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 ZAM Interviews FFXIV's Naoki Yoshida & Sage Sundi

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Shu
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Registration date : 2008-03-31

PostSubject: ZAM Interviews FFXIV's Naoki Yoshida & Sage Sundi   Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:43 am

We got the chance to sit down with Final Fantasy
XIV's producer/director and global online producer at GDC to talk about
the future of the game.





Members of the ZAM team are currently at
the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and Editor-in-Chief
Darryl "Togikagi" Gangloff was lucky enough to get the chance to sit
down with Final Fantasy XIV Producer/Director Naoki "Yoshi-P" Yoshida
and Global Online Producer Sage Sundi to talk about the future of the
game.

We discussed various topics, such as the
upcoming official forums, the team's plans for new quests, when you can
expect to see some battle system changes (as well as a new high-end
dungeon), and how you'll earn class-specific armor. Yoshi-P also
explains how he hopes to bring both old and new players back into the
game. Keep reading after the jump for the full interview!

You can discuss the interview in the ZAM FFXIV forum.


ZAM: Players are really enjoying
the regular updates and letters from the producer. We know the
developers and community team members will be interacting with players
when the official forums launch next week in beta, but to what extent?
Can we expect to see a wide variety of responses, or a smaller amount of
specific posts?


Naoki Yoshida: Right now
we haven't really decided a strict schedule on posts, but they're going
to have a daily meeting where they'll get information from each of the
regions about what the hot topic is in each region. They'll get that
feedback and every day in the morning they're going to have a meeting
about it and decide what we need to respond to and from there we'll send
out the messages.

Sage Sundi: The hardest
part is running a multiple language forum. We have at least six
representatives all around the world with different languages. Those
reps will collect the data and go to a meeting every day to make sure we
respond quickly.

ZAM: Will community members and developers ever reach out and post on fansite forums?

Yoshida: At first we're
going to start off with the official forums and see how that goes. But
the representatives that we have in each region are going to be checking
the fansites as well and report back the information from those sites.
If necessary, we'll post on the fansites as well as the official sites.

Sundi: Naoki likes to
talk. If you don't put a leash on him, they'll be like 16 Yoshi-P
accounts on 16 different fansites. (laughs) We have to hold him back a
bit, at least for now. If you don't put a limit on him, he'll just be
posting forever.

ZAM: What's the best way for players to get their voices heard?

Yoshida: The biggest
thing is we want players to have that debate. If they have something
they want to say, just get out there and start debating it. Get on the
forums and tell us. In the end, the dev team makes the decision on what
to do, but the stronger the voices are from the public, they'll move a
topic up on our priority list.

Also, this might seem minor, but it's
actually pretty big. Anyone can start a new thread. Make the subject
easy to understand. If there are thousands of threads that just say
“Help!” then nobody's going to look at them. But if it has specific
information so we'll see it when we're going through thousands of
threads, those are the ones that will catch our eye.

ZAM: Many players seem to want
more quests in Final Fantasy XIV, which is being addressed this week
with the addition of sidequests to the game. Can you give us some
details on the types and quantities of quests and missions that you're
planning to add to the game in the future?


Yoshida: The first thing
is that we're going to be adding new quests in almost every patch.
We're going to put in more and more quests. That won't be something that
will stop in the future. We will continue adding quests in patches from
here on out.

ZAM: So this week's patch is getting the ball rolling for more quests?

Yoshida: Yes. And as for
the type of quests, up until now it's pretty much been that you have
your leve quests where you go up to a counter or you talk to the
aetheryte. You're not learning about the people in the world. It's very
systematic. So instead of that, we want to make these sidequests more
about you talking to the people in Eorzea so you're learning about their
lives and the lore and history, and maybe the beasts and the monsters
and how they interact with the world. You'll be learning all of this new
information and also learning about the coming danger. We have this
road map and we plan to release little bits with upcoming patches. It's a
very long road map. We have stuff planned, and it's going to be a lot
of different stuff. There's so much more to learn about the world. Right
now there's this huge world, but there's hardly any information about
it.

And while it's not in this patch, we've
mentioned a little bit before about Companies. There will be quests tied
in with them. These are going to be a big part of what's coming up.
It's going to be a new and exciting feature in the game. I'm sure in
future topics and letters we'll be explaining more about it. It's one of
the things we're really excited about.

ZAM: Players have been excited
about the Company system as well. Can you give us any more details on
Companies and how they will affect the current Linkshell system?


Yoshida: In some aspect,
the Company system will have aspects that are similar to and can link
with that Linkshell community. But it's also going to be something
larger. It's going to be more of a global type of community on a larger
scale. I can't really say much more than that. I can tell you that
toward the end of March there will be revealing stuff coming up on the
Lodestone.

Before I became producer/director, in the
old 1.2 patch notes it mentioned that we will be releasing player
Companies. The thing is, we realized that we could bring out player
Companies, but then if there's nothing for the Companies to do there
wouldn't be any reason to bring it out. We decided to reverse that and
first make sure that there's going to be content and stuff for the
Companies to do before releasing the Companies. The whole coming danger
that's approaching Eorzea is going to play a big part in something for
the Companies to do.

We got the chance to sit down with Final Fantasy
XIV's producer/director and global online producer at GDC to talk about
the future of the game.



ZAM:
From your letters and patches, the battle system appears to be a high
priority for you and your team. What is your overall vision for the
battle and party system in the game?


Yoshida: The main
concept is in two parts. The first one is to have fun in a party. The
second is to have a defined role as a class. Those are the two things.
It's all based around that party play and having fun in the party, as
well as having a defined role as your class and not just being
something that's kind of in between everything. The rest of the battle
system is based off of those two main points.

We understand that for a lot of players
it can be stressful trying to get a party together. So we've decided to
break up that party system into two different parts. One with the base
of 4-player parties, which in a sense will be easier to get together
than a 6-person party in Final Fantasy XI, and having content based
around 4-player parties. So you'll get a party of four and then have
lots of stuff to do with just those four players. But we'll also have
the 8-player parties and have high-level content for players that want
to spend the time to get a lot of people together and do these battles
that are going to take planning. They're going to say, “OK, we need
these types of classes and do this type of battle to win.” It's the
two-part design to having stuff for both the players who don't want to
spend a lot of time and the hardcore players who really want to get
into it.



ZAM: How do expect all of this
to be implemented? Will it be rolled out over many updates, or will one
major patch introduce these battle system changes?


Yoshida: Concerning
battle, it would probably be too difficult to release battle-related
patches in the short spans because we are having patches every two weeks
or month. Instead of trying to release little bits of the battle
system every two weeks or month, we've made the battle implementation a
two-month span. In two months, the battle team will work on a lot of
different things. When the patch comes, you'll get two months worth of
stuff in that one big patch. In between, other patches will be released.
But we want to make it a two-month span for the battle stuff.

ZAM: Do you have an estimated time frame of when players can expect to see that battle patch?

Yoshida: Right now
we're working on a high-end dungeon for hardcore players. We want to
have the battle changes ready for when that's released. I can't give
you an exact date, but I can tell you it will be sometime in the spring.
When the dungeon is released, a bunch of battle changes will also come
with it.

In the published list of the battle
stuff we're planning on implementing, we hope to have pretty much most
of that done sometime in the spring. In the spring you'll be getting
that high-end dungeon and the first round of battle changes. Not
everything, but the first round. You can't just change the rules
overnight. There's a lot of stuff that has to change, especially with
reassessing all of the attributes and actions of all the classes and
rebalancing and adjusting stuff with the armory system. It's going to
take a lot of time. But that first big change will come in the spring
with the new dungeon.

ZAM: In your fourth producer's
letter, you teased fans with concept art for class-specific armor. How
will that be implemented? Will it be quested for like the artifact
armor in Final Fantasy XI?


Yoshida: There will be
lots of different levels of armor. It won't be just high-end. There
will be low-end stuff as well. There will be lots of different ways to
get it. For some of the low-end stuff we're going to be introducing
low-level NMs so low-level players can defeat them to get new low-level
class-specific equipment. The high-end stuff will be a little more
difficult to get. There will be multi-tiered quests where you have to
complete several different quests to get the items. But it won't all
be, for example, Dynamis-based stuff. There will be lots of different
ways to get the class-based equipment.

ZAM: September will be the
one-year anniversary of Final Fantasy XIV. How do you envision the
state of the game one year after launch?


Yoshida: When new
players and old players come back, we want to make sure it's not
stressful. There will be solid tutorials and an easy user interface so
when new players come in, or older players come back, they won't have
that stress of coming into the game.

We also want to have a big goal for the
players. Something that when they come into the game they know they've
got to do this and they can get with other players and aim for that
goal, which will be focusing around this danger that is approaching
Eorzea. The players can get together and feel like they have to fight
to save the world. That big goal will be there and ready for everyone.

I want players who are already in the
game to be able to say that something big is happening and tell players
who quit that they need to come back in to help save the world. It
will give players still in the game something that they can give to
players that have quit to give them a reason to come back.

That's what Final Fantasy is supposed to be.

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