In an interview with Dengeki, Final Fantasy XVI Director Hiroshi Takai extrapolated on the differences between the difficulty of the “story” mode and the standard version of the game. He stated that both versions are functionally the same, with the exception of story mode coming with accessories to make the journey just a bit easier for those more interested in the narrative. Specifically mentioning support accessories, Takai stated that there will be an accessory that will automatically perform combos with equipped. There will also be an accessory that will help players dodge attacks, but players can pick and choose what they want to equip. [Thanks, Dengeki!]
You can read the full translation of Final Fantasy XVI Director Hiroshi Takai’s explanation the story mode difficulty below:
You might think there is a huge difference between the two modes, but there isn’t. What’s different in Final Fantasy XVI is that there will be “support accessories.” When equipping these accessories, for example, you’ll be able to automatically perform really cool combos by repeatedly hitting the attack button. Or you can equip an accessory that will dodge attacks appropriately when used. There are plenty of these kinds of accessories in the game, and you can choose your preference as to which kinds you want to use.
In the story mode version of Final Fantasy XVI, players will start with the aforementioned auto attack ring, and a secondary ring that will slow down time just before an enemy is about to strike Clive. However, enemies will also have lowered health and attack with less frequency in story mode as well.
Final Fantasy XVI will release sometime in Summer 2023, with a more concrete release date to appear later in 2022.