FFXIV Patch 4.5 and Shadowbringers Interview with Naoki Yoshida

As we come off of the recent Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festivals and get ready for the upcoming wave of information for Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers before its release, we had a chance to ask Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida some questions about the present and future of FFXIV.

You can read our questions down below.

Gamer Escape: The trailer for Shadowbringers is quite different from expansions before it. Scenes like the one where Urianger and Y’shtola are speaking while the area burns around them seem like they could be from part of the Main Scenario Quests. Might we expect to see CG cutscenes during Shadowbringers?

Naoki Yoshida: Unfortunately, the answer is no. Of course, the higher the quality of the pre-rendered CG, the more it is exciting to everyone, but FINAL FANTASY XIV takes greater care in the players’ experience. Thus, because we tweak visuals and dialogue up until the last possible moment, a pre-rendered video, which requires a long production lead-time, will not allow us to make those adjustments. That being said, a few of the scenes within the Shadowbringers trailer faithfully depict a portion of the path that our Warrior of Light is presumed to travel along. I encourage everyone to confirm what the scenes in trailer mean through the main scenario of Shadowbringers!

Gamer Escape: There are areas on The Source like Sharlayan or The New World that we haven’t visited. How did you decide to travel to The First in Shadowbringers instead of exploring more of The Source?

Naoki Yoshida: In order for us to dive into FINAL FANTASY XIV’s core, there are certain themes we cannot forget—these have been present even since the original FINAL FANTASY XIV. What are the goals and intentions of the mysterious Ascians? What was the cause for Hydaelyn to be split into fourteen different worlds so long ago? These are questions that we cannot forget as we delve to the center of this story.

Of course, there are unexplored areas like Sharlayan and the New World, but I feel we need to tackle these fundamental points before journeying to those locations. The answers to the questions I posed will be revealed through the Shadowbringers main scenario, and it is here we will really start to see the foundation of the FINAL FANTASY XIV story.

Gamer Escape: The areas of The First appear to be derived from areas on The Source. How did the creation process for these new maps work? Was there terrain or other assets brought in from the existing area on The Source?

Naoki Yoshida: The First, where the Shadowbringers story will take place, does indeed show similarities to areas on the Source. This is due to the splitting of Hydaelyn into fourteen shards over 10,000 years ago—each of these separate worlds went down their own path with their own history. Naturally, their history and evolution would divulge from this point, and so
we did not repurpose any existing assets.

The development team considered the evolution and history of the First and created this world from the ground up. While it might appear to have similarities, I am confident players will always have the feeling that nothing is quite exactly the same. The only commonality would be the people. The visual appearance of each race on the First and the Source may be the same, but their philosophies and heritage are quite different. I think elements such as these are one of the real joys of exploring the First.

Gamer Escape: During the Patch 4.5 trailer the Warrior of Light had some stubble on his chin. Many players have been asking if this is something that can be added into the game. Are you considering adding it and/or other new character customization options for existing races?

Naoki Yoshida: I see… honestly I wasn’t even aware of this! (laughs)

In our trailers, we depict the Warrior of Light as a sort of symbol to represent the Warriors of Light around the world. If he has stubble, it’s only natural that everyone else could grow some too… I will definitely keep this in mind!

Gamer Escape: Players visiting other worlds will be able to purchase things off of the market board. Obviously, this could have a great impact on the player economy of each world. What factors led to this decision?

Naoki Yoshida: I do think the market boards will be affected by this new change; however, I feel this is only being brought up because there was this wall between each of the Worlds. FINAL FANTASY XIV continues to evolve, and these barriers between Worlds are starting to fade.

We may have seen some drastic fluctuations on the market boards at the onset of the World Visit System, but it will eventually settle down and we will enter the “post-World Visit System” economy. In other words, the in-game economy and competition surrounding that will also evolve into something new. What was a closed market until now will open up to all players within the same data center, and everyone is able to be a competitor.

However, from a birds-eye-view, this simply translates to an expansion of the market—we see an increase in both supply and demand, as well as competitors in the market: nothing more. The only difference is what used to be separated per World is now per data center. We thought much less of this immediate impact, but instead thought of this as an evolution into a new market, and settled with expanding the current in-game market as is.

Gamer Escape: Soken has done some great work with what we’ve seen of Shadowbringers so far. Previous expansions had theme songs performed by Susan Calloway. What we’ve heard in the trailer so far seems a bit different than that. Can you tell us if what we’ve heard is the theme song for Shadowbringers? Or is the theme song something we’ve yet to hear?

Naoki Yoshida: Masayoshi Soken took charge of creating the main theme for Shadowbringers.

The Warrior of Light’s adventure transcends the interdimensional rift and takes players to the First, but up until this point we have always journeyed within the Source. Our overall concept for the main theme had been “the singing voice of mother Hydaelyn,” but this time is different. The story is not about the adventures of the Warrior of Light, but the Warrior of Darkness.

The music that plays in the trailer is indeed the Shadowbringers theme song. However, there is one more theme song that will complement the song in the trailer—you will be able to hear it for yourself in game!