Last week in San Francisco, we had the pleasure of meeting up with Naoki Yoshida, the Community Team, and some of the other lovely people from SQUARE ENIX as they talked to us and showed us some pretty pictures and videos from FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn.
The presentation was geared around these points:
- The FINAL FANTASY series
- FINAL FANTASY XIV
- FINAL FANTASY XIV 1.0 vs A Realm Reborn
- FINAL FANTASY XIV A Realm Reborn
- PlayStation 3
Read on to learn more about what we were shown!
We gathered in the conference room and were treated to a video to start off the presentation. Scenes of adventurer’s riding on Chocobos, groups fighting waves of enemies, larger groups going up against Ifrit and a large Golem as a Delivery Moogle flies by. What first appeared to be an extended video comprised of the previous in-game trailers we’ve seen turned out to be non-other than the footage from the benchmark. The long awaited benchmark is available today (here) and will allow players to run their PC through the tests to see how well it can handle A Realm Reborn.
Yoshida continued the presentation noting that the FINAL FANTASY series has shipped 100 million units over the last 25 years. It is the most important global franchise for SQUARE ENIX. He stressed the global aspect of this, reiterating that at launch, FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn will be available in several languages starting with English, Japanese, German, and French.
With A Realm Reborn, the team has been hard at work over the last two years as they redid the graphics engine, servers, battle system, user interface and the map system all from scratch. It’s a colossal effort- a first in the history of MMORPGs, but one that the company felt was necessary. “SQUARE ENIX will never give up on FINAL FANTASY- no matter what!”.
Another video was then shown comparing the original version of FINAL FANTASY XIV (1.0) with A Realm Reborn (2.0). The sunsets in 2.0 now have an added lens flare effect and are more visually appealing, as is the night sky. Other areas that were shown included Buscarron’s Druthers (Buscarron’s Fold), Moraby Drydocks (Moraby Bay) as well an area located directly outside of Ul’dah where a group of people have gathered and set up a training camp of sorts. Immediately noticeable was the attention to detail in these areas. Details can be found all over in this new Eorzea, such as the small geyser located near this camp outside of Ul’dah, the various points of interest in each area, or the way the water looks now in 2.0. I stopped several times during my hands-on time in La Noscea to just look at the water- it’s quite beautiful.
Yoshida explained the three story arcs that will make up the story for A Realm Reborn:
1. In this arc, the consciousness of the planet has formed into the Mother Crystal whom then speaks to the players. This is the storyline that will stretch throughout the entirety of the new FINAL FANTASY XIV.
2. Grand Companies vs the Garlean Empire. Yoshida noted that for this arc, an important keyword is “Warriors of Light”.
3. The Primals, which feed on the life force of the planet have grown in both strength and influence since the appearance of Bahamut.
It was said that pre-rendered cutscenes will be included in the game and new images of concept art were shown. Players can expect to run into not just Amon in A Realm Reborn, but also Gilgamesh and Cloud of Darkness and Cait Sith. Yoshida mentioned here that they are still interested in bringing FINAL FANTASY VII’s Gold Saucer to FINAL FANTASY XIV sometime in the future. Yoshida himself is a big fan of MMORPGs and wants to take the best MMO elements and marry them with the best FINAL FANTASY elements.
We were shown a video comparing the current PS3 build with the PC client. Currently, the PS3 build is 75% optimized and due to that, the frame rate suffers in what we were shown. However, as a long time player of FINAL FANTASY XI and having heard my fair share of “PS2 limitations” jokes, I have to say that I came away from this section of the presentation more hopeful for the PlayStation 3 version than I had been previously. Once the client is optimized and the frame rate issue is fixed, this could be a solid console title.
SQUARE ENIX has been working closely with Sony in order to push the PlayStation 3 to its limits with A Realm Reborn. The game will launch for both PC and PS3 simultaneously and allow players to play together with others around the world regardless of which system they’re playing on. The accounts will also be cross-platform. Allowing players to, for example, play out in the living room until their nagging mother comes along where they would then go and continue to play on the PC.
Those that are eagerly awaiting the chance to play the game on the PlayStation 3 will be interested in knowing that the beta will be available for those on the PS3 with phase 3 of the beta test.
We were treated to a video which shows off the new user interface that was designed for gamepad users.
When using a controller, moving backwards will make the character run towards the screen as opposed to backpedaling like the default mouse and keyboard settings do. The D-Pad is used for targeting: up and down will target party members while left and right will cycle through all nearby objects. The Cross Hot-bar is the gamepad specific action bar from which users can select their actions. It contains 16 icons which can be customized to your liking to include abilities, emotes, and macros.
Yoshida told us that he has always been a keyboard and mouse type of guy but with the introduction of this gamepad based user interface he’s not so sure anymore.
The gamepad interface will be available starting with beta phase 2.
That concluded the presentation. Afterwards we were taken to a row of PCs where we had some hands-on time with the latest build of the game. You can read more about that in our next article!