E3 2017 Interview with Naoki Yoshida

15 Jun 2017

This week at E3 we had a chance to sit down and chat with Final Fantasy XIV Director/Producer Naoki Yoshida! We talked about a wide range of topics including Stormblood, Eureka, fake moon landings and more! 

Check out the full interview below!

Gamer Escape: How long do you expect the 4.0 MSQ take?  Will it be shorter, longer, or the same as Heavensward?

Yoshida: This is a rough estimate, but after I did a straight run though on my own, I feel that it’s about 1.2x the length of the Heavensward quests.

Gamer Escape: Will there be a benefit for completing the Anima weapon for the new relic weapon progression?

Yoshida: Last time with the Anima, it was released in 3.15 and beyond. The next relic type weapon will be planned for 4.15 and beyond. We are planning to make a new sort of relic weapon for this series that is completely different from what we did with the Zodiac Weapons or the Anima Weapons. So while you may have had a bit of an advantage if you had the Zodiac Weapon completed at the time of the start of the Anima Weapon series… this time we are going to have everybody start at the beginning of the series.

Gamer Escape: It was previously mentioned that the new relic weapons would involve Eureka.  So, will we have Eureka in 4.15?

Yoshida: Yes. It is going to be linked with Eureka, so it’s not exactly on 4.15, we’re saying “on or beyond 4.15.” We’re not confirming the timing yet.

Gamer Escape: Can you tell us the name of the new weapon series?

Yoshida: It is not finalized yet.

Gamer Escape: There was also talk in the past of armor that progressed in the same way. Is that something that is still being planned?

Yoshida: We’ll probably do something like that.

Gamer Escape: Does Eureka tie into the story line of Crystal Tower, like it did in Final Fantasy III?

Yoshida: There’s no relation. We’ve removed the relation from the two. We have assigned some lore behind why Eureka is called that within Final Fantasy XIV

Gamer Escape: If that’s the case… will we ever have a follow up to the last cut scene from the Crystal Tower series?

Yoshida: We’re going to create it separately. That last part with Nero, I’m sure people are wondering what happened after that, but he’s very busy with Omega right now.

Gamer Escape: Is that going to be part of the Main Scenario? Or a side quest?

Yoshida: It won’t be connected to the MSQ, it will be something on the side.

Gamer Escape: With Omega coming 2 weeks after launch, we still haven’t seen Omega. Are we going to have a preview before it is implemented?

Yoshida: While we often make plans for PR and promotional activities, we currently do not have a plan for this. Of course, the content and overall feel of Omega has been fully checked by myself, and I supervised the creation of the content. I believe that anyone who loves classic Final Fantasy will really enjoy this content.  

That being said, I think that it might be better to just leave it as a surprise until the patch comes out.  We have released so much information on 4.0 with the media tour and other PR releases, so rather than dump even more information, it might be cool to have everybody start discussing Omega together right when the patch launches. I’m wondering whether that might be the best route to take.

In addition to that, the Omega related matters are closely linked from 3.57 to 4.0 main scenario, so it is difficult to pick and choose what part of it we could talk about.  The smallest information could be a spoiler.

Gamer Escape: I kind of appreciate that- watching some of these trailers, you see Y’shtola or Alisae getting attacked and it’s like “nooooo!” (laughs)

Gamer Escape: With Omega having the Genji armor drop from it, is there going to be more popular equipment from the Final Fantasy series? Maybe reused models from FFXI brought in during 4.x?

Yoshida: Good point.  There is a wide variety of equipment that is available within FFXIV, so it may be a good opportunity to consider having something in that vein.

Gamer Escape: During the Susano fight, there is the Active Time Maneuver where you have to mash the button. Will we be seeing other variations of that within Stormblood?

Yoshida: Yes.  To tell you where would be a spoiler, but yes there will be more instances.

In the Susano battle you saw that the tank had to do that active time maneuver, but there will be instances where everybody in your party will have to do something. Also, with Stormblood, it’s not just with the raids, but also other boss monsters, there is a new system/mechanic called “Content Action” where it is a specific mechanic to the content you are playing. Any member of your party can perform this action, but it is specific to the content in Stormblood.

Gamer Escape: How does this differ from, say, triggering the shield in the Leviathan fight?

Yoshida: With Leviathan, it was an object that was placed within the content, where one of your party members goes and activates it in order to protect your party. With the new system, its an action that is assigned to everybody in the party that is specific to the content. So you kind of want to strategize how and when you are going to execute that particular action in order to reap the benefit or protect your party.

Gamer Escape: One of the changes coming with Stormblood is with sprint. I was curious, because of that, is any battle content being designed now where you have to use sprint?

Yoshida: No. But now for some of the DPS it’s easier to utilize sprint in order to help evade attacks. We don’t design the content where we are forcing people to execute certain actions to have an advantage.  So it is not our intention that you have to use sprint during battles. But, that being said, you can move a lot faster if you use sprint, so now that you are able to use it within battles, maybe there is a situation where its the last minute and you have to get away and you are not going to make it without sprint, then it will come in handy and make your battles smoother and ease some of that stress.   

With not having to deplete TP while using sprint, we did have to adjust the duration of that action, but when we did that we realized we can’t make it so that it becomes stressful when you are not in battle and in the field traveling normally, so we made it so that we can adjust the duration separately depending on whether you have enmity (shorter duration) vs. when you do not (longer duration).  

Gamer Escape: We know that there is underwater gathering, but will there be other underwater content?  Maybe something like sightseeing logs?

Yoshida: We will have sightseeing logs at launch – 45 locations as of 4.0.  They are not hard, but the person that is assigning those locations is considering adding a hard mode later in the 4.x series.  As for other underwater content, I am collecting ideas from the development team and waiting for the pitches to come in, and after E3 I’ll be having discussions with the team.

Gamer Escape: There have been a lot of changes to /gpose lately, which is focused more towards screenshots. Is anything being considered for video?  Maybe toggling lip movement for spoken dialogue?

Yoshida: I feel that our /gpose is world class.  It’s the best of the best at the moment, so we’re not looking at updates.

Instead, I’ve asked the team to create a system which has never been seen in any MMORPG before, something that is visually fun to look at and be able to enjoy. It is tricky to put into words, but they are trying to implement a new, visually enjoyable, system. The earliest we might see more information about this is when we start talking about 4.1.  Maybe this system will improve video captures.

Gamer Escape: We know that Costa del Sol is getting swimming with Stormblood, will other 2.x or 3.x areas be getting anything we should keep an eye out for?

Yoshida: We looked for different locations within existing content, but swimming in Ishgard? It looks so cold!  

That being said in terms of swimming, we got a lot of feedback about wanting to be able to swim in residential areas, so that is being considered. But, if we implemented something like that right now people would view Limsa Lominsa as the best since it has so much water. I’ve instructed the housing team to look at maps, since they would need to be restructured,  to ensure that no matter which area you have housing, you would be able to swim in a comfortable environment and make sure its equally situated for every housing zone.  Hopefully we can make this happen in the not too distant future.

Gamer Escape: There hasn’t been a lot said about crafting and gathering with Stormblood. Is there anything else happening with them aside from the new scrips?

Yoshida: We don’t want to make it seem like there’s no update for them. Of course the level cap is going up for DoH/DoL so its basically just a proper update for those classes. We feel that those classes are sort of reaching a complete state so to speak, so we’re focusing on making it more obvious if you’re a specialist. A lot of those changes and adjustments aren’t really… “sexy” for PR to talk about and promote. 

Gamer Escape: Will cross-class actions still work the same with crafters?

Yoshida: Yes.

Gamer Escape: Are there any changes planned for the roulette system? Maybe things getting grouped differently than they have been in the past?

Yoshida: We used to have a level 50 and level 60 dungeon roulette. We’re going to combine them.

Gamer Escape: Along those lines, with having two 24-man raid series’ now, will there be any kind of incentive for players to go back into those for Stormblood?

Yoshida: There was a big discussion about that and maybe having a roulette for that. We weren’t able to do it for 4.0, but we’re intending to do something in the near future.

This is going to be implemented with 4.1 and Return to Ivalice, we’re going to have it so you can enter an alliance raid using a cross world party.

Gamer Escape: We’ve been dealing with the Ascians for a long time now… are we ever going to get an ending to that story arc? Or is that the story of Final Fantasy XIV that will maybe conclude with an end of service?

Yoshida: We haven’t actually clearly decided on how we’ll bring a resolution to the Ascian arc. I don’t think we need to hold it until the end of service however. Having the arc for them end and finding out about Zodiark or the secret behind Hydaelyn or who the Warrior of Light actually is… even if we did reveal all that and have closure, it’s still not the end of the story. We can always make more expansions, maybe we’ll go to Vana’diel or something like that- “Return to Vana’diel” (laughs)

Gamer Escape: When we talked to you before Heavensward launched, we talked briefly about 4.0. Since 3.0 went up, would 4.0 go down? You said that maybe down… or maybe we’ll go up even further, maybe to the moon!

At the end of 3.0 we actually saw people on the moon! Will we ever go there?

Yoshida: Of course, the moon has been a relevant story line element in the Final Fantasy series so it’s something we’d like to touch upon eventually.

Seeing the White Ascian and the Warrior of Darkness on the moon… You see that scene, but we weren’t exactly sure where it was or what moon is being depicted or if they’re in the bend of time, so we’ll define that properly… eventually.

You hear these conspiracy theories where man never landed on the moon and it was filmed in a studio or something… maybe perhaps… you never know…

Gamer Escape: Maybe when we go to Garlemald we’ll find the studio! (all laugh)

Gamer Escape: With all the changes coming to Stormblood, what is your most favorite thing that you’ve been able to accomplish?

Yoshida: It’s difficult to narrow it down to a single element… Starting with 4.0 it feels that we’re finally independent from 1.0. Namely, things like cross-class actions, bonus attributes, things like that. We feel we’ve made the preparations to move onto the next stage, progress things even further into the future that we’re envisioning for Final Fantasy XIV. I’m very grateful to the team for the effort that they have put into this.