With the recent North American Fan Festival, Final Fantasy XIV’s second expansion pack was announced, and I think that many players are aware of the information that was announced during the Fan Festival. However, on the same day, Yoshi-P was interviewed by Famitsu and the interview was published a couple of weeks after the North American Fan Festival wrapped up. Here is the translation of that interview.
You can read the original interview in Japanese here.
1.The content of two unused slides in the opening key note.
Famitsu (F): I never thought you would choke up during the opening key note.
Yoshida (Y): I didn’t make a mistake during the opening… (sarcastic laughter). I wanted to say “Welcome to the FINAL FANTASY XIV FAN FESTIVAL 2016 (two-thousand-sixteen) in LAS VEGAS!”. But there was so much cheering going on that I was searching for a good timing to start talking and during that process, I became like “Eh? What was I supposed to say?!” (Laugh). I could remember “sixteen” but the “thousand” part just didn’t come to mind. I was relieved when the players started shouting “Thousand!” to help me. This opening note was one of the best and one of the most stressful moments for me; same as on the first Producer Letter Live back in 2011.
F: You looked relaxed afterwards, though.
Y: Everyone says that I looked that way, but the truth is, during the last Fan Festival in 2014, I made a mistake which turned into a “trauma”.
F: I don’t remember anything, what happened?
Y: It happened during the first Opening Key Note. It was done during the paid part of the stream and we were actually supposed to do the presentation for one hour. However, due to being very nervous, I pretty much ran through the explanation and finished in 40 minutes… When I finished and looked at the clock, I pretty much went from feeling proud to have done it smoothly to “Huh?!” (sarcastic laugh). After checking the stream feedback, I saw that a lot of people said that we should have had a longer presentation if the stream was a paid one so… yeah, pretty traumatic. We didn’t miss anything out, but I couldn’t do a lower paced presentation, so it felt short for a lot of people. This time, I didn’t want to make the same mistake, so even though it was only the outline of the content to come, I wanted to make the length of the presentation satisfying.
F: This time it felt like there are more things that should have been talked about.
Y: Well, not only do we have two more fan festivals left, we also have to release patch 3.5, so there’s only so much that can be revealed. As you know, this time, the big news was the announcement of the expansion itself. We have put much thought into how to fulfill the expectations of players in this period where we cannot reveal too much and where we have to leave a lot of concrete elements as there won’t be much left for future announcements. On the last fan festival, the announcement of the current expansion “Heavensward” was quite sudden, while this time most of the players knew what was coming. We knew we couldn’t do the same thing. We paid much attention into having a presentation that gives good basics for the upcoming expansion, but still doesn’t disappoint the players. Explaining the basic information in front of 5000 cheering people and watching out for timing without a script… It’s quite up to my limits (laughter).
F: Wait, there was no script?
Y: Yeah, I had nothing during performance. We rehearsed only once, too. My thought was this: I presented what I had in my mind while pacing and ad libbing while feeding off the reactions of the crowd.
F: You were right on time this time.
Y: The truth is, I’ve paced it so slow this time that I skipped two slides. (laugh)
F: What were the contents of those slides?
Y: There was supposed to be a FanFest sign that showed “This is Las Vegas” and by clicking on the sign, it would move to Tokyo and the date for the FanFest there would appear on screen. The next slide would show something like “The next information will be…!”. After finishing the announcement about PS3, I thought to myself “I’ve done it!” and pretty much just moved on to introducing Amano’s artwork. I think the staff kind of panicked, but I think the overall flow of the presentation was good. (laugh)
F: What was the reason behind bringing Nakagawa-san (enemy planner) to the Fan Festival?
Y: Because we received a lot of feedback from players that they want some kind of a battle content panel on FanFest this time. He seemed nervous all the time, but after finishing with a performance, he had a face filled with satisfaction. (laugh)
F: Mister Ozma’s (referring to Nakagawa-san) panel was very interesting! The Weeping City of Mach is a very strange content, in a good way, so I was wondering who made it. I think the audience was quite pleased with his appearance on stage, as well.
Y: Thank you. I think he will be very happy to hear that. (laugh) On the Japanese FanFestival, one more interesting member of the enemy planner team will join in, as well, so please look forward to it. He makes battle content that always brings out screms…
F: Is Nakagawa-san preparing for Stormblood, too?
Y: Of course, but he is concentrating on 3.5 at the moment. He’s currently making the raid for the final chapter of the Shadows of Mach scenario.。
F: Is he making anything comparable to Ozma…?
Y: He’s making something that’s “unique”, as usual.
F: What were your thoughts when seeing Ozma for the first time?
Y: I liked the idea. The only thing I told him was “It is fine for the field to change, but be sure to keep the HP of the boss when players come back”. If the bosses HP is at full health when they come back, it would feel as if you were fighting a different boss. If you don’t make it so that the battle continues after returning from the swallowed state, it wouldn’t make much for a fun game experience.
2. The Teaser Trailer has a scene that will not be in the full version.
F: Speculation has already started in Japan on who the woman in the trailer is. Is it “that person” after all?
Y: I wonder… (laugh) But please do speculate from now on. Players who have been following the scenario from 1.0 will notice that something is “off”. The timeline in the game is still currently in the 3.x series, so if you think about it, the trailer actually showing the future is some sense. If you compare both, you might be able to speculate on what is about to happen. Other games don’t have this aspect, so we plan to do similar things in the future, as well.
F: This is only my speculation, but I think that the woman in the trailer is Yda. Is it ok to think that Yda and Papalymo will have a big role in the expansion?
Y: Without revealing specific names, I can say that important characters of the Scions will have important roles in the scenario. The next patch will have some information on who the woman in the trailer is. Be sure to make a lot of speculation!
F: Is the reason behind the main plot point of the expansion being Ala Mhigo that it is still something left over from 1.0?
Y: Yes. When it comes to Ala Mhigo, it already has a lot of connections with Ul’Dah when it comes to the story. This also is one of the reasons why Ilberd ran away. The result of that was that the Warriors of Light went to Ishgard. If we leave it like that, what other power could you fight with? Giving out the lore and not having anything being realized is something I personally don’t like. When looking at this problem as a player, if a friend of mine were to tell me “the story is that this and this happened between that” I would just think “meh”.
F: So when you started planning the second expansion, it was pretty easy to decide that it was going revolve around Ala Mhigo?
Y: It wasn’t easy as with Ishgard. When I took on the project of FFXIV, I asked the staff why the world doesn’t feel fantasy-like.
F: What was their answer?
Y: That there was a country called Ishgard, that was supposed to be released with the game, but in the end, they didn’t make it in time to release it (laugh). Not only that, but it was also explained to me that Ishgard had a quite easy to comprehend setting to it that involved dragons and knights. “You’ve got to be kidding me” I thought to myself. “Why are you making something so important if you can’t put it out in time”. So opening the gates of Ishgard and letting players in became one of our biggest goals. And the result of that was that we prepared ourselves and decided on the plot point, being Ishgard, right from the start. On the other hand, a theme like the one’s for Stormblood where having aggressors and the controlled, and recapturing of land is something that Japanese players aren’t too familiar with. So we did put a lot more thought into it when compared with Heavensward.
F: So when did you finally decide on Ala Mhigo?
Y: Right after the release of Heavensward, we prepared ourselves for the worst and decided on the theme. If we weren’t to do it like that, we wouldn’t be able to make an expansion pack of this volume. With working on the big patches while working on the expansion on the same time, decisions have to be made fast, no matter what.
F: In the main story, there’s a scene where the Warrior of Light fights Raubahn. Was that a hint for the expansion?
Y: The staff might have done it instinctively. Raubhan is an Ala Mhigan who came to his position through the colosseum. However, before that he had quite a bad position. He had quite a farce in 2.55, but there are still many sides of him that weren’t directly described. And to add to that, Raubhan is one of the easier characters to put into the story when compared to the other two grand company leaders. With that said, after it was decided that Ala Mhigo was the next plot line, that scene might have appeared in the staff’s minds.
F: What are the thoughts, or the message behind the title “Crimson Liberator”? (note: the Japanese title for the expansion is 紅蓮のリベレーター, which translates to “crimson liberator”; also, リベレーター is a borrowed word from English which is read “ribereitaa”)
Y: With the “Blue skies of Ishgard” (note: again, translation of the Japanese title for Heavensward) expansion, we released exploring and adventuring by flying, so the concept was that the adventure expanded into the skies. Therefore, the “Blue skies” part came to mind quite easily. On the other hand, when it comes to the English title “Heavensward”, when looking at Christianity, there is only one Heaven, but Eorzea has many… so we made the name as it is. So, if the last expansion is “blue”, the next one has to be red = “crimson” (laugh).
F: I see (laugh)
Y: As announced today, this time, the theme is “liberation”. I think of it a little as Europe’s revolution in the Middle Ages. The image of people gathered by a Revolution Banner which is giving off a flame, winning a revolution in my mind is a red color. We had thought of words such as “scorching flame”, too, but ultimately we used the word “crimson”. The word 蒼天 (blue skies) isn’t really used on a daily basis, so this time with the word “crimson”, we thought it would sit good with players, so we didn’t hesitate too much in to use it. As I announced in the Opening Key Note, we also want to tackle the problem of not everyone wanting liberation. As for the “liberator” part, we had a hard time finding an English word that corresponds to “liberator” and that is familiar with Japanese.
F: So that was the thought process behind it…
Y: The title “Reborn Eorzea” (A Realm Reborn’s Japanese title) and “Blue skies of Ishgard”, even though they are made up phrases, they are quite easy to understand due to them including region names. We wanted a title that goes from Kanji to Katakana (Kanji are Japanese characters that include a meaning while katakana are characters that are used mainly for borrowed words, and are strictly phonetic; e.g. 紅蓮(kanji)のリベレーター(katakana)) and later found out we found ourselves in a pickle. We also talked about wanting a title that states “something の(a Japanese particle which connects two nouns; and yes, the word that corresponds to crimson in Japanese is a noun) something”. I gave the word 解放者 “kaihousha” (Japanese word for liberator) so we came up with “liberator”. However, due to not many Japanese being familiar with English, we thought that not many people would understand it’s so we put the word “リベレーター” (liberator, but the borrowed from English version) above the 解放者 “kaihousha” (same word; liberator, only the original Japanese version). The title includes the Kanji word 解放者, but if you were to write it in a sentence without the reading, then you omit the Kanji and write it in Katakana (リベレーター). In the title you write it as 解放者 “kaihousha” but read it as liberator.
F: I thought we would have a region name in the title this time, too. (laugh)
Y: But the name “Crimson Ala Mhigo” wouldn’t really be… (laugh). Besides, if we were to limit the titles to region names, it would bring us trouble in the future (laugh).
2.a. The title includes the keyword “a worn-out flag”
F: In Amano-sensei’s artwork, the weapon of the woman is a dagger… claw… kunai?
Y: You’re talking about the weapon she’s holding? I didn’t tell him to draw a specific weapon, and what were his inspirations to draw that, I have no idea… (laugh). I usually tell Amano-sensei the lore and the story and what our goal is. After that I explain the motifs after which we do a discussion. During the discussion, he would say “I got it!”, and then the rest is up to him.
F: So there were no specific instructions on the weapon from you?
Y: No, we didn’t give him any specific instruction on what she should hold.
F: So it’s a bit dangerous to speculate using the image?
Y: It’s only his perspective. However, we will take inspiration from the image to broaden the scenario, so there might be some connection later. So at this point, I can’t really say “yes” or “no”.
F: What kind of message did you give to Amano-sensei this time?
Y: First we told him the key word “flag”. If you look at the title logo, you can see that the background has the liberation army flag. We told Amano-sensei that even though they are a liberation army, they themselves don’t have an image of them being one. They are only “liberators” who fight for freedom. We also told him to not put any design on the flag and that the liberation army didn’t make the flag themselves. The flag was drawn by a painter who draw people wanting freedom gathering by a worn-out flag, which is a symbol of forming and union. Also, that the woman in the red clothes and the Warrior of Light should be in front.
F: That’s deep…
Y: When I order an image from Amano-sensei, we usually discuss it in this way. When we ordered the Heavensward title logo, we asked for a dragon fighting the Heaven’s Ward. But last time, there wasn’t a sufficient number of knights, so Minagawa (lead UI artist) and myself didn’t know what to do (laugh). Amano-sensei told us “I’m glad you always give me specific instructions. It’s very easy to draw what comes to mind”.
F: That’s great!
Y: Yeah, for a big fan of Amano-sensei, I’m very happy with being able to work with him! (laugh)
2.b. Clothes of Warrior of Light who fought in the trailer are the next Monk’s job specific gear.
F: When was the showed trailer finished?
Y: I arrived to Las Vegas on Tuesday… and almost “passed” the trailer, so I think it was the night of October 7th… I’m kind of confused with the time difference. (laugh)
F: So you just barely made it in time…
Y: Yes. However, the trailer is very similar to a CG movie, so it is very hard to define a “finish”. The animation was done very quickly, but we had to do adjustments due to the world setting being hard to see and the video itself being fast paced. Also, expressions of the characters that were in the video… The expressions were fixated about two weeks ago. The part when the Warrior of Light and the mysterious woman fight and make contact, you can see waves propagating through the air. For that part we received a suggestion from the visual works team that they wanted to use a technique used for manga. They used intensive lines and distortions, and we completely understood the intent, but it felt weird, so we asked for adjustments of that part until 1 week prior to completion. That was all I could do, though. After that I asked visual works to color correct the scenes and went for America. So the trailer didn’t go with me.
F: The process is almost the same as when making a CG movie!
Y: Yes, It’s the same.
F: You said that this video was only a part of the entire video. Why did you put focus on the fighting scene?
Y: There is too much spoilers in the other parts, so we couldn’t put that in (laugh). I wrote the storyboard for this video, as well, and when we made the shorter version, there was too few scenes we could use, so the only thing I could think to myself is “shoot!”.
F: It does feel lengthy though.
Y: About 2 minutes, maybe…? That doesn’t include even a third of the entire video. We wanted to make a video that will give excitement to players like the “End of an Era” trailer, but because of that, we could only put out the first part of the video… It is completely my fault (laugh). Afterwards, I thought to myself that I should’ve thought about the shorter version a bit more. The proto-type just didn’t conclude too well, so had an extra scene made for the shorter version…
F: So that’s what happened. (laugh)
Y: The last scene where they charge at each other originally wasn’t in the storyboard. Since we did make it now, it might be in the final long version, but it all depends on the visual works team.
F: The equipment the Warrior of Light was wearing, is that monk’s job specific gear?
Y: The warrior of light wears monk’s job specific gear. That will be monk’s first gear in end-game.
F: And the woman’s gear…?
Y: Have no idea. (laugh)
F: But people whose main job is monk would surely want to fight in that.
Y: The image of her the trailer is that she fights with one style of martial arts.
F: But in the end it turns out she is a Dancer!
Y: There are people that speculate that. It is very strange that those opinions mostly come from Japan, though. I haven’t heard that speculation from other regions. A lot of Japanese think it is “monk vs. dancer”. But… it has been only 10 hours since the announcement.
F: What do you think about those speculations?
Y: No comment. (laugh)
F: In the opening key-note, you announced job specific equipment for existing jobs. It looks as if the designs for male and female are quite different.
Y: We received a lot of feedback, especially from male players, that the current White Mage gear is leaning too much towards female. So this time, we made completely different design for male and female. We tried to design it so that the image of a White Mage is not lost, regardless of gender.
F: Of course, the gear will be available after level 70?
Y: Yes, you will collect the gear after level 70.
F: When will you show us job specific gear for the rest of the jobs?
Y: Probably, during the live letters next year.
F: When is the next live letter?
Y: We will have one sometime during November and it will most likely be a 3.5 preview part 1.
F: Will you show the full version of the trailer during Tokyo Fan Festival?
Y: That probably won’t be possible.
F: Does the final version include the main theme of the expansion?
Y: The Heavensward trailer didn’t have it, so it will probably be a different piece.
F: That is true. Even so, the trailer was filled with questions.
Y: There are still no hints, at this moment, so please do speculate.
F: How much information from the entirety was announced this time?
Y: The rise of the level cap is quite wide, so it’s not easy to say in gameplay time. We still didn’t give any detail about the new features that are to come, so it’s hard to say. This presentation was only the first one out of 3, therefore the presentations in Tokyo and Frankfurt might have more substance.
F: It seemed like the important parts were left out.
Y: Yes, this is just the beginning.
3. The scenario continues up to 6.0?!
F: Will we see anything about the Adder and Garlemald or similar dangers in the upcoming main quests in the expansion?
Y: That will be spread out through the 4.x series. Looking through the perspective of the Warriors of Light, it will be in the middle of the Ala Mhigan liberation. In 2.x, the invasion of Garlemald was stopped and afterwards the dragons were suppressed. This scenario continues until the restoration of the Eorzean Alliance. The next step is to do something about Garlemald ruled lands, so anything regarding the Adder comes after that. Garlemald’s ideology will also be introduced a little at a time, and during the scenario, some players might think that the ideology isn’t that different from the ideology of the Allagan Empire. We thought that maybe we should tell the story from a perspective of comparison of the two empires. I was asked during the Fan Festival if we have started thinking about 5.0. We have the rough idea of the story line up until the end. If we don’t have anything thought up, it is very hard to make a story. At the current state, we will need up to 6.0 to finish everything. (laugh)
F: You also announced new Primals. Will someone get tricked by the Ascians and try to summon gods, again? That won’t change?
Y: This time, there will be a different twist. The reason the Ascians manipulated the beastmen is to manipulate domestic politics of the three cities, so when they go to different areas, they take different approaches. In case of Ishgard, they didn’t manipulate beastmen, but rather put Thordan and the Dragon Eye in their center of attention, so that they succeed in making a primal with a different concept. They will take different approaches. Their plan is to dry out the Aether of the land, distort the balance and unite the worlds to begin with, therefore, Primals are only one of the methods they use. The way of thinking of the Black Ascians and the White Ascian is a little bit different, so the story development will be different from what we saw until now.
F: So their role of working in the shadows won’t change.
Y: The shadows might become paler in the expansion.
F: You also said that Zenos will have a unique personality compared to the previous generals. Is there anything you can tell us about that?
Y: I will just say that he will be a character which no one sympathize with.
F: It seems like he holds a katana. By some chance, does he…?
Y: His weapon has nothing to do with his personality, but if you’re asking if it’s a gunblade then yes, it is. Try to look at his art again (laugh). We received a lot of thoughts from players that they wanted to work for Gaius because the 3 cities were “brown noses” so they couldn’t bring themselves to like them. In case of Zenos, I think no one will think of him like that. (laugh) He’s a type of villain you haven’t seen so far.
F: So something like Kefka?
Y: I don’t want to compare him with any character at the moment. The truth is that he is the son of the current emperor and his full name is “Zenos Yae Galvus”. Please look forward to seeing how he will interact with the Warriors of Light!
F: It might be because he is still a general working his way up, but it seems as if Regula Van Hydrus alienated from other Generals. By some chance, will he be on the Warriors of Light’s side in the future?
Y: In the case of Regula, the score with him will be settled in 3.5. Any questions you have in regards to him will be answered. It won’t go too deep, however. There won’t be too much about his background, but any questions that have connection with the recent events will be answered neatly.
F: I think Estinien is a great character. Will he reappear in Stormblood? Something like saving us from a crisis or something similar.
Y: Estinien’s future is already decided, but at this point, I can’t tell you anything. I really like him as a character, as well, so he will make a reappearance. We have the perfect setting prepared for him, but I’m not sure how everyone will react to that. (laugh)
I won’t say if he will appear in 4.0 or not, but we have decided on the fates of the current characters.
F: I heard you are about to start recording voice acting.
Y: Voice acting recording will start soon. Please wait for future announcements to find out which characters will appear. Estinien won’t disappear just like that. He’s also a Dragoon, which we don’t have in the Scions. Personally, I would like for him to join the Scions, but considering his personality, even if he were invited by Alphinaud, he wouldn’t join just like that.
F: That is true.
Y: He would answer with “I hate being in crowds”. Therefore, we plan on developing him into a character that can accept an invitation like that. Whatever the case is, there will be instances where you will interact with him.
F: The main job for Stormblood will be monk. Will Widargelt appear in the main quest scenario?
Y: He is too wild for the main quests… Maybe job quests? (laugh)
F: By the way, what will the flow to level 70 be?
Y: For your first job, you should be level 70 by the end of the main quest scenario for Stormblood.
F: In Heavensward, there were a lot of instances where I had to sidetrack from the main quests to gain experience points because I was lacking levels. How will it be this time?
Y: This time, the ratio of sub quests will be lowered and main quests raised. We want to balance it so that you do the main quests, a little bit of side quests and the dungeons that will be available during the quests.
F: So you’re changing the numbers?
Y: The overall number won’t change. For example, if the overall number of quests were to be 500, previously there were 300 main quests and 200 sub quests. Just an example, but this time it would be 350 and 150. The idea behind it is that you gain levels by going through the story. It might have happened because it was the first expansion, but in Heavensward, the first dungeon gave too little experience points, so we had to make adjustments later. This time we have that as a reference, so this time you won’t need to stop with the main quests.
4. Inquiring further about “multiple jobs”.
F: Will you be announcing any new jobs at Tokyo Fan Festival?
Y: We will start talking about details from the Tokyo Fan Festival. We will announce at least one…
F: Is there a chance you will announce everything?
Y: I think I would regret that decision. (laugh)
F: Future jobs won’t have classes, either?
Y: That’s right. We don’t have plans to make classes.
F: Oh yeah, there was a lot of attention brought towards to the shirt you were wearing.
Y: I just like Marvel characters (laugh). Is there any hidden meaning to it… or maybe there isn’t…? In 2014, people gave a lot attention to my Batman shirt, but I simply wore it because I like Christopher Nolan. (laugh)
F: So it wasn’t teasing the Dark Knight job? (laugh)
Y: It might have been a coincidence. (sarcastic laugh)
F: Do you have plans on implementing new roles in Stormblood?
Y: No, we don’t.
F: New roles will never be added?
Y: That I don’t know. But we won’t be releasing any new roles for Stormblood.
5.The thought process behind action adjustments.
F: You announced that you’re going to make adjustments to actions of lower usability/low effect. Is it going to be similar to the changes that Summoners had with Tri Disaster? Will the actions be changed the moment Stormblood is released?
Y: That is an example, yes. You won’t need to re-aquire the abilities. In case of Summoner’s Tri Disaster, it was quite an extreme change and all actions won’t see extreme changes like that. For example, monk’s ability Feather Foot is an ability that rises your evasion by a decent amount. However, there aren’t that many situations where monks need to take damage from the enemy. I mean, if the monk keeps receiving damage, I think we know what the outcome will be… (laugh)
F: A wipe (laugh)
Y: Even when fighting solo, there aren’t that many battles where Feather Foot is needed to survive. Of course, there might be players who say they don’t want to see it disappear because it is a unique skill for the job and that they use it when they solo, but if we were to increase the number of actions, it would have to be removed from the hot bars anyways. For actions like this, we plan on either removing them completely or change their effects to have more use. Another example would be to unite Warrior’s wrath and abandon stacks into one gauge so that you have to manage them then that one gauge. We want to make it so that you choose which one you want to use for what, and so on. We want to make big changes for the usage of actions, as well like this, so that’s why we wrote “reassessment of unused/ineffective actions” only in the slide.
F: So it is hard to put it under one umbrella?
Y: Yes, it isn’t just the problem of removing or not removing the effects. There are actions that have limited usage, as well as have little effect, so we want to make them more useful. There are actions that will see a complete revamp of their effects, as well. You should look at it like that. The number of changes is very vast; so please refer to the examples I just gave to understand the current thought process behind the changes. One more thing, the examples I just gave are just examples. It is unknown whether or not they will be in the game, so please take that into consideration.
F: I think a lot people who use a controller are worried that they won’t have enough buttons to use everything. What is the total number of usable actions in Stormblood?
Y: The number of used actions* on level 70 will be the same as the number you had on level 60. Even if we were to change the number, it would be for specific jobs and we would give or remove one action. However, we are still discussing adjustments, so that might not be the final decision.
*Note: “used actions” are referring to actions commonly used in a jobs rotation so Yoshida is saying the length of the rotation shouldn’t change drastically. In the write up from Game Watch, Yoshida confirms that the number of total actions will increase- however the rotations will not be largely affected by that.
F: With the changes to additional actions, will swapping tank stances disappear?
Y: I think there would be people for and against putting the stance swap into one action, and I also think that removal of something that you already can do can turn into stress, so we won’t make sudden big changes. The image we have is if we were to put the stance swap into one action, it would be much easier to devise and planning, which would result in being able to show that jobs characteristics.
F: With changes like that, is there a possibility that the concept of battle content will change all together?
Y: The battle content is made through various formulas and calculations, so it won’t change. After the base, job adjustments, is in place, battle mechanics are made to give more entertainment to the content. After that, we do calculations to implement the amount of damage and phase change timings. Therefore, there won’t be drastic changes like changing the concepts themselves.
6. More details on overall actions in Stormblood
F: What is the current stance with actions coming in Stormblood?
Y: Our philosophy is that, for example, a Dragoon should play like a Dragoon. In the case of Paladin, they should be tougher and be able to protect allies more. We try to bring in concepts like that.
F: Will the abilities be acquired though job quests after a certain level, like in Heavensward?
Y: There will be changes in that regard. I was told by the quest design team that it is hard to link all quest stories to the new actions, so there will be actions that you will acquire through leveling up, as well as through the quest line. This makes it much easier to make quests with a deeper story.
F: It was also hinted that there will be implementation of job specific UI elements. For example, will you still need to maintain Enochian and Blood of the Dragon? Will that see any changes?
Y: This is just an example, but we might make Enochian a permanent buff. In exchange for that, Black Mages who do a certain action order would get buffed. This is also just an example, but even if Enochian would have a timer when used, it would restore automatically. By doing something at a specific timing, you would get a positive effect… something like that. The current problem is the DPS gap between being able to maintain Enochian and not being able to. If we don’t make adjustments like that, that gap would never change. However, if we were to make it too easy, the top players wouldn’t find the job entertaining, so by introducing a different element to the rotation, top players can have fun playing, as well. For argument’s sake, there are cases where a black mage uses Lay Lines and has to keep moving away from it to avoid AoE damage.
Y: In cases like that, you would like to use Aetherial Manipulation on the Lay Lines. By doing adjustments like these, and increasing conveniences of actions when used right, the difference between players would appear.
F: Will the UI be completely different depending on the job?
Y: We are still debating whether or not to give new elements to all jobs, but the jobs that would get their elements, their designs would differ depending on the job. This is also just an example, but for Dark Knight, we would give them a specific UI element for Darkside so that they manage it through that element. By the way, the job specific UI elements will have designs appropriate for the job.
Y: For example, Greased Lightning might get an element where there’s three orbs that look like mantras. The first step would light one orb, while having all 3 steps would have lit all three of them. It would look like a combo gauge you see in fighting games, and when they are filled up, they would have that “maxed out” feeling to them. Just by making a series of changes like that would make the gaming experience much less stressful. If a new player saw the UI, they would immediately think: “Oh, I need to keep an eye on this” or “I see, by using this ability, one orb dims out” and so on.
F: A lot of people put action icons in a place that’s easy to see and play by paying attention to them.
Y: It is much better to have a visual element showing that “this ability uses all three stacks of greased lightning” rather than putting that in text. We would like to make different changes like that to different jobs.
F: We won’t have to look at the timers for action icons anymore in the future?
Y: No, we won’t be changing everything. You will still need to manage DoTs.
F: You will only put UI elements for things specific for different jobs?
Y: Exactly. For example, to manage black mage’s thunder, you will still need to look at the thunder icon, but for Enochian, you will only need to look at the Enochian specific UI element.
F: Every job will get one or two elements?
Y: We still don’t know whether everyone will have job specific elements. It is hard to say due to it being effected by the final designs of jobs already existing in the game. Most likely, Dragoon will still be mainly dependent on the Blood of the Dragon and we have no plans on changing that drastically. Think of it like this: We will prepare gauges exclusive to an action so that it is easier for players to output more DPS. By changing the look of the UI, it will also be easier to get the feeling of playing a new job when changing jobs to a new one.
F: The job exclusive UI, will it be displayed after acquiring the skill and being level 60, for example.
Y: It will most likely be like that, yes. In that case, it will be up until now up to level 59. Think of it like this: the moment you acquire an action that responds to that jobs basis is when the system comes into action. Therefore, the level of acquirement will be changed for some jobs. There’s a high probability that we will do adjustments of when certain abilities are acquired. For example, the timing when you acquire Enochian might be sooner… and so on. We are really looking into making changes to actions in various aspects.
F: I have a feeling that by introducing the role shared actions, job’s uniqueness might be easier to grasp. Do you have any comments in that regard?
Y: I think it is close to what you are thinking. The introduction of role shared abilities, individuality to job actions will be sharpened. It will create opportunities to do good with different jobs.
F: Additional actions will also change after level 60?
Y: This will be right from the start. Or better to say, the additional actions system will be replaced all together with the role shared actions. New players will gain the abilities automatically, and when they try to level multiple jobs is when they will start to be aware of the system. Also, for example, situations like “I want to level white mage, but I need to level thaumaturge in order to get Swiftcast” might also disappear.
F: The current additional action system is made so that players willingly pick actions depending on their class. Some actions are made available to be shared between classes. Will some actions become job specific? For example, marauder’s Blood Bath being available only to that job?
Y: Some actions will become unique. Abilities that will mainly be in the shared category will be damage up abilities, or debuff abilities, etc. We want to make it so that you can change which abilities you use depending on the content and other party member.
F: DPS have different types such as physical range and melee. Will all of them share the same abilities?
Y: We will most likely give different abilities to physical melee and physical ranged. However, physical ranged and magical ranged will most likely get the same abilities, as things are going.
F: What about tanks?
Y: The current three tank jobs will share the same abilities. By introducing defense abilities such as physical damage resistance 20% up into role shared abilities, in their stead, we can create new unique abilities for jobs. You might think it will become easier, but the matter of fact is that it won’t. We will remove useless parts in order to strengthen party cooperation and skill rotation. By making the system simpler, we can go much deeper with the battle system. But, we don’t plan to widen the gap among players because of player skill, so I think that the gap will be somewhat filled between casuals and hardcore players. However, you will see a gap open between intermediate and advance players.
F: When talking about the current state of BLM, if your Enochian wears off at the wrong time, you fall in a situation where you can’t do anything but spam fire, and it is hard to recover.
Y: I think that players will be divided into advanced players and intermediate players in the future, but we plan on leaving some space for working things out, so please try things out. We won’t make changes that will damage good players, so stay assured. Top players are top players for a reason.
F: They are that different from casual players?
Y: Their ability to make decisions on the fly is incredible. How they cope with random attacks, or how they deal with situations when somebody makes a mistake, etc. It seems as if they don’t make everything a pattern. They move as if it was in the algorithm from the start. And not only that, they back-up other players while doing their job. Sometimes I think they transcend humanity. (laugh)
F: By the way, will the system of connecting combos by using the global cool down change?
Y: That won’t be changed. It’s the base of FFXIV, so it won’t become busier than it already is.
7. Characteristics of some existing jobs might be changed!
F: Will characteristics of current jobs be the same in the future?
Y: The concepts of some jobs will change.
F: Will you unify jobs and classes?
Y: If we were to do that, we would do it in 5.0.
F: Classes currently exist but aren’t really there.
Y: I can’t deny that, but we can’t do anything about it for the time being.
F: It would require cost and time; I assume?
Y: Converting current class quests into job quests is not an easy task. We know from data that there are people who just don’t know how to get jobs, so I do think that unifying them would be a good thing…
F: What about additional stats?
Y: Most new players don’t even put in the additional stats, so… (sarcastic laugh). Not only is the leveling speed fast, there aren’t that many games anymore that allow you to put in stats to your liking.
F: Will you implement any new content for beginning players like the Hall of the Novice?
Y: The staff gave a suggestion to implement the Hall of the Intermediate the other day. (laugh) It would teach players who want to do extreme Primals their job rotations.
F: What was your response to the suggestion?
Y: It would give players the message that they have to do good in-game, so I wasn’t really into the idea… but recently I started thinking that it might not be so bad. (laugh)
F: You said that you would make changes regarding healer’s accuracy for Stormblood.
Y: My answer is still the same as before.
F: Did your stance on healers and attacking during raids change?
Y: We were actually discussing to remove accuracy from all jobs, all together. It gives players less freedom because of it…
F: What about parry.
Y: Same goes for parry as well. I discussed it before that we will change how parry works, but it might be gone before your even notice. (laugh)
8. Thoughts on implementing something harder than savage.
F: What will the next end game contents look like?
Y: We think that one of the most important aspects to raiding is that a player feels that they had fun once they are done with the so called raid race, regardless of how much time it took. The thoughts about it being cleared fast or if it took too long comes as a secondary aspect. Whatever the case is, it is very important that when players reach the goal they feel achievement and excitement, as FFXIV is entertainment. I think we achieved that with Alexander Savage: The Creator. On the other hand, we do know that there are people who feel as if it isn’t enough. For now, I think that the current raid content is enough as content that is targeting all of the players. However, for players who still aren’t satisfied, who can’t get that feeling of achievement, we are discussing to add something extra.
F: On stage you discussed that it’s still uncertain if you will keep the normal mode – savage mode system. What are your personal thoughts on that?
Y: We are still discussing on that problem, but I personally think we should keep it like that. People who couldn’t join in the raiding up until now can enjoy the scenario by clearing the normal mode, so I think that was a good decision we made (to split it into normal and savage). Also, there are people who challenge extreme Primals after going through normal mode and then try for savage. So by looking at the data, as well, we should keep the current system. However, the top players might feel that they been dragged down by that. Because they are the few “chosen players”, casual players can have admiration towards them… and I think that we should maintain that connection, so me and my staff have been discussing that it might not be so bad to have something even more challenging that will target the top of the top players.
F: What is the concept behind that challenge?
Y: we think that it would be nice to have a single content that not everyone would like to challenge, so finding member wouldn’t be easy.
F: Something above savage?
Y: Hmmm… Not a more difficult version but rather the content itself being challenging. Only parties that have fulfilled all of the requirements could take on the challenge.
F: Something like players who have cleared the last tier of savage can try it out?
Y: If I were to give an example, then yes. If we were to make it, we would go all out, so complaints like “It’s too hard” won’t be allowed. (laugh)
9. The Creator’s difficulty won’t become the base for future raids.
F: I have a feeling if you were to make the Creator a bit harder, that you would receive a lot of feedback that it is hard.
Y: I think we got the balance just right this time.
F: Receiving feedback that it was easy is the best, after all?
Y: I think so, yes. A lot of people want to try it out because they feel that they can clear it.
F: A lot of players seem to be enjoying the Creator.
Y: A lot of people seem to be challenging it because they feel that they can clear it, so I think we’ve done a good job there. Because players feel that they can clear it, they try their best on the next challenge, as well, and I understand that. So I think we answered their expectations.
F: Will future raids’ difficulty be based on the Creator?
Y: I can’t promise that. If you’re asking whether the Creator will be our guide for future raids, then that is hard to answer. The level cap will raise, and the difficulty of using jobs will change, too, so we have to change the nature of raids, as well. So think of it like it is constantly changing. We do want to go for the current comfort of play, though.
F: So actions will change?
Y: That’s right. If actions on the player’s side change then we have to make changes on the side of the contents, as well.
F: What do you think of the clear times this time?
Y: The world first race was just as we assumed. We thought that the first tier would be cleared in 2 hours, and the second tier would be cleared 2 and a half hours after that, so we were off by just a little. The third tier was cleared the next day right before maintenance. We were kind of divided in the development team when it came to the third tier, so overall, there was a difference of 6 hours. We thought that someone would clear the 4th tier by the end of the day. So basically, the Creator being cleared within 48 hours was as we thought. But, the third tier did become a wall, after all.
F: A lot of people seemed to have trouble beating the third tier of normal. Was this also intentional?
Y: Because of matching though the duty finder, a lot of people seem to have trouble with the “optical sight” mechanic. It’s a lesson for us for next time.
10. The big news regarding the new 24-man raid
F: Apparently, you have big news regarding the next alliance raid. Can you tell me more about that?
Y: Unfortunately, I can’t give any hints at this time (sarcastic laugh)
F: It will still be for 24 people?
Y: That won’t change. It’s hard to gather up players, so having more than 24 people is kind of impossible. The number 24 is the limit for being able to have fun with everyone, alongside not having long wait times.
F: Will we see anything in that regard at future Fan Festivals?
Y: Yes, there will be announcements.
F: So we will see the entire picture there.
Y: We are developing according to that schedule. What will I do if we don’t make it for Japan… (sarcastic laugh)
11. The Forbidden Land of Eureka might be used to for making other things other than weapons?
F: I still don’t have a concrete image of Eureka yet, but will we be going there for other reasons and not just for making our anima weapon equivalents?
Y: I usually compare FFXIV with a theme park, but the Forbidden Land of Eureka won’t be a place where everyone would want to go. For example, there are people who don’t want to go to horror houses because they don’t see the point in getting scared on purpose. For example, on a date, the boyfriend might want to invite the girlfriend to go the horror house, but the girlfriend just doesn’t seem to find it fun. In other words, it’s not like everyone wants to go to the horror house, but there are people who just love the adrenalin rush they get from it. Think of Eureka as something like that.
F: We don’t have a place in FF like that, yet.
Y: We don’t. Up until now, in the theme park called FFXIV land, we went to various attractions through the Zodiac and Anima Weapon quest lines, but I think a lot of people are getting tired of that system. We are also reaching our limits on how to create routes to go to those attractions, so we thought that we might as well make the weapon quest one of the attractions, as well, rather than it being a tool to see attractions. It will still be a “time to win” based attraction like Zodiac and Anima Weapons. That’s why we thought that the name “Forbidden land” fits it quite well… (laugh). In FFIII, Eureka in a land that is sealed with powerful magic and weapons, so in order to keep that charm point, we want players to put in hours and effort into making it. With that in our minds, we thought we should bring it up by a level, so we made Eureka.
F: Will monsters that pop once every 72 hours appear there?
Y: It’s an easy to understand example, so I used it in the Opening Keynote. It would be hard for it to work in the current age. But, I do think that it is possible to have contents that require some kind of an entry key to challenge them, like FFXI and FFXIV 1.0 had. For example, in FFXIV 1.0 you had to collect Infernal Totems in order to challenge Ifrit. We can’t implement that for all of the contents in the game, but using that system for one “attraction” is a possibility. It would introduce a new concept and values of getting rewards through putting time into getting those entry keys and then challenging the contents to get those rewards. Therefore, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce that to FFXIV, as well. At first, I didn’t want to reveal the name completely, but we announced it at this timing because we thought that it would be easy to understand by players who have been long time Japanese fans of the FF series. The title was unanimous in the development team, as well.
F: What about the image you used in the Opening Keynote for Eureka?
Y: It’s only a concept. I want to put focus on things that still haven’t been resolved in the scenario. It’s still a long way ahead, but please do speculate about it.
F: Will FFIII fans feel nostalgia?
Y: We are trying to create a Eureka fit for FFXIV, so I don’t think they will. The only merit Eureka in FFIII had, was that you could get stronger weapons so it was easier for you to re-watch the ending. We do plan on giving the players the same feeling of achievement after receiving a powerful weapon through hard work, though.
F: Will Eureka be an extension to Diadem 2.0 which will be implemented in 3.5?
Y: We did make adjustments to the Diadem after receiving feedback, but the thought process behind the two is completely different. Diadem planned for 3.5 will have content that will require 4 parties to clear, something like a mini raid. The thought behind Diadem is that you get a surprise when doing your assigned tasks. On the other hand, the concept behind Eureka is that you will have to thrust away to some extent right from the start, so their backgrounds are different.
F: Will Diadem 2.0’s rewards be Aetherial gear? ──
Y: The rewards are still in the final stage of adjusting. We are still discussing whether or not the rewards strength is at it’s worth. The development is going quite smoothly, but we are still struggling with it. Whatever the case is, it will be a content that doesn’t exist in FFXIV. We will watch how it is received by players and then present them with Eureka.
F: The base of it being a content of big size which is challenged by 9 parties, will it change?
Y: That will stay the same.
F: Will there be content where even players who don’t like to do content like Anima and Zodiac Weapons just for the sake of completion, can receive strong weapons?
Y: I will leave that for Eureka.
F: Oh, I see!
Y: If it goes well, we might think of doing armor, as well…
Y: But, if we were to do armor, it wouldn’t have its own design. You would register a piece of armor you like and make it stronger. We are thinking that it might be interesting to manipulate a piece of armor you like and make it stronger. This problem is somewhat solvable with the glamour system, but I think that maybe picking and then deciding is also one of ways to entertain oneself.
F: It will change gear progression all together.
Y: It is the second expansion pack, and if we were to do the same thing all over again, a lot of people would get tired of it. Like I said earlier, the base design of FFXIV will not change. It’s a game made for this age, but that’s exactly why even if it were to change in the future to fit the future trends, it won’t return to the past. And even if a past trend were to become a modern trend, it still must include a “modern vibe” to it. It is not negating the past, but rather extracting the interesting elements, and inviting players who like them. That’s the product we are aiming for.
12. Stormblood seen from the current story setting
F: There is a lot of Allagan remains left in the Ala Mhigan territory, like Ultima weapon, which was buried underground, is showing us. Will the Allagan remains have a deep connection with the story in expansion pack, as well?
Y: We just only revealed the title, so I can’t tell any details, but I can say please look forward to patch 3.5.
F: A Griffon Army exists in Ala Mhigo. Are we going to have aerial fights on Griffons by any chance?
Y: If we were to make something like that, it would be its own content and you would probably fight a big enemy like Alexander and throw bombs at him from the sky. However, we have nothing planned like that at the moment, be we might think of a content like that in the future.
F: When looking at the pictures of landscapes from Stormblood, it seems the overall atmosphere is different, with lighting and all. What was the concept behind making the new areas?
Y: Personally, I love the concept art of Heavensward. It is has a liveliness to it that is matched to the current generation, is strangely not too strong, yet holds that FF-like beauty to it. Currently, we are discussing on how important it is to keep that feeling of difference between different areas and dungeons. By the way, when we were developing Heavensward, the sky felt so realistic that at one point we almost went for realistic scenery. However, we can’t really call that a fantasy, so we decided to change our minds into fantasy mode and made changes like making Sohm Al’s sky golden colored. Our current task is to make the areas feel like that area.
F: That scenery was beautiful.
Y: My staff and myself were looking at a photograph called “Twilight of the gods”, and while looking at our mock-up, thought to ourselves: “We have to do at least this good!”. We passed on that feeling to the Stormblood development, too. It isn’t just a problem of putting one more lighting shader, it is about every designer’s originality and ingenuity. For example, depending on the ideas and color coordination, there might be still loads that can be done. On one hand we have technology upgrades, while on the other hand we push the limits of the current technology. That is the current stage of development.
F: Are tweaks like that present in the current dungeons?
Y: We tried to show them, so it would be great if you do see them. We put a lot of effort in the new IDs. FF’s charm point is that if you experience that quality, it is hard to go to different games, so we want to put even more effort into things like that.
13. Difficulty of having Warriors of Light do facial expressions.
Facial expressions shown by the warriors of darkness in 3.3 and 3.4 were very impressive. Is it possible that players can give the same expressions? Warriors of darkness gave a lot of negative expressions. After changing them to a more positive note, I would like to experience “an evolution in emotes”.
Y: You mean that the player can control the expressions?
F: That too, but for example, you could have more fun with positive expressions through the main quests.
Y: About the scene in patch 3.4, where the Warrior of Darkness shouts “you understand, don’t you? Understand!!” (Japanese version), we received a lot of feedback from players that they felt sympathy. However, since the Warrior of light equals the player, we try to avoid using extreme expressions. In FF’s up until now, most of the stories revolve around one character like Cloud in FFVII. A concept of enjoying an interactive show. As for FFXIV, since the Warrior of Light is the player, and we make him do a lot of expressions, some people might think: “I wouldn’t do that/I don’t think like that”. So it is very hard in that aspect…
F: FFXIV has a lot of emotional expressing like that.
Y: We have been adding them since 3.0, so it might feel that way, yeah.
F: So I thought that it would be nice if the emotion expression were to evolve.
Y: We are watching out for that bare line, and we are still searching for a good method. We look at the players’ opinions as well, and it seems that a lot of them want their character to do more acting. Since we did receive feedback like that, we did put much more emotion into the players’ characters when compared to Heavensward. For example, in the scene with Haurchefant, the player shows quite a bit of emotion. We had to retake the scene 5 to 6 times, just because of the facial expressions. The result of that was better quality of the scene, but it does involve a lot of influence from the side of the creators of the scene. I’m not really sure if it’s ok to show our ego like that… so I do hesitate in that aspect.
F: It is hard to make expressions in group performances like the numbered FF titles.
Y: For the NPCs and characters around the player, their destinies are in the hands of the developers, so it isn’t that hard. But for the player’s character…. That really is a difficult problem.
F: It is true that at the Haurchefant scene I thought: are you going to show that much expression??
Y: There are people who say that, as well, so it’s really hard to solve. Even if you’re told by him that a smile suits you best, some people would say that they can’t. Or maybe that they would smile for an instant and then in the end start crying. And we really can’t put that as choices…. (sarcastic laugh)
14. If they were to add a new race, it might be in 5.0
F: It was announced that the level cap is going to be risen to level 70. Will the new players have to finish the scenario of 3.x in order to continue with their adventures?
Y: Basically, yes. The problem is if we will implement the jump potion to skip the scenario. If we don’t, then the requirement will be that they will need to clear the scenario first.
F: The story will continue after revealing all of the secrets in Ishgard?
Y: The story will continue from the 3.x series. You aren’t mistaking there. We plan on making the story so that the player would want to see what’s coming up next as soon as possible.
F: Basically, 3.5 is the connector between Stormblood and 3.4?
Y: That’s right. You will be able to connect many things with today’s presentations, and a lot of questions will pop in, as well.
F: Do Stormblood maps have the Z coordinate, too?
Y: You can enjoy flying, yes.。
F: Do you plan on making the areas around the three main cities available to flying?
Y: We don’t have any plans to implement flying there. The reason is that we don’t have the budget to create content for that. We could fill the holes and only make it available for flying… I do understand that it would be much easier if you could do Beastmen dailies through flying (laugh). But, having only flying and having no content for it is a bit of a problem. It would be better if we used the big budget it would take into making new areas, rather than just making flying available.
F: Will there be any other means of transportation, other than flying?
Y: I won’t only limit myself to the types of transportation, but we do plan on bringing in new experiences, so please wait for further updates.
F: When looking at the FF series, usually using boats comes before flying. Flying is already implemented into the game. Are we going to be able to dive anytime soon?
Y: Not only are the graphics beautiful, but we do have swimsuits as well…. It would be nice if we could dive. (laugh)
F: You didn’t announce any new races this time. Is the usage of Au’Ra as you predicted?
Y: Since it is a race that was released at a later time, I think it is used in a decent rate. We also noticed that there are people who change their race with a phantasia without much hesitation… Maybe they have a lot of sense for fashion. It is not as if they don’t have a sense of roleplay, but rather a way to show love towards their characters. For example, if they were a Lallafel, they would act like one, or if they were an Au’Ra, they would pick clothes that suit the race. An old player like me has a different way in showing love towards my character, so it was quite refreshing to see that. So I thought that it might’ve been good to implement a new race just for that sake.
F: What about Beatmen Tribes?
Y: There will be new types.
F: Will you implement new areas that are not in the Ala Mhigan region, for example, north of Ishgard.
Y: I’ve no idea. (laugh)
F: I’m also wondering if we will ever go to other continents, outside of Eorzia, for example Ilsabard that connects to the Ala Mhigan territory.
Y: Whatever the case be, this time the main theme will be liberation of Ala Mhigo, like I said earlier. I want you to do speculate. But, I personally don’t like to follow a line… That’s all I can say for now.
15. The reason why FFXIV came so far is because of the PS3
F: It was announced that our inventories will be expanded. Will retainers’ inventories be expanded, as well?
Y: We still don’t know if we will touch the retainers. There is a big difference between the bags of players and retainers. When players do matching and go into dungeons, they take all their belongings with them, which burdens the servers, to tell the truth.
F: I see.
Y: In FFXIV, not only do you bring your items anywhere you want, but every second a lot of players are coming in and out of the game. Just entering and exiting public and instanced fields stresses the servers, so expanding inventories is quite the task. However, that is exactly why it is so convenient, as you can use your items anywhere. On the other hand, when it comes to retainers, in 1.0 you could give them as many items as you wanted, so we corrected that when creating them for 2.0. Because they were designed with safety in our minds, in order to relive the players from the burden as much as we can, we limited the access points. That is why you can access your retainers only through bells. In exchange for that, in case the of items being propagated, or if accessed by multiple players, the data’s safety is guaranteed. But, because of that, the transmission cost towards the server for one item slot is quite high, making it hard to increase the number of slots. If the inventories were the same for players and the retainers, we would be able to expand the inventories without much problems, but as I said now, the systems are different so this time we are only looking into the expenditure of players’ inventories.
F: Was the expenditure made available because you are stopping PS3 support?
Y: A lot of people have this misunderstanding, but the PS3 has nothing to do with that. It has to do with displaying the item lists on the screen because of limited memory, but the number of inventory slots and the PS3 have nothing to do with each other. For example, if we were to increase the number of UI elements displayed on the screen, problems would start to arise because of PS3’s memory.
F: A lot of people seem to be misunderstanding how memory works.
Y: Minagawa and myself are probably the last developers of the generation who have a lot of knowledge in how to use memory efficiently. Realistically, no game can win to FFXIV’s memory usage. Therefore, if you hear “because of memory” from us, please do consider that the hardware limit has been reached. To say in simple terms, memory is a vessel used to read fast data deposit and withdrawal. Because reading from HDDs or Blu-Ray is too slow, the data is transferred to the memory, and fast character shifting is possible, when it comes to player inventories, the data is transferred to the server, and the exchange is done with the server and the client, so memory has nothing to do with it. Problems with memory arise when you want to increase the number of displayable characters, for example. Characters wear many different gear, so how many character shifts can you do swiftly is dependent on the amount of memory available. Therefore, frontlines are really the limit. If we were to make content where its 100 vs. 100, PS3 would probably stop running. Shoot, 100 vs. 100 is something that probably wouldn’t be desired too much, so it’s a bad example. (laugh)
F: 100 vs. 100… Does open field PvP have anything to do with that?
Y: Not really. (laugh) The reason why we want to stop PS3 support isn’t because we want to bully the weaker, so please stay assured. Like I said in the presentation, PS3 is great hardware that symbolized one generation. If there was no PS3 when we made A Realm Reborn, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to get this far. We have a lot of respect towards it, so that is exactly why we must continue to the next step. Sony Interactive Entertainment also states that the next generation system is PS4, so both of us (Sony and SE) have to guide players to a better playing experience. That’s the main reason behind this decision.
F: The audience showed a lot of expression showing that finally the hindrance will be gone. Even with that atmosphere, you still showed a lot of respect towards the PS3
Y: There are still players who play on the PS3 and I had to inform them that they won’t be able to play the game on the console in the future, so my state of mind was completely different from that of the audience. No matter how much good effort we put into campaigns, the player still needs to pay money to buy a PS4 in order to continue to play the game. The reason behind me announcing it now is because it is much easier to tell players that a completely new world awaits them. It is not to exclude them for the formula, it is to invite them to the new generation.
F: A free upgrade to the PS4 will also take place.
Y: The campaign is completely free. Please do consider it optimistically.
16. Optimistic consideration of the jump potion
F: If you were to release the jump potion, I think the best timing would be with the release of Stormblood. What are your thoughts on that?
Y: Currently we are 70:30 for releasing it. I talked about that in detail in a previous interview, but a lot of people seem to be discussing it very calmly in the community. Of course, there are people who are against it, but I also think that many will accept it, by how it stands. Many players think it is a necessity for the new players that are going to join the game with the release of the expansion. Many players want to see FFXIV grow, so the 70:30 isn’t that unrealistic. However, we need it for the Chinese and Korean version, so we will develop it, we just don’t know if we will release it for the global version. Please do give us feedback.
F: If you were to release it for the Japanese market, how would it look like?
Y: For the jump potion, you don’t need multiple versions of it, so we are thinking of implementing a potion which will take you the previous level cap of the current expansion. So if the jumping potion was to be implemented, the effect would be that you would instantly become level 60.
F: I see.
Y: If we don’t do that, and if the jumping potion would take you only to, let’s say, level 50, you wouldn’t be able to play with the current players. The concept behind it is that you can level up and enjoy the scenario with friends. But you must get to the current level cap with your own skill.
17. 4k has priority over DirectX 12
F: Change of PC requirements was announced. Do you have any plans on making the experience better for the high-end PCs by implementing the next generation of DirectX support, etc.?
Y: We have DirectX 11 support, so we have no plans on doing the same for DirectX 12. If we were to do something like that, we would give priority to 4k. We would probably implement better pixel rate, image quality and coloring for people who want to play in a 4k environment.
F: If you were to do that, what would become of assets?
Y: We wouldn’t exchange everything. FFXIV originally is eligible for high resolution. If we were to do it, alongside the development of 5.0 or 6.0 we would revamp the drawing engine, and make changes to shaders and so on. If we can’t announce that the graphics will see drastic changes, then there won’t be much effect. We would probably do it when it becomes a normal state of affairs, but as long as it doesn’t, we probably won’t put effort into it.
F: Looking from that perspective, implementing DirectX 11 with the release of Heavensward was a big deal.
Y: Think of it as the first big step.
F: Will Stormblood have proper support from PS4 pro?
Y: We will be working on that. Please wait for the official announcement.
F: So visually, there will be difference between the PS4 and PS4 pro in the future?
Y: Of course. Playing the game on a 4K television, with the best screen quality… This is something Square Enix must do.
18. Proto Ultima Fight will be in the game in the future
F: During the event, we could challenge the 24 man Proto Ultima fight. Was that made only for the event?
Y: We will implement it in a later patch for people who weren’t able to come to the Fan Festival. Please look forward to it?
F: We will be able to challenge it in-game?
Y: Yes. Same as it was for Odin last time. Last time you were able to go for it alone, so as the time passed, the matching times became longer and longer. This time was have reflected on our mistakes. It will be a new field, so please look forward to it!
F: It will still be a 24-man fight?
Y: That won’t change. The difficulty might, though. (laugh) When we were developing it, the difficulty was so high that the clear rate was only 20%, so for Fan Festival we made some adjustments.
F: It was kind of easy.
Y: Yes, we made it easy.
F: When talking about it, I started wanting the extreme version.
Y: The in game version might be a bit more difficult.
19. The intention behind the 4th housing area
F: By implementing the apartment system with the patch 3.4, I think that a lot of problems regarding housing were solved. What is the reason behind wanting to implement a 4th housing area that is also involved with the story?
Y: Because FFXIV is a MMORPG, we want you to experience a different culture when going into new areas. In cases like that, the designs of the houses and furnishing depends on the religion and monsters of the area. Of course, you will be able to put existing furniture in the new area, as well. With those differences, it gives a completely different impression when you live inside a house in a game. I think it adds to motivation to continue the game by adding a different housing area. There are a lot of people who want basement workshops and gardening in their yards. By opening a new housing area, some free companies will also get new goals such as to move to the new area. That will create new bonds and teamwork. I really put emphasis on that, so even if the cost is big, I wanted to implement a new housing area.
F: This is just my assumption, but I think that with the Warrior of Light joining the liberation army, a barrack filled area would slowly turn into living quarters.
Y: Yeah, but the Warrior of Light is a hero… (laugh) Besides, if it’s a place fill with barracks, I don’t think anyone would want to buy land to live there. (laugh) I’m pretty sure that everyone wants to try to live in a house, so I seriously doubt anyone would move from a Lominsan mansion to a barrack. I think living on land which you freed, regardless whether if it will be Ala Mhigo or Ishgard, you would have a feeling of achievement. We won’t be selling new furnishings when the 4th area is released, like it would be done in a free-to-play game, so we won’t have much profit in that regard, but it does motivate players to continue playing the game, as well as giving free companies new goals, so looking it from a long run, the effect might be the same.
20. Use various pieces to solve the puzzle
F: Do you have any messages to the fans who are awaiting the Fan Festivals.
Y: Today’s Opening Keynote was just a prologue to what is to come. I have been talking about 4.0 for about a half a year now and we were finally able to officially announce it. I tried to hint as much as I can through the presentation that included some videos. For example, “why were they sparring on a bronze statue of Rhalgr” or “Who is the blond woman in the red clothes” or who were the people preparing for battle beneath the statue, if you look at the video closely, it might have connections with hints that will be revealed in the future. Also, if you listen to my words closely during the presentation, there might be some hints to help you speculate. Please do try and connect different key words from the presentation while playing the game.
F: I will.
Y: Even so, we still have 3.5 to release. With the pieces you will get from 3.5 try to solve the mysteries and compare your speculation with the speculations before 3.5. We will give you new pieces during the Tokyo Fan Festival, so during that time, you might have something figured out. We should answer most of your questions during the European Fan Festival in regards to how the transit to Stormblood will look like, so with that information in your hands, try comparing your speculations, while speculating the more distant future!
F: I’ll be looking forward to comparing the answers.
Y: I will give out as much information as I can form now on, so please do look forward to it. I have been saying this ever since ARR, but the game is made by all of us. It might be a long run but we do plan on keenly continue to develop the game.
F: Is it ok to think that the release date will be in June, same as for Heavensward?
Y: Last time we announced it would be released during Spring, but in the end we released it in early Summer. This time I’m sure we won’t have to get on our knees to apologize so I optimistically announced early summer. We will do our best with the development!