Even though Final Fantasy VII Remake was only just released on April 10, suspicious new leaks emerged late Wednesday that Final Fantasy XVI, the purported next entry in the mainline series, would be announced this summer. But is there any reason to believe that this rumor, which originated on the suspicious forums site 4Chan, could be true?
The rumor in question was posted to 4Chan by an anonymous user on May 27 with the title "Final Fantasy XVI will be announced at the Summer Game Fest." They claim to have gotten the information from "an insider very close to the marketing department of the Square Enix company."
The description teases a "classic fantasy concept but with steampunk elements" akin to entries like Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy XII, but that's also shared with the MMORPGs Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. They compare gameplay to Final Fantasy XV and Dark Souls with a job system and customizable characters set in an open world with "cities and dungeons within the rich open-world ... and ... free exploration of entire continents."
This rumor claims Final Fantasy 16 is directed by Naoki Yoshida, also known as Yoshi-P, who is the mastermind behind the rebooted Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and its subsequent expansions. The post also claims the game is being developed with Unreal Engine 4, but the team is considering switching to Unreal Engine 5. The release date is supposedly within the 2021 fiscal year that runs from April 2021 to March 2022, and it would be released as a PS5 exclusive.
While this version of Final Fantasy 16 sounds pretty awesome, this 4Chan leak is very hard to believe for several reasons:
3. Claims about the game engine contradict the release date — Possibly the most damning aspect working against this "leak" is the discussion of the game engine: "The project [began] development in the 2017 with the Unreal Engine 4, and the team [hasn't] decided yet [about] converting the game for Unreal Engine 5."
Outside of the fact that converting game engines is a much bigger task than this post makes it seem, it also claims that the game will be out in 2021. Epic Games has said that Unreal Engine 5 won't be officially released until mid-2021, so the overall timing here doesn't make sense. Getting too specific here undermines the rumor's credibility.
2. 4Chan rumors almost never have much credibility — Questionable rumors like this pop up all the time on 4Chan. There's little to no moderation in terms of how the platform tracks whether rumors are true. Plenty of fake rumors have popped up over the years.
Regardless of what they say, any rumor that originates on 4Chan that doesn't have much to back it up should be taken with a grain of salt. It's safer to assume it's false than hope it's correct.
In short, if it's a rumor that sounds too good to be true, and it originated on 4Chan, then it's too good to be true.
1. Square Enix's previous comments on next-gen support contradict this rumor — Square Enix's own comments also contradict this rumor.
During a Q&A with investors held in February 2020, President Yosuke Matsuda said, "next-generation consoles will have backward compatibility, so we plan for the time being to make our new titles available for both current and next-generation consoles. It will therefore be somewhat farther down the road that we release titles exclusively for the next-generation consoles." This conflicts with the claim that Final Fantasy 16 will be a PS5 exclusive in 2021.
The nugget of truth behind this rumor — This rumor might just be capitalizing on a kernel of truth from a 2019 Square Enix job listing revealing that Yoshi-P's team at Square Enix was working on a new "large scale development project" on next-gen consoles. Some fans think this job listing refers to Final Fantasy 16, fueling rumors like this. Even this listing contradicts the 4Chan leak, however, as it says Yoshi-P's new game is made on a "graphic-engine developed independently for the project" instead of Unreal Engine 4.
Gematsu also reported in April 2019 that as part of Square Enix's Third Development Division, Yoshi-P was recruiting new team members to work on an unannounced next-gen title.
“Based on the former 5th Business Division, the newly established Third Development Division has started work on a new key project following Final Fantasy XIV, taking up a challenge for the next generation,” Yoshida said in a recruitment message. “This project has already finished early development, as well as preparation of the development environment, and is now moving into the full-blown, large-scale development phase. The new project is seeking developers who want to deliver both ‘fun’ and ‘enjoyment’ to the world, as well as ‘surprise.’ If you want to challenge the world market, then we look forward to your application.”
In the year since there's been no official news about whatever this purported mystery project might be. In fact, Yoshi-P has even told Japanese blogs that he's annoyed by the speculation that he's making Final Fantasy 16 as he's still going to stay dedicated to Final Fantasy 14 over the next couple of years according to Twitter user Xenosaga7.
We will probably get Final Fantasy 16 eventually, but it doesn't seem all that likely it'll be announced in the coming months or directed by Yoshi-P.