Last week, we met up with The Director and Producer of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn, Naoki Yoshida and the Community Team in San Francisco to check out the latest on FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Between a presentation of new information and our hands-on demonstration we managed to get a few questions in with the man himself.
Check out our exclusive interview after the jump.
GE- Being a long time FFXI player, I have concerns about the hardware limitations the PS3 hardware will have on the PC client. I know with PS2 and FFXI there were memory limitations and things like that- and because one console is burdened by these limitations, the other clients had to adhere to those.
Have there been any steps taken so that the PS3 hardware won’t hold back other clients?
Yoshida- To be honest, the biggest problem we had with XI was yes the memory, but also the hard disc space. But with the PS3, you can add as much as you like, so to be honest I’m not really concerned about that.
Also there was a fundamental difference between XI and XIV was made. With XI it was based on the PS2 and then that was brought over to windows. On the other hand with XIV we’re making the windows version first and then bringing it to PS3 without reducing the quality too much. We’re making sure the balance is good for PS3 players, but the foundation is on the windows version.
GE- You mentioned rumors of next-gen and how you hope the graphics will stay up to date. Does that mean you’re looking at future versions of the game on something like PS4 or that you just hope to upgrade the (PC) graphics as the game goes on?
Yoshida- First of all, I can’t really make any comments specific to PS4 since it hasn’t been announced.
As we promised the players, we focused on the PS3 version and we’re getting a lot of support from Sony as well to reach the limits of the PS3. And we have the PC version so it’s quite easy to upgrade the graphics even if the other console has the higher spec. Because we have the windows version it shouldn’t be a problem to bring higher quality to the console. We’re making everything from scratch and that’s the big challenge we’re doing- a first in the world of MMORPGs. Whenever there are other consoles we will do our best. We want to get this game out to as many people as possible, so please use your imagination of how we might go about it.
GE- A while ago there was some talk about mobile apps that interact with the game. Is there any more information you can tell us about that?
Yoshida- Yes, we’re preparing these mobile apps and should be ready once we launch the game so please look forward to it.
GE- Can you tell us about any of the features?
Yoshida- You should be able to see your own characters status and also your free company members character information so for example you can check out their equipment and if you find out your friends armory isn’t high leveled enough you can talk about going to the dungeon this weekend to get better equipment. These types of conversation can be done with this app.
GE- So it’s like a Lodestone app then?
Yoshida- Yes, at the beginning it’s going to be very similar. All the in-game databases will be in this mobile app, so even if you’re somewhere without a network you can still open this app and say find out where can I get this item, which NPC do I have to talk to what kind of quests do I need to complete. You can get all this information from this app.
GE- There’s a lot of stuff that hasn’t been talked about a lot such as PvP, Coliseum, Bahamut’s Labyrinth and the Crystal Tower. I don’t recall seeing any of these on the beta timeline. Are any of these going to be in beta? Is there anything you can tell us about these now? Or when can we expect to see more information about them?
Yoshida- Coliseum will be in the beta because we need to test it. Crystal Tower and Bahamut’s Labyrinth are very important end game dungeons so we don’t have any plans at the moment to have them in the beta because people will beat them before we launch it.
That being said, we will introduce artwork and videos of these end game contents so please look forward to it.
But please, be prepared, it is going to be very challenging.
GE- Back at E3 you showed us Thanalan and I had pointed out the railroad track and at the time you couldn’t say anything about it. Is there any information you can give us on it now? I noticed while playing, that it’s maybe just used for the mines? But will it be used as a form of transportation? Or maybe other train elements from previous titles such as Doomtrain or the Phantom Train will be brought in?
Yoshida- To be honest, that kind of element hasn’t been implemented in the game yet. But perhaps in the future so please look forward to it.
GE- For the 25th anniversary in Japan there was a box set released with all of the FF games. There was a code in there for the ‘Mogu Mogu” earring. I was wondering how and if this item will be made available to players outside Japan?
Yoshida- Because that was a very special item for that specific box, we don’t want to give it out easily otherwise we might upset people that bought it. We’re taking very careful steps towards if/how we’ll give out these codes. That being said, the item attributes aren’t really that great.
Nothing has been confirmed, but we are aware that box is extremely popular worldwide. So there’s a possibility that we may sell outside of Japan but nothing has been confirmed yet.
GE- Playing the first beta for FFXIV, people had this thought that once the game launched, there would be much more content in the final product. Can you give us an idea of how much of the total content people will play in beta phase 4 versus launch?
Yoshida- Number of dungeons?
Yoshida- (counting slowly in Japanese) Around 40-50% will be in beta phase 4. With phase 3 we’ll be bringing a lot of content as well. You can imagine that will be doubled with phase 4.
GE- With ARR we’ll see Arcanist added with Summoner shortly after the game launches. Are there any other classes or jobs you’d like to see added? And will these be added in patches or expansions?
Yoshida- What I would like to see right?
First of all, we are planning a new race for an expansion pack. For the classes and jobs, we will introduce them through patches because all of the Legacy players have level 50 jobs anyway. When we introduce new classes and jobs we will probably increase the level cap at the same time.
About what I want to introduce- it’s more like what I think I have to introduce. Something related to guns because the (musketeer) guild in the game. Something related to that I think I have to introduce.
Also I do feel that scouting classes are lacking so I want to bring in Theif, Ninja and those that have to do with stealth. Also more casters like Blue Mage and Red Mage are something I would like to add.
Whatever the players want, I want too.
GE- How many FATEs are there in each area? Are they on a schedule? Is difficulty relative to that area? Finally, what type of rewards will players get?
Yoshida- In one zone, there are around 10 to 13 FATEs. The difficulty level will be suitable to each area. For beta phase 1 we are still making adjustments but there will be over 40.
It’s a bit complicated, but for the frequency, fundamentally yes it is controlled by time frame. Some FATES you will need to talk to an NPC in this time frame- that’s the trigger. Some start automatically when the time comes. Also, some will start quicker if there are more players in that area.
Also, if you failed to complete the FATE then the FATE will happen soon after. So you’ll get a chance at revenge.
The main rewards will be EXP and Gil because we don’t want players arguing. Especially those with extremely difficult difficult end content- end FATES related to Behemoth and Odin, for that type of FATE there will be some items with rewards as well.
GE- When you complete a quest that requires you to turn in an item- you have to click and drag the item over to the NPC. Is there a reason for doing this instead of the game checking to see you have the item and having it done automatically?
Yoshida- That’s something I did on purpose because if it was done automatically then you’d just keep clicking without doing anything. But especially because XIV is going to be the first MMO for the console gamers we want to make sure they take that extra step to complete that quest.
Maybe in the future we’ll remove that if everyone’s bothered. I know there has been some feedback already but I want to start with this style for now.
Console players, if done automatically, might think ‘where did it go?’ because they’re not used to it. So we want to make sure they’re used to it first then in the future maybe we can decide what to do.
GE- You mentioned pre-rendered cutscenes. We’ve seen videos so far such as End of an Era. Is that what you were referring too? Or are you talking about new cutscenes in the game that we haven’t seen before?
Yoshida- Yes, there will be some cutscenes that you’ve never seen before. But also, even if you’ve seen it before, it may be used a different way so it could be very interesting for players that know the previous cutscenes. Especially around the story line, we’re going to make sure that old and new players can get excited.