Letter From The Producer Live Part LXVIII Shows The Next Ten Years of Final Fantasy XIV
During the most recent Final Fantasy XIV Letter From the Producer LIVE broadcast, FFXIV Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida took to the internet to give us a look at the next 10 years of Final Fantasy XIV.
Looking toward 7.0
- Advancements as a solo and multiplayer RPG experience
- The game’s first graphical update
- Patch 6.x series roadmap
Future concept 1: An even better RPG – alone or with friends!
Lots of people aren’t crazy about the idea of playing online with other people- additionally, a lot of fans of Final Fantasy have avoided FFXI and FFXIV because they’re the online entries. With this in mind, Yoshida wants to make the game an RPG that can also be enjoyed with friends.
Large-scale updates to the Trust system
- Trust compatibility for all main scenario dungeons and 4-player trials to be added in Patch 6.1-6.5
- Patch 6.1 will make A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.0) scenario duties Trust compatible
- Further improvements will be made to some low-level main scenario dungeons and trials
- 8-player trials will not be updated at this time
- those updates will be considered for 7.0 or later
Heavensward updates will be considered for 7.0 and later. They used a trial in Endwalker as a test for 8-man content with Trusts, but they would need to adjust a lot of mechanics in other fights to accommodate the Trust system, so they’re only focusing on dungeons at this time.
Trusts might be people from the adventurers guild, or other adventurers that have the echo. As fun as it could be for any scion to join you, it also needs to make sense. They might have certain content to accommodate certain NPCs, like Estinien in the Aery.
Other adjustments will be made to content, including the removal of slow panels from The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak. Additionally, Cape Westwind will be turned into a quest instance and Castrum Meridianum and Praetorium dungeons will be changed to 4-player dungeons. The Battle with Lahabrea at the end of Praetorium will be turned into an instanced quest.
Future concept 2: Preparing for years of service to come: FFXIV’s first graphical update
Because of the age of the game, there is an “insane” amount of graphical assets. If they wanted to upgrade everything, they might run into conversion errors- never mind the incredible amount of time it would take. Therefore, they will be addressing this in phases. This first update will be the first time they’re testing upgrading these elements.
Planned for implementation in 7.0
- Development and preparation ongoing until the expansion releases
- Aiming for screen-wide aesthetic appeal suited to a multiplayer environment
- Animation and lighting system updates also planned
- New graphics will not be comparable to those of stand-alone titles
- Minimum operating specifications will also change at 7.0
- Will try to accommodate as broad a range of hardware specs as possible
Prior to the launch of 7.0, they want to optimize the PlayStation 4 version of the game. Yoshida also mentions that the PC has a lot of graphical options for the game, and they want to add something like a performance (frame rate) option to the PS4 version. They will be supporting PS4 until at least 7.0.
Character Appearance Updates
First Month of Testing (Sample) – Character Visuals
The team has been testing the look of the updates for about a month. They hope they can show more off in the future, perhaps at a Fan Festival.
Primary features and goals:
- Higher-resolution textures (hair/skin/gear/etc.)
- Improved material qualities (skin/metal/fabric/etc.)
- Better lighting and shadow effects (esp. for players’ shadows, etc.)
- Overall appearance of player characters will be altered as little as possible
- Will be applied to old NPCs where possible from 7.x onward
- Testing for additional improvements will continue in the future
Items implemented in Patch 7.0 will go through this higher quality process. It’s unlikely that all NPCs will be updated by 7.0, so you may see some NPCs that have gone through the graphical updates, and those that have not.
Additionally, there will not be a fix for equipment that clips. That would require adding a physics system and it’s not something the team is currently planning.
First Month of Testing (Sample) – Map Visuals
For Titania, they’re not planning to change the atmosphere, they simply changed the color of the lighting to make the changes more noticeable.
The system that generates grass and plant life will be adjusted.
Primary features and goals:
- Additional lighting points (improved visual quality/depth/immersion)
- Higher-resolution shadows (increased movement/decreased flickering effects)
- Improved textures (metals, fabrics, etc.)
- More and better auto-generated greenery (increased resolution, variety, etc.)
- Possible improvements to fog and other ambient effects currently being tested
- Upgrades will be tuned to the maximum extent that performance allows
Future concept 3: Continuing to provide regular updates on an appropriate schedule!
Patch 6.1 Series Roadmap: Planned Major Updates
- Main scenario update (Patch 6.1-6.5)
- “Somehow Further Hildibrand Adventures” (Patch 6.1-6.5)
- “Tataru’s Grand Endeavor” sidequest series (Patch 6.1-6.5)
- Myths of the Realm #1 (alliance raid)
- Crystalline Conflict (new PvP) (Patch 6.15)
- Arkasodara tribe quests and dailies
- Dragonsong’s Reprise (new Ultimate duty) (Patch 6.11)
- Ultima’s Bane (Unreal)
- Trust system for A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.0) main scenario dungeons
- New Calling Card-style UI (name TBD)
- New hairstyles for Hrothgar
- Empyreum (Ishgard housing)
- Custom Deliveries: Ameliance
- Expanding glamour plates
- Data Center Travel (Patch 6.18)
Patch 6.2 Series Roadmap: Planned Major Updates
- Trust system for 2.x main scenario dungeons
- Trust system for 2-3 Heavensward main scenario dungeons
- New weapon enhancements
- New “Criterion” dungeon with variable difficulty (for 1-4 players)
- “Island Sanctuary” debuts
Patch 6.3 Series Roadmap: Planned Major Updates
- Trust system for the remaining Heavensward main scenario dungeons
- Deep Dungeon series #3
- Ultimate Duty #5
- Island Sanctuary Update
Patch 6.4/6.5 Series Roadmap: Planned Major Updates
- Trust system for all Stormblood mains cenario dungeons
- Criterion dungeons #2 and 3
- Additional area for Island Sanctuary
- The conclusion to Pandaemonium, further Myths of the Realm, Faux Hollows, other trials and more!
- More plans for Patches 6.4 and 6.5 are being made, including updates for the Gold Saucer
Patch Schedule Announcement
The major patch cycle:
- Previously: 1 major patch every 3.5 months
- Going forward: 1 major patch every 4 months
- Please allow us one extra week each for implementation and fine-tuning
- One extra week will also be added for summer and New Year’s holidays
Housing Plot Sales from Patch 6.1
Lottery System Details:
- Each player may only enter the lottery for one plot of land during each lottery period. (Each member may enter once when purchasing land for a Free Company)
- Players must pay the full price of the plot upon entry – unsuccessful players will be refunded in full
4 Purchase systems:
- Lottery (FC)
- First-come First-serve (FC)
- Lottery (Individual)
- First-come First-serve (Individual)
Purchase System Distribution:
- One of the four purchase systems will be applied to each ward (e.g. Empyreum ward 6, Mist subdivision ward 3)
- In patch 6.1, all wards will use either the individual or FC lottery system
Q: What was Azem up to during the Final Days? Will we learn more about them in the future?
A: It’s a secret! We have an idea of what they were up to… but we’re not sure if we’ll have a chance to talk about that in the future. However, I also think, because you’re all the Warriors of Light, what you imagine when you think “What would I have done if Venat told me all this?”… it’s probably pretty close to the truth. For instance, we have people saying “I don’t know, play around with housing? Play mahjong?” Then yeah, that’s probably what happened.
Q: How did Zenos see the Final Days and how did he become a Reaper?
A: First, you need to remember that Zenos’ father is Varis, and his grandfather is Solus. So if you think about it… Solus is Emet-Selch, which makes Zenos a direct descendant. If you think about how sometimes things are passed down in DNA, but not always each generation… if you think about it like that, maybe you can understand how it happened here. If you look at our Tales from the Shadows, you might find another hint in there.
As for how Zenos became a Reaper and used his Avatar… I didn’t think anyone would ask it, it’s a very good question. However, I’m bound to silence on this matter. It’s not that I haven’t thought about it, but I absolutely can’t tell you right now.
Q: How did the unsundered Ascians avoid being split into 14 piece by Hydaelyn.
A: Venat let him live on purpose. She did intentially leave a tiny flaw in her sundering attack- something that Emet-Selch could find a way to wiggle through. It’s sort of like… yes it was a powerful attack, but she intentionally chose to do it in this fashion. We said this in game as well, it was the limit of her power, so as intentional as it was, she couldn’t guarantee that Emet-Selch would live. It was a bit of a gamble. What happened, at the time the sundering happened, he was with Lahabrea and Elidibus (after having left Zodiark) and he joined forces with them and they escaped into the rift without being sundered. In Tales of the Shadows, Elidibus lost some of his memories, and we find that out in 5.3, but yes, that’s how they got out, by working together. How was it just the three of them? Good question!
Q: Are there sundered Ascians other than Fandaniel or other lesser black masked Ascians still around? Who did the masks belong too that Gaius had on his belt?
A: Wow, you guys are paying close attention! I do think there are probably still of the sundered black mask wearing Ascians around. Those Ascians, however many there are, we can’t say if they’d be on the Source or one of the reflections. As for the other part.. the masks that Gaius have, they belonged to Ultima and Deudalaphon. Just because he has the masks doesn’t mean he vanquished them… so you’ll have to come up with your own theories as to what happened.
We’ve had a lot in the story so far about what it takes to beat an Ascian, so think back on that while theorizing.
Q: In Yoshida’s mind, how much time has passed from 1.0 to Endwalker? How much older is the Warrior of Light now?
A: When we’re coming up with the trailers and the story boards, we think about the timeframe. We think about it being two or two and a half years, but the trailers aren’t reflecting the length of the story itself so I’d appreciate it if you could think of them as seperate things. As far as the actual story is concerned… I don’t have an exact figure in mind for how long its been since 1.0. If I go down that rabbit hole I’ll never stop. How old is Y’shtola? I don’t know, I don’t want to think about it. It’s better to just feel… vibe.
Q: Emet-Selch and Hythlodaeus returned to the Aetherial Sea so they can now be reborn, if they’re reincarnated, can they use creation magic like the Ascians?
A: Even if they’re reincarnated, that’s just their souls being born into new bodies like everyone else. As for what would happen if they were reincarnated… we’ve never had an example of someone unsundered reincarnated like this. Maybe they’d be a little better? A little cooler? It’s hard to say. In my opinion, they had accomplished everything they set out to do, so their souls would be purified. They don’t really have a reason to come back.
Q: Will we be using Etheirys going forward? Or will we still be using Hydaelyn. How many people know the name Etheirys now?
A: I think people close to the Warrior of Light or familiar with what happened might start to call it Etheirys. On the other hand, most of the people on the star would probably call it Hydaelyn because they don’t know any of that stuff. There are people in the New World that may have never called it Hydaelyn to begin with, so they might call it something else entirely. I think the people who are going to be struggling with this the most is the PR team. Now, if you make copy that says “Grand adventure on Hydaelyn!” the Warriors of Light will go “did no one tell them?”
Q: Will Zenos come back to life again?
A: As we saw, his body remains in a dimension separate from our universe and all of its laws. We depicted his ultimate fate, at length in a cutscene, so I think the answer is to watch that and see how you feel. We did show him stop breathing, and his heart stop beating right?
Q: We have many races right now. All the Ascians seem to be of a Hyur-like race. Is there a story of how mankind came to have such varied appearances?
A: When the world was sundered, that’s when beings became incomplete. Because of this, they developed strengths and weaknesses and over time that developed into racial traits. If you have something a little less or more over time it’ll increase in certain tribes and it’ll compound into distinct features. I don’t know the official lore for this, but people are asking “But why are Miqo’tes ears so big?” Maybe they couldn’t hear so well and so they developed bigger ears? Why are the Lalafell so tiny? Maybe they were under a lot of pressure, maybe they were really intense.
Q: The ruins beneath the Bounty, the Treasured Islands, and the Golden City… can we loot them someday?
A: Someday?… well as you know we’ve had a lot of different place names crop up. We’ve been able to go to a lot of places, the gates of Ishgard opened, Ala Mhigo, the Far East, we’ve been to Old Sharlayan and even Thavnair. We’ve tried really hard to make sure you can visit the places we’ve mentioned so far, and I want to keep doing that.
Q: In Elpis, Emet-Selch adjusted our height. Given how tall Meteion was, I feel like she shrunk. Did something happen to her? Is there a reason for this?
A: Just before that I want to address… everyone seems excited by my answer to the previous question. I want you to remember Ultima Thule is a space where emotions are the only reality. So what you see in Ultima Thule is in accordance with the Warrior of Lights internal experience, not a physical reality that’s out there. The Warrior of Light has memories of Meteion from Elpis being a certain height and that’s why she appears that way. The same goes for Emet-Selch and Hythlodaeus when we call upon them. It’s your internal conception that determines how they appear. This might make you judge the Warrior of Light a bit, but this is how it’s remembered.
Q: I wanted to harvest Thanvnairian Onions while in Thavnair.. where are they keeping them?
A: I asked the lore team about this… the onions have this effect on Chocobos so they must be unique. In real life, the cabbages that can only be grown in a certain village… the onions are probably only available in a small part of Thavnair. Such things are dictated by the whims of the gods we call the “non-combat content designers.” In other words, it’s their fault.
Q: Were Zodiark and Hydaelyn complete destroyed? Or are there parts of them on the other reflections?
A: I’m going to give a straight answer here- Hydaelyn was completely destroyed. Similarly, Fandaniel crushed Zodiark’s heart, his core, and that completely destroyed Zodiark. There were parts of Zodiark in the other reflections, but when his main body was destroyed, they faded into oblivion.
Q: I don’t understand why the Warrior of Light messing around in Elpis didn’t create any alternate time lines. Can you explain what happened?
A: My interpretation is that the timelines were always the same. Another thought is maybe Venat worked hard behind the scenes to make sure the timelines didn’t go awry and the WoL was always acting in accordance with her plan so nothing ever changed. When we went to Mare Lamentorum and we met Argos, I think that’s proof that at that point, the timelines were going to work out. We’re adding some of this to New Game Plus in 6.1 so feel free to think about it while you’re playing.
Q: In the trailers only the Warrior of Light seems to age while the other characters look the same. Will we ever see a grown up Alphinaud or Alisaie?
A: That’s really hard to say. On one hand, it sounds fun to me when I think about depicting them years later, taller and cooler. On the other hand, I feel like if we did that we would get comments like “I really liked them before, I hate this” and if we do it once, we can’t go back so that’s a problem. So it’s hard to pull the trigger on that one I think. Sometimes you’ll see with Manga, like One Piece, you’ll get a question asked like oh what does this character look like older and they’ll draw a picture for them. If it’s a sort of “what if” scenario, maybe we can give you something. Everyone in the chat is just yelling “DO IT” over and over! We really have to be careful about the heights, I’m kind of freaked out.
Q: Venat said that not even her soul would remain, but what does that mean? I’m fond of her character and would like to see her again.
A: The answer is that souls are also made of aether, and she used up so much that her soul was gone. In 5.2 there was discussion of Venat’s group that assisted her and how much of the ancients were used to create Zodiark, so maybe that would be of interest to you. At the very end, Hydaelyn still had her own soul, Venat’s soul, but that was the very power she used to fight the Warrior of Light. When she tells you before the fight that she saved enough aether for the fight, that’s her soul she’s referring to.
Q: Now that Hydalyn is gone, will the Warrior of Light no longer have the Blessing of Light?
A: I don’t think the blessing of light will disappear, and I don’t want it to. Perhaps she regranted it at the very end? But I like to think it will be with the Warrior of Light forever. “My love will forever be with you my children.”
Q: In the cutscene after the level 87 dungeon, we see a red seal appear before Emet-Selch’s face.
A: It’s not really there just for identification purposes, but everyone on the convocation has intense magical power, so it appears when they use any grand magic, it appears kind of like a limiter. However, each sigil does indicate the members seat on the convocation, so even someone that’s not on the convocation.. it’s not going to show up on their face. You can’t just name yourself the 15th seat and blast it and hope it’ll appear. I think its connected to the convocations responsibility- you don’t want people randomly walking around blasting magic without knowing who it is or for what purpose. When Venat gave up her seat, her sigil would no longer appear.
Q: In concluding the story, were there any threads you found difficult to wrap up, or any lore you disregarded?
A: This is one I had to ask the lore team, specifically Oda-san about. The initial setting and background lore are the only plans we draw. So it’s not unusual for them to change later. You’ll remember if you played 1.0, there were a lot of changes between that and 2.0 and some we couldn’t retcon. In 1.0, the Warrior of Light had a partner character… we had this very temporary partner, and so we kind of just… ignored it when we moved on. When making this world, sometimes you’ll ignore things that are inconvenient. In most cases, we do try to wrap up everything.
Q: Will we have a chance to learn the identities of the full convocation of fourteen?
A: We have decided the true names and identities of every convocation member. Whether we tell you that in the future depends on how the plot develops. Sorry to tease you.
Q: Venat had good intentions and her plan worked in the end. Was sundering the star really the only way to save it?
A: I also consulted with Natsuko Ishikawa to came up with an answer that makes sense when we explain it. As Y’shtola explained it, the ancients being so dense with aether could not have controlled dynamis to stop things at its source. The other ancients that thought okay we’ll summon Zodiark and that’ll be our solution.. but she saw that and determined the actions would be unable to change as a people and we will always be our own undoing. If you look at the dungeon, the Dead Ends, that final boss is our vision for what probably would have happened to the ancients if they just continued as they were. For that reason, she chose to sunder the star to dilute their aether so they might be able to use dynamis and stop the final days at the source. As she herself says, this isn’t really a simple matter of good and evil, and she agonized on if her decision was correct.
I think everyone has their own feelings about Venat, and we want to convey that Hydaelyn isn’t a bad guy, but… it’s this decision she made to split everyone into 14 parts so they can use dynamis. This decision makes me think, she was definitely an ancient huh? At the end of 5.0, we find out that Emet-Selch this whole time has been making decisions about how humanity were imperfect creatures but at the end he gives you a chance and re-evaluates his judgement. Hermes is also concerned with this to the degree that he erases his own memories so he can re-evaluate humanity. He’s really concerned with fairness and humanities worth. Venat herself never talks about herself in this lofty way that she’s making a judgement on mankind, but when we see her in that cutscene and holding that sword, that really is a very ancient moment that shows you how different the wholeness of the ancients were. Normally we wouldn’t be able to make such a decision for all of mankind so I think she really was one of them.
Emet-Selch is very popular, but I agree with Alphinaud when talking about judging people “what right does he have to do that?” and that might be true with Venat as well. If you go back and look at the different parts and the side quests with the ancients you might find it interesting.
Q: The moon was meant to imprision to imprision Zodark. But what about the First’s moon? Did the sundering affect outer space too?
A: The reflection’s moons have their own significance! They do! But… I can’t tell you what it is! After the sundering, Zodiark was imprisoned in our moon, and moons appeared for other reflections with pieces of Zodiark in them. We’re going to show this properly later so I can’t give you spoilers now, but yes, there is some meaning to these.
Q: During the development process, what part of Endwalker were you a perfectionist about?
A: The most particular things… in every cutscene I was concerned with the direction the characters were looking, the timing between dialogue, and the motions with each characters speech. For stage directions, I was concerned with the eyes moving, the head turning, what the best way was to convey their expressions. Also, usually we have XIV as a game you can play at your own pace, but this time we had scenes on auto-play, and when they talked I wanted other characters to take time to process those words, just like the players would need time. I also was particular about things not being misunderstood. When you have something foreshadowed or hinted at it’s fine, but there are some interpretations we didn’t want to guide people towards so I was very particular about that. Part of this was also because Ishikawa-san was very busy writing the script until the last minute, so she couldn’t perform her checks as much so I kind stood in for her with that and I’m very particular.
Because Endwalker was the first finale that we had for FFXIV, I wanted to have Yoshitaka Amano’s art, so I asked him to do the art and when we were reproducing that in-game, I was very particular about getting it right. Ever since ARR, I’m the one giving Amano his orders for what we want him to draw, this time I wanted him to draw the last boss, to draw “despair.” Every time he’s very good about talking to me and having a back and forth about what to envision. With despair we talk about what came to mind, and also added in the extra difficulty of making the bird imagery as well, but after like fifteen minutes he said “Yeah I have something in mind, don’t worry about it!” I really want to show you the original design we got from him for the Endsinger so I’ll look for a chance to do that.
The other things… for instance, the instance battles in quests I was focused on, as well as the sub quest timing for how they unlock and all of that. This time, because wee had the Final Days going on, it’s important to have quests unlock at the right time. Is this happening before the apocalypse During the apocalypse? We don’t want an NPC asking to feed their chocobo during the apocalypse, it wouldn’t fit very well. Also if you just have them all unlock at the same time and your screen is filled with quest marks, I hate that. This time I played through so many times and would see, say, three quests unlock and think that yeah, that was a good amount. You go to this quest, and then this quest unlocks, when you’re progressing through it its nice to have it correct, but for those that wanted to go through all of the quests, I had to do them a bunch of times. Sometimes I did think… couldn’t we have less of these? I was also concerned with the showdown with Hydaelyn and the Trust dialogue, I got to write some of them this time around and that was really fun. I kept a close eye on Hydaelyn from the very start.
Q: Healers are putting out too much healing compared to damage taken. Are there plans to make healers more vital to parties?
A: I want to emphasize we did the same as we have in every expansion. At the start, we hold back on the difficulty of the raid and make it a little easier so as many people as possible can clear. You might be comparing this to raids in 5.4, but we added new jobs and things so in further raids we’ll increase the difficulty. If you’re still unsatisfied at that point and thinking healing is too easy, then maybe try the Ultimate content and suffer.
Q: Dark Knight’s Living Dead and Blood Weapon are difficult to use compared to other skills. Are there plans to adjust this?
A: Not just Dark Knight, but a bunch of jobs will be adjusted with Patch 6.1. We are looking closely at your feedback and will fulfill as much of your requests as we can in 6.1. We are definitely adjusting Living Dead so you can wait and see how it goes. We’ve also seen feedback about Machinist and White Mage that you’re having trouble and we’re working on that, so please wait just a little longer. We’re also looking at Dragoons concerned about the Jump animation lock, and adjust things that effect the feel of your gameplay in addition to the numbers. If I didn’t mention your job, don’t worry, we’re still working on adjustments for other jobs too..
Q: Given that we have Sage and Reaper, will you be increasing the number of glamour plates?
A: There are various requests we need to address related to the glamour system like the number of plates, the areas you can use them in, the size of the dresser…. we can only address these in a systematic way, but in 6.1 we will increase the number of plates. The amount of plates people want it to increase by differs by person, I can’t tell you how many we’re adding, but I think it should be sufficient for the time being. We’re definitely increasing how many pieces you can store in the dresser, and how many places you can use plates, so we’ll be doing this starting in 6.1
Q: Can we obtain gear like Garlean Imperial office costumes and gunblades, or Sharlyan Forum.
A: The first one is something we’ve already decided on. Up until 6.0 we mostly showed the Garleans as ruthless enemies and haven’t shown them as normal people or other perspectives. Now that we’ve done that, I think we can release gear that is Garlean themed.
Q: Do you plan to implement the songs played on the radio in Garlemald as an Orchestrion roll?
A: It’s awfully popular. We have decided to implement it with the distortion in 6.1. As sound director, he wanted to give people the experience of hearing it as they did in game. So distorted version will be first.
Q: Can we take up residence in Sharlayan or the lunar facilities the Loporrits worked so hard to make?
A: Please… please just try living in Ishgard first. We cannot keep up. For 6.1 we’ll have the lottery system, and increasing housing, but maybe slow down a little bit. If we could that would be nice.
Q: Will you add minions for Emet-Selch, Hades, and Zenos?
A: I’m the one who decides who we put out as minions and I always hold back on putting minions of characters whose roles are not yet done so I think we can do that now. Is it okay to have Zenos as a minion? He’s going to just follow you everywhere…
Q: Do you have any updates regarding female Hrothgar?
A: Finally we’re done with Endwalker! Yes, we’re working on the graphics update, but we have not forgotten about female Hrothgar. The art team is working on a variety of styles for possible designs. We’ve picked two of them and we’re working on how they’ll look in character creation. It’ll be some time before we can implement them, but we are working on them, and we are making progress. People are saying “are you really going to do it though?” I said I’d do it! Some are saying “But maybe not a lot of people will play them” But we’ve come this far, it’s not like people need to use all races equally. People decide what characters to play for a lot of different reasons. Some people may like this character or another type of character so to have this kind of variety, we’re not overly focused on who plays what as long as everyone has a good time. And of course because I said that, now people will come out for ideas for new races we should add. Please no! Please remember when I presented Viera and Hrothgar and I said this was the last one… remember that guys? If your memory was vague up to this point, remember it now- female Hrothgar is the last one I want to do.
The next Letter from the Producer LIVE, which focuses on Patch 6.1 will air on Friday, March 4th at 3:00 AM PST!