It might be easy to forget with another Square-Enix MMORPG being everyone’s focus in the storytelling department, but Final Fantasy XI has been doing the “ongoing plot in an MMORPG” routine ever since it launched in 2002. The latest internal interview on the official anniversary site We Are Vana’diel goes over the creation of the initial nation-state stories with Masato Kato, the man behind the planning and production of the game’s three stories along with the overarching story that solidified in Jeuno and beyond.
Kato notes that the planning periods for Bastok and San d’Oria’s initial story arcs both went through a fair amount of growing pains, with writers struggling to hit the appropriate tone and keep the storytelling engaging within the MMO framework as well as with the general outlines. (Windurst, meanwhile, was exceedingly easy to write.) It’s a fun look back at some of the game’s earliest days, so if you have fond memories of the first steps as a new adventurer leading up to the rematch against the Shadowlord, check out the full interview.