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Square Enix says it approached all major platforms for ‘offers’ for Final Fantasy 16

Last generation with Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3, Square Enix made a pretty big deal of supporting both PlayStation and Xbox consoles at launch. Fast forward a few years and now, Sony seems to have mainline Final Fantasy games on lockdown for PlayStation. In a recent interview, Square Enix explained its exclusivity approach, claiming to have contacted all platform holders at the start of development to get their ‘offers'.

In an interview with Game Informer, Final Fantasy 16 producer, Naoki Yoshida, explained the exclusivity process, claiming that Square Enix got in touch with the platform holders early in the development process to see what they could offer:

“Final Fantasy, being one of Square Enix’s very important franchises up there with Dragon Quest and the Kingdom Hearts series – when we do begin development, we do approach multiple platforms, multiple companies, about releasing the game. And when you approach them, they’re going to come back to us with their offers.”

This approach does seem a tad unusual from the outside looking in, almost as if Final Fantasy is a free agent looking for a new sports team. It is unclear if Square Enix was specifically seeking an exclusivity deal like the one it got with Sony, or if it was looking for something else, like more favourable store revenue splits, or technical assistance and funding.

While exclusivity and the money that comes with it is one part of the equation, technical expertise and development assistance was also an important factor. Yoshida says that since the team only had to focus on one platform for development, it made things easier, particularly for optimisation. Yoshida also says that PlayStation had engineers and programmers assisting with development to help maximise the game's performance on PS5.

The technical support aspect seems to have been a big deal for Square Enix. Microsoft does also have its own Xbox Advanced Technology team that can assist developers with optimisation efforts, but right now, that team is working with Bethesda on Starfield. It is quite possible that Microsoft didn't have the resources to offer, as they were focused on putting their best foot forward with Bethesda's next big RPG, and the company's first major Xbox exclusive.

While Yoshida didn't go into detail on the bidding war for Final Fantasy 16 exclusivity, it is likely that Microsoft would have had to pay significantly more than Sony to make up for potentially lost sales. If the game had been coming to Game Pass, that could have hurt sales and beyond that, the PlayStation 5 has a larger user base. For reference, back when Microsoft worked with Square Enix to secure Rise of the Tomb Raider as an Xbox One exclusive, the deal was reportedly worth $100 million. Development has only become more costly since then.

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KitGuru Says: Square Enix brings up single-platform optimisation here but I noticed a few gameplay previews for Final Fantasy 16 this week had mentioned that the performance mode is rough and choppy. These previews are based on an early build, so there is hope that things will be ironed out in time for launch next month. We'll have the opportunity to try the game out for ourselves soon, as a multi-hour demo is on the way.

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