We had a chat with Naoki Yoshida, producer, designer and director behind Square Enix MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV.
Final Fantasy is one of the most beloved and acclaimed game series in its genre (MMORPG), in the West. What is it about and how has Final Fantasy XIV contributed to this success story?
Yoshida: “I think the global effect that the FF series has ensured can be attributed to its rich narrative, graphics and game system. I’m well aware that the series, specifically in the West, got its start after the FF6 launch, and that it really exploded in connection with the FF7 launch (which received an acclaimed remake recently). That was when many became really passionate about the series “, says Yoshida, “FFXIV is admittedly a numbered title in the series, but as a game within the MMORPG genre, which is separate from the remaining titles. The concept is intended as a type of amusement park for the FF series that allows fans to gather. I think the growth is linked to the fact that players learn about the series together. “
Unlike other, larger series, Final Fantasy has been in some controversy over the years, and Yoshida wants those around her to know that Final Fantasy’s history has shaped the series for the better, with improvements based on past mistakes.
“Our values and feelings vary and change continuously. I do not think we can judge from a twofold perspective such as “good” versus “bad”, ” tells Yoshida and continues, So far, FFXIV has not had any major problems regarding gender or values as we are continuously working on the title with the ambition of ensuring that the gaming world continues to be a place where everyone has individual freedom. I do not want to do anything that would deny aspects of our history. I believe that what we have today is thanks to everyone’s efforts to create a better future after the majority of mistakes made in our past. With that in mind, we are not investing in making FFXIV a utopia, but rather we hope that the title will bring an opportunity for players to think about while they play. I have not given much thought to reaching a balance. If anything, I would like to develop and improve the game by learning more about international values.
As for those who want to start playing Final Fantasy XIV without being familiar with what the previous updates have changed, Yoshida took the time to explain how the previous and upcoming updates have changed the game.
“We see Patch 3.3 as Heavenswards’ final stage. Then we see Warrior of Darkness in 3.4 and then 3.5 as the bridge to Stormblood. Stormblood follows a similar path with its final stage in 4.3 and the following updates lead the game to Shadowbringers. In that sense, patch 5.3 is a continuation of the same pattern. This means that we have not seen major differences in how we work. Think that there will be new developments after this patch. ”
As most MMORPG games have seen success lately, competition naturally arises. But FFXIV is on a solid foundation, something of its own compared to its competitors in the West, Yoshida explains.
“I often get questions about competition,” says Yoshida and laughs. “I became interested in online gaming through Diablo and in the MMORPG via Ultima Online. As a result, I’ve always played a large number of online games, which include FPS and MMORPG titles with players in the West. I think players exceed limits and that has not changed since. Players can see differences in terms of character design and scenario wording, but I think developers always try to give players the best possible experience. So for me, the differences between different titles are not that great. If you think of a comparison between games in the genre specifically, I would say that FFXIV’s game design is unique through its focus on story.
The interview is presented in collaboration with MI5 Communications.