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Face of Final Fantasy, Naoki Yoshida, says the term JRPG is 'discriminatory'

Callum Jones

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Face of Final Fantasy, Naoki Yoshida, says the term JRPG is 'discriminatory'

Featured Image Credit: Sipa US / Alamy Stock Photo/ Square Enix

For gamers, Final Fantasy XVI is one of the most anticipated video games of 2023, with the new title in the long-running series set to release in June.

The upcoming Square Enix game is a PlayStation 5 timed exclusive, so those on Xbox, Nintendo Switch and PC will unfortunately have to wait a little longer.

Typically, gamers put the Final Fantasy series in the JRPG bracket - which means a Japanese role-playing game.

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In the video game world, RPG is also a subcategory, with the likes of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Fallout in that category.

Final Fantasy has traditionally been seen as a JRPG. Credit: Square Enix / Cinematic Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
Final Fantasy has traditionally been seen as a JRPG. Credit: Square Enix / Cinematic Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

But over the years, a lot of amazing RPGs have come out of Japan, such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts.

These game franchises are that loved, its own category was created for them in JRPGs, as they were made in Japan.

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But while many would think that game developers would be delighted to be put into their own individual category, the face of Final Fantasy, Naoki Yoshida, is not.

In fact, the producer on Final Fantasy 14 and 16 said that Japanese devs were not too keen when the category first cropped up, and some even considered it to be 'discriminatory'.

In a recent interview with Skill-Up, Yoshida was asked how JPRGs have advanced over the years in comparison with action games.

And according to the interviewer, Yoshida was left looking visibly uncomfortable with the phrase.

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As translated by Fox, the game developer said: "This is going to depend on who you ask but there was a time when this term first appeared 15 years ago, and for us as developers the first time we heard it, it was like a discriminatory term.

Naoki Yoshida (R) apparently looked uneasy when the term JRPG was used. Credit: Sipa US / Alamy Stock Photo
Naoki Yoshida (R) apparently looked uneasy when the term JRPG was used. Credit: Sipa US / Alamy Stock Photo

"As though we were being made fun of for creating these games, and so for some developers the term JRPG can be something that will maybe trigger bad feelings because of what it was in the past."

Yoshida went on to say that the term was not a compliment for a lot of Japanese developers, but he states that JRPG does have 'better connotations' today.

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He concluded: "I remember seeing something 15 years ago which was basically a definition of what a JRPG was vs a western RPG, and it's kind of like Final Fantasy 7, and it has this type of graphics, this length of story, and compartmentalizing what we were creating into a JRPG box, and taking offence to that because that's not how we're going into creating.

"We were going in to create an RPG, but to be compartmentalized, they felt was discriminatory."

Topics: Technology, Gaming, PlayStation 5

Callum Jones
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