Final Fantasy XVI producer Naoki Yoshida was recently asked about the upcoming game’s “diversity,” where he was asked if there would be black or “people of color” in the game.
Yoshida noted this (via IGN) wouldn’t be the case, despite the team thinking about that possibility. Ultimately, the Final Fantasy XVI team decided against “diversity” because of “underlying geographical, technological, and geopolitical constraints of this setting”.
As most people are likely aware of at this point, Final Fantasy XVI is based around medieval Europe, which according to Yoshida, would “realistically never” be diverse compared to that of modern day Earth, or even their own other game in Final Fantasy XIV.
So the isolated nature of Valisthea, the name of the setting and world for the game, as well as its basis on historical and medieval Europe, kept them from wanting to do this.
He notes he understands this might disappoint some fans, but states that their diversity goes beyond appearance, noting the characters are “diverse in their natures, backgrounds, beliefs, personalities, and motivations.”
Ultimately though, those chose to keep away from creating ethnic diversity due to the setting, as even though the game and the world is fantasy, it is “also rooted in reality.”
After this IGN also asked if there would be any female characters “on par” with ones such as Celes, Aerith, or General Beatrix.
Localization director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox noted that while Final Fantasy XVI features a prominent female protagonist (likely Jill Warrick), the story ultimately centers on Clive as the singular protagonist.
Speaking of the game’s characters, you can check out their most recent trailer showcasing their worlds and cast here. Final Fantasy XVI was also confirmed be nearly complete, and will get a release date soon. The game is coming exclusively to PlayStation 5.