Speculation surrounding the upcoming release of Final Fantasy 16 has drawn some attention to the game’s producer, Naoki Yoshida, recently. Yoshida is a popular figure at Square Enix due to his successful Producer’s Letter events for Final Fantasy 14. Final Fantasy 16 and Final Fantasy 14 aren’t Yoshida’s only projects from Square Enix, though. Details were recently rediscovered regarding a canceled game Yoshida worked on that he described as similar to Bloodborne.
The news is surprisingly somewhat old, as it was originally written in the book Yoshida Uncensored which was released years ago. It took so long to get noticed as it’s only available in Japanese. ResetEra user Dreamboum has called attention to it, sharing multiple fan-translated sections of the book in which Yoshida and other Square Enix devs talked about Square Enix’s failed Bloodborne-like. To be clear, Square Enix’s Bloodborne was in development before FromSoftware’s game released, making it all a bit eyebrow-raising.
The crossover between the two is incredible. Yoshida’s Bloodborne was not an RPG, but he says that it was a “fairly hardcore” action game. That in itself is a rare direction for a Square Enix game. Further, Square Enix’s game featured a gothic style that included many of the same weapons and guns that Bloodborne eventually featured. Yoshida says that the first time he saw Bloodborne he couldn’t help asking, “Where have I seen this before?”
While there were some surprising similarities between the two projects, the Square Enix action game was very different in other ways. The biggest difference is that Yoshida’s project was a multiplayer-focused game. It was intended to be an asymmetrical competitive experience like Evolve, with a team of four players facing off against a single strong enemy. It also had some sci-fi elements, though it could be argued that Bloodborne flirted with sci-fi horror, too.
Square Enix’s project was ultimately canceled. Yoshida doesn’t explain why, but does joke that if it hadn’t been canceled he’d probably still be trying to finish it today. It sounds like a challenging project, to say the least. In retrospect, a lot of games have tried to recreate not just the 4v1 experience but also Dark Souls‘ style of experience and failed. Square Enix pulled the plug early.
While it’s disappointing that Bloodborne fans won’t get the opportunity to experience a Yoshida-made Square Enix take on the experience, there’s a positive outcome. Not just Yoshida, but also Final Fantasy 16‘s game director also previously worked on the Bloodborne-like, among other devs. Final Fantasy 16 may never have gotten made without this previous game, for better or worse.