Hello everynyan, it’s been a while!
Today again, on July 5th, I have met Naoki Yoshida and his team to ask him questions about Final Fantasy XIV – A Realm Reborn… and here is the interview, only 10 hours later!
(… and today again, the recording was unintelligible, my iPod messed up the recording and it took hours… I mean, decades of work to decypher everything)
If you have any use for this interview, please mention the source. It takes hours of work to prepare an interview and many more hours to release it!
Special thanks to the JeuxOnLine – Final Fantasy XIV staff who worked on the questions.
Comment is free! I didn’t bother with spellchecking and stuff, but feel free to correct me.
[EDIT]Silly me, it’s obviously not 2011 but 2013.
JeuxOnLine – Chuki (JOL): Players are afraid that towards the end of the game, they might look like each other. We know that we will be able to dye the equipment but it’s only about dyeing; gameplay-wise as well, players are afraid of playing their character like everyone else. What do you say to that?
Naoki Yoshida (NY): To answer your question, yes absolutely, there will be more variety so people can have their unique identity especially towards the end of the game, we will be making more different equipment, gear. Also we are planning to release a patch and there’s going to be the possibility of having your own design on your item so you can make your own equipment, especially the strong ones with your own design. You will definitely have your own identity but at the moment we are careful not to destroy the world itself from a design point of view, to make sure it’s fitting the world.
Chuki (JOL): I agree with the part of “fitting the world”, but then how do you explain the last update with Lightning entering the world of Final Fantasy XIV, she comes from the future, I mean, she comes from a futuristic universe and she just pops in, how do you explain that? And especially the Snow part, he’s wearing a coat and that doesn’t seem to fit Final Fantasy XIV.
NY: Because we made the announcement at the Japan Expo which is a very unique Japanese subculture (anime, manga, video game titles) event and having a presentation on stage, we thought that we shouldn’t go into the story details because lots of people in the audience may not have played Final Fantasy XIV before especially because A Realm Reborn hasn’t been released and before we can make it into the details, we have to make it a bit more catchy and so showing up Lightning in Final Fantasy XIV and the kind of equipment you can get from the content, that’s what we focus on; but we didn’t really go into details.
But don’t worry, personally for myself, I take it very seriously to make sure the world fits in very well. There is going to be a dedicated storyline, cutscene, that will explain why Lightning has come to this world and what’s going to happen to her, we’re going to make sure it’s fitting in Final Fantasy XIV, be assured.
KHIsland (KHI): (introduction because he was late) When the Arcanist comes out he will get two different jobs, will the other classes also have an additional job? Like Red Mage, Samurai or Gunner?
NY: At the time of the launch on August 27th, we will start with that amount of jobs, but from there onwards, we’ve already started to work on updates and started to talk about expansion packs. Just before leaving for the Japan Expo, I said to the dev team to work on the ideas and everything so adding new jobs is definitely part of the discussion. As we have mentioned, we received a lot of requests from a lot of players around the world like “where’s the Ninja/Samurai/Red Mage/Blue Mage?” so we are fully aware of their interests and requests. We will definitely listen to all the requests, but first of all I want to make sure that the battle content is something everyone can enjoy, it is very important. That’s something that is being thoroughly considered for the next version updates and expansion packs so please look forward to it.
I can’t really mention much of it, because this Chocobo (Yoshida was holding a Chocobo stuffed toy in his arms during the interview) is trying to stop me from talking.
Chuki (JOL): I just had something add, I think it was a year and a half ago, you mentioned something starting with “DARK” but you never said anything since then. Do you have any news on it? It’s been a year and a half already!
NY: Ahhhh! I can definitely say that’s something we’re considering and is being looked on to by the dev team. That being said there are some other things I need to do before introducing that “DARK” thing.
Chuki (JOL): There was a comparison with Guild Wars 2 because Guild Wars 2 is totally free and they have updates maybe… once every two to three weeks? And you were planning for Final Fantasy XIV to have two small updates every month and something like bigger updates every three months. The thing is that Guild Wars 2 is free, yet you make players pay for Final Fantasy XIV. How do you explain the price difference?
NY: There will be huge amounts of contents when we introduce the updates, especially when we’ll start A Realm Reborn, there will be a lot of endgame content. Yes, we are planning to make huge version updates every two and half to three months, and that content will be *a lot*: even before you can complete the content that has been introduced, the next patch will be coming up.
KHI: Besides the Crystal Tower, the Magitek Armor and the Gold Saucer, have you thought of introducing other content referring to previous Final Fantasy titles in the incoming updates or expansion packs?
NY: We will be introducing more territory referring to the Final Fantasy series, but we need to make sure Final Fantasy XIV has its own main storyline, we also need to fix them to make them fit into its world.
Before I left Japan, I did tell them to focus on Chocobo related content and Magitek Armor because just riding a Magitek Armor would be boring so we want to make something extra to that. Of course, you’d want to shoot beam too…
Chuki (JOL): About the Limit Break system, the thing is that players are a bit disappointed with it, some players are selfish and just press the button whenever it’s available and they’d rather have some individual Limit Break AND a group Limit Break they can use in very important situations, that would make things fairer for everyone.
NY: Actually I have no intention to introduce individual Limit Break because that’s no different from another Weapon Skill apart from flashier effects; I don’t think there’s a problem for people to press the Limit Break button up to Lv50. We specially designed it so you can just go ahead and press it, it doesn’t have to be necessary to use Limit Breaks. However, in the more difficult battles you will have to consider when to use them, which one to use, which level, which action, that’s going to come up when we introduce the endgame content. From Lv50 onwards, we’ll have to make sure you use them at the right time, but before Lv50 just try your own Limit Break and see what kind of effect it has.
Chuki (JOL): Then the next thing is that the Limit Breaks are designed to be used during endgame battles, there is going to be raids that won’t be possibly cleared without a particular job; for example we’d need that particular Limit Break for that particular boss battle, for instance we’d need a Paladin to do it, but there might be guilds… sorry, Free Companies that might not have Paladins. How are they going to do?
NY: That’s precisely the reason we decided not to give individual Limit Breaks to jobs, it’s more like each role has its Limit Break. It doesn’t matter whether a particular job is not here, as long as another job can fix that part of its job, they can move forward. We do understand there’s a lot of voices asking for individual Limit Break, but we wanted to make sure that kind of situation won’t happen; that’s something we’ve been carefully considering for a long time and we’ve been balancing on the long term.
KHI: Do you think you’re going to add new areas? Even though the current areas are wide, exploration might be a bit dull.
NY: That’s an interesting question. We may add new areas but it’s not going to be a huge amount of space compared to what we’re going to do at launch time. There’s the main storyline and the dungeons already but because this is the beta, there are areas that aren’t opened yet, but there’s definitely going to be much to explore.
I won’t say we’re not going to add areas, but it’s not like it’s going to be a 50% increase to the existing area, however in the expansion packs, we are definitely going to add new areas.
Exploring doesn’t mean only beautiful new areas. There must be things to do there; just having a new map and a new environment, making it pretty; it’s not good enough. It needs to have a scenario and be part of the game.
Chuki (JOL): Regarding this, quests are part of the exploration I believe, and players are a bit surprised with the “hey player, go talk to X, he needs Y, bring them back and I shall give you experience points and Gil”, the thing is that they are disappointed because they expected you would make use of the great world Eorzea has to offer, disappointed because of you use what we call the “fast-food quests” because it goes so fast, every time we just have to kill monsters, drop items then talk to one NPC. I understand that there is a main storyline and everything, but players believe that secondary quests are as much important as the storyline itself. How would you address that?
NY: To answer your question, yes, there will be more quests introduced that will use the game so please rest assured, but at the same time, one of the things we try to keep in mind are the beginners in MMOs, the first time they play we want them to feel “it’s actually not that difficult, even I can enjoy that”; there has to be a balance for that.
Hardcore gamers and players who have cleared 1.0 may feel like it’s too easy, but because it’s a beta for the moment and many players are new at it, we want to make them feel comfortable.
To give you an idea, the login rate hasn’t dropped at all, we need to keep this balance in mind.
KHI: The Arcanist is a debuff specialist, won’t it be difficult for that class to play alone?
NY: No problem, thanks to Carbuncle’s support. Of course it’s really important to make the right actions to make the most out of your class because when we designed this class, we kept Carbuncle in mind. If you try to fight without Carbuncle, it will be difficult and you might find yourself in trouble. Please think of the Arcanist and Carbuncle as one.
We know Carbuncle is cute but please make sure to focus on the battle!
Chuki (JOL): At the very beginning of the game, the starting class decides the city you will appear in. That creates problems because there’s a city with tanks, there’s a city with healers and there’s also a city with nothing at all. Will you allow the players to choose their starting city?
NY: Actually, no, we don’t have plans to allow players to choose the city they start in, that’s because up to level 15, it doesn’t really matter whether you lack tanks or healers, there’s no specific content that requires it. After level 15 maybe yes. I do realise that Limsa Lominsa has been lacking a healer because the Arcanist hasn’t been released yet, but that should be solved anyway.
What we don’t want to do is like 1.0 where players started in cities far from their guilds, that’s confusing for new players.
Seeing all these Marauders in Limsa Lominsa is actually quite fun, that gives a typical beta feeling to it.
KHI: We have come across a frozen lake, can we expect Shiva to be the next Primal?
NY: I’m sorry but you can definitely expect something later.
First it’s our priority to have Ifrit, Shiva, Ramuh, Bahamut, Odin, Titan and Leviathan because they are the original Final Fantasy summons… that’s an exclusivity for you!
Ramuh won’t be released yet but that’s something you’re going to find out through the storyline. As for Shiva, well, you can see a couple of areas surrounded by *snow*… so *snow* is your little hint.
Chuki (JOL): A more technical question about the Global Cooldown (GCD). Some players think that it’s way too long and it should be reduced to 1.5s to make the game faster rather than only press one button, wait 2.5s, press another button. Do you have any plans to address that problem?
NY: Actually at the moment we are fine with it, some players might feel it’s just too easy but we’d like them to consider the real beginners. With this kind of content, it can be easy, yes, but now it’s only beta 3, then up to level 50 it can become really tricky, especially the endgame content. I’m actually concerned that it might be too quick, it should be challenging for the players.
If some people think that 2.5s is too long, they might not be using their ability as much as they should, not in an efficient way. If you use your abilities properly you can bring damage to the battle, if you fight on your own it is alright to just do it, but if you are fighting with companies in multiplayers, if you are not doing it properly, the other players might think that you are doing something wrong. Make sure you use your abilities in a correct way to bring more damage.
KHI: Do you plan to add more endgame content for hardcore gamers at launch?
NY: Do you mean, for example, PvP?
NY: For the launch, there will be a huge raid, and there will also be pre-required battle content in order to take that raid on, so hardcore gamers can see for themselves how challenging it can be. In v2.1 we are going to introduce the first PvP content, which is another world first announcement, and a new raid.
Also from 2.1 version, we are going to introduce daily quests towards the endgame, this is going to be related with the beast tribes and the Primals, and we will explain to the players why they’re doing this and how they are going to do this.
Chuki (JOL): Regarding the Gladiator’s gameplay this time, players think that for instance, Thaumaturges have to mind their MPs and the Pugilist has to bear his position in mind in order to do more damage, while the Gladiator just stands there and deals damage in front of the enemy and some think that it’s quite boring compared to the other classes. Do you have anything to say about that?
NY: *surprised* Ehhh?! Ehhh?!
I wonder up to what level these players think like this. *laugh*
About the tanking issue, on the first three dungeons, yes, we didn’t make it too tricky for them, but from there onwards, we really need to make sure you do a proper job to complete the area, that includes pulling the monster, dealing damage, maintaining the threat level and positioning as well.
All these things make it very tactical, if you think that standing here is enough, your party members will probably think that you’re not doing your job properly. *laugh*
It’s all about how far you want to go but personally I feel that this job requires a lot of the players’ skill.
If they still think Gladiator is too boring, I invite them to try Marauder as well.
Also, I played with the dev team in the Level 20 Ifrit battle and if a tank just stands in the middle of the battlefield, I don’t want to play with him. *laugh* I’d rather have him tank Ifrit so that he faces the other way so that the party doesn’t get breath attacks…
…but of course, you can still do it even if your tank is just standing in the middle of the field, but that just make things stressful for the rest of your party.
KHI: Are the Primals only available for the Summoner job?
NY: The “main” Primals, for instance the “real” Ifrit, are something that anyone can summon. I mean, the free roaming ones.
Chuki (JOL): We just have one last question, I’m sure you heard of Camelot Unchained as you told us that you were a huge player of Dark Age of Camelot, do you have anything to say about it?
NY: Yes I heard of it but there hasn’t been any detailed information about the game so I probably can’t make any comment at the moment. Yes, I am a fan of Camelot and I am myself a huge gamer but that doesn’t mean I’m going to follow a title just because of the name. If it’s a fun game, yes, I would definitely be interested in, but because I haven’t heard anything about it I can’t say anything about it either. Also, the original staff has scattered all around the world so I expect it to be something different, I wonder what’s going to happen; it might be interesting.
They also said something about an “experimental game”… turning a “game” into an “experiment”… I’m not quite sure what does that mean, a game has to be a game, not an experiment, so I am not sure what do they want.
It all comes down to the game design.
KHI: Do you have a last message for your fans?
NY: For 1.0 players, thank you for waiting and going through the alpha and beta with us, and also to those who want the PS3 version, who have waited for more than three years, finally on August 27th you will have your version. Naturally it is not the end, it is just the beginning, we’ll continue to keep it updated through a huge amount of content with updates. We look forward to your enjoyment.