Producer of Final Fantasy 16 claims Character diversity was constrained by the medieval European context

The medieval Europe setting of Final Fantasy 16 imposed limitations on the variety of characters who could be “realistically” featured in the RPG, according to the game’s producer Naoki Yoshida.

In an interview with IGN, Yoshida discussed the “tough topic” of character diversity and admitted that his words might be “disappointing” to some readers.

Yoshida was asked if players may anticipate seeing a more diverse cast in the finished game, including Black characters or people of color, because the majority of the characters in the game’s trailers so far have been white.

He replied, “Our design approach has always significantly emphasized medieval Europe and incorporates historical, cultural, political, and anthropological criteria that were common at the period.

Instead of creating something on a global scale, it was necessary to limit the scope to a single landmass — one that was geographically and culturally isolated from the rest of the world in an era without airplanes, television, or telephones — when choosing a setting that was best suited to the story we wanted to tell, the story of a land beset by the Blight.
Yoshida asserted that the game’s setting of Valisthea prevented it from being as diversified as the actual world or even other Final Fantasy games that take place in a variety of settings.

In the end, we believed that while including ethnic diversity in Valisthea was vital, over-incorporating it into one particular area of a much broader universe may lead to a breach of the narrative constraints we first established. Although the tale we are telling is a fantasy, it is nevertheless grounded in fact.

Yoshida added that “it can be challenging to assign distinctive ethnicities to either antagonist or protagonist without triggering audience preconceptions, inviting unwarranted speculation, and ultimately stoking flames of controversy” due to the game’s ability to let players experience themes of conflict, struggle, and oppression through realistic battles.

“In the end, we simply want the emphasis to be on who our characters are as people—people who are varied and diverse in their natures, origins, views, personalities, and motivations—rather than on how they appear on the outside. people with whose experiences we can identify. Valisthea is a diverse place. Diversity that, although not exhaustive, works well with the environment we’ve built and is genuine to the sources of our inspiration.
Yoshida previously stated that British English is the only accent used in Final Fantasy 16 to reflect the game’s medieval Europe setting.

Yoshida stated to Famitsu in a brand-new interview that Final Fantasy 16’s release date will be revealed later this year. Currently, the summer of 2023 is when it is expected to arrive.