This year at PAX Prime, Square Enix is having a Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launch event. We were lucky enough to not only attend the event (a full write up of which will be posted in the coming days) but to also have a chance to sit down with Director/Producer Naoki Yoshida and Sound Director Masayoshi Soken to talk about the game.
Check out all the juicy details, including some lovely vocal work from Soken-san after the break!
Yoshida: Thank you for coming today and keeping such an open mind, not only the western players but the western media as well. As you know, we had the hard first launch, we released a Final Fantasy that didn’t feel like a Final Fantasy at all. Over these past 3 years, instead of scrapping it we decided to rebuild it from the ground up and the western media has been really receptive to this. You’ve kept an open mind instead of saying “oh you failed that first time we’re not gonna look at it again” and instead saying “oh you’re trying again, this is a great challenge” and giving us this second chance is something that has been really great for us and we thank you for.
Because of the bad reception and history that we’ve had with 1.0, we believed there would be a slower start for 2.0. We didn’t expect the type of reception that we’ve gotten. So this is why we’ve had the server trouble, because we didn’t think people would be as open and give us this second chance. People have come in and said OK lets forget about the past and try this new game and because of that we had way more people than we expected. We’ve been working hard to fix them and by next week we’ll have new servers and new methods to combat the overloads on the data servers.
In the past few years we’ve always talked about the three pillars that we have built FFXIV ARR on- Great story, great graphics and a great game experience. On top of that is the community from 1.0 that has been supporting us through thick and thin and now we have this new group coming in to build this strong community based on these three pillars and the existing foundations. We finally have the Final Fantasy XIV that we’ve been looking for. Now we’re going to take this and continue for the next 5 or 10 years, continue building on this and making something great and sticking with the game.
Also, we would like to add that there was a little bit of miss communication before- we said you couldn’t monetize videos of the game on Youtube. We’ve taken that back and will allow players to post on Youtube without any kind of penalties- we won’t be taking your money. We want as many players to get their videos up there as possible. We’ve realized that was wrong and fixed that right away.
GE: Right now in the game, Conjurer has a Unicorn mount. Can we expect to see mounts for other classes?
Yoshida: We have plans for things like that in the future. One of the reasons we decided to have this Unicorn mount is because we needed more people to play Conjurer. In the future, maybe when level caps are raised and we need more players in certain roles, we can offer these types of incentives to get players to try out those roles.
Maybe a tank one will come next… (laughs)
GE: When can we expect to see additional Primals like Ramuh, Leviathan and Shiva? When can we expect to see Free Company primals? And lastly… who is going to summon Shiva?!
Yoshida: We have plans for 2.2- new Primals, ones that new players haven’t even imagined. For 2.1 we’re going to bring back Good King Moogle Mog, as well as add a new level of Titan, Garuda and Ifrit battles… super, hard, ultra, hyper… we don’t know what we’ll call them yet.
As for Ramuh, Leviathan and Shiva…one will be appearing in 2.2 but we can’t say anymore right now because it affects the story line.
Shiva will be the Primal of a beast tribe that no one has seen.
As for when the Free Companies will be able to summon the Primals, we’re thinking 2.2 or 2.3. That’s when the Primals will start entering the fields.
GE: In ARR, there are some tracks that are arrangements of music from previous Final Fantasy games. Are there any tracks from the series that you would like to add in the future from previous titles in the series?
Soken: Well, we have the Crystal Tower so… yeah. That stuff is pretty much done. It’s really good! For the Crystal Tower, we’re going to put in a type of interactive music, where the type of music changes depending on what’s going on. Not just in battles, but as well as just walking through. It will all change depending on what it’s going on, so it’ll be very interactive.
GE: There are some characters we know are in ARR, but we haven’t seen them yet… when will we see Hildibrand and Gilgamesh?
Yoshida: We can tell you that there will be new Hildibrand quests in the next patch, in 2.1. Gilgamesh is not further off, at the latest we’re thinking 2.2 or 2.3. But Hildibrand is next- he’s back! And as annoying as ever.
We made a little jingle especially for the Hildibrand F.A.T.E.S!
GE: HILDIBRAND F.A.T.E.S?!
Yoshida: (laughs) yeah!
GE: Are you fighting alongside him or against him?
Yoshida: We can’t tell you! But there are Hildibrand F.A.T.E.S and there’s a special jingle for it
Soken: (sings Hildibrand F.A.T.E jingle)
GE: When can we expect to see the events with Lightning? What are other characters you’re looking at including? You’ve ‘mentioned Cloud and Sephiroth in past interviews…
Yoshida: With Cloud and Sephiroth, those were more of ones we would never bring into Final Fantasy XIV. They have a lot of hardcore fans, and if you just brought them into FFXIV you would create a lot of hate. When you use those characters you have to be very, very careful.
Lightning is a tie-in, so we have the release of Lightning Returns coming, so you would expect we would try to do something around that time.
Then again, this is not the last event of the season we still have Tokyo Game Show coming up (sighs), and there’s probably going to be some kind of announcement probably around then.
GE: Can we expect to see some FFXIII arrangements for these events?
Soken: The music for Lightning Returns is already done, so rather than arranging it and making it something different, we’re going to just use that music. The music that they have are already great songs, so instead of trying to change them we’re going to use them as they are because they’re so good.
Yoshida: That song… you’ll hear that song. That song… that song.
GE: Thanks for being so detailed. (room laughs)
The Gold Saucer has been mentioned a lot, but we haven’t had to many details on it. How is that going?
Yoshida: The reason we haven’t been talking about it is because we’ve been working on it. When we stop talking about something, it’s probably because we’re busy working on it. I talk way too much, and the devs hate me for that.
Right now we’re in the planning stages for it. We have to have three things completed before we can start and open the Gold Saucer. They could be a mini game, maybe a card game, maybe a snowboarding game. We can’t say which, but there has to be three to open it. Right now on the current schedule we’re thinking it will be after 2.3.
Also joining us during this interview were members from MMORPG.com. We’re only reporting on our questions, so make sure to keep an eye out for their interview in the coming days!