Famitsu Interview with Developers Okada, Sato, and Iwao

Another day, another article.  Today’s information is also courtesy of Famitsu.  Along with the developer comments they had for the various classes, they also had a short one page interview with the three developers.  Once again, let’s take a look at what Battle Director Atsushi Okada, Planner Sei Sato, and Planner Kenichi Iwao had to say about their game.

Famitsu: For starters, could you give us a basic idea of how combat works?

Okada: While you can play solo as well, the general idea behind combat in FFXIV is “Many versus Many” where the enemies are also in parties.  We’re also building it under the assumption that people will be moving around while fighting rather than staying at one particular camp and having somebody bring the enemies in.

F: So basically people will move to where the enemies spawn and heal between battles?

Okada: That’s right.  However, one of the things that makes FFXIV special is that, in general, your MP will not recover.  This isn’t to say that there are absolutely no ways to get MP back.  For example, once a player has grown in their class they’ll learn abilities to help them recover MP.  Also, if you stop by an Aetheryte location, you can recover both HP and MP.

Iwao: Classes with MP have to think of MP as something to use carefully and learn how to make it last over a number of battles versus using it all during just one battle.  That’s a part of how FFXIV works.

Sato: When you start on a particular objective, everybody is going to go out to the location together.  At that time, it’ll be important for you to start thinking about how you will manage your MP.  There is even a class built around the idea of managing a party’s MP usage.

Each class has a different range.

F: Looking at the image you’ve provided, I suppose it’s safe to say that each class has their own best attack range.

Sato: Yes.  For battles in FFXIV, where you are standing and which way the enemy is looking is going to have a big impact on things.  So the natural extension of that is an appropriate attack range for each class.

Iwao: The enemies themselves also have different classes assigned to them so you’ll see enemies playing out different battle tactics as well.  You’ll need to fight over the best positions and sometimes you might need to change locations when you fight.  That’s one thing that makes the “Many versus Many” battles so exciting.  You aren’t just fighting in the same location all the time.  You really have to think about where the enemy is in relation to you at all times.

Sato: It’s not an action game but it does have some of the elements of one.

F: With the need to move around, it sounds like the classes with very short attack ranges will have an easier time of things.

Iwao: Well, the classes that are right up close have to really worry about their position and direction while those fighting from farther away will be more concerned about distance.

Sato: For close range fighters, the effectiveness of your attacks will vary depending on the direction you are facing, so it isn’t particularly easier than the classes that fight from farther away.

Iwao: There is one other element to take into consideration: range.  This is really obvious for magic users but other classes have abilities with different ranges as well.

Sato: Think of where you are fighting as a space you share with all of your party members.  We’ll continue to refine and develop more of these ranged attacks.

Iwao: There are different types of these moves as well.  For example, there are ones that radiate from you and other ones that spread out around your target.  These will be very tactical battles where you are thinking about range, distance, and direction as you fight.  I hope people enjoy this style of play.

F: It looks like we’ll see different “elements” in FFXIV.  Can you tell us more about them?

Okada: There are 6 elements for FFXIV: fire, ice, wind, earth, thunder, and water.  They are interrelated to each other as well.  Water is strong to fire but weak to thunder, etc.  Each element has something they are strong to and weak against.

Iwao: There are many components in the game, both involving the player and the enemy, where elements will have an influence.  There are also other properties beyond the 6 elements.  For example, on Earth we have magnetism.  In FFXIV, we will have two properties “Star Pole” and “Spirit Pole”.  (Translator’s Note: It’s hard to say what the English equivalents will be.)

F: How will these different elements and properties affect the player when they play?

Okada: We are working on making it so that each player is strong to and weak against a different element.  For example, maybe one particular player would find themselves strong against fire.

F: Is this something the player can decide during character creation?

Sato: No.  Just like HP or other things, it is something that a player grows into over time.  Depending on how you grow, you might become a specialist of sorts in one particular element.

Okada: As an example, if you are strong against water and you are attacked by an enemy with water magic, it won’t hurt as much.

Iwao: Let’s say there are two Conjurers.  Even still, they could have two different roles where one is better at things involving ice and the other fire.  There will be a natural division of labor.

F: It sounds like a player can really show off their individuality.

Iwao: You could level all things equally and be able to deal with a variety of situations.  But that would come at the cost of not being able to specialize in any particular element.

F: I think it would be interesting if mini communities formed around specializing in a particular element.

Sato: Like a Fire Lover’s Club.  (laughs)  That kind of thing might be possible.