FF16 on PS4 would’ve been ‘lower quality than FF15’, says Yoshi-P

Final Fantasy 16 and 14 producer Naoki Yoshida has opened up about the development of the PS5 exclusive and the problems presented by PS4.

Final Fantasy 16 PS4 limitations PS5 exclusive: Clive standing next to a PS4 on fire, set against a blurred image of a desert town from FF16.

In an interview with industry veteran and former President of Sony Interactive Entertainment Shuhei Yoshida, Final Fantasy 16 producer Naoki ‘Yoshi-P’ Yoshida has discussed the troubles of bringing the PS5 exclusive to the aging PS4. While it was originally planned to release across both generations, the team was “pushing the PlayStation 4 to its absolute limits” before deciding to ax its last-gen version.

Final Fantasy 16 was one of the best games on PS5 last year, earning a rare 10/10 from us in our Final Fantasy 16 review. Packed full of spectacle and stunning visuals, it’s hard to imagine FF16 on PS4, and Yoshi-P has given us an insight into what it was like trying to make such an ambitious game work on last-gen hardware – and it’s further evidence that it’s time to leave the humble PS4 behind.

The interview, posted to the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences YouTube page, sees Shuhei Yoshida of PlayStation and Naoki Yoshida of Square Enix discuss the intricacies of building Final Fantasy 16. When asked whether he had always intended for FF16 to be a PS5 exclusive, Yoshi-P claims: “No, it was… around the middle of development”. Until this point, the team “were expecting to have a multi-platform release on PlayStation 4 as well.”

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The fact FF16 was planned to arrive on PS4 is well-documented at this point, but what exactly caused the late shift to focus on PS5 only? Yoshi-P goes on to explain that “the assets were pushing the PlayStation 4 to its absolute limits”. Believing the Final Fantasy series to have a certain visual quality to meet, along with the team’s desire to eliminate loading screens, “there were certain parts where we were having to reduce the quality to a point lower than [Final Fantasy] XV.” Overflowing with particle effects and explosive cutscenes, it’s not hard to see why the decade-old PS4 simply couldn’t keep up, though hearing the producer explain that graphical sacrifices would have resulted in a finished product that looked and performed worse than Final Fantasy 15 is a great insight.

Yoshi-P goes on to emphasize the team’s priority on delivering a blockbuster narrative – “one that made you feel like you were blasting through it on a roller coaster” and not held back by loading screens. Ultimately though, feeling it was going to be “really hard to do that on PS4”, development instead focused solely on the next-gen experience. Even on PS5 the game experiences frame drops, and we also encountered overheating issues at times, so the PS4 must’ve really struggled.

With the Final Fantasy 16 Rising Tide DLC having the potential to change the game’s enigmatic ending, we’re eagerly anticipating what’s next for FF16, even if it doesn’t include the trusty PS4. In the meantime, we’ve got Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth to hold us over and many other new PS5 games and new PS4 games on the way.