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Please appoint Hiroyuki Ito as the Producer/Director of FINAL FANTASY XVI.

This petition had 126 supporters

Since the release of FINAL FANTASY XIII in 2009, the FINAL FANTASY series has become increasingly less significant in the West. It is no longer regarded as the epitome of the RPG genre. Instead, RPGs developed by Western developers such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have surpassed it in areas such as world scale, game design, volume of content, and critical acclaim.

A change is urgently needed in order to restore the FINAL FANTASY series to the greatness it once had. It's currently on a path towards irrelevancy in modern gaming and myself and fellow FINAL FANTASY fans are deeply concerned. It's important to act now rather than later, as the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to repair the long term influence of the damage.

The key thing to identify here is what made the FINAL FANTASY series start failing with the release of FINAL FANTASY XIII in 2009? That answer is obvious: The lack of open world game design.

FINAL FANTASY XIII focused on the story and event scenes and used a linear map design to strengthen their importance. This was a bad decision as open world games that use sparse event scenes have become more popular in recent years. Even a RPG developed in Japan called Xenoblade decided to adopt an open world game design and that game has a score of 92 on Metacritic and widespread critical acclaim among gamers in both Japan and the West. The director of the game was even a former Square Enix employee named Tetsuya Takahashi (高橋哲哉). He stated in an interview with Famitsu sometime before the game was released that he believes that RPGs mainly focusing on events scenes are on a path leading towards a dead end. However, even though he made an open world game, the strength of the story was not lost and there were still enough events scenes to provide a compelling narrative.

The current people leading the single-player titles in the FINAL FANTASY series are producer Yoshinori Kitase (北瀬佳範) and director Motomu Toriyama (鳥山求). They lacked the foresight that open world games were becoming popular. They didn't see this was the direction RPGs were heading in until it was too late. They have since tried to salvage the single-player FINAL FANTASY series by releasing games such as FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 and LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII. However, these games are doing little to regain the respect and critical acclaim the FINAL FANTASY series once had. According to them, FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 was supposed to "surpass FINAL FANTASY XIII in every way" and yet it obtained a Metascore of 79 while the original FINAL FANTASY XIII gained a Metascore of 83.

Please, you need to replace these two people with somebody that has expertise in open world game design. Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama are mainly skilled in games that are linear. They're not staff skilled in the art designing an open world game. However, you have a very talented staff member still working at your company that is skilled at making open world games. This person is Hiroyuki Ito (伊藤裕之).

Hiroyuki Ito was the game designer of FINAL FANTASY XII which had an open world game design. It was the most forward thinking FINAL FANTASY game. Hiroyuki Ito gave the game a vast world to explore, a seamless battle system, and numerous side-quests. There was so much for the player to do. He was leading the FINAL FANTASY series down a path that was suited for the future success and relevance of the series in modern gaming. More FINAL FANTASY games need to evolve off the game design he established with FINAL FANTASY XII.

Hiroyuki Ito also directed FINAL FANTASY IX which is the favorite FINAL FANTASY game of Hironobu Sakaguchi (坂口博信), the creator of the FINAL FANTASY series. At an event in February 2012 where he was promoting his latest game called The Last Story, Hironobu Sakaguchi even said that Hiroyuki Ito was the person he felt could once again make FINAL FANTASY a leading and respected series in the modern games industry.

Please be aware that even though we desire an open world FINAL FANTASY game, we still want it to have the deep story that the series has become known for. However, new steps must be taken to present this story so it keeps up with modern gaming. Give us multiple dialogue choices that will have a big influence on the path and eventual outcome of the story. It would be great to have the game have 4 or 5 different endings and each one reached based on your chosen path and dialogue choices throughout the story. Hiroyuki Ito has already proven he is competent in this area, as he was taking FINAL FANTASY down this direction over 10 years ago. In FINAL FANTASY IX, he created the innovative Active Time Event (ATE) system. This system made it possible to see different event scenes depending on how you played the game. I feel he could provide a major evolution of this system if you choose him to lead development of FINAL FANTASY XVI.

To conclude, our plea to you is a simple one that will have a significantly beneficial impact on the quality and critical reception of future FINAL FANTASY games. Please choose Hiroyuki Ito lead development of FINAL FANTASY XVI. Please select Hiroyuki Ito as the Producer/Director of FINAL FANTASY XVI. The man with the talent to make single-player FINAL FANTASY great is still working at your company. All you have to do is give him a chance.

FINAL FANTASY fans have seen that the decision to choose Naoki Yoshida (吉田直樹) as Producer/Director of FINAL FANTASY XIV, was a wise one. He is making astounding work with FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN. However, that game is a MMORPG title. You must also make the wise decision of choosing Hiroyuki Ito as Producer/Director of another single-player FINAL FANTASY title.

At Tokyo Game Show 2012, Hiroyuki Ito was interviewed by an American journalist named Jeremy Parish. This journalist asked him if he would like to return to the FINAL FANTASY series. Hiroyuki Ito replied:

"I'm a working stiff, so if the president tells me to do it, I'll do it. [laughs] Talk to Mr. Wada."

We as FINAL FANTASY fans are therefore banding together to ask you on his behalf. Please consider our request.

With sincere regards.

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