Final Fantasy XVI is on the horizon, set to release in June 2023. However, while players wait for the next major installment in the Final Fantasy series, there are plenty of other RPGs the developer and publisher has released to sink some time into. This naturally includes some Final Fantasy titles, but also other Square Enix games from the PlayStation one and Xbox 360 era that has shared some members of the development team for XVI or provided inspiration for the upcoming mainline game.
Tactics Ogre is a given for those that want to experience what inspired Final Fantasy XVI. Naoki Yoshida, Producer of Final Fantasy XVI has stated in previous interviews that Tactics Ogre (and Final Fantasy Tactics) writer Yasumi Matsuno has been something of an inspiration to him. Tactics Ogre itself is a story-driven strategy RPG that focuses on the conflict between two nations currently at war. Featuring a highly nuanced story, it begs the question as to what sacrifices must be made in order to strive towards peace. It received a remaster, and was made available on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. For those that want a glimpse into what Final Fantasy XVI could be, it’s worth checking out.
Final Fantasy XII
A mainline title set in the world of Ivalice, this politics driven Final Fantasy game has a lot more in common with Final Fantasy XVI than you might think. It features its own version of Rosaria, and has an incredible localization and some great English voice work to boot. What makes Final Fantasy XII worth playing is it’s commentary on colonialism and occupation, and you can see the throughline to what makes it potentially similar to XVI. Overall, it’s a fairly solid mainline game that has similar medieval aesthetics, but has a more diverse cast. It’s on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC.
The Last Remnant
You might be wondering why The Last Remant is in this list of recommended Square Enix RPGs. Well, this is where the Torgal reference comes from. Additionally, Final Fantasy XVI Director Hiroshi Takai also served the same role on The Last Remnant. While not as serious in nature as Final Fantasy XII or Tactics Ogre, it is another hard fantasy title. It boasts a fairly unique system which involves boosting morale and commanding squadrons on the battlefield. Fairly predictable in terms of it’s narrative, it’s still intriguing all the same and has one of the more interesting worlds a Square Enix RPG has to offer. It’s on the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, and PC.
Final Fantasy Tactics
Perhaps one of the most well regarded spin-off games within the entire Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy Tactics is set in the Ivalice universe, similar to XII, and shares some DNA with XVI as a result. Tactics is a game mired in politics, discussing class and war in interesting and meaningful ways. With another masterful localization, similar to Final Fantasy XII, it’s a game with an incredible story that is absolutely worth spending time playing. Not as ambiguous as Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics is definitely more clean cut in terms of the morality of its narrative, but just as effective. It’s on the PlayStation, PSP, and mobile devices.
Another Matsuno title, this game features a more “action” focused combat system. Players assume the role of Ashley Riot, a member of the Riskbreakers, who confronts a religious cult bent on seizing control of Valendia. While smaller in scale in terms of the environments players can explore, Vagrant Story feels more grounded in terms of its presentation. The combat system may be a bit clunky by comparison to newer RPGs, but is worth visiting for its gorgeous visual presentation and incredible localization. It’s only on the PlayStation.
Final Fantasy XVI will come out on June 22, 2023 for the PS5, with a demo to appear roughly two weeks before official release.