Final Fantasy is by far one of the most successful series of video videos and has one of the largest fan bases around. At Gamescom 2016 I was lucky enough to get to sit down with Naoki Yoshida, the director of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and have a chat about the current state of the game, some design choices and what might be next for the game.
n3rdabl3: Hello there Yoshida-San, thank you for very much for your time today it’s great to see you.
Yoshida-San: Thank you for your time in coming to this interview this is the first day at gamescom 2016 and i know you’re really busy so thank you for your time
n3: So let’s jump right in. How is Final Fantasy XIV doing?
Yoshida-San: So the original version of FF14 was released back in 2010 but the quality of the original version wasn’t great but with the release of A Realm Reborn in 2013 we created a new game which since then we have increased our player base globally and the game is still growing. The number of accounts that we currently have, only paid accounts, is now over six million and the number is still growing. So we would like to offer new content and continue to grow the game and the fanbase moving forward.
n3r: That’s an impressive number, congratulations. Do you think this will continue to grow or are the player numbers staying to even out?
Yoshida-San: Yes the player base continues to grow. With the launch of the European data centre we can see that this data centre is the highest traffic data centre we have and continues to grow in traffic. We have been here at gamescom for six years in a row and we feel that the players from Europe are really passionate about the game which is great. In Germany alone there are lots of fan meetings as well which is great.
n3: How do you keep your passion for A Realm Reborn going?
Yoshida-San: Putting the business side aside, being able to meet a lot of fans and get player feedback from them directly helps to keep me passionate and motivated to keep working on A Realm Reborn.
n3: How does player feedback effect the development of A Realm Reborn?
Yoshida-San: Because the players have played the game longer than the development team, their feedback is very important. The feedback on PVP, Job Balancing, and User Interface for example is very valuable as it’s something that the development team can’t work without.
However the tricky feedback would be about the games cycle. The player side want to get items and rewards as quick as possible but on the developer side they cannot do that because we need to think about the games life and cycle. The development team need to balance the games cycle to take player feedback into account but also ensure that new players can catch up as well. However the difference we see in A Realm Reborn which is different to other MMO’s is the communication we have with the players. Be it on Streams or at events like this, we try to keep communication open with fans.
n3: What’s your favourite mount? I personally like Fat Chocobo
Yoshida-San: Often I use the griffin mount which has a really cool design which is why I tend to use it.
Fat Chocobo is a good example. When he runs on the ground he has gysahl greens in front of him which he follows. Because in 3.0 the mounts started flying one of the development team asked how to to make Fat Chocobo fly. I said about changing the green to a cake and though it was more of a joke it was taken seriously and implemented into the game. *laughs*
n3: Does that sort of thing happen often? A joke being taken seriously during development?
Yoshida-San: It happens quite often. When the development team are torn between two options they usually come to me to get final approval. For example, when we were thinking of the next two-seater mount I thought “well there is a Fat Chocobo so why not a Fat Moogle?’ and so the Fat Moogle was implemented.
n3: Any message you would like to give to fans?
Yoshida-San: So since the release of A Realm Reborn it has been three years and even though the Final Fantasy series has a large fan base over the world, A Realm Reborn has the best fanbase. That’s why for Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn we want to return to the players by giving regular content updates and running FanFest where we may or may have some big news. *laughs*
n3rdabl3: Thank you very much for your time Yoshida-San
So there you have it. A chat with Yoshida-San about the current state of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. As he said there might be some exciting news being announced at the upcoming fan fest so make sure to keep an eye out for that moving forward. It might have only been a quick chat but it was a pleasure to meet with Yoshida-San. Here’s hoping we can catch up with him again at next year’s Gamescom.