Final Fantasy 16 director Naoki Yoshida has offered some insight into the game’s development, including the studio’s focus on prioritising its English dub.
While Square Enix traditionally focuses on Japanese voice acting first, Yoshida revealed that they haven’t even started recording the Japanese dialogue yet. In a livestream on WasyaganaTV, translated by DualShockers, he said that the English dialogue is specifically being recorded in “British English,” with full motion capture.
“We’ve been prioritising English voice recording. And we’re specifically doing it in British English. We’re using facial capture, so later on, we won’t have to adjust by hand each of the faces doing cutscenes. “And it’s full capture, as in, the motion capture actors are also doing the voice acting simultaneously,” Yoshida said. “The Japanese dubbing will start soon.”
Yoshida also mentioned that he’s never attended a voice recording session for the other game he directs, Final Fantasy 14, because he doesn’t want to get too involved. “I’m a scenarist myself,” Yoshida said. “So I know that if I go, I’ll step into the writers’ shoes. I don’t wanna do that out of respect for them.” That sentiment extends into Final Fantasy 16, which he said he won’t be attending recordings for either, though his comments during “scenario-focused meetings” are “taken into account during recordings.”
Things can sometimes get a little Dick van Dyke when studios go down the British English route, but Square Enix has for years now been one of the honorable exceptions. The Dragon Quest series in particular has had some superb localisations reflecting a wide range of UK accents, while the greatest Final Fantasy character of all time probably remains Balthier (voice-acted by Brit Gideon Emery in his natural accent, though in a formalised dialect: a sign of how sensibly Square has approached these things in the past). I’ve got faith that Yoshida and Square Enix will keep up this proud tradition, even if they did name the protagonist Clive.