Many gamers enjoy a good challenge and Final Fantasy XVI can potentially satisfy that need according to its producer Naoki Yoshida and what I have seen while playing an extensive demo of the game.
A few weeks ago, I talked with Yoshida-san during a preview event in London, and he explained what we can expect from the New Game Plus' "Final Fantasy Mode."
That being said, the real challenge comes again with the new game plus. As developers, we really believe that the new game plus, specifically the Final Fantasy mode, is the real difficult mode and the challenge really starts there. You carry over all of the abilities that you learned. You carry over your level, and all your attributes and you're using that in a new, very, very challenging game. And it's all about your skill, your technique, and about choosing the right accessories that are going to enhance the abilities that you're using at that time.
The way Yoshida-san describes this will certainly sound familiar to Final Fantasy XIV players, who are used to this kind of encounter with altered and enhanced mechanics to make them more challenging. It's called "Savage" mode, and it's very popular among players who focus on overcoming difficult gameplay.
On top of that, as you can read in my extensive preview, Final Fantasy XVI is actually quite challenging even during the first playthrough. Especially the boss battles require good timing and situational awareness. It's no Soulsborne, but don't expect a walk in the park. I'm actually quite eager to see how far the Final Fantasy mode will push this challenge.
It's worth reminding that the game includes the "Timely Accessories" for those who prefer to have an easier time with the action, and I've verified that those do make things considerably easier and much more approachable for players who prefer to simply enjoy the story. Their influence on the gameplay is also quite customizable, as you can pick and choose which ones to wear to remove the barrier represented by specific aspects of the action gameplay.
If you'd like to hear more about Final Fantasy XVI directly from Naoki Yoshida, you can enjoy the full interview, which includes a lot of interesting insight directly from the lion's mouth.
Final Fantasy XVI will release for PS5 on June 22, 2023.