Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn’s 3rd Anniversary is here, and it’s time we counted our blessings for having one of the best MMORPGs in years come out of one of the more notorious launches (and subsequent relaunches). We caught up with Square Enix’s own Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P) to talk about the milestone, and what’s to come with the game’s future.
MMORPG: How does it feel to helm such a successful turnaround?
Naoki Yoshida: The success was possible because the players and fans didn’t give up on FFXIV and cheered us on. Also, I’d like to thank the media that kept an open mind about the project, and above all else, the development and operations teams that stuck with the project, believing in the comeback of the title, as well as the support from all the departments within Square Enix.
The FFXIV project has become my biggest success and a big break in my career, so I’m honestly very happy. Your continued support is greatly appreciated!
MMORPG: How do you think the brand “Final Fantasy” has been impacted since you’ve lead this project?
NY: I’m not sure if I’ve made an impact on the brand itself (laughs). That being said, I know at the very least, I am a huge fan of the FINAL FANTASY franchise, and I feel that speaking directly to the fans has enabled the community to become more engaged. I want to continue working hard for those with high expectations for the FINAL FANTASY franchise!
MMORPG: In what ways has the game evolved that you didn’t expect 3 years ago?
NY: Since this is an MMORPG, I believe that it’s imperative to engage and expand the community. Where I believe we evolved the most is allowing players from around the world play with their friends and building that strong community because FFXIV 1.0 and its failure led many to feel isolated and very lonely. In terms of game design and operation, there isn’t much that is unexpected because we have been very thorough in our updates and worked off of a very long-term schedule.
MMORPG: What hasn’t worked as well as you would have hoped?
NY: For the most part, a lot of things fell within the range of expectations. However, adjusting the difficulty of high-level raid content always requires trial and error, and on top of that, balancing that content while taking the level 60 job actions into account can be difficult, so it’s always quite a challenge. This point is a big takeaway for us when we create our next raid, or when designing for the next expansion pack. We would like to make sure we leverage these learnings, and create future content that people can enjoy even more.
MMORPG: What’s worked better than expected?
NY: The most notable is that the number of players who came to play the reborn FFXIV was beyond our imagination. It’s the first comeback in MMORPG history, so being able to achieve this was definitely a big thing. It will definitely be a lifelong memory (laughs).
MMORPG: Do you see adding more content along the lines of Palace of the Dead? Not just more floors to it but adding new dungeons that have a procedural element to them?
NY: As planned, we will add more floors and a ranking system to the Palace of the Dead at Patch 3.45. The numerous pieces of feedback we received has been instrumental in helping us to make detailed preparations for the next “Deep Dungeon.” There are many ways that players can play and/or approach the Deep Dungeon, so I intend to update this content moving forward.
MMORPG: What is next? When can we expect an announcement about the next expansion 4.0?
NY: We are currently developing the next expansion (4.0), with the main scenario complete, and going into voice-over work very soon. Production is definitely progressing, so please stay tuned for further updates. Oh, that reminds me, we do have the North American Fan Festival starting on October 14th... (laughs)