A few days ago we reported on Elmer’s summary of the Japanese media’s coverage of Square Enix’s E3 interviews on Final Fantasy XIV. Today, we can give a more detailed look at what one of those interviews had to say. Most of the answers are things we already know, however it seems that a beta announcement could be coming sooner than we thought!
Dengeki recently sat down with Shinji Hashimoto (Square-Enix corporate executive), Hiromichi Tanaka (FFXIV producer) and Toshihiro Kawamoto (FFXIV director) to ask a few questions about the game. Hashimoto opened by reiterating that the game will launch simultaneously on the PS3 and PC, though said that they are in talks to move the game to “other platforms” (i.e. the XBox 360).
Dengeki: What will FFXIV have in common with FFXI?
Tanaka: The game will be taking place in an entirely new world, but the game’s setting and characters look similar to XI’s. To help players feel more at ease in the FFXIV universe, we specifically chose to model the new characters after the old ones.
Dengeki: Will there be any more expansions for FFXI? Or will you focus entirely on FFXIV?
Tanaka: We began development on FFXIV four years ago. At that time, we decided to split into a two-line development structure: one for FFXIV, and the other to continue work on FFXI. We usually consider FFXI with a development schedule of six months to a year in the future, and we fully intend to continue doing so even after FFXIV is released.
Dengeki: What influences, if any, have you drawn from World of Warcraft?
Kawamoto: There really isn’t anything from WoW that we’ve considered for FFXIV. We intend to create something original and worthy of bearing the FF name.
Dengeki: Please tell us about the battle system.
Kawamoto: As it’s still being developed, I’m afraid we can’t talk about it just yet.
Dengeki: Which features of FFXI can we expect to see in FFXIV?
Kawamoto: We will of course be drawing on bits and pieces of FFXI and the lessons learned to guide us, but our greatest resource is the fans. With XI, our original idea was an emphasis on partying. With FFXIV, we’re working to support both solo play and an engaging party system.
Dengeki: Will FFXIV have a simultaneous worldwide release?
Tanaka: At present, we plan to release the game in four languages: Japanese, English, German, and French, all of which we estimate will be released at the same time.
Dengeki: What about Spanish?
Tanaka: Unfortunately, we do not have any plans for a Spanish language version at this time. If there is enough demand, we would certainly consider it, provided we can find a good translation team in Japan.
Dengeki: How do you plan to manage the servers?
Tanaka: We’re planning to have global servers again. We’ll try to balance the servers based on users’ trends (server populations, for example).
Dengeki: How will you be managing communities for both FFXI and FFXIV?
Tanaka: We’re considering handling them separately rather then combining them into one massive community. We find it makes more sense for the two groups to develop independently, and we trust that users will be fine with the division.
Dengeki: What innovations will FFXIV bring to the MMO genre?
Kawamoto: We’re not particularly looking to revolutionize the genre or anything like that. I think we’re all just focusing on making a fun new Final Fantasy game that is also an enjoyable MMO.
Tanaka: Nevertheless, we’ll also be implementing systems that have never been seen in the genre before.
Dengeki: Why did you decide to create a new MMO rather than focus on continuing FFXI?
Tanaka: The tough thing about developing and maintaining an MMO is the huge amount of date involved. It’s impractical to focus solely on FFXI because the game would always have to be ported to the latest hardware. It would be extraordinarily difficult to manage the data for yet another port, so we decided to simply start fresh with new hardware.
Dengeki: Did the trailer for the game show in-game graphics?
Kawamoto. Yes. It was a mixture of pre-rendered cut scenes and gameplay.
Dengeki: What’s the appeal of FFXIV?
Kawamoto: I would say that the key word for FFXIV is “growth.” We’ve already done the job system in XI, so this time we’re looking at new and interesting concepts for character growth. We hope you like it!
Tanaka: FFXI was built firmly on the premise of the party system, but FFXIV will try to be more supportive of solo play and any of the other varied things that users would like to do.
Dengeki: Have you set a date for the beta test?
Tanaka: We’re still undecided, but expect an announcement soon!
Dengeki: Will FFXI players be able to transfer their characters to FFXIV?
Tanaka. Because the two gameplay systems are so completely different, we have decided not to transfer FFXI characters into FFXIV. As I mentioned earlier, the FFXIV character designs are purely for purposes of making fans feel at home.
Dengeki: Have you thought about how you want to attract people who have never played an MMO?
Kawamoto: I think that the game’s visual style will attract a lot Final Fantasy fans who have never tried an MMO before.