Our interview with Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida and Yusuke Mogi

    
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Our interview with Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida and Yusuke Mogi

Health concerns kept the staff from Final Fantasy XIV away from this year’s PAX East in Boston back at the end of February. This is a known fact. But that didn’t mean that reporters didn’t have questions, and thus the team went with a time-honored tradition of an email interview so that we still got a chance to ask questions and get answers straight from the development team.

This year’s interview subjects were lead character concept artist Yusuke Mogi and producer/director Naoki Yoshida. Due to time concerns, we had to somewhat narrow down our original slate of questions to the ones we considered the most crucial, so if you’re curious about the state of gender locking, the community gear design contests, or the “canonical” history for the multiple-choice Qitari questline, continue onward.

Massively Overpowered: Now that all of the community design contest gear sets are in the game, how difficult was it to adapt these sets from concept drawings to full sets across all roles? Do you think we’ll see more contests of this type down the road?

Yusuke Mogi, lead character concept artist: Luckily since the overall direction of the concept is already established from the entry, the work to create the sets was not very hard. We do our best to maintain the positive aspects and the impression of the contestant’s designs.

Adapting the gear for other roles works the same way as our typical development process, so once we decide on one design, the rest falls into place pretty smoothly. These community events allow for us to connect with the players in the real world, so I would love for more of these contests to happen.

Bunny lady.

One of the things mentioned when Hrothgar and Viera were unveiled was that player feedback would be taken into consideration regarding the gender restrictions of these races. Are you able to speak about the feedback that has been received at this point?

Naoki Yoshida, producer and director: We have received feedback which of course includes players disappointed by the gender-locked (that being said, it wasn’t like I went in and intentionally locked these).

However, as mentioned during our Fan Festivals and via the [Letter from the Producer] streams, adding a new race is an incredibly massive undertaking, which affects all subsequent patches. After a huge amount of deliberation, we decided to implement the highly requested Viera, and a beast-like race the dev team wanted to implement, which was the Hrothgar.

I am aware of the desire to include a different gender of each of these races, but I’m afraid this feedback is not something we can easily incorporate. We are doing our best, but… that’s about all I can say now. I truly hope that everyone can understand.

With Patch 5.2 we were informed that we would only be getting a single dungeon during even-numbered patches, which seems to imply that the “(Hard)” dungeons generally added during the even-numbered patches would be cut. Will we ever see these hard mode dungeons return, or is that not currently in planning?

YP: You are correct that we have cut the implementation of the “(Hard)” versions of previously released dungeons. We currently have no plans to bring that back, and we’re taking those resources to work on other, new kinds of content. The resources don’t necessarily match up one-to-one, but because we have this concept of reallocating our resources to other tasks, we can have things like an additional trial in Patch 5.25.

I hope players will think of this as a trade off rather than a loss—in exchange for the dungeon, they will be able to experience other content that we’ll be announcing soon.

Warping shadow.

One of the unique elements of the Qitari beast tribe quests is getting to choose between two different readings of history. Will there be an authoritative version of history set down in a future lore book or the like, or will this remain something personal for each player to read?

NY: The options presented here give you the choice to interpret the story and what you feel is the truth, so we will likely not implement or reveal our pedantic view of what should be canon. In all honesty, we haven’t decided which is actually canon out of the two. (laughs)

Has there been any discussion at this time about how the spread of COVID-19 might affect the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival this year in San Diego?

NY: We recognize the spread of the novel coronavirus as an unprecedented disaster. I think it is not befitting to speculate how far this disease may spread, or how soon the situation will settle down or improve at this point in time.

What we can do is to have the proper knowledge and be vigilant in preventing the spread of COVID-19. If those efforts are fruitful, then I feel there should be no particular issues posed in regard to hosting our Fan Festivals.

We’d like to thank both Naoki Yoshida and Yusuke Mogi for the time spent answering our questions!

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hypothesizethat

Two pretty disappointing answers re: genderlocking and the hard dungeons. :| Expert roulette is so freaking boring (I’ve gotten Grand Cosmos every time for the last week and a half) and I really don’t feel like we’ve gotten a good trade-off for losing hard dungeons. That and there are so many I’d love to see Hard versions of (not that the dungeons themselves are hard)….

And it really sounds like they don’t have any intention whatsoever of giving us male Viera/female Hrothgar, but they just don’t want to say it outright at risk of pissing off people. The one major disappointment in this expac (aside from how they absolutely destroyed AST) has been that I didn’t actually get any new race. When they announced Viera, I was excited for male Viera and desperately wanted to make one…. and I’ve always wanted a beastial race, but I’ve always wanted to make a FEMALE of a beastial race. So SE’s attempt to please “everyone” ended up not pleasing me at all. I know it’s not all about me, but it’s still disappointing.

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Daniel Banks

I know they said we probably won’t get another race, but it’d be great if they added Burmecians.

Also, no more Hard Mode dungeons means I guess there will never be a Doma Castle (Hard) with Wrexsoul, or a Mt. Gulg (Hard) that uses the original theme. Kinda sad.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Burmecians!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes. Rise of the rat people.

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Danny Smith

Honestly at this point i really wouldn’t be surprised if they announce the next expansion at fanfest and just go “heres the new race!” and its just male viera and female hrothgar/ronso.

I mean they brought back Hildebrand due to fan demand. If they can do that then nothing will surprise me with the team.

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Utakata

“I am aware of the desire to include a different gender of each of these races, but I’m afraid this feedback is not something we can easily incorporate. We are doing our best, but… that’s about all I can say now. I truly hope that everyone can understand.”

I read that that they may consider that for the future if they can. As to my understanding, some of the original races where gender locked as well. So there’s hope?

My question to you Mr. Eliot, is during this interview…did you do it all in Japanese? Or do did the interviewees happen to have a good grasp of English? If the former, there are a few words in Japanese I like you to help me clarify at some point in the future. O.o

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Malcolm Swoboda

I interpret it as ‘no internal plans, but as budget allows’.

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Sorenthaz

Or maybe it’s something they are considering but at the moment their hands are tied/it’s going to take at least another expansion before we see anything.

That or they don’t want to tease any possible spoilers.

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Malcolm Swoboda

That’s what I meant by that though. Expansions don’t just pop up, they get budgeted for – for example.

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Utakata

I think we’re all arguing about the same thing here. o.O

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Malcolm Swoboda

I wasn’t trying to argue against you, only adding the budgetary element.