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Final Fantasy XIV Q&A: Headed Heavensward on PlayStation

Justin Massongill's Avatar Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 // Social Media Manager, SIEA

It’s a good time to be an Eorzean. Final Fantasy XIV patch 2.4, Dreams of Ice, has just released, adding new dungeons, the rogue class and ninja job, a new primal battle with long-standing series summon Shiva, The Final Coil of Bahamut — the third and final chapter of FFXIV’s ultimate end-game raid, and countless other tweaks and new features.

Square Enix also just announced FFXIV 3.0 Heavensward, a whole new expansion that will add way too much content for me to list in an opening paragraph. Well okay, a few highlights: Dark Knight job! New areas and primals! New playable race! Flying Chocobos and single-rider airships! That’s all coming in Spring 2015.

Finally, fans worldwide have had the chance to attend the first-ever FFXIV Fan Festival — recently held in Las Vegas and London, with an upcoming stop in Tokyo. I attended the first of these events, and had the great pleasure of sitting down with Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P to his friends and fans), the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.


Naoki Yoshida: Thank you so much for taking time to come to the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival — our first one — here in Las Vegas. It’s an honor to have you here with us.

“It’s all because the fans have supported us.”

PlayStation.Blog: Thank you for putting this festival together! Many events year-round host hundreds of games, but there are so many people here who are just incredibly passionate about Final Fantasy XIV.

NY: It’s been a long road. We went through 1.0 and the trouble there, then into 2.0, and getting here to 3.0 and this Fan Festival… it’s been a crazy ride, but it’s all because the fans have supported us and we thank you for that.

PSB: FFXIV is one of the few MMOs to exist on PC and console simultaneously. Is it challenging to keep updates consistent across three platforms?

NY: Actually, there aren’t that many challenges, because this is how the game was planned from the beginning. We have our graphics engine, which will work on low-end and high-end machines, so we don’t have to think “Okay, we can implement this but because we have to implement it on PS3 we won’t implement it here.” We don’t need to think about that because it’s been in our plan from the beginning to be able to make something that will work on all of these systems. Now, there are things like, the PS3 has less memory so not as many characters can be displayed on-screen at the same time, but we don’t let that control how we make each patch so we don’t think of it as a challenge.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

Ravana, a brand-new primal created for Final Fantasy XIV
FFXIV: Dark Knight

The Dark Knight, a new playable tank job in Heavensward

PSB: You just announced a lot of new things here at Fan Fest: Heavensward, more details for upcoming patches… you even talked a bit about 2.5. How do you keep track of all this content? How do you implement these things in such a way that no one aspect of the game becomes unbalanced?

NY: We have been planning stuff that’s going to be released now and into 2.5 for over a year. When we made our plan for 2.0, we made that plan all the way to the end of 2.0 as well. Other than ad-libbing new content when we get feedback from players, we pretty much already know what we’re going to do. It’s not like we’re making stuff up as we go and having to do it immediately!

Not just what we’re going to release and at what times, but things like when are we going to raise item levels, when are we going to release a new part of the raid, and when we are going to fix or adjust other parts of the raids. So basically we’re going to make sure that the balance isn’t going to break if we do these things, because they’re already in our plans.

Maybe we’re making two dungeons at a time — even though from the player’s perspective it looks like we’re making two things at the same time, within our company we have things split up so our devs don’t get confused either. They know “Okay, I’m working on this 2.4 thing,” or “I’m working on this 3.0 thing.”

We have this giant task board with all of the tasks and timelines and what people are supposed to do — it’s such a large project that we have more than 10 project managers making sure that everything is getting done on time and that everyone knows what to do. If anyone’s going to be confused, it’s going to be myself. [laughs]

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

PSB: Final Fantasy XIV continues to grow and improve with each update — a couple of my favorite recent additions are Syrcus Tower and Hullbreaker Isle. Is there any content on your personal wishlist you’ve got tucked away, waiting for an opportunity to slip it into the next patch or start working on it?

NY: There’s a lot! Thinking of new things to add is our job. There are lots of things we want to do, but the technology isn’t ready yet, or it would take too long to develop and implement. We know players really want to get into Chocobo breeding and raising — there are lots of things like that we know the players want.

Programmers have already started working on new things that we’re planning on adding in 2.5. We’ve learned so much over these past few years programming and trying new things in 2.0; we’re going to try a lot more things in 3.0. We have a lot of cool stuff that we’re planning for it, but there are people in this room who don’t want us to say anything, so… [laughs]


“We’re going to try a lot more things in 3.0.”


PSB: I noticed earlier that while you were on stage you pantomimed playing with a controller — do you normally play with a controller, or with a keyboard and mouse?

NY: Because I am the producer and director, it’s my job to show the people of the world that you can beat this difficult content, these difficult duties, with a controller. So at work, whenever I do my checks on new content and duties, it’s always with a controller. So when I was out there playing on the floor with fans, I was playing with a controller. Those guys out there are hardcore, so I knew they’d be watching closely, but I think I did a good job keeping my DPS up.

At home I play with a gaming keyboard and mouse, and if you look at my screen it’s just hotbars everywhere [laughs]. But yeah, when it comes down to it, I want to make sure the controller mode works and is usable by all players, so that’s why I test it. The one I don’t use the most is probably a normal keyboard and mouse — I’d probably have a hard time using that.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

Bismarck, another new primal you’ll battle in Heavensward

PSB: You’ve managed to translate a very complex control scheme to an input device with far fewer inputs, and everything still manages to feel intuitive, thanks to some clever control combinations you’ve included. For example: hitting up and down on the D-pad to select party members (which makes healing much easier), or hitting L2 + R1 to cycle through hostile targets.

NY: Just to tell you a little more about that controller mode, the idea of how to do it came really quickly with the Cross Hotbar, but it took a lot of time to get it to feel just right. You mentioned the toggling: the first time we had that, doing Cross Hotbars and toggling at the same time, it didn’t work the way we had it so we’d be playing and saying “I can’t do this, we gotta fix this!” Then we’d fix it and get feedback from the players during and after our beta phases, and create something that feels right for everyone. We’ve put a lot of work into it, and for you to tell us that it’s great is one of the best compliments we can get.

PSB: Have you explored any enhanced sharing functionality to tap into PS4’s Share button? For instance, a photo mode like some recent games have implemented?

NY: We’ve been getting that same kind of feedback from PC users as well. These are your characters, and you want to people to see them! We understand that. Not just for PS4, but for PC as well to have some kind of photo mode to give players more ways to show off their character is definitely something we’re considering. The biggest thing for us is we want all our players to have the same experience. We don’t want there to be any difference in experience between PC and PlayStation. We’ve had a lot of help from Sony to help us achieve that same type of experience, and we want to continue working with Sony to make sure the experiences are as close as possible.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

PSB: Before I let you go, do you have any parting thoughts for PlayStation fans?

NY: Very soon, we’re going to be starting a free trial for both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 players. You just need to download and install the client, and you can play for 14 days up to level 20. Hopefully, this will bring in a lot of people who haven’t played but have been thinking about playing. It will give them a chance to feel the game and experience Final Fantasy XIV and the world of Eorzea. And if you like it, we have this great content in Heavensward coming right up! Stick with the game, and stick with us for adventures in Eorzea and Heavensward.

//Add Your Own

30 Comments   6 Replies

1

+ OrionSTARS on October 31st, 2014 at 9:03 am said:

Based YoshiP as always.


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    + Justin Massongill on October 31st, 2014 at 11:04 am said:

    Being at Fan Fest, I was amazed to see how much fun the development team was having. You can tell that they put a lot of love into FFXIV.


2

+ perrandy on October 31st, 2014 at 9:08 am said:

nice interview,wish that mmo’s like these would be covered by your ps plus subscription tho or instead of paying for it monthly just to pay for the game once and for all.just my 0.2 cents haha


3

+ SeanStrange on October 31st, 2014 at 9:16 am said:

The Dark Knight class looks sick. Might jump back into XIV on the PS4 once the expansion drops.


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    + Justin Massongill on October 31st, 2014 at 11:11 am said:

    It looks SO sick. I just hit lv50 on my Warrior, but I might level up a second tank just for this…


4

+ ROFLdrg on October 31st, 2014 at 9:23 am said:

You might want to clarify this in the article for the more die hard players that read this. The Dark Knight is a Job, NOT a class. There are differences between the two and given that Dark Knight will be the first job in the game to not have a base class, it’s probably even more important to use the correct terminology here.


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    + Justin Massongill on October 31st, 2014 at 10:30 am said:

    D’oh, good catch! Can’t believe I mixed that up.


5

+ JoeUFC on October 31st, 2014 at 9:26 am said:

That would be nice Perrandy but it’s two totally different things, almost like saying the money you spend at one store should cover you at another… unfortunately you’d never get this amount of content if the less than $5 a month you pay for an annual PS Plus subscription to Sony also covered money you’re paying to Square Enix for a game lol..


6

+ Pabloo1010 on October 31st, 2014 at 9:35 am said:

@2 They have to pay the bills you know XD

Hmm, I’m probably going to buy the PS4 game after this new 14 day free trial… I loved the early PS3 beta. This may convince me :)


7

+ FifthDream on October 31st, 2014 at 10:12 am said:

Great interview! I love how Yoshi-P takes a lot of time to keep in touch with the fanbase and let us players know what’s up in Eorzea.


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    + Justin Massongill on October 31st, 2014 at 12:03 pm said:

    Yeah! I don’t know how he manages to remain so public-facing while keeping everything under control on the development side. What a champ.


8

+ NeoBejiitaOu on October 31st, 2014 at 10:26 am said:

I would like to point out that PS+ isn’t needed to play Final Fantasy XIV. They worked out a deal with Sony so that it wasn’t a requirement.


9

+ lilvon6900 on October 31st, 2014 at 11:56 am said:

perrandy that dosen’t make any sense. Thats like buying a whopper at Burger King & asking if it comed with a big mac?


10

+ purse317 on October 31st, 2014 at 11:57 am said:

Membership payment methods are they going to expand to include paypal since the other method went away recently. I’m not a fan of putting my credit/debit card information out their a lot so this has stopped me from renewing my membership.


11

+ FearMonkey on October 31st, 2014 at 12:04 pm said:

Thanks for getting this interview, Justin. You should interview Soken next. He’s awesome! :)


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    + Justin Massongill on October 31st, 2014 at 1:59 pm said:

    I would love to! His panels were a major highlight of the event. Especially when he played with his band, The Primals, at the end of the show. They played Leviathan’s theme twice!


12

+ Hand-of-Vecna on October 31st, 2014 at 1:33 pm said:

I played FFXIV, and leveled all classes to the max, including the crafting and gathering classes. I also obtained all relic weapons. To those who seem to think the monthly fee is excessive, I can absolutely assert that I got my money’s worth.

My suggestion would be to play the first month! The technical execution of the game is excellent. It may be sufficient to hook you, and you can judge for yourself whether or not the game is worth the cost.

I will never go back, but I applaud the continued support of the game.


13

+ deafwing on October 31st, 2014 at 3:34 pm said:

damn … is it too late to get this game and start loosing precious hours of my life over it :D


14

+ AlonditeRagnell6 on October 31st, 2014 at 4:17 pm said:

It’s never too late to start :P


15

+ jose213jose on October 31st, 2014 at 7:43 pm said:

How about adding offline mode to the game then but with limits so we can play the game offline then sense most gamers can’t pay for the sub sense its hard for them. Money these’s days are getting hard for everyone so having offline mode to the games for MMO would be better for the players.

As for myself i’m always playing online but love to play it offline too when i don’t want other players joining my fights sometimes.


16

+ Grayfox2k8 on October 31st, 2014 at 11:58 pm said:

Yoshi-P is awesome, and FFXIV is awesome too. I’m addicted.


17

+ shiffty88 on November 1st, 2014 at 1:41 am said:

Noooo PSB why didnt you ask the question that most owners of both the PC and PS4 versions where wanting, “If i buy the expansion for the ps4 or pc, is it cross buy with each other”

So i only have to buy it once and be able to play the expansion on both systems.


18

+ GhostX1984 on November 1st, 2014 at 7:02 am said:

‘NY: Actually, there aren’t that many challenges, because this is how the game was planned from the beginning. We have our graphics engine, which will work on low-end and high-end machines, so we don’t have to think “Okay, we can implement this but because we have to implement it on PS3 we won’t implement it here.” We don’t need to think about that because it’s been in our plan from the beginning to be able to make something that will work on all of these systems. Now, there are things like, the PS3 has less memory so not as many characters can be displayed on-screen at the same time, but we don’t let that control how we make each patch so we don’t think of it as a challenge.”

Still waiting for those damage meters that you ONLY get if you play on pc.


19

+ GhostX1984 on November 1st, 2014 at 7:03 am said:

“NY: We’ve been getting that same kind of feedback from PC users as well. These are your characters, and you want to people to see them! We understand that. Not just for PS4, but for PC as well to have some kind of photo mode to give players more ways to show off their character is definitely something we’re considering. The biggest thing for us is we want all our players to have the same experience. We don’t want there to be any difference in experience between PC and PlayStation. We’ve had a lot of help from Sony to help us achieve that same type of experience, and we want to continue working with Sony to make sure the experiences are as close as possible.”

Sony, we need damage meters on the PS4 version like the pc has.


20

+ DragonIrons on November 1st, 2014 at 8:27 am said:

@15…. it’s an online MMO you dimwit, there is no offline mode and there never will be lmao…. if that’s what you want then go get one, like Dragon’s Dogma or skyrim…. or wait for Witcher 3 coming out or Dragon Age Inquisition or any of the others…..


21

+ MakoSOLIDER on November 1st, 2014 at 11:15 am said:

Free trial? Awesome! I decided to get into it when the new expansion hits and just use the new class. Will this trial period be limited as to when you can start it? I would oove a limited free tier even more though tbh


22

+ Keeng on November 1st, 2014 at 11:25 am said:

@18: What? First, Sony has no bearing on features that get added to this game and second, “damage meters” are illegal. People get banned for using parsers and such every day in FFXIV. They’re not a part of the game. People are running separate programs to get that information.

That nonsense aside, thanks for posting this interview! It’s a phenomenal game and it’s great to see Sony representing it. It’s easily the strongest third-party exclusive on any console and it’s one of best games of the generation.


23

+ PrinceofXIII on November 1st, 2014 at 10:36 pm said:

Lots of good things for FFXIV :)


24

+ DarkOne_PR on November 2nd, 2014 at 12:19 am said:

waiting for the online of this game to go free… theres just too many games coming to keep paying a monthly subscription… sorry SE the game is awesome and i bought it happily… but im not paying anymore….


25

+ DragonIrons on November 2nd, 2014 at 9:43 am said:

Well DarkOne…. you’ll be waiting….. forever LOL 11 never went free what the hell makes you think this will? and 11’s still going. They need constant income to keep the servers up and pay people, This isnt’ a free to play p.o.s……


26

+ Gorvi on November 3rd, 2014 at 7:39 am said:

Awesome interview! Too bad I didn’t see this until today, but I finished the Dreams of Ice story content and the new Hildebrand stuff over the weekend, I can’t wait for the expansion. Now if only I could find a coil static on Balmung for my White Mage. Hell, I still need to beat Twintania. :(


27

+ MaxSterling85 on November 3rd, 2014 at 11:00 am said:

FanFest was awesome, for anyone who hasn’t played it definitely do yourself a favor and play the trial but then buy the game. Meet some real cool people too and Yoshi-P was genuinely interested in my question and answered very thoughtfully. I want to again next year an maybe even to another location too. The players I met were real cool people and everyone got along, a real even mix of guys and girls and Legacy and FFXI players were some of the best ones. The concert was awesome and I got back into playing more once 2.4 was released. Odin fight was hard depending on the people you played with/met. I’m one of those guys that is used to playing on PS4 and PC. I use the Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard from PS3 on my PS4. Just make sure to buy a second controller when the battery runs out.


28

+ LeonBlade on November 4th, 2014 at 10:36 am said:

@15 You have no idea how MMOs work… do you?

@18 @19 That’s called a parser, and it’s not exactly “legal” to use them either, do you think SE makes these or something…?

@24 The game will shut down before it becomes free, sorry.


29

+ Wilmar453 on November 8th, 2014 at 5:41 am said:

Plz add me if people are still playing final fantasy 14 need help lol


30

+ Super_Sideswiper on November 21st, 2014 at 2:42 am said:

Um excuse me if this sounds stupid but do you need to buy heavensward in order to access the new content?


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