This past weekend I had the opportunity to sit down with Naoki Yoshida, the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV, to talk about the game and its future. It’s very popular right now and Yoshida-san and the rest of the team hope to carry this momentum for many more future years to come.
If you’re here because you want to know if Blitzball will be included in the Gold Saucer at some point, I didn’t ask. Sorry all, I want to know too, but Yoshida-san has been asked this question more than people have pondered about the meaning of life. Without further ado, check out our interview!
RD: Since replacing the 14 day trial with allowing new players to tackle all content that the game has to offer until they hit level 35, have you found this to be an effective way at enticing new players?
NY: The 14 day former restriction is a relatively long period, but nowadays people live very busy lifestyles. The chunk of time a player can get is focused on the weekends, meaning that if the limitation is only 14 days then they can only play for two weekends, maybe less. Rather than just limit it to the 14 days, maybe we should remove all the restrictions so that they can play any game any time.
It’s not like we wanted to extend the time, but it’s more like to give opportunity for them to play more at convenient times. That’s why we also see data-wise that more people come again, and so of course this means a really good, positive impact with these changes.
RD: Shirogane’s new homes were quickly bought, leaving many disappointed that they missed out. Are there plans to vastly expand these areas, add more housing areas in abundance, and to make it so everyone has a fairer chance?
NY: Before we go into detail, can we separate those two points? The facts that the housing plot for Shirogane sold very quickly, and also the fact that there are some FCs, or many FCs, who don’t own any house? For the demands that everyone who has joined a FC and wants a house to work on airships and all that is not just an issue with Shirogane.
So the expansion and addition of plots will be applied for each housing area, and that’s why we are going through those discussions to try and supply more to meet demand. That’s why we’d like to add the same amount of plots with 4.2 to each housing area, however Shirogane is such a popular area and so it’s housing sold out quickly, so we’d like make sure that it’s fairer for people to buy housing in future.
On top of that, we’re making a system where we can provide plots in a more fair manner to everyone, but we’re unable to talk more about it now. Because, if we reveal the feature now, then players won’t be able to prepare to meet the requirements, so there will be a discrepancy with those who’ve already prepared and those who haven’t, so we’d like to keep that information close until nearer the release of 4.2. This system will ensure that those who currently want those houses will benefit more, so you won’t have to worry about this much as it’ll be a fair system. *all laugh*
RD: I’ve been playing Final Fantasy since I was very young, and a lot of that has to do with how attractive the worlds are. Final Fantasy XII’s Ivalice recently appeared in Final Fantasy XIV, so what worlds would you personally like to see included in future?
NY: We won’t say that we have no ideas, but because Ivalice was just included with the latest patch, and with the next patch the next sequence of Omega will be introduced to the game, so not to lose any surprise elements, we don’t want to go into detail at this stage. Surely the next thing will surprise many people.
RD: I look forward to it! Are there any existing creatures that might be added as mounts? For example, the Decaying Gourmand from the Lost City of Amdapor?
There was a lot of laughter and a quick break to find out what Decaying Gourmand is in Japanese, and I apologised for having not known before-hand! In the end we got there by describing it as a decaying Goobbue.
NK: To create this monster as a mount, it’s not that difficult, but how can he fly? Can he fly? *laughs* We’ll relay this to the team! Maybe we’ll create it as an outfit for All Saints’ Wake so you can disguise yourself as a monster, as they may be better, but we’ll relay that to who’s in charge of this decision.
RD: Will level caps ever only be increased with expansion packs, and do you have an idea of what the max level may be?
NK: When people play role-playing games, they like to enhance their characters. If we don’t add a raised level cap to each expansion, then maybe players will be discouraged. The level cap will increase with each expansion but we want to add more elements so that you can further enhance your characters.
RD: You recently had a Yo-kai Watch event. What were the difficulties you faced in making this collaboration happen, and why was a different Square Enix IP such as Dragon Quest not picked instead?
NK: Yes, of course it’s really different and there’s a lot of challenges and although I and Level-5 are very friendly with each other, there has to be a formal contract made between both companies, so we have to go through legal side of things and licensing. We have a Final Fantasy XI collaboration, but of course implementing something with another company is very difficult.
As for the content, because we have respect for each other, we try to refine the good parts from each IP and make content involving both. This is a basic policy as we respect each other, however the difficult part is the licensing and legal parts beforehand. Even though I have quite a lot of ideas and would like to work with others, but it’s easier said than done so my manager reels me in because it’s not so easy! *laughs*
RD: For a fun one, have you got a personal favourite dungeon and primal battle?
NK: Kugane Castle! Kugane Castle with Black Mage is exhilarating. For primal, Knights of the Round on Extreme.
And with that, our time was up! It was fantastic to meet Yoshida-san, and spending time with him has been invaluable. Thanks to Square Enix for allowing us to visit their London offices to conduct the interview! I don’t know about you, but I’m itching to go play Final Fantasy XIV right now, and I’m excited to see what Yoshida-san and the team has in store for us in future updates and expansions.
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