Did you hear? There was no people of color in medieval Europe, the FFXVI director said.
He never said that, but I remember Kotaku quoting him out of context to mislead us that way.
Sure, he says that he featured medieval Europe in the "design concept" of the game, but if you read the full IGN interview, he never says that's why there's no racial diversity, but for a completely different reason.
He explains in that interview that the lack of racial diversity was rather necessary for the setting of their story. Here is the quote:
"Our design concept from the earliest stages of development has always heavily featured medieval Europe, incorporating historical, cultural, political, and anthropological standards that were prevalent at the time. When deciding on a setting that was best suited to the story we wanted to tell — the story of a land beset by the Blight — we felt that rather than create something on a global scale, it was necessary to limit the scope to a single landmass — one geographically and culturally isolated from the rest of the world in an age without airplanes, television, or telephones.
Due to the underlying geographical, technological, and geopolitical constraints of this setting, Valisthea was never going to realistically be as diverse as say a modern-day Earth...or even Final Fantasy XIV that has an entire planet (and moon) worth of nations, races, and cultures at its disposal. The isolated nature of this realm, however, does end up playing a large part in the story and is one of the reasons Valisthea’s fate is tied to the rest of the world.”
As you can read this, the reason for the lack of racial diversity in FF16 is that they wanted to portray the story of the land isolated from the outside world, and he never meant that there were no people of color in medieval Europe.
Rated to this, Kotaku also misinterprets his statement, "The story we are telling is fantasy, yes, but it is also rooted in reality," to imply that he is claiming that there were no black people in medieval Europe. That is absolutely ridiculous.
If you read it correctly, it is "rooted in reality" in that it features medieval Europe in its "design concept." However, the story it actually tells is a "fantasy," a tale of a land isolated from the outside world and lacking diversity due to the various factors mentioned above interfview. Therefore, he says "The story we are telling is fantasy, but it is also rooted in reality" and there is no contradiction there.
It's a shame, however, that clickbait sites like Kotaku try so hard to mislead us by twisting his statements, and that ignorant drama-loving people believe them without even reading the full interview.
Not to mention, Yoshi P is also the producer/director of FF14, where he portrays a variety of races (and gender), including skin color and physical characteristics, making it pretty obvious that he is a man who values diversity. Square Enix has also released Forspoken, a game featuring an African-American woman. Yoshi P himself is an Asian man, considered by some to be a "person of color," and has never made any comments implying racism.
Come to think of it, games like TW3 and Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which also feature medieval European themes, have been accused of the same "lack of racial diversity". Of course, racial inclusion is desirable, and I would like to see it more in video games. But at the same time, as long as there is no malicious intent, I think it is acceptable to limit the racial diversity in a game like FF16 in order to deliver the story that the creators wants to tell.
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