Although his development studio is now working on the 16th entry in the series, it’s clear that Naoki Yoshida’s heart will always belong to Final Fantasy 14.
After all, this is the troubled MMO he rescued from the disaster, transforming it from a fire that jeopardized the franchise to one of the best episodes in the well-known and beloved franchise. This transformation also made Yoshida an important part of the well-loved gaming celebrity and the internal equipment of Square Enix.
In the regular FF14 Fanfest event, Yoshida’s love is most obvious. Usually, sports events all over the world bring fans together to celebrate the MMO and learn more about what will happen next in the world of Eorzea. This year due to the pandemic, it takes a different form-one that stays with many people. The online event of social distancing is the same event happening, but via live broadcast.
Yoshida continues his traditional role, not just as the director and producer of the game, but essentially the main star of the event, appearing in both to spread information about the upcoming expansion Final Fantasy 14: Terminator And to please fans through the presence of him and his team. We had the opportunity to interview Yoshida-and discussed how to respond to the pandemic, fan service, and specific questions about Endwalker.
iGamesNews: First of all-congratulations on Fan’s Day! It’s great to see fans not only following the game, but also you, your team and community. I think that after a difficult year, this will definitely make people full of energy-so let me ask you… You mentioned that you work in an office with a few other people to keep the space between life and work. Given the pandemic and running a huge MMO, what have you done to relax and maintain this balance?
Yoshida Naoki: First of all, thank you very much for your feedback and kind words on the Fan Festival. Unfortunately, due to the severe global situation, we had to cancel the previously planned fan festival, but I am very happy that we can hold one in digital format. Seeing the positive reactions and voices of the community and players is a big motivation for us. Thanks again to all players and communities around the world!
As for your question, the key to my relaxation is…well, this is not a major change, but I think it will “interrupt” all aspects of my daily life. Doing the same thing over and over again, or staying in the same environment, can inadvertently cause stress. It is true that I live a busy work life, but when I feel the need to rest, I will try to change the status quo. So, I will not work one day. I may just watch a movie, read a book, or concentrate all my attention on playing games. I also like skiing, so I have taken all necessary safety precautions to prevent COVID-19 and drove my car to the mountains with my mask. I think this form of switching between mental stimulation and physical stimulation is very important.
iGamesNews: Switch to talking about the game. Since Endwalker is the ending of the Zodiark/Hydaelyn arc, is the location we are visiting some kind of “wish list”?
Yoshida: If so, I want to do two things. The first is based on how far the player can go to express the “current range” of the planet Heidelin, which was conceived and created from the original FF14. This is only part of the elements that will continue to expand. The other is related to the world scale and story expansion in FF14. In Shadowbringers, we show the possibility of various reflections across the past, the future, and the world. Now, to what extent will these aspects expand? … stay tuned.
iGamesNews: As the upper limit of the level increases again, how does the team plan to maintain the attractiveness of the low-level experience?
Yoshida: I think this is also affected by the “time” you spend on “lower levels.” If players want the low-level experience to be more attractive, I believe they will expect to spend a lot of time on the low-level. However, in addition to the time spent on the story, [with the rise in level cap] The experience is changed so that players do not have to forcibly hone in battle, as they quickly upgrade and learn new moves, they can progress more easily. For each new expansion pack, we make sure to fine-tune the time and EXP balance required for each level.
In addition, if the early game experience is too fast or the player finds himself too busy, it may in turn become a difficult aspect among players, causing the player to withdraw. This is an issue that the development team has always been concerned about, and we will continue to ensure that this is taken into account in the next expansion pack.
The reason why “FF14” can have such a big growth is not only due to the existing MMORPG fans, but also due to our emphasis on new MMORPG players. We intend to carefully design the early stages of the game, although for experienced veterans of this type, they may be a bit boring.
iGamesNews: When you took over ARR, it almost immediately began to feel that we started to see more fan service and guest appearances, referring to past FF games. With Endwalker, you will of course work hard to use FF4 reference materials-but are there any specific elements from classic FF or any specific game that you haven’t referenced yet but hope to squeeze into FF14 one day?
Yoshida: I took over the original FF14 project, so three years after I started making FF14, A Realm Reborn was released. I just want to add one point. One of the concepts of FF14 after I took over was that FF14 should be used as the theme park of the Final Fantasy series. This is to ensure that we do not neglect fan service while respecting past titles and fans, even if the stories in FF14 are original.
The same kind of respect and respect can also be found in Endwalker, but we did not make plans or requirements for these in advance. Instead, they only appear in the title “finally”. The reason behind this is that if they are planned, then the game design is to integrate these elements, but I think this is the opposite of the order that should be followed in production.
The workflow I use is first of all that we have experience and stories.If there are elements [from previous FFs] It will be a good game, and then we might pay tribute to it. It is for this reason that I think we will not unnecessarily quote so many quotations from previous titles in the future.
iGamesNews: With the recent expansion, the team seems to be thinking deeply about what it means to be a hero or perform heroic actions. How do your own opinions or experiences shape your perception of heroism?
Yoshida: This is a very profound topic, but I believe that in real history, right and wrong, justice and injustice are just the claims of the winners. No matter how right or ideal a person’s ideas seem, if that party is eliminated in a conflict, their claims may not go down in history.
What’s more, in the worst case, the facts may be tampered with, and the parties believe [by later generations] As “evil”. In such ups and downs or in the long river of history, I think a hero is a person/she who can advance through difficulties, while holding hope, follow the path he/she believes in, and understand the wishes of the people around him.
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