Hey everyone, subligar man Reinheart here.
Game Watch posted the 2nd part of previous interview they had with YoshiP after the Producer Letter Lives finished at the Tokyo Game Show 2013.
Read up on DirectX 11 support, Playstation 4, and whole bunch of 2.1 goodies here!
Source : http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/interview/20130921_616331.html
GW: You mentioned today we can hear some more regarding PS4 version, before that I would like to ask you regarding DirectX 11 version. Starting with graphics, currently we have the highest settings in the PV version but what’s going to change from there?
Yoshida: Basically the shader will change, and we’ll be using the features already on DirectX11 side for the shadow, lighting and reflections. We don’t have to use the shaders we spent a lot of work on since DirectX 11 side has those features, so it should change the image a lot.
GW: How’s the texture resolution?
Yoshida: We have no plans to change the resolution. I explained this before, but current games are not built on resolutions any more. For photo realistic effect the quality of normal map, for sculpt model it will depend on the amount of time spent, and for the quality seeing how realistic you can get the engravings to show by shining realistic light. These are the kind of things we need to tackle down. There are things which uses really low texture resolutions, but I think, you won’t be able to tell that it was even used. Game structure like the “previous FFXIV” are the only one that required resolution to fight, therefore I don’t think around resolutions.
GM: During the launch event, when you demoed the game on 4K monitor, it was using 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, but the graphic itself did not break at all.
Yoshida: Once you can start using features from DirectX 11 such as shaders and post effects, it will look much more different. Probably the feel and the reflections, things that requires power to reflect will be largely supported. However, we have to pick which features to use.
GW: If you tried to put everything in, it’s going to cause a lot of the stress to the machine?
Yoshida: Yes. I think it will work with 3 TITAN (NVIDIA’s High-end GPU, GeForce GTX TITAN) cards (laugh)
GW: So if you put everything inside, you’ll need really super high end, therefore you need to take away and choose which ones to use.
Yoshida: Naturally DirectX 11 is in that type of generation. But, with this you’ll be able to output a much higher quality than the current highest setting.
GW: How are you going to name the graphic settings?
Yoshida: More like, we’ll have a separate client for it. There will be one that works with DirectX 9 and client that works with DirectX 11 these will be separate.
GW: So after the DirectX 11 versions release, you’ll be running DirectX 9 and DirectX 11 version in parallel?
Yoshida: Yes, that is how it will be. The clients are going to be different.
GW: I currently have the PC version, meaning DirectX 9 version, will I be able to obtain the DirectX 11 version for free?
Yoshida: Of course.
GW: What will happen when we need to buy a new package? Will it have both clients inside?
Yoshida: Hmm, when we resale, we’ll probably have to do that. Either that or, put in the DirectX 9 version, and after registering, you can download the DirectX 11 version, I haven’t decided yet. DirectX 11 support is coming after addressing the PS4 version. We’re working on developing both in parallel but as for the order, PS4 version will be first.
GW: When can we expect the DirectX 11 version release?
Yoshida:We were finally able to announce the PS4 versions beta test timing, so from there the next phase would be about 6 month later. As I have been saying, there are patch 2.0, PS3 version, DirectX 11 version, and PS4 version for our milestone. Right now our first goal is the PS4 version, then the DirectX 11 version. We are thinking of these milestones in about 6 month intervals.
GW: Okay, so after the DirectX 11 support, are you planning to address the 4K (3,840,2,160 dot)?
Yoshida: It already runs now, so we’re just talking on what to do next?
GW: Does that mean the 4K is already addressed?
Yoshida: I believe there isn’t much games that will run with that resolution, but we are looking into it, and if there parts that doesn’t work, we are making adjustments. However you won’t be able output 60 frames if you don’t stick in three TITANs (laugh)
GW: If I go into the specifics, with environment such as 3,840×2,160 dot resolution, no matter how big or small the monitor is, the font becomes too small, also it breaks the UI, I thought it needed one more step to optimize for the 4K.
Yoshida: That’s true. When you’re going to play on 4K television, we would need to address the 4K as a product, it’s not simply where we just need to address so you can just chat, we need to make it one step bigger. For chat I believe you’ll be able to just change the font size through system config, but for the detailed UI we need to prepare one for higher resolution. But as for the actual support, this will only come if 4K will become a business.
GW: Okay moving onto our main topic, the PS4 version. You announced the beta test start date for 2014, February, 22nd. Will the PS4 version release with the currently developed DirectX 11 version, or will it run on the current PC version, DirectX 9 version?
Yoshida: Will be the current PC version.
GW: PS4 hardware supports the DirectX 11, but you’re not going to use the DirectX 11 features?
Yoshida: We’ll use parts of the DirectX 11 features, but unlike the PC version it’s not fully supported.
GW: I see, so it’s something like using the current PC versions DirectX 9 version as a base.
Yoshida: PS4 has a custom version, so it’s not simply using the DirectX 9 version directly either. We’ll be making adjustments to meet the PS4’s pipeline.
GW: How much of the graphic quality can we expect?
Yoshida: Just think of it as the current PC versions highest setting running.
GW: PS3 versions is locked in with 720p, 30 frames, but can we play smoothly on the PS4 versions with 1080p, 60 frames?
Yoshida: Yes. We have no plans to place restrictions on the frame.
GW: For the PS3 version, due to the memory restrictions, there is a limit to number of characters displayed, would the PS4 version have lighter restrictions?
Yoshida: It will be based off of the PC version.
GW: I see, so basically we can think of the current PC version running on the game console?
Yoshida: Yes, should be safe to think that way.
GW: Would be able to use the keyboard/mouse mode which is currently limited to PV version?
Yoshida: Yes. We have more room for memory, so we are planning to add this. On the PS3 version you can only use the gamepad mode but for the PS4 version, you would be able to choose from the gamepad mode or mouse/keyboard mode just like the PC version.
GW: Aside from that the PS4 comes with additional features. First off, the Dual Shock 4 comes with a touch pad, will you be able to use this like the mouse controls for the PC version?
Yoshida: Yes. Please think of the targeting will be the same.
GW: Have you already tested, and felt that it should work fine?
Yoshida: Yes. It works. We already have an idea, so we’re currently working into this right now.
GW: Another major feature for the PS4 version is the remote play using the PS Vita. What kind of things can you remote play for FFXIV ARR?
Yoshida: The monitor size is small and there isn’t enough resolution, so we’re currently looking into what we’re going to do about that. We may make it where you can maximize the chat window to chat, next problem is what are we going to do about typing. So like I mentioned earlier, I want to make it where you can lay down and just fish, or do crafting/gathering smoothly using remote play.
GW: Just wanted to confirm, but with the PS4 Remote Play, you’re going to be able to play ALL the contents of FFXIV ARR?
Yoshida: That is our current premise.
GW: I see. What will do about the resolution?
Yoshida: It will simply be displayed in PS Vita’s resolution (960×544 dot). In general, it’s just sending the rendering information to PS Vita. However, there is less amount of buttons available, and also we have to use the back sensor so we’re trying to figure out what to do about those.
GW: How will use be using the PS Vita’s back sensor?
Yoshida: We haven’t decided yet, make it where you can tap to turn on the cross hot bar, we’re currently working on the ideas for this one.
GW: So it’s going to be somewhat unique.
Yoshida: Not having enough buttons is the hard. But even with that we’re trying to find a way to make sure it can be played at ease.
GW: With Remote Play you’ll be able to do a lot. You can go to dungeons with PS Vita, even go inside The Binding Coil of Bahamut, even while laying on ground (laugh).
Yoshida: You can, but I’m sure you’re going to inconvenience the party members (bitter smile). There is no way for others to check if that person is playing through Remote Play, for us we cannot place any restrictions, but I think it’s going to be hard for battle contents.
GW: The PS Vita’s Remote Play can be used for free?
Yoshida: Of course. You’ll still need the PS Vita itself though.
GW: Can you play the Beta test starting from February 22nd on the PS Vita’s remote play?
Yoshida: That is what we are planning. We have full support from SCE so we’ll do our best!
GW: Have the internal PS Vita testing started?
Yoshida: Not yet. SCE is telling us “Don’t worry, it won’t affect the PS4’s performance, so just address the interface” so I’m sure it should be fine!
GW: I see. So it’s still at that level (laugh).
Yoshida: For our task, the main priority is to get the game running on the PS4 machine. Make expansions to address the Dual Shock 4, go through debugging process, what to do with the Remote Play is the next task. We’re doing meetings with SCE every week.
GW: When are you planning to show the PS4 version?
Yoshida: We are planning to release patch 2.1 within this year, so probably inside on the of Producer Letter Lives we’ll be like “We’re coming close to the PS4 versions release, but here’s the first look!”, we’ll probably do something like that.
GW: So are you going to show the PS Vita during the Producer Letter Live and demo the Remote Play?
Yoshida; That will probably the easiest way to explain it. But for the PS4 version I think people are going to think it’s just like the PC version and nothing is much different, so we’ll need to think about that one.
GW: Do you have plans to release any companion application?
Yoshida: We have no plans of right now. We already have the mobile app “Libra Eorzea”, so we need to expand on that too.
GW: You can say the Libra Eorzea itself being the companion application, so there is no plans to prepare something different.
Yoshida: That is correct. That is because we have no plans to prepare something in which can only experience there.
GW: Okay, there is the movie share button on the PS4 version, how will you address that?
Yoshida: That’s simply part of PS4’s SDK side feature, you just press the share button to stream the videos, so we’re just waiting for it to be addressed.
GW: So from Square-Enix’s side you don’t have any plans to limit the features or regulate the movie share?
Yoshida: For FFXIV:ARR we lifted all restrictions on the movie. Players can use the music, sound tracks. As for the movie, when I took over charge I have already been saying that we’ll be doing this, so we have prepared and made sure to buy the rights for them, I believe FFXIV:ARR will be supporting PS4’s share button the most.
GW: As for the PS4 version, you have announced to the PS3 version users that it will be available for free of charge, how did the players respond to this?
Yoshida; I believe it was taken really well. We received reports from overseas yesterday, and it was really positive. Everyone was thinking that it was going to be cheaper by 1,000-2,000 yen. For those that haven’t tried FFXIV ARR, we would like them to start their adventures from the PS3 version.
GW: Regarding the PS4 beta test starting in February 22nd, can we think of this like the PC/PS3’s phase 4, “Open Beta”?
Yoshida: It will depend on the system stability, but we would like anyone who purchases the PS4 to be able to try it out. However, we are still looking into stability first to decide on if we’re going to start off with a closed beta, or wiping out the first data.
GW: Does that mean, you’re going to have a separate server for the PS4 version to test?
Yoshida: Yes that’s what we are planning. We probably need to at least do this for two weeks to make sure there isn’t any critical issues, if we don’t’ do this it will cause problems to existing worlds. So just like how we did the original FFXIV ARR beta test, first we want the players to start from making a new character, then from then on have it where PS3 version players can test with their character data. We’re planning to take those steps for testing.
GW: I see. So even after going through the PC version, PS3 versions test, you’re going to carefully go through beta testing for the PS4 version?
Yoshida: Yes. We have to make sure the system stability, and also check to see that there isn’t any PS4 specific system bugs.
GW: When are you planning for the PS4’s launch timing?
Yoshida: As a producer, I would like to have it launched in about a month after the Beta test start.
GW: So tracking back, you want to do a month of beta testing?
GW: Will you be able to transfer the character data from the beta testing into official service?
Yoshida: It will probably be from the mid-point, but I would like to be able to make it transfer. As I said earlier, at first it’s possible that there may be system specific bugs, so once we can confirm it’s stable, so we’ll probably wipe the data for the first two weeks. But making it a Open Beta starting the third week, so we’re planning the data created from then on will go through the same procedure the FFXIV ARR went through with the first open beta testing.
GW: So even for the PS4 version beta test, we’ll have couple of phases?
Yoshida: It is possible, we’ll decide on that once we develop some more.
GW: How about the price of the client, is it safe to say it’s going to be same as the PS3 version?
Yoshida: I don’t have any image for it yet, but I don’t plan on changing much. It’s the same game anyways.
GW: The pricing for the PS3 was pretty strategical, so if you’re going to keep it same as the PS3 version, that would make it one of the cheapest package titles for the PS4.
Yoshida: In that case, I’ll aim for that (laugh). We don’t plan on making much profit from the package itself.
GW: We asked this when the PS3 version was going on sale, but do you have any plans for PS4 bundle package?
Yoshida: Most likely the PS4 will be short.
GW: That is probably true. This time, they have delayed the sales in Japan, so it seems more realistic this time around.
Yoshida: For the PS4, no matter where you look, I don’t think they have made any announcements for a bundle version, or a specific model. Looking at that, I believe it’s going to be really difficult.
GW: Regarding patch 2.1, looking through the information that was announced during PAX, it seems like it’s going to have a lot of things, can you please explain the details of patch 2.1 and what you’re aiming?
Yoshida: We’re finally going to release something aside from the end battle content, but the housing and PvP. I believe with this you’ll be able to grasp the full potential of this game. We’ll also expand on the battle content, we are planning to have one brand new dungeon, and also include two hard mode for existing dungeons. This isn’t simply where we are going to swap mobs inside, we’re going to change the dungeons structure, and gimmicks will also change. Difficulty level will also increase. So in total, you will be having three new dungeons.
We will also have a “Extreme” versions of the Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan primal battles, which is a much harder version of the current “Hard” mode. We are planning to also release Good King Moggle Mog battle with Hard and Extreme mode to be released at the same time. On top of that we have a certain boss from the 2.0’s main story, but we’re preparing the hard mode for that one. Then we got the Crystal Tower.
GW: Crystal Tower isn’t considered as a new dungeon? So it’s not a dungeon?
Yoshida: Crystal Tower is a 24 player dungeon, but it’s a Alliance Raid, so we’re not calling it a instanced dungeon.
Everything till here is what we have for battle. We’ll also have dailies which can be played solo, casually, which is called “Beastmen Daily Quest”. You’ll be communicating with the beastmen tribes and gain their trust, with that the story will expand, this is something that can be played every day as a solo daily content. We also have Treasure Hunt. We’ll have these two, and also will be introducing “Random Contents” and “MVP voting feature”. We have a system update in which it will reward those players who play as a role we are currently short on. Everything up till here is something in which we call, casual, dailies. Along with this, we have a large scale housing system and Wolves’ Den (Arena style PvP).
Housing for all three regions will be opened, and with individual housing area, you have 5 building types to choose from, from there you can choose the roof, roof color, exterior decorations, door, windows, chimney, and the fence is also customizable. And there are small parts, and furnitures which comes out to total of about 380 parts. We’ll start with this, with every future patches we are planning to add about 50 additional objects.
GW: Can the housing be purchased individually?
Yoshida: No, it will start with Free Company headquarters.
GW: How much will it cost?
Yoshida; I can’t say it yet.
GW: What!? It’s still a secret?
Yoshida: It’s a secret (laugh). Right now we’re short on gil and planning to increase, so if I say it now it will cause major confusion, so up until the release I am not going to give out the price.
GW: I kind of think it would be good if you give some type of idea of the price so the those members in Free Company has something to aim for, but honestly, right now we can’t make any money in the game.
Yoshida: Yes, and I apologize for that, we’ll make it where you can start saving up. If I announce the price when we’re taking out too much, it’s going to cause a problem even before the price being high or low. So please wait for this information till right before the release.
GW: For housing, you buy the rights to the land and house on that instance area with the Free Company, and when you use that on the instanced area you get to have the house right?
Yoshida: Yes. First you buy the land, buy the title, then you will have a house.
GW: Can anyone buy it if they have enough gil?
Yoshida: You’ll need to have some rank in the Free Company.
GW: For the furnitures you can buy it in town, and crafters can make them?
GW: You mentioned that aside from simply just having more variations of the house and objects, player will have more contents, how is the plan coming out?
Yoshida: Yes, it will increase. However this is after patch 2.1. We have many plans for expansion, like the one I mentioned from before for example raising Chocobo’s, these will be possible.
GW: So in patch 2.1, in this phase you’ll first buy and live in it, and place some objects.
Yoshida: After that we have schedules for housing updates, which will move on along with patches.
GW: Okay, during beta test phase 4, you tested the Wolves’ Den but were you able to take in good data?
Yoshida: We were able to obtain valuable data. From players data we found out that there was about 0.5 second delay from the visual and numbers, so we’re currently making optimizations. It should feel much better.
I asked the basic idea of the system in previous interview, but do you have any new ideas or changes to the existing ideas?
Yoshida: For Duty Finder matching, we have 4 categories, colosseum is level 50, tournament is level 30, 40, and 50. For the level 50 one we’re talking about making it where if the party is pre-made by the users, to match with another pre-made party only.
GW: What do you mean by that?
Yoshida: I am talking about a party that is completely balanced out. We’re talking to make it where this team that fully setup to not fight against a random matched group. The level is going to be too different. We’re talking to make it where those that want to get fully geared up for PVP and party, will fight against another similar group.
GW: Along with PVP release, do you have plans to release PVP specific gear, reward items, and ranking system?
Yoshida: Yes. I cannot say the amount yet, but we have several specific skills. Also you’ll be gaining points, so we’ll have a item where you can trade in with the points.
GW: Do you have plans to release rewards which looks interesting, or which can be useful outside?
Yoshida: If you can obtain gears that looks good from PVP rewards, there will be players that’s going to complain and say “That’s not what you said” (laugh). We have those decorative gear in those earlier mentioned Duty Finders MVP.
GW: That’s true, so the PVP rewards isn’t something that would be appealing to all players, but something for PvP lovers?
Yoshida: I’m sure the pre-made group is going to take the lead. However, the PvP gears exchange rate will be eased as we get more patches in, so even those casually playing PvP will be able to get those gears in the future. This will work just like other contents and will be eased over time.
GW: Can you please give more details regarding the Crystal Tower, which is the main dish for the patch 2.1?
Yoshida: This is a content where you challenge with three full parties join alliance and challenge contents, we call this Alliance Content. We are also planning to make this work with the Duty Finder. We were originally planning to put this in patch 2.0, however the Crystal Tower that was made for patch 2.0 was really difficult, as an example it’s like 24 people trying to jump on a single jump rope but having three of them swinging around at same time, it was that hard. Even if 21 people can jump it, if 3 missed it screws up the whole group, therefore we talked and said this is way too hard, and puts pressure on the players. So we delayed the release to patch 2.1 while making adjustments.
This one is aimed for level 50 players, but it’s something more enjoyable, if everyone is going to wipe do it in a single swipe so it’s fun, we want to make the difficulty level to a point where they can retry and still enjoy.
GW: What kind of bosses are awaiting inside the Crystal Tower?
Yoshida: For that one, please play FFIII and check (laugh). But, I’ve said it before Crystal Tower is a Tower that goes high up, with every patch you will be able to go to a higher floor level, we have been saying Crystal Tower, first off in FFIII’s Crystal Tower, if you rememeber, you had to go through Ancient’s Maze……
GW: I see, so it’s not only Crystal Tower, but there is the Ancient’s Maze before that?
Yoshida: Please look forward to it.
GW: Okay, so like the Binding Coil of Bahamut it’s not something that can be cleared with one run.
Yoshida: Yes. Even for the Binding Coil of Bahamut, what we have right now isn’t all, it’s only the opening and just have 5 levels, turns.
GW: What is the name of the mission to challenge this Crystal Tower, and what is the quest name, and what kind of lore is behind it?
Yoshida: I haven’t announced that yet.
GW: By completing the Crystal Tower in 2.1 will the players obtain high level rare items?
Yoshida: Of course. Everything up till here is what’s inside patch 2.1, and starting in patch 2.1 is easing of contents. We’re going to increase the top but the bottom of the slope will get easier, although it’s just a little, you should be able to feel it.
GW: Top being higher is easy to understand, but what do you mean by “the bottom of the slope will get easier”?
Yoshida: The top of the Binding Coil of Bahamut will not change in 2.1, this will not change until patch 2.2. In patch 2.1 we’re going to have 3 dungeons, 2 hard mode, and one high difficulty dungeon, so the amount of tokens will be more than what it is now. Therefore, it will be easier easier to increase your item level. Also you will be able to obtain more of the one rank lower token output will increase, so you can gain item levels at more ease. So it will be easier to reach the top. But in patch 2.2 the top (end-game) will get higher, so top players will go even further top. And then the contents will spread (imagine a mountain with pointed top [end-content] and wider bottom [contents getting eased over time]). This cycle will start from patch 2.1.
GW: So it’s kind of like going up a pyramid hierarchy a little?
Yoshida: if you just basically go higher in the pyramid, for those looking from the bottom, it will just look like it’s gotten higher. But in actual it’s not like that, it spreads out so even at first it looks like a high mountain, over time in about 6 month time, it will probably look more like some hiking course. However, even if it was easy to get there, once you reached the goal you’re going to find out that there was more up ahead. But as you go up slowly, it starts to ease out. I want to give this feeling to the players.
(I think GW gave up lol….)
GW: Alright, when are you planning to release patch 2.1?
Yoshida: Will release within 2013
GW: Will it be near the end of the year?
Yoshida: I would like to get it out as soon as possible, if we pass the end of the year, it will be hard to address so we’ll try our best.
GW: Alright. Lastly can you please give a comment to the users.
Yoshida: We were able to launch the game after making everyone wait for this long, and we really received large amounts of popularity which exceeded our expectations, as a result we to place login restrictions for two weeks. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. We also had to stop sale, which also caused inconvenience to those that wanted to play, we deeply apologize for this situation.
For a Japanese MMORPG to have this large scale launch, may be something we may have or not have in the next 10 years. We are not going to slack off on this FFXIV ARR which just started, we are going to get working full on, and we would like to deliver new features which is unique FFXIV:ARR. If the server can maintain stability after September 12th maintenance, we are going to resume sales so as much players can experience this FF. I would like everyone to enjoy while making this game together.
GW: We’re going to look forward to it. Thank you very much.
YoshiP may have confused some people with his explanation on how things will ease out over time, basically he means that… New hard contents will always come challenging those top player group with new challenges, however older contents will be eased for other players so everyone can enjoy the thrill and adventure. It’s pointless if the development team just created contents for that small group, it needs to cater everyone playing the game so this method should allow everyone to play it while hardcore and casuals can still enjoy the game.
I spelled Yoshida right this time, yay! (Gotta go fix the previous one)
Hope you enjoyed the read.
Again please let me know if you have any tips or suggestions for me to improve my writing, etc. Thanks.