I mean really look at them?
Weekly Famitsu got the exclusive interview with Hiromichi Tanaka and Nobuaki Komoto. They had to cover both the pictures and the interview in the space they had. Dengeki PlayStation however only really had the images and press pack information to go off of. This means they used their time and magazine pages to take an in-depth look at the images from Square Enix. After reading the magazine and looking at the images ourselves, Fusion and I found something else that the magazine people didn’t seem to notice. Have you noticed it yet? Let’s take a look at the images once again and speculate a bit about what’s to come.
There were a lot of things holding FFXI back as far as customization goes. It wasn’t just PS2 memory limitations either. The game was designed to work over a dial-up connection because broadband access wasn’t as widespread as it is now. This meant that only so much data could be passed at one time. However, FFXIV is being designed with broadband access in mind. It also has to compete with other games in the market that have high levels of character customization.
There is a lot of speculation we can do based on the pictures. Let’s start with facial features. We have two examples of female Lalafell with the same hairstyle. Based on the quality and detail, it appears the redhead is an in-game model while the blonde is a CG model. They have slight differences in skin color which is one of the things that has been mentioned as a customizable option. The developers did a tiny Q&A with Dengeki PlayStation and in it they say that the face model, hairstyle, skin color, and eye color are just some of the things we will be able to customize. For example, take a look at the eyes. They are completely different styles. In FFXI, hairstyle and face model were tied together so it’s nice to see that the system should be more flexible this time around.
One aspect of customization not often talked about is armor customization. Dengeki PlayStation noticed at in the CG headshots, 4 of the characters are wearing the same armor. However, the coloring of the breastplate area is different on each of them. They wonder if this means we’ll have some ability to create custom colorized version of armor.
2) Other Hints in the Armor
There are some other interesting things hidden in the pictures that could foretell exciting changes between FFXI and FFXIV. One of them is the possibility of visible neck equipment. Several characters have necklaces or something similar on in the picture. The most solid piece of evidence is found when comparing the picture representing the Disciple of the Land and the CG headshot of a female Lalafell. They are both wearing the same body equipment: a sturdy looking grey turtleneck with a rough tunic over the top. However, the Lalafell has an interesting neck piece as well.
The people over at Dengeki PlayStation magazine also focused on the metal plates some of the characters are wearing. They found 3 different patterns which are blown up for comparison in the picture below. They wonder if the designs correspond with three starting city-states. Also, since the same armor can be found on multiple races, perhaps this time will we have starting armor that comes from our starting city-state versus something based solely on the race of our character.
3) Different City, Different Cards?
The Guildleve system will be an important part of honing your skills and advancing in FFXIV. Members of Dengeki PlayStation’s Lightning Brigade also examined the pictures for clues through the eyes of an FFXI player. After all, there will be many people coming to FFXIV who have never played FFXI before. When looking at the cards, they felt perhaps that they were using a special font. In that case, it might be decipherable. Fusion and I looked at the cards last night after reading this part of the article. The bottom of each of the released cards looks like it says Limsa Lominsa. Perhaps each city-state will have it’s own special cards.
4) Final Bits of Trivia
People are still hoping for male Miqo’te and female Roegadyn. So far there is nothing released about the background story that could keep that from happening. In their mini Q&A with the developers, they ask about the possibility for both of these races. Their answer: “In regards to your question about different genders, that is still a secret at this time.” Keep your hopes up!
Before I mentioned that in Weekly Famitsu, there was nothing mentioned about a stats difference between female and male characters. In Dengeki PlayStation, they only say that whether there will be additional playable races or if there will be a difference in stats between male and female characters has not yet been announced. In other words, there is nothing to worry about and Dengeki PlayStation probably could have worded that better so that it didn’t start baseless rumors. We haven’t seen anything like that in FFXI and given how many times they’ve said they want character design to be flexible so that people create a character they truly want to play with, I doubt there will be a difference in FFXIV as well.
Eorzea was referred to the starting region in the interview with Weekly Famitsu. In the Q&A, they said the game will grow to areas outside of Eorzea in the future. We also know that battles will be different in FFXIV. Before they said they were looking at ways of doing many versus many and other styles of battles. They follow that up with another answer in the Q&A saying that there are different things built into the system that will require you to take other things into consideration besides your main target. There will be times where you pick your target, pull it back, and fight it. However, they don’t think this will be the main style of battle.
They are looking into ways to make the user interface customizable, like the ability to move chat windows around. Still no set date for the beta or an idea of when they will make the announcement.
However, there is a little bit of movement on that front. Square Enix held their quarterly report meeting this week. President Wada said the release date for Final Fantasy XIII has been decided and that it will be announced sometime between gamescom and Tokyo Game Show but not at either event most likely. This means that they can make other large announcements at Tokyo Game Show. Perhaps they could announce the timing of the beta for FFXIV? It’s definitely a possibility.
Next up though is gamescom in Germany. Hopefully we’ll see some new and exciting things coming from that and not just a rehash of what has already been announced here in Japan and online.
Thanks again to Fusion who has been helping me the last few days with preparing images for the articles.