A lot of new information was released during the Tokyo Fan Festival’s Opening Keynote, as well as the Producer Letter Live. Famitsu made an interview with the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV, Naoki Yoshida, asking him on some further details.
You can read the original interview here.
1. Opening Keynote
F (Famitsu): In comparison to Las Vegas, did your state of mind change in any way?
Y (Yoshida): The nervousness didn’t change, but I was able to give new information for the upcoming expansion, Stormblood, which is drawing a lot of attention, so I feel relieved, as well. Also, the Keynote was in Japan, making me able to give information much more directly, as Japanese is my mother tongue. The audience cheered a lot, so I think we were able to pull it off quite well.
F: How was the response?
Y: The Fan Festivals started in Las Vegas, then we have Tokyo today and finally we will have the Frankfurt one, so you could say that today was the middle point. Jan 17, 2017 is also a milestone towards the expansion for the game, which is when 3.5 releases. After that, we will have the Frankfurt Fan Festival in February, following with patch 3.5 part 2 in March, so I think it everything will connect quite smoothly. I think it went very well as the middle milestone.
F: When looking at all of the information overall, how much were you able to give out today?
Y: I would say about a half.
F: The other half will be revealed in Frankfurt?
Y: Yes. I think everyone will listen to the reveals with even higher excitement. After experiencing 3.5, the excitement might raise to a higher level, so many players might have a hard time waiting for Frankfurt. There is a one-month gap between Tokyo Fan Fest and patch 3.5, so it will give us good momentum for the Frankfurt Fan Fest.
2. The reveal of the new job, Red Mage.
F: One new job was revealed this time.
Y: I think many wanted more information during the Las Vegas Fan Festival, so we discussed with the development team and the marketing team to open the Tokyo Fan Festival’s Keynote with the new job. A lot of the players got excited right from the start by doing so.
F: Why did you pick Red Mage as the new job?
Y: When I became the director/producer for FFXIV, I told my team that we have to implement jobs that are true to Final Fantasy, so we returned to those roots. Since 2017 is also the 30th anniversary for FF, many players will look back at old jobs. When we looked at the roots of FF, we couldn’t leave out Red Mage, so we made the decision. We also received a lot of feedback that many players wanted to play Red Mage with FFXIV graphics and the battle system, which made our decision very easy.
F: It was revealed that Red Mage uses a rapier and a magicked crystal medium. Does the rapier do physical damage?
Y: Physical is…. Physical. Hm…… That’s a good question. If I say too much here, I might be in a dangerous position. (laugh)
F: What equipment slot will the Magicked Crystal Medium take?
Y: The weapon will divide into two when drawn, and will connect again when sheathed, so it isn’t an off-hand weapon. There won’t be situations where you will have a rapier without the crystal, so stay assured.
F: Red Mage is a pure DPS?
Y: Yes, it’s a pure DPS.
F: In what position does it fall in when compared to other DPS jobs?
Y: It highly depends on how the battle’s progress and party members, so it is hard to say. It is the new job, so we want to make it exciting to use for everyone. However, other companies tend to appeal to new released jobs by overpowering them. Stay assured that this won’t be the case for FFXIV. We will make sure to balance it out with other jobs.
F: Some players might have been surprised with the fact that Red Mage will be DPS.
Y: I also have the image of the Red Mage being a hybrid job between Black and White Mage. However, we had to fit it into the FFXIV formula. Otherwise, it might turn out as a job that isn’t too useful. FFXIV is a standalone title in the FF series, so while keeping the essential roots of the Red Mage job in general, it will be unique to XIV, as well. You will see it as a new type of Red Mage.
F: What kind of magic do you plan to use as Red Magic?
Y: It is a bit early to reveal that. We are still at the stage of trial and error, so I think we will be able to give you more concrete information in April and May.
F: Will Red Mage’s auto attack be melee or ranged?
Y: It is a range job, so we want to balance it out in a way that it won’t lack in that department. That is all I can say for now. I don’t want to say anything specific before we get the confidence that that is it for the jobs.
F: You wore a Spider-man T-shirt today, and the director for the Spider-man movies is Sam Raimi. So that means…?
Y: Spider-man has a few movies, and there isn’t only one director. (laugh). It might be a “spider webber”. (laugh) I stated earlier that we will implement jobs true to the FF series, so you might argue, “what do you mean “spider webber””. (laugh) Anyways, please do speculate.
3. The importance of diving and swimming
F: Flying had a big role in Heavensward. Will swimming and diving also have a big importance?
Y: In Heavensward, you unlocked flying after finishing the main quests in that area, so it wasn’t really necessary for the main quests. With swimming and diving, you will need it for certain main scenario quests, which is why you will need to get the ability to do so. Other than the MSQ, you won’t be forced by the game to swim/dive. However, there will be content for it that will expand the game experience. Flying is only a means of transportation, but there is content that you won’t be able to do unless you dive, which gives it even more importance than flying.
F: Will there be dungeons and towns underwater?
Y: Um…. (laugh). I won’t say no.
F: Will you be able to swim in the Limsa Lominsan housing area?
Y: I can’t comment on that. We will reveal the new housing area in Frankfurt, so please stay tuned for that.
4. FF 30th anniversary and Stormblood.
F: You mentioned the 30th anniversary when talking about Red Mage. What kind of a year do you want to make it for FFXIV?
Y: With Stormblood, we are aiming for a new level rather than aiming for stability. FFXIV still isn’t finished, and there is still a lot of “attractions” we want to add to the game. We are challenging ourselves to satisfy the needs of the current generation of games, as well as players, so we look at ourselves as challengers. I think Stormblood will be the first title to mark the 30th anniversary, so we want to release it with that in our minds, as well.
F: This time, Keita Amemiya and Yasumi Matsuno will join the team as guest creators for the new alliance raids. Do you see that as a new challenge?
Y: There are many developers and creators that love to play FFXIV and it’s very exciting to be able to develop the game with somebody that is passionate about it. We introduced them as special guest creators, but we think of them as “extra special newcomers”. I don’t hold back when it comes to work, so I kept asking Matsuno-san “you do understand the scale of the schedule, right?”, and things like that (laugh). To Matsuno-san, this is a new opportunity to reintroduce Ivalice to the FF series. For Amemiya-san, this is a new challenge. With his artistic touch, and fresh ideas, as well as Matsuno-san’s experience with Final Fantasy, we should be able to introduce new features to the game.
F: Can you tell me a little about how you started working together?
Y: With Matsuno-san, we started discussing development and him joining the team from spring of this year. During the discussions, we decided on a few things and now he is working for us. As for Amemiya-san, we were looking through the media into what was popular and stumbled on him because of GARO.
F: Will we able to play the new alliance raid from 4.0?
Y: The alliance raid is planned for 4.1. However, it is coming into shape quite well, so I think we will be able to give more information on it at an earlier time. We might be able to talk about it in more detail after the release of 4.0. When it comes to Heavensward, there was a pretty long wait time between 3.0 and 3.1. This time, we started discussion and development at an earlier stage, so that the gap won’t be as large as last time. Therefore, you can say that the raid will be released not so far away from the release of the expansion itself.
5. The GARO collaboration
F: Should we start collecting Wolf Marks for the upcoming collaboration with Amemiya-san’s “GARO”?
Y: The more currency you have when it starts, the faster you will get the collaboration gear.
F: Will it be challenging to get all of the gear?
Y: If you are asking about one job, then pick gear of the job you think looks the best and coolest.
F: A lot of players will play PvP now.
Y: That would be great. But first, it would be great if players didn’t fight with each other. (laugh)
F: Will we get the GARO motions, as well?
Y: There are no motions. The period in which you can do it will be longer than the Yokai Watch collaboration, so if people are loud enough, we might be able to give the message to Amemiya-san (laugh). With this collaboration, we had a lot of people from actual “GARO” come and work with us on the development (actors, sound direction, CG, etc.), so the quality is very high when compared to the television series. Of course, some details will be left out, but the director was lost for words when checking the results for the first time, because it looked very good. I think people will enjoy it very much.
F: By the way, it was said that we will get the mounts through achievements. Should we get the current PvP achievements beforehand?
Y: We won’t add the mounts to currently existing achievements, so…