During a TGS 2021 interview with Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, Final Fantasy XVI producer Naoki Yoshida revealed that the upcoming game will have an “expansive” skill tree system. Yoshida also noted that the decision to include skill trees was made to provide a feeling of “growing” a character in a way that felt unique and personal to the player.
Discussing Fantasian, Sakaguchi stated that “one of the best feelings” when playing an RPG was when a new skill tree was unlocked. Sakaguchi noted how one of the core aspects of RPGs is the ability to customize within the confines of a pre-defined character.
To this, Yoshida revealed that Final Fantasy XVI would feature a skill tree that “expands out” in a similar way to Fantasian. When explaining the decision, Yoshida agreed with Sakaguchi and stated:
Theres usually two ways to play a character. You can either put yourself into the shoes of a pre-defined protagonist, or like in [Final Fantasy] 14, you can become your own protagonist. But even in the case where you ‘play’ a pre-defined hero, its better to have some sense of customization in the character’s progression as it gives wider options of play.
Furthermore, Yoshida mentioned that he was influenced by the games Sakaguchi created and their ability to make players feel like they’re the hero of the story. Sakaguchi also praised Final Fantasy XIV for its ability to make players feel like they’re the Warrior of Light even when surrounded by other players. Notably, Sakaguchi also expressed an interest in writing an FFXIV scenario, or possibly design some new costumes for the MMORPG.