Naoki Yoshida is best known for his role as the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV, but the fact of the matter is that he wears many hats, and one of those hats is managing Square-Enix’s Creative Business Unit III. That’s the unit in charge of online games in general and Final Fantasy XI in specific, which makes him a logical choice for interview in celebration of FFXI’s 20th anniversary, in which Yoshida reveals that when FFXI launched he… didn’t play it because he could see right away that it was too similar to EverQuest when it launched.
No, really, he was playing Dark Age of Camelot at the time.
Lest that sound odd, it’s worth considering that Yoshida was not actually working at Square-Enix at the time (he was part of Hudson Soft), and he did have some ideas about how the game presented itself at launch. The whole interview is an interesting look at both Yoshida’s earlier career and his gaming history as a long-time fan of MMORPGs as a genre even before they became his life’s work. Check the full thing out on the official site; there’s more still to come.