Final Fantasy XIV’s producer, Naoki Yoshida, is currently at ChinaJoy 2012 talking about the game. To be published under Shanda Games, the China players will get to play the version 2.0 of Final Fantasy XIV, which was revealed 2 days ago as “A Realm Reborn”. China games website, 17173.com, held an interview with the man himself.
Q: Can you tell us what are some of the features inherited from the previous Final Fantasy games and what innovations were made?
A: Version 2.0 will present to players many elements found in the previous games. for example the Chocobo. But this time, the Chocobo will be equipped with more functions. The new game graphics engine for Final Fantasy XIV is also the best in the world right now for a 3D MMORPG. There will be more interactive gameplay in Version 2.0 as well, for example party-activated killer moves. Players will also only need to create 1 character to have their hands full on the activities which can be done in-game. There are more, but they will remain as a secret for now.
Q: Final Fantasy XIV can be said to be a failure in Japan at the initial launch. Where were exactly the catalysts leading to this?
A: After holding talks with gamers, 1 of the main reasons is the control functions (mouse + keyboard) of the game not matching up to other standard MMORPGs, such as World of Warcraft and RIFT. Another main reason is also the lack of game content, which made it impossible to “correct” the game basics through small-scale updates. We had to start all over, and some actions taken included asking development staff not clear of MMO gaming to play them. Although it is still call Final Fantasy XIV, there is a huge difference between 1.0 and 2.0.
Q: What about PvP?
A: There will not be open PvP/ PK, and both players must mutually agree to a PvP match. Final Fantasy XIV will be the first game in the franchise to have a “meaningful” PvP system, hence I urge players to try it out.
Q: Is it fair to say the PvP in Final Fantasy XIV is somewhat similar to World of Warcraft’s?
A: We will have a PvP arena, which is similar to the one found in World of Warcraft. Our PvP team members played many matches in World of Warcraft. Personally, I am a player of Dark Age of Camelot, a PvP-centric MMO.
Q: When will Final Fantasy XIV 2.0 launch?
A: I expect the first Closed Beta for the Japan and International servers to be held end September or early October, entering Closed Beta 2 this winter and Open Beta in January next year. We will be talking to Shanda Games about the China server, with features such as PvP, blocking 3rd party programs and localization, hence the China server will launch later.
Q: A question, why did Final Fantasy XIV reverted to its Pay to Play format earlier this year, despite Square Enix claiming the game will be free until the game is polished? Does it mean the company was satisfied with the game at that point of time?
A: While the game content now may not make Final Fantasy XIV Online a successful MMO, the game actually saw a rise in returning players after the payment mode was restored.
Q: Most of us actually thought the game will only start collecting monthly fees again only after version 2.0 hits…
A: Haha, we have a team of 250 members, if we continue going free… (hints of financial reason)
Q: How about the China server?
A: It will most definitely be collecting a static fee as well, but the format has not been confirmed.
Q: You mentioned about taking the mount-riding experience further, possibly into the skies or under the seas. How is this planning out? Does that mean there will be land mass in the skies as well?
A: We are still discussing internally whether to go with an underwater world or an aerial one. This content will happen in the next content update (after version 2.0 launches). Going up to the skies happened in Final Fantasy 11, while most games now have underwater worlds which are popular with gamers. We are just still really unconfirmed on which direction to go now.
Q: What about your personal preference?
A: Going by the international route, we will be making the underwater world first. But personally, I prefer the skies.
Q: Going up against heavy hitters such as Blade & Soul and ArcheAge, how will Final Fantasy XIV stand out?
A: Final Fantasy XIV has a more unique game history and culture, which is a big factor *refers to Final Fantasy 8, Faye Wong singing “Eyes on Me”*. Korean MMORPGs focus too much on the game itself, but not about the real life culture surrounding it.
Q: Can you tell us 1 new function which will be in Version 2.0?
A: There will be a system where players may cross servers to complete objectives. We will have a strong in-game guide, making sure players know where to go and what activities are there to do once they enter a new map.