From newfound adventures to long-awaited historical explorations, the first content patch since Final Fantasy XIV’s Endwalker expansion ushers in a new era for Warriors of Light everywhere. Producer and director Naoki Yoshida answered some of our burning questions about what’s to come for the critically acclaimed MMO. (Have you heard of her Free Trial?)
PlayStation.Blog: Endwalker has taken the Warrior of Light through an incredibly climactic adventure of an unprecedented scale, closing a chapter 10 years in the making! What do you see in the future of our Warrior of Light? Don’t you deserve a little break? How do you follow such a great adventure with so much at stake?
Naoki Yoshida: I think our Light Warriors got some rest, but there wasn’t much rest for us on the dev team (smiles bitterly). Please look forward to the story that will start from our new adventure and the mysteries and objectives that will emerge! I can not say too much. First, be sure to check out how things kick off in the Patch 6.1 story. I think the key to continuing these stories is whether or not they will excite us as developers. If our motivation erodes, there is no doubt that it will spread to our players. To prevent this from happening, we always place great importance on ensuring that it is engaging and fun for us to create (new stories and content) from our perspective as developers.
You have expressed your desire to make XIV more accessible for solo play. How do you combine the idea of an MMO, by designing a multiplayer experience and solo play? What is your design philosophy there and how do you approach these changes while staying true to the MMO aspects?
The answer is simple; my concept is to take full advantage of the characteristics of FFXIV as a story-based MMORPG, and make only the story playable solo. So “getting married” is not the right expression, and what I want to do is lower the barrier of entry between those who are intimidated by MMORPGs or who are not good at multiplayer games. Of course, I will be happy if the players are satisfied after completing only the story, or if along their travels they discover the fun of multiplayer and MMORPGs, leading them to try various types of content.
The alliance’s next raid, Myths of the Realm, will focus heavily on some long-standing traditions of Eorzea. What do you think about some of the theories players have come up with about the deities and patrons of Eorzea? Will our chosen deity in character creation finally have an impact beyond the lore of flavors?
Of course, I check the theories that players come up with, and it seems that some of them are not far from hitting the mark. (laughs) In this alliance raid, the story will be about the very existence of the Twelve and their true nature. However, the deities chosen during character creation… will not affect your status (during battle). Our players should not worry.
In some of the changes that he has announced in his 10 year plan for the game, the graphical update has many excited! How do you approach a project of this size and what are your main areas of focus?
My key area of focus was on those players who have spent a lot of time playing FFXIV and developed a strong attachment to their avatar. I don’t want you to think “My character looked better before!” or “This doesn’t look good!” with this update. The beauty of the graphics does not only depend on the method used, but also on the sensibility of the individual, so I am simply pointing to “the evolution of the graphics from the perspective of FFXIV”. To this end, we created numerous batches of test data, while the artists, engineers, and I discussed and decided on an approach to updating the shaders, lighting, and textures we would use. Lastly, it’s a matter of (creative game) direction, so it also depends a lot on my sensitivity in relation to judging “yes, this works!”
Many gamers are incredibly excited about the upcoming Dragonsong’s Reprise Ultimate. These are very long and difficult fights that are an ode to a specific story arc in XIV. What was your design philosophy for the Dragonsong arc? How do you balance difficulty to ensure the content is as challenging as possible yet accessible?
This time, the concept was to transform the Dragonsong War story from the Patch 3.x series into an Ultimate raid. Completing an Ultimate Series raid doesn’t necessarily reward players with powerful weapons or other similar items. What players will acquire is a shiny weapon and a title, in other words, a challenge for themselves along with a sense of accomplishment and pride in having fought to victory. With the exception of the World First Race, that’s precisely why I think duty stands on its own because there’s a sense of challenge, rather than a focus on how quickly the pack gets through it. As for difficulty… we don’t have accessibility in mind. (laughs)
Thanks for reading, Warriors of Light. For more information on Final Fantasy XIV, including its latest Endwalker expansion, see playstation.com.