A new interview reveals how Naoki Yoshida leveraged charisma and spreadsheets to make Final Fantasy XIV happen

    
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A new interview reveals how Naoki Yoshida leveraged charisma and spreadsheets to make Final Fantasy XIV happen

We all know that Final Fantasy XIV is a big success story. So what’s the secret behind Naoki Yoshida taking the game from zero to hit? According to a new interview over on PC Gamer, it’s all about charisma and spreadsheets. Yes, spreadsheets. One of Yoshida’s big tricks when he took on the project was creating a detailed spreadsheet showing off the smallest part of every single task needed to revamp the game, and his personal charisma and communication handled much of the delivery of that message according to development supervisor Mitsutoshi Gondai:

It might seem like a very top-down sort of workflow at first glance, but when Mr. Yoshida talks to his staff, he doesn’t simply order them to do a task but instead explains how creating a certain element with a particular intent is important to the overall game. Each member of the team understands the meaning and importance of their work, and they can stay motivated as they work on the game. I believe that was a very important thing to keep in mind.

These weren’t little plans, either. The initial plan for rebuilding the game from the start had a roadmap for every update up to and including the game’s first expansion, a tradition that has persisted subsequently. Why? Because Yoshida knew that a long time between updates was unacceptable for players, and he knew that planning ahead was how you avoided that problem. Check out the full interview for more looks back at how the game came together seven years ago; it’s just the thing for an anniversary celebration for Eorzea.

Source: PC Gamer

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Pandalulz

The end of the new Rising questline is pretty good for… reasons.

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Bryan Correll

So EVE isn’t the only spreadsheet MMO…..

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Tyler Sierocinski

I think the best example is when Warlords was out, and there was that massive content drought in the middle of the expansion, I contrasted what new things I got in XIV, and what new things I got with WoW, and I was pretty sure that I got more content in one of the minor 2.x5 patches than I got in the main warlords content patch (…a selfie stick, what the hell?)

The only problem with XIV is that I feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I NEED to do, and getting groups to do said things, and I don’t even do 8 man raids (except when required by story), and I haven’t touched the 24 mans since Heavensward. I burned myself out at the start of Shadowbringers farming for all the scripts needed for the books and gear for gathering and crafting and doing the facets, and I haven’t been able to recover. I lasted longer in shadowbringers than the previous expansion, cause in stormblood I literally finished the MSQ and peaced out without even touching crafting.

I do have mixed feelings about how they’re tweaking things.I kinda hate/love the major system changes they did with shadowbringers in regards to crafting and such. It needed some love and needed to be overhauled to make it more appealing to new people, but I do miss “ye olde ways”

edit: and one thing i’d like to point out is that almost every system that has been added in XIV has been iterated on and updated across expansions, or at the minimum, goes away and comes back better after a little break. (Eureka and that other horrible place with dinosaurs i’m looking at you.) unlike another certain MMO that spend the entire expansion cycle refining and improving a system that was kinda lack-luster at launch… and then completely trashes it with the next pre-expansion patch

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wratts

Kind of what burned me out of FFXIV as well. I could never keep up with the tome grind, the “relic” weapon upgrade grind, the beast quest grind, and the crafting grind. Good game, big game, but takes a lot of time to stay on top of

EvasiveDice
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EvasiveDice

I can be gone for at least 4 months and be behind top players by 10 ilvls. They release catch up gear with every big update and big content releases. Might wanna look into the “catch up” gear either crafted or from dungeons that puts you right behind end game players and also enough to experience end game my friend. This is more of a social and story experience then a grind. Beast quests are extremely optional for cosmetics and mounts. The relics as yoshi stated are for the most dedicated of players and it was only ever 5 ilvls or so above most gear with a nice cosmetic effect. Cheer up!

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Toy Clown

Yoshi-P is incredibly inspirational and I’ve often thought of what he’s accomplished when I feel like giving up on something and spend some time trying to talk myself back on track. I also love that he’s older and embraces a youthfulness that many people over the age of 40 are looked down upon by society if they don’t dress and act “old”.

EvasiveDice
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EvasiveDice

Yoshi definitely cares about his game as well. He is also an ffxiv player and can really relate to what everyone wants and needs. I had the awesome chance to play with him for a bit on cactuar last year for about 40 minutes. (he had an in game character with him to translate) and you can tell this guy really cares about the game. So many players flocked to him when he showed up. The community loves him and he doesn’t bullshit around on things. Alot of lessons can be learned by fellow companies from this man. I’m not even a ffxiv fanatic, I skip most of the story cutscenes lol, but he has a way to communicate and make things happen for sure. If he can’t make it happen, he tells you why himself.

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Brazen Bondar

I think this makes a huge difference. When the developers don’t actually play the game or know and respect the people who do play their games, they don’t have as much motivation to continually give their best for the game.

EvasiveDice
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EvasiveDice

Yoshi deff plays his own game. I agree this gives him ar2n edge. I know he isn’t personally developing content but since he plays it himself actively and is on with the community. He passes all info to the staff asap. I’ve read some posts where he flat out says it’s to hard to do some things players request and gives up information why. He is there and super involved. He cares about the community more then the cash from what I’ve seen in 2 years. If anyone could develop a male crush on someone. It’s yoshi. Its hard going back to other games when you know ffxiv has a good head on their shoulders. I’ll state again I’m not a ffxiv fanatic. But this level of support has swayed me into subbing. Occasionally I sub to wow, eso, everquest etc. But I always fall through halfway in the month and come running back to ffxiv. The level of polish is just way too high to ignore.

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Brazen Bondar

You mean developers actually know that a “long time between updates is unacceptable to the players?” It does make you wonder why so few developers actually do that kind of long term planning and if they do, what happens between planning and execution? Some games do updated content very well, but they are few and far apart. I do wonder though, what a comparison of the economic support Square Enix gives FF XIV would look like next to the support of…oh pick any game that doesn’t update content frequently.

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Vincent Clark

When I read that by the time WoW’s pre patch update comes out, it will have been 9 MONTHS since that game had a major update–and then I was told that is the “norm” for pre expansion drought for WoW, I was gobsmacked.

FFXIV has definitely spoiled me in that regard.

EvasiveDice
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EvasiveDice

It’s simple. Your the cash cow in other mmorpgs. They want your quick buck and if it doesn’t work out they move along. 95% of mmorpgs want your dollar and then cash out and make another game. It’s the standard and ffxiv shakes that standard up.