Final Fantasy release date

All the Final Fantasy XVI combat changes explained

By Kenneth Williams


Jun 13, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

Final Fantasy XVI will change everything about FF combat, moving from a real-time/turn-based hybrid system to a fully-fledged action combat system.

Final Fantasy combat has come a long way since its original incarnation. It codified the turn-based system that became synonymous with JRPGs, but it started tinkering with the idea as soon as its fifth game. Now with FF XVI, the series is switching to a full-on spectacle fighter with zero turn-based actions remaining. Here are details on the switch and how it will change the feel of battle compared to XV.

The system change was announced during the official FF SVI gameplay reveal in April of 2023. The biggest news was that Ryota Suzuki would serve as the game’s combat director. Suzuki has previously worked on several action-focused titles, including Street Fighter 4, Dragon’s Dogma, Monster Hunter World, and the Devil May Cry series. Knowing Suzuki’s resume makes the change a lot easier to understand.

Final Fantasy XVI will switch to full real-time combat

Final Fantasy XVI combat will more closely resemble Devil May Cry or Dark Souls compared to FF XV, with manual dodging, input chains, and minigames tied to certain attacks.

The gameplay reveal shows main character Clive dodging and diving through hordes of enemies without a visible targeting system. Attacks and other actions are bound to the R2 button, with new combat abilities cycling in after others are performed. Players only control the protagonist, with allies managed by the game itself.

Final Fantasy XVI combat minigame

In addition, the combat will feature quick-time events on certain attacks to further add skill expression. Early trailers show a circle appearing in front of Clive with markers for yellow and red, with red appearing to deal the most damage. The checks seem fairly easy, but more advanced moves could come with tighter windows.

This will keep players more engaged with the moment-to-moment combat, a further break from FF XV’s system.


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