Uh oh! Final Fantasy 16's squeeze holes have gamers in a flap

Image for Uh oh! Final Fantasy 16's squeeze holes have gamers in a flap
(Image credit: Square Enix)

We got a brief taste of Final Fantasy 16 today, in the form of a 19-second clip that was meant to show off Torgal, the game's canine companion. But poor Torgal's been overshadowed, and instead, we're all focused on something far more controversial. Rather than concentrating on our furry friend, players are only interested in one thing: That squeeze hole.

For the love of god, don't Google that. I'll just tell you what it means. Apparently, at some point in the recent past, 'squeeze hole' became the accepted nomenclature for those times when you have to shimmy through a gap in a videogame in a way that conveniently masks a loading screen. I'm pretty unhappy about such terminology, but this is the world we've made and now we have to live in it. 

Regardless, you'd think we wouldn't have to say it at all these days. I'm pretty sure the whole point of this generation of consoles was that they finally had zippy-quick SSDs in them, and so didn't need to cover up the lengthy loads necessitated by the spinning platter drives of the PS4 and Xbox One.

But apparently not! Because despite FF16's PS5 exclusivity (pay no mind to that time Square Enix announced—and unannounced—the game for PC), the game remains squeeze-holed up. Fans are both perplexed and annoyed: For one thing, they don't know why this mechanic is still in a notionally current-gen game, and for another, they're mystified as to why Square Enix chose to make it central to a public teaser that was meant to be about a dog.

Me personally? I can't say I really mind, but take a quick meander through the many quote retweets and you'll find a bunch of people expressing their displeasure, as well as a bunch of other people upset about those people. "Why are we still squeezing through cracks if this is a next gen exclusive title?!" exclaims user JustJDog09, while someone going by Supesz begs devs to "Please just bring back loading screens". Even Digital Foundry's John Linneman remarked that "It doesn't make sense" for Square Enix to "show an official clip with a squeeze hole". At least the Reddit comments seem more impressed by the background music.

Some users have pointed out that the game's squeeze hole might be a choice, not a necessity. Square Enix has previously said that FF16 won't be fully open-world, so it might be the case that this shimmy point is just a design trick to prevent players from doubling back on themselves as they progress through a level. It could also be that narrow cracks in a wall are pretty easy to hide, meaning you'll need Torgal's keen senses to spot them. Or maybe someone at Square Enix just really wanted me, specifically, to spend an hour of my day repeatedly writing the words "squeeze hole". The possibilities are endless.

Final Fantasy 16 and its squeeze holes will release on the PS5 on June 22 this year, where it has a six-month exclusivity window. We don't yet know when it'll release on PC once that deal expires, but I have to bet it won't take too long, no matter how coy Square Enix is about it.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.