We’ve played quite a lot of Final Fantasy 16 now at various preview events, and as we’ve described it in past write-ups, we believe it’s going to end up a bonafide Game of the Year contender. However, there are the slightest rumbles beginning to emerge that Square Enix is worried about the release’s pre-order numbers – despite an aggressive marketing campaign, which has seen producer Naoki Yoshida jetted around the world and a lot of gameplay footage shared with fans.
Writing as part of a Patreon post, journalist Imran Khan teased a little insight into what he’s been hearing behind-the-scenes: “I had heard recently that Square Enix is panicking slightly over Final Fantasy 16 pre-order numbers, which are tracking behind Final Fantasy 15 even accounting for the lesser number of launching platforms,” he wrote, before stressing that pre-orders are only an indication of guaranteed day one sales, and the “actual number could blow everyone away”.
This comes after the publisher, bizarrely, decided to provide some unexpected updates on Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth this week. “I wonder if they want to remind people the next chapter of Final Fantasy 7’s remake trilogy exists and give it more marketing time than they had planned,” Khan continued. “The initial sales of Remake were quite good, but it slowed down faster than Square Enix seemed to expect, so I imagine they really want Rebirth to sell as well as possible.”
This follows an interview Yoshida gave to Japanese online talk show Weekly Ochiai where he joked that he “wouldn’t want to look at the first week sales for Final Fantasy 16”. He was speaking specifically about the Japanese market, and added that he’s “laid out a plan for sales that would last 18 months.” He continued, as translated by Reddit: “I made a simple approach to try getting the shop to convince gamers to get Final Fantasy 16 together with their PS5 purchase.”
We feel like reviews are going to have a huge impact on Final Fantasy 16’s sales, because it’s launching in the shadow of some huge titles, like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Diablo 4. There’s no question that Square Enix is banking on growth for the series outside of Japan, and Sony’s marketing muscle should help the release find new fans in Western territories. But it’ll be interesting to see if it can meet the publisher’s expectations – especially on a single platform.