Final Fantasy 16 (opens in new tab) looks frenetic. The three minute trailer that debuted during Thursday’s PlayStation State of Play event jumps from one busy action scene to the next, showing off glimpses of an action-RPG combat system and giant summons hurtling magic spells at each other. There are even moments that looks like they might be quicktime events—clearly choreographed battle cutscenes that nonetheless have health bars visible on the screen.
That’s not necessarily a red flag, but it would normally make me wonder if Final Fantasy 16’s combat was emphasizing flash over substance. That worry went completely out the window when I saw the name of FF16’s combat director, revealed on the PlayStation blog (opens in new tab): Ryota Suzuki.
Ryota Suzuki may not be a name you recognize, but his Mobygames credits (opens in new tab) reveal a stellar action game pedigree, beginning as a play tester for Street Fighter Alpha 3 and most recently working as a designer on Devil May Cry 5 (opens in new tab). Final Fantasy 16’s combat doesn’t just resemble DMC5, then—it’s headed up by someone who helped craft one of the finest action games of the decade.
Final Fantasy or Devil May Cry?
That’s not Suzuki’s only impressive credit. Before DMC5, he was the “gameplay player lead” on Dragon’s Dogma (opens in new tab), a cult favorite action-RPG, and he served as the overall game design lead for its expanded release, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen. That’s two extremely promising action credits to his name.
Suzuki was a 20-year Capcom employee, working as a “planner”, aka designer, on a ton of fighting games, including Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Capcom vs. SNK 2. His final Capcom credit looks to be contributing to Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, before leaving for Square Enix. I guess designing the battle system for a Final Fantasy game is too good an opportunity to pass up.