Mere hours after the game’s announcement at Sony’s Press Conference, we had the chance to sit down with three of the men behind Final Fantasy XIV for a brief Q&A session. Present were Shinji Hashimoto, Square Enix’s Senior Vice President, Hiromichi Tanaka, FF14’s Producer, and Noduaki Komoto, FF14’s Director.
To begin with, Mr. Tanaka felt the need to clarify again the details about the game’s exclusivity. “As I detailed earlier, the game will be coming to PS3 and PC. All other products including Microsoft Hardware are being fully considered at this time. We do intend to have FF14 on more than 2 platforms.”
RPGSite: The trailer was very impressive. Was any of that real-time?
Noduaki Komoto: The trailer was made partly of pre-rendered CG sequences and partly of in-engine action. Specifically, the section showing a fight early on was created in-engine on our modified version of the Crystal Tools. What you see in the trailer is the aimed quality of the game’s visuals – we are aiming to be very cutting-edge in technology with this title.
RPGSite: We noticed some of the races and the general design aesthetic of the game is very similar to FF11. What are the ties to FF11, if any?
Hiromichi Tanaka: We want to be clear that this is a new game. It is a different world and a different universe to FF11. Some of the races appear the same, but in reality they are different – they are similar in order not to alienate long-time FF11 fans. FF11 fans will be able to work out what characters will play similarly to their FF11 character by the appearance alone.
RPGSite: What’s the plan for FF11 now?
Hiromichi Tanaka: We have around a full year of FF11 content planned yet, and we have enough resources to continue building new content for that game while creating FF14.
RPGSite: Will the new, evolved features of FF11 be used in this game?
Noduaki Komoto: Of course, all the knowledge and experience we gained producing FF11 will be used by us.
RPGSite: Will the game have the same emphasis on party-based play as FF11?
Noduaki Komoto: We will have content for solo players and large scale battles. In FF11, we really wanted to create a classic Final Fantasy experience, parties and all. We want FF14 to have that content, but also content for people who may want to play alone for just an hour a day.
RPGSite: Is this the influence of the hugely popular World of Warcraft creeping in, trying to make the game more widely popular?
Noduaki Komoto: We’ve been influenced by other popular titles, yes, but we will not copy them. With our own new designs and systems we will try to appeal to a more casual audience as well as the core gamers.
RPGSite: Tell us a little about your plans for launch.
Hiromichi Tanaka: We’re planning a simultaneous launch on both PC and PS3 worldwide. We’re aiming to release the game in all territories at the same time in English, Japanese, French and German to begin with. More languages will be an option we will investigate after launch. We are also planning a beta test phase.
RPGSite: How will you be executing the beta testing? Will you be inviting current FF11 subscribers?
Hiromichi Tanaka: We can’t talk about our plans for the beta yet as nothing is concrete yet. I promise there will be one, though.
RPGSite: Outside of the beta, will player feedback shape FF14 as much as it did FF11?
Noduaki Komoto: We believe the voice of our users is very important, especially in an MMO. We will listen carefully to the thoughts of users and react to them in patches and updates.
RPGSite: Will the game be cross-compatible across all platforms?
Noduaki Komoto: Yes, PS3 and PC players will be able to play together.
RPGSite: Does this have anything to do with the absence of an Xbox version?
Hiromichi Tanaka: We are actively pursuing the idea of other versions of the game.
RPGSite: Is there anything specific you went into this game trying to improve over FF11?
Noduaki Komoto: Our mission from the start was to make the best FF game possible, but in the MMO genre. In a way, this is the same mission we set out to complete with FF11.
Hiromichi Tanaka: We are trying to implement new systems, though. We’re trying a different approach to the same mission this time.
RPGSite: Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your development approach to FF14?
Noduaki Komoto: The key word for our development is growth. We want the players to truly enjoy the growth of their character and want to play more before it. Growth also refers to our attitude to the in-game systems, too – we have grown, expanded and evolved several aspects of the gameplay and progression from F11.
Hiromichi Tanaka: An important concept to us is that FF11 is still party based – we want to make FF14 more accessible for everybody’s play style, as we said earlier. We will still have party play for those who enjoy FF11’s gameplay, though.
RPGSite: Can you tell us anything surprising? Perhaps some details of the new combat system?
Hiromichi Tanaka: Sadly, we can’t reveal anything about our in-game systems at this time. I can tell you that we will not be using the PlayOnline system for this game, though.
RPGSite: Finally, do you have any special message for Final Fantasy fans and FF11 players?
Hiromichi Tanaka: We feel that so far with FF14 we’ve created a great new world to explore that players will love. We have taken some time crafting a story that we feel is interesting with the scope for years of gameplay, and we hope everyone will enjoy it. Please keep watching for new information!
RPGSite: Thank you for your time!