Final Fantasy 16 reignites an exhausting debate about video game squeeze holes
A brief new Final Fantasy 16 clip has revealed that the game features tight spaces to squeeze through, and these squeeze holes are reigniting one of the most exhausting debates in gaming.
The clip was posted by the Japanese Final Fantasy 16 Twitter account, and is meant to show how your canine companion Torgal can help guide you to points of interest in the world. In this case, Torgal points to a crack in the wall, which leads to a secret area. Everyone's focus has been on the animation of Clive squeezing through that hole, however.
主人公クライヴの相棒、トルガルをご紹介🐺Part2探索の心強い味方！ボタンひとつで誘導してくれます。『ファイナルファンタジーXVI』🔔予約受付中🔔https://t.co/6BciWXOPkt #FF16 pic.twitter.com/KmsisjJbbYMarch 22, 2023
You've seen this in approximately one million video games in the past decade. Roughly the same animation exists in Uncharted, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, God of War, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - basically any modern third-person game is going to have a sequence where the camera moves in close to your character while they squeeze through a squeeze hole.
This clip has effectively done a speedrun of the video game discourse cycle. First, people who were already disposed to dislike Final Fantasy 16 made fun of it, then those tired of the proliferation of squeeze holes in modern games lamented its appearance. Then came the counter-backlash about how a three-second squeeze isn't that big of a deal.
Isn't this PS5 exclusive?I thought the POWER OF THE SSD would eliminate those kind of hidden loadings? https://t.co/sgvBZSf5kLMarch 22, 2023
please just bring back loading screens. i've had it with this fucking shit https://t.co/0HLkLQIuEyMarch 22, 2023
This is such an odd thing to share. Like, FF16 is shaping up to be absolutely amazing and I'm pretty hyped for it but...why would they show an official clip with a squeeze hole?! It doesn't make sense. https://t.co/HbFAoOGDpOMarch 22, 2023
happy to announce that i have been able to synthesize the various discourses, counter-discourses, fandom wars and meditations on the the realities of game development into the only correct reaction to this tweet. i'm not sharing it though https://t.co/JJ1fNHt6tZMarch 22, 2023
You can head to the relevant parts of Reddit or Twitter to see the full breadth of reactions for yourself, but pretty much all of the talking points are predicated on the idea that these squeeze holes are built to mask loading screens. While that's a logical conclusion to jump to, I'm not sure we've ever learned for certain that it's true. In fact, developers have in the past pushed back against the idea that squeeze holes are covering up loads, instead suggesting that they're usually built to control pacing and gate off segments of levels.
Of course, any time you’re preventing the player moving forward or back, you are helping with loading. Any valve means you can dump the level behind and start loading the level ahead. But only after the squeeze is finished.October 23, 2022
Not a GoW dev but I've had plenty of experience making squeeze-thrus in 2 Tomb Raider games & Avengers. Squeezes were almost never used to load things ahead of them.Pacing, tone, back-gaiting yes. Loading, I can only think of 1 example of maybe 100 placed.October 23, 2022
None of that really matters for end users, of course, except when it comes to setting expectations for why these squeeze holes exist in the first place. They're still one of the most prolific design tropes in modern gaming, and immediately recognizable as a moderately annoying roadblock to getting to a more interesting part of a video game. Games will always need ways to control the pace at which you explore their levels, but here's hoping the next round of design tricks to make that happen don't become as obvious as the dreaded squeeze hole.
More importantly, the devs have shown off Torgal's combat abilities in another recent clip, and he is clearly the goodest boy in all of video games.