Mitsutoshi Gondai (battle director) took stage with Naoki Yoshida.
Gondai: My name might be a little hard to say, so you can call me Mr. G if you want. (Crowd chants Mister G!)
Mr G: There are three main sections, enemy design, system design, and for 2.0, the FATE team. 5 on level, 4 on enemy, 3 on system, 4 on FATEs. We made the decision to go with a small team in order to keep things tight (paraphrasing).
Level Design team:
Determines monster pathing, sounds, collisions, etc.
Yoshi P: When you want to run away from a monster, and the path that the monster decides to take is all decided by the level design team.
Mr. G: Yeah yeah, this is all boring and tedious so lets move on. There was a lot of criticism on the maps in 1.0. The level team was very excited about the 2.0 redesign. Designing dungeons and raids not only involves visual layout, but mechanics, traps etc. We think of the features first, then a rough layout.
Yoshi P: Can anyone figure out where this is? (shows sketch)
Mr G.: Yes, the original Sunken temple of Qarn.
Yoshi P: Before we even started 2.0, this was one of the first maps. The original design was too long, so in hard mode we are bringing back original design elements.
Mr. G: Art team produces spectacular art work after the layout is done. Then they make a rough mockup. Battle team plays through it making adjustments to layout.
Mr. G: The BG team then takes the revisions and makes what is close to the final dungeon. Many new areas coming in 3.0.
Mr. G: They plan all the monsters and boss battles. Normal enemies are programmed to follow gambits (what actions to take when).
Yoshi P: You may be familiar with the system from FF12, in 14 that system was utilized by the monsters. (Hinting about utilizing that system for players, with magitek armor).
Mr. G: Many people in FFXIV worked on 12, like the UI designer, so maybe we can work something out for 3.0.
Mr. G: Preprogrammed with unique behaviors.
Yoshi P: With each field the level is built with each thing integrated. If we remove a piece that makes it very difficult.
Mr G: Our monster team is always wanting to go beyond the gambit system.
Mr. G: The enemy AI is a combination of Gambit and script.
Yoshi P: One person worked on all the instanced battles.
Mr. G: In 2.4 there are ten new instanced battles for main scenario and rogue/ninja battles.
Yoshi P: We’ve got some really cool stuff planned with Ninja. Don’t skip through the cut-scenes of Rogue!
Mr. G: Mr A worked on Howling Eye Extreme, WP, DD. Mr. B worked on CT, Battle on Big Bridge and Odin Battle. Mr C worked on Bowl of Embers X, Whorleater X, ST and all quest battles. Mr D worked on The Navel Extreme, Ultimate’s Bane, and Coil 2. He is referred to as “The God”. Mr Alpha worked on coil, thorn march and striking tree extreme. Final Coil of Bahamut is being worked on by Mr D.
Yoshi P: We’ve got so much content coming with 2.4 and 3.0 we hope you enjoy all of it.
Battle System Planning
Mr. G: We’re in charge of enmity, level sync, etc.
Yoshi P: In FFXI, you came up with the level sync system?
Mr. G: Yes. We’re also in charge of character progression, duty volume and more. But not gil!
Yoshi P: Next fan fest we’ll have an economy talk (laughter)
Mr G/Yoshi P: This was one of the biggest changes from 1.0 to 2.0. The system in 2.0 was created by Matsui, the current director of FFXI. The original system featured a ton of parameters and was very complicated. The simplification of it in 2.0 was designed to appeal to more casual players. For ARR, we borrowed the item level system to make it clearer to understand the value of each piece of gear. The simpler gear system allows for better balancing of battle mechanics.
Mr. G: The amount of time it took to overhaul this was about 2 weeks.
(Yoshi P cringes remembering that and Twintania balancing)
Yoshi P: “God” is working on the raids in 3.0, please look forward to it!
Class and Job Planning
Mr G: We focus on three main things here. We wanted to make sure classes were unique. Defining two different roles/control schemes for each class/job. We wanted to make it easy enough for most people to play the jobs they want. But flexible enough to allow advanced players to excel at them.
Mr G: We want as many people to get into FFXIV as possible. We didn’t want people intimidated by a complex control scheme.
Mr G: We wanted to allow individual player skill to shine through the more they play the game (the player we want to feel like they’re getting better at the game, not just character levelling up).
Mr G: In order to get ARR made we had to borrow people from other battle teams from other games within Square Enix.
Yoshi P: A lot of the people we borrowed are hardcore MMO players. We used their feedback and advice to make revisions.
Mr G: The battle team aren’t necessarily the best players!
Yoshi P: The dev team pokes fun at members who aren’t the best players… so if you feel like you have what it takes to join the team, send your resume to Square-Enix.
Mr G: How I work with Yoshi P. I start off by making a plan over several patches. From there we’re joined by Yoshi P and the scenario writer and talk about how it will playout long term.
Yoshi P: This graph goes up to 2.4, and I’ve cut off everything else.
Yoshi P: What’s interesting about this plan, is Mr G wanted to have Ninja available at the same time as Frontlines, but there was no way that was going to realistically happen. When we first built up the plan, we asked will this actually fit into the schedule?
Mr G: One major change Yoshi P requested was to make the Crystal Tower a more accessible dungeon since we already had Coil. I think it’s about time to adjust Atma drop rates… maybe in patch 2.4.
Yoshi P: (Making fun of Mr G because he never finished a Zodiac weapon)
Yoshi P: As you can see not all the game is made by me, so when you find something you don’t like… maybe don’t blame just me… (laughter)
Yoshi P: Our sound director, Mr Soken is here, and he’s working on a project called the Primals, and he’s been working on recording some songs in a studio near this venue. And he supposidly has been recording since this morning. So I’d like to bring him in since I don’t think he’s seen the teaser.
(Soken runs up on stage)
Yoshi P: The Dragoon was very focused… the level cap was increased… definitely do your job quests.
Yoshi P: There was a certain shit design Mr G was going to wear. But we couldn’t find it.
Mr G: Yeah it was going to be a Batman t-shirt… (crowd cheering for Dark Knight, pretty much confirming without saying that Dark Knight is coming.)
All three joking about Soken’s performance tomorrow night.
Yoshi P: So the Primals are performing tomorrow night then! As long as you finish your recording!
Matt Hilton closed the stage, as Soken skipped off.