but the truth is you have to think like a company. Remember the episode of South Park where Cartman has his own amusement park?
What happened? Over time things needed to be replaced and fixed and he had to let more people in, and could not keep the park all to himself. Square Enix and other video game companies cannot afford to have a Cartman-like mindset. They have to open their doors up to different types of people, and it is great to see a producer like Yoshida and the company acknowledge the difficulties some people face when it comes to certain kind of games, especially ones with action-based combat like Final Fantasy 16. The inclusion of these assists is groundbreaking because we might see more developers follow Square Enix’s lead and create games where the difficulty does not change, but they can still be enjoyed by anyone via items and assists.
In 2021, Steven Spohn, Senior Director of Development at Able Gamers, a charity focused on making games more accessible for people with disabilities, told Wired there are 46 million disabled gamers. That’s a serious number, and a demographic that publishers have to pay attention to. If you are someone who is against these types of assists being in games like Final Fantasy 16 and those that will follow it, remember that not everyone’s playing experience has to mirror yours and that it’s OK for people to complete games however they like, with or without help. Players who use these assists are just using inventory items, which is something that has been a franchise staple.
The assists in Final Fantasy 16 open up the opportunity for so many developers to implement new accessibility ideas to grow their player bases. Final Fantasy 16 is set to release in 2023, and it will be fascinating to see if and how more companies follow in its footsteps. After all, there are 46 million-plus reasons why they should.