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Japan Expo 2015 : Interview Naoki Yoshida ENG
Every year, Square Enix returns to Japan Expo for the annual event. On July 3rd, we had the honor again to see Naoki Yoshida producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV. If you follow the news, you're aware that the expansion 3.0 Heavensward has been released almost a month ago. It was time to ask our questions with our friends of Eorzea Times. You can also read our interview in their website.
The interview was conducted in English with Japanese translation
Eorzéa Times : For now FC owning a house can build airship and garden. Will there be other benefit later on?
Yoshida : There is no new aspect or new elements will be added FC related content for now, we don’t have any current plan but what we want to do is put more focus on the company workshop where you can build airship as you said. I want to make you able to go on exploration while on board the airship. That’s something we’re working on.
So that’s why we would like to listen to your feedback after you trying workshop related content. And if we think that we have to add something of course we are willing to something new. But first we would like to listen to your opinion, have some feedback.
Finaland : We both finished the main story, and we loved the extension at the exception of one element : sidequests. Some of them are interesting, but some are boring and annoying.
When you get near the end of the main story it’s frustrating. It’s a problem because the leveling is really important and it could have been more interesting with better substories like the one with the little dragon or the hunters in the Dravanian forest. For example :
“searching 5 mogs in a giant area” or “hunting monsters and then hunting them again because the mog was not satisfied” a lot of players cried about that part!
Yoshida : (laugh) The meaning of subquest is different to ARR and Heavensward and we intentionally changed the role of how sidequest is emplaced in Heavensward.
So for ARR you will need to complete some sidequests otherwise you won’t be able to proceed your main quest.
And for Heavensward, the main quest as you can see, the only limitation is the caped level. You don’t need to achieve sidequest to go on to another quest. The main quest is linear and is independent it’s not linked to sidequest at all.
The reason why we have such and so many sidequests available in Heavensward, is because not many or not all people are in a party.
If you want to take those quests in solo and get the XP, it’s just one of the options to get experience.
The things I want to push is that you don’t need to do it, I want to put focus on that you have the selection, and it’s up to you which way to choose.
It’s more like “the player’s tired, he want to play more like a standalone title.” The way he wants to take quest and do everything solo and he doesn’t want to farm a random dungeon again and again. So the sidequest is for those kind of players who likes this kind of “soloish” kind of playstyle.
So I just said that ARR side quests weren’t that good, that the story wasn’t interesting. However, you complimented for some quests for Heavensward that were interesting. We improved it from ARR side quests to Heavensward side quests.
However I feel that we are still lacking how to achieve this goal that the quest is needing you to do it, I think we need more variations to it.
The first thing that we think is that our challenge is to add more variations to how to complete sidequests. We want to work on it. The second thing is not to make any side quest move on to get aggro from all players. (laugh)
Thank you for your feedback, we will listen to it.
Eorzéa Times : In FFXIV first version, we had the strategy system which granted us possibilities to do weapon skill, skill chain and magic burst. Given that the numbers of jobs starts to be interesting at this level do you plan on adding this system back in FFXIV?
Yoshida : There’s no plan to put it back in. Because the balancing would be really hard.
That was more like an idea, I just went ahead without the system or everything, just another proof back in, so it’s more like, the idea is going forward but we couldn’t make anything, it’s kinda unbelievable, it’s an unrealistic thing to make.
If you find this people were in the end to find the strongest battle regiment combo actions rotations, then if you find that out the job that can do this rotation or combo will only be needed to high end content but other jobs will be discriminated. So we don’t want that kind of situation to happen.
We have to make sure that the balance is flat for each job otherwise it will be like…
***He didn’t expect to talk or to be asked about battle regiment***
The idea sounds really cool, but it’s actually really hard to materialize it.
Finaland : The new jobs has brought lots of new players, but for them to enjoy those new jobs they have to go through the storyline from 2.0 to 2.55. Even though it is not related to the story. Will the next expansion work the same way ?
Yoshida : So the definition of ARR and Heavensward if that we kinda compare them with TV SERIES, ARR is season 1 and Heavensward is season 2. And we have only 2 years of services for ARR, so we want you to still experience the story of ARR. And move on to Heavensward to understand the story of the expansion as well.
By the time we will be releasing the new expansion could be 4 years after ARR launch. At that time, we will have lots of contents or new storylines and just going to season 3 without completion of season 1 & 2 will be hard for player to take in. So that’s why we want to make some kind of digest of season 1 & 2. But you can still understand and enjoy the storyline and then going for the season 3 which is all expanded from the latter.
Eorzéa Times : The Dark Aura animation is huge, do you plan on diminishing it?
Yoshida : Yeah we are going to do it. We haven’t still announced it on the forums.
It’s kinda tricky, because some said that aura is really cool and some said it is in their way and it’s visually affecting it so they don’t see that much. So we have two groups of people having different opinions. So we are gonna work on it to make sure that it doesn’t give too much visual effect.
Finaland : When you were in Nantes before the release for the press tour, The French community thought that you were going to give us news about the European servers. Unfortunately you didn’t, do you have some news for us?
Yoshida : At that time we did a presentation announce at shuttle events, by the time we decided were the EU datacenter is gonna be built, and the infrastructure of the datacenter has already started. At the moment we are speaking here in Japan Expo. But at the same time all the engineer, server engineer but also system engineer, are actually in this area, in this country where will be the EU Datacenter and they’re checking on the hardware. So this project is proceeding.
Probably around just before or just after 3.1 release then I will be able to offer a European datacenter. Please wait a little more. So we assure that we can do it sometime this year.
Eorzéa Times : Will we be able to go to the Othard continent someday? Isn’t it where the lands of Garlemald Empire are? Many people want to fight the emperor!
Yoshida : We already announce that. The stage for 4.0 is already set!
It might not be for 4.0 when you’ll be able to go to Othard continent or the focus will be Othard opened as 4.0 concept. But as now you see that you are now in Ishgard which was not accessible for ARR timing. And now there is Ala Mhigo. You’ve heard the name of the city, right? Still you won’t be able to go there. However we have this goal that we want to make it, actually materialize it so can go to the city although now it’s not existing nor accessible at the time. But we will make sure that you can go to this continent or places that are only available in conversation
Eorzéa Times : Will we be able to go to Ala Mhigo before the next expansion?
Yoshida : NO. COMMENT. (laugh)
It’s because the Dragonsong hasn’t been settled yet. There is still the mysterious land of Azys Lla. So there is a lot of work that still need to be done around Ishgard area. Once the things are settled maybe we can continue to a new area, but for now… And we haven’t seen Omega going rampage, so…
Finaland : The final boss of Heavensward is one of the most epic moment I’ve ever seen. The fans loved this moment too but they find it was lacking a bit of challenge. Will we get the hard mode or extreme version of this fight like Ultima 2.1? I’ve heard that the Wandering Ministrel can do a lot of things…
Yoshida : The same question was actually asked yesterday !
Translator : This media had an interview with Yoshida-san quite several times and this was the first time that Yoshida said to them “no comment”. This media said it was the first time they get a “no comment” and they were shocked, Yoshida-san replied “I say No Comment but it doesn’t mean No”.
So if he goes further maybe some information might come out. And that information could please you.
Eorzéa Times : Which class do you plan on adding later on? Will we see another one appear before the next expansion, like you did in ARR with the ninja? And which class would you like to add to FFXIV?
Yoshida : At the moment just Heavensward is released with the 3 new jobs, now the players are trying the new jobs, trying to optimize it, get used to control and everything. And now we see that some kind of balance impartiality between each jobs. We are in a stage of job balance check, so if I talk about new job player might think “Oh please I don’t need information about new job, please do something on existing jobs”.
Probably the timing now to ask about new job is not the good timing. Then as for the classes we are not gonna add new class.
Because adding new class that means that they has to be in the base actions for classes and then evolve to job. This has to be linked and it’s a kind of limitation to what job can do. So if we have to add some job/class it’s gonna be job.
We will still release some new expansion, we‘ll definitely add a new job. We don’t know if the development team wants to add new job during major patch update… They will say no.
Because the development time to make one job takes more than a year, while you’re making a new job, the developer team will have to work on the major patch update at the same time. So the teams want to focus on patch content at the moment.
Finaland : Can you tell us a little bit about the next 24 player raid?
Yoshida : Alexander hasn’t been added yet so… (ed. It has been released since July 8th) Because the adventures evolve in sky, maybe sky could be an element for this 24 players raid. The storyline is original for FFXIV, however what you can fight against will be something that you might have seen before in other FF title. This is the point I have to stop (laugh)
Eorzéa Times : Players asked me if you’ll introduce a fight, with Wandering Minstrel where you chain primal (Ifrit, Garuda, Titan,…) – one after one -
Yoshida : We heard feedback about players wanting this kind of challenge, but we are now working on other contents. For now, with three level 60 character you can beat Shiva Extreme. So the balancing will be really difficult. With your level 60 and a just few party members, you will be able to go through these primal battles and just beat them very quickly. Maybe you’ll be interested first in making “SUPER EXTREME TITAN”? (laugh)
The dev team has that kind of idea as well. But just making it into a sequence is not interesting. We need to make it with more fun, to have some funny elements in it. Because if the dev team put the focus on this, the cost will be that they won’t be able to work on other content. We have to see the balance and the value if it’s worth working on it. We have the idea but no plans for now
Finaland : Instead of adding new egis we got Bahamut skills. Then you talk about glamouring Egis. There were 2 teams after this announcement: the first team was disappointed and the second was okay about it. Is the Egi glamour still relevant?
Yoshida : I talked about this glamour system just before Heavensward release. Just after we submitted the final version of the expansion. We need some rest, because we are all just humans. So because we just released HS, the work on the glamouring system is not much in progress because obviously we put so much effort on the expansion first. So you might feel it is easy just to change appearance but actually it’s gonna be really hard work because you have to manually work on one by one to have exclusive animations, sounds, effects to each. And the program called action timeline is gonna be quite a lot of work.
Also the timing is on another concern, if we should put one customization per patch or we work on all the egis and afterwards, after spending a lot of time it might be put, we release it in one patch. It’s something we need to decide as well. This is something the graphic designer team is thinking. If there is any progress we will definitely announce it during live letter. (Showing Carbuncle plushies) Because these guys are so cute, they probably want to work on these guys first !
Eorzéa Times : Will Hildibrand be back soon or do you plan on adding the same kind of character to Heavensward ?
Yoshida : Wait until 3.1 is released, the new side story quest will be released as well. As for Hildibrand being part of it, I won’t tell you for the moment so that you can enjoy it. So in the end he flew out to somewhere, I cannot tell you if it’s Ishgard or Ala Mihgo (laugh). It could be also another continents, there are lots of possibilities (laugh)
Finaland : Will the new GC ranks be available in a near future?
Yoshida : Just adding new rank is really easy, but the reason why we don’t do it is … There is a reason behind it. When the rank is unlocked, what you gonna do is just earn the point to get to this level right? That’s not really interesting… We are looking into building a team, in GC, like building your own army.
So when we will implement this kind of new content then we want to also simultaneously unlock the rank, and the more rank, the more soldier you can recruit or the more variation of soldier you can recruit.
So it is important to have some link between this content and also unlocking new ranks otherwise it won’t be interesting! So when we’ll have this new content then we will unlock the GC ranks.
Eorzéa Times : The Machinist and Bard class are making damage way below other combat classes and tanks… will they be able to do as much damage ? Do you plan to restore balance between combat classes, because many people refuse Bard and Machinist in High level content because they are too low level DPS.
Yoshida : This is the really special trait that the MCH and BRD has is that of restoring TP to party members or like giving buff to the party members. So in terms of that role, with this kind of trait, it’s hard to think that they will lose their place in the high end content.
It is our intention that support job like the MCH or BRD DPS is lower than pure combat class like Monk or Dragoon because MNK or DRG don’t have that kind of buff abilities to help party members. So their role among combat classes is different.
If you are BRD or MCH and you can put buff on the party members. Their DPS can increase by a few %. This increase is actually YOUR DPS, like an “utility DPS”. So if I’m a BRD and you’re a DRG our DPS is 100, the same DPS. So if I can sing and give buff to the party, even restore TP to party members, don’t you think the BRD is gonna be the “super job”?
Eorzéa Times : Yes, but the matter is more on the new skills, new songs. Because the loss of the auto attack and the fact the BRD has to be static.
Yoshida : I addressed that issue on the forum 4 days ago especially about bard and his “Menuet”.
The worst issue around the BRD is that when you get lvl 52 you get this Menuet. If you try it you will make less damage when it’s switch ON. So the dev team is working on it. So if you say the MCH or BRD DPS is low compared to MNK and DRG, yes, because the role is different. And I’d like you to understand that because the role is different, the DPS is different. The dev team is not ignoring all your feedback, they’re actually listening and hearing it. And we understand as well. We checked our data and see that a level 60 BRD can have a really really high DPS.
So as I said, we have the data that show BRD has the potential to have a high DPS, but also we hear the feedback from players that the BRD DPS is really low, so we try to investigate and research why the paradox on this happens. That’s why we want to work on this really carefully and find out what are the causes of this. It’s not just for MCH and BRD, we are checking and working on all jobs as well.
We are working on them one by one, and we will see after Alexander is implemented. Heavensward has just released, it’s not been a long time since you’ve been playing BRD or MCH with the new skills, so you didn’t control it fully, learn or understand how to use it fully.
We understand that you are so “hot” on this topic, but our dev team want to be calm, and analyze more clearly and completely. So we are listening to you and we will do something .We are not ignoring you so please calm down a little. Because interview slot is kinda limited, but we gonna put lot of people forward with the detailed information, so please watch out the space and role explain.
Finaland : (Fat Chocobo) This is more a personal question and also a joke so don’t take it really seriously. I love Fat Chocobo as you can see in my T-shirt.
Yoshida : Ah ! (laugh) Yes yes yes !
Finaland : He became so popular since Final Fantasy XIV and Theatrhythm and I would love to have a Fat Chocobo figure of Final Fantasy XIV.
Yoshida : We were working on what kind of figurine to put on Heavensward, actually Fat chocobo was one of the ideas. But because it’s really cool in the way you open the collector edition, and then there’s that yellow round shape thing comes up and…
I really want to talk about the merchandise team about it. We have the SE merchandise booth here, so please talk to him about. Because it was really hard to make these cute plushies (Carbuncle). Your personal voice is stronger than Yoshida talking to them, so definitely there will be more information to them. He can also be on the forums. The more feedback we will get, the more quicker we can make it, so please talk to him !
Eorzéa Times & Finaland : Thank you very much !
Yoshida : Thank you !
Interview conducted by Sheron974, Fat Chocobo and Ookami (Éorzéa Times)
Transcription by Julian, Ookami (Éorzéa Times) Aphrodisiaque.
A Big Thank You to Square Enix and Naoki Yoshida for arranging this interview.
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