A month ago, Square Enix rocked the Gigas Socks off players during VanaFest 2012 by introducing “Seekers of Adoulin” the fifth expansion for Final Fantasy XI which is celebrating ten years of service. New jobs, new continent, new UI… even with all the information released at the event, people still wanted to know more! We had a chance to get some of our questions answered straight from the source.
Read on for our interview!
GE- It’s great to see that a new expansion is on the way! It’s been quite awhile since Wings of the Goddess came out. Why was there such a long period of time between expansions? When did development begin on Seekers of Adoulin?
SE- While we were planning the release of Wings of the Goddess, we realized that there wouldn’t be enough room in the future to create the amount of additional maps needed for a full disc expansion. With that in mind, we decided to do what we could by using existing areas for add-on scenarios and the addition of a few areas for the Abyssea battle area add-ons. During that time, we continued researching and revamping the system to allow us to increase the number of maps that we could implement, something that was previously impossible. With the revamp completed it became possible for us to increase the map capacity around the middle of 2011 and then we started planning for Seekers of Adoulin.
GE- In North America Seekers of Adoulin will not be available for the PlayStation 2. Can you tell us what lead to this decision? It seems a bit odd to increase HDD capacity for the game on the console then only release the expansion in one territory. Why not release the expansion digitally?
SE (Answered by Square Enix, Inc.)- In evaluating the North American release of the expansion across all platforms, we needed to consider multiple factors, including the number of players exclusively on the system, and the costs associated with publishing or developing a stand-alone download. Regrettably, these two factors greatly determined our final decision to support the PC and Xbox platforms exclusively. However, we remain committed to supporting FINAL FANTASY XI on the PlayStation 2 platform for the foreseeable future.
GE-How will players first arrive in Adoulin? Where will they depart from and what kind of prerequisite will need to be met before travel to Ulbuka is possible?
SE- For Seekers of Adoulin, we didn’t create a map for an ocean route, so we’re planning to make the main mode of transportation a teleport-like warp. We are planning to make this extremely convenient, and as players progress further with pioneering, the number of areas that they’ll be able to warp to will increase. We can’t say too much, but yes, there will be a quest requirement similar to the one to use the boat to travel to Aht Urhgan.
GE- How many types of Runes and Luopons will there be? Will they be a consumable item that players will have to carry around with them? Or will they be a spell or ability?
SE- Runes will be activated through the use of abilities. As mentioned at VanaFest, there are both offensive and defensive types of runes. Offensive runes will mainly be used against enemies dealing elemental damage and such, while defensive runes will mainly be used on yourself and party members to reduce elemental damage.
Rune fencers will also be able to utilize enhancing magic, so like paladins they will also utilize and consume MP.
GE- How will the new jobs play into current relic, mythic and empyrean weapons? Is it safe to assume that they’ll have relic and empyrean armor as well?
SE- Rune fencers and geomancers will have Artifact equipment, Artifact weapons, Relic Equipment, Empyrean equipment, and Mythic weapons.
GE- With Seekers of Adoulin, players will receive private islands that they can use like a farm. How similar will these be to the Mog House? Can other players visit your island? Will you be able to furnish any parts of the island?
SE- As there will be rental houses for players within the town of Adoulin, the islands will not be too similar to Mog Houses. Imagine the island as a specialized area for procuring materials. From a system perspective it is difficult to invite other players to your island, but that’s not to say that we have completely given up on it. Since you won’t be able to alter the layout of this area like you can inside of a Mog House, it won’t really be possible to decorate it. However, there will be visual variations that can be made, such as farmland expansions, in order to increase the amount of materials that you can procure.
GE- At VanaFest you said that you’re looking into changing some of the core coding for the game to deal with issues such as the limit on recast timers. Are there any other things that the coding will make possible that you can tell us about?
SE- We’re not actually changing the code itself but expanding on the character-related data. This update will enable the addition of new jobs, as well as the expansion of various other facets of the game, but we have not yet fully planned out exactly what we will be doing with this. To start out we will first be expanding job-related aspects, such as new jobs and recast timers.
GE- It’s been mentioned that plug-ins might be supported with the new PC user interface. Can you tell us more about what tools will be made available to the community, what type of plug-ins will be allowed or forbidden, and if there will be some type of approval process?
SE- Using a tool we’re internally calling “Schemer,” we will be making it possible to freely customize and arrange existing functions with the graphics of your liking. We are currently looking into the overall approval process.
GE- Final Fantasy XIV has been picking up some steam lately while heading towards the launch of 2.0. Now, Final Fantasy XI has a new expansion pack coming out next year. Have you thought about a permanent discount or a bundled subscription to both games so that players don’t have to pick one over the other?
SE- This is currently undecided.
GE- This year marks the 10th anniversary of Final Fantasy XI. What are some of your favorite memories since the project began? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Mizuki Ito- Well, one of the most memorable things for me recently is the announcement of Hiromichi Tanaka’s retirement. While I was saddened by that fact that he is retiring, I feel very proud and fortunate to be a developer at the same company with a person who retired while being loved by many of the fans.
Yoji Fujito- When I think about memorable things in the history of the game, I would have to say the earthquake on March 11, 2011 and how its influence reached FFXI had a major impact on me. There hasn’t been an example in the past where service had to be halted for a long time and when I think about the fact that there were players who were affected by the disaster, I feel that this was a major event for both us and players alike.