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Final Fantasy 14 - Interviews - GAME Watch Interview With Komoto And Tanaka

GAME Watch Interview with Komoto and Tanaka

GAME Watch interviewed Kawamoto and Tanaka at the Tokoyo Game Show in Japan about trailer content, battle system, graphics, classes and the beta test. Whilst Final Fantasy 14's presence at the TGS was pretty much non-existent (Square were busy pushing Final Fantasy 13), it is likely that from now onwards, Final Fantasy 14 will be the main focus of their attentions. GAME Watch aimed this interview at trying to glean new information from things that could not be asked or were unknown at E3 earlier this year. However due to it being pre-beta time, there are a lot of aspects which they are not ready to reveal.

Here is a brief summary of the main points:

  • The game will feature something similar to MagiTek armour
  • The battle system is only 50% complete
  • Enemies can form parties
  • You can have your weapon drawn in any setting
  • Having your weapon drawn will effect running and healing speed
  • Transition between cities and fields is seemless and battles can happen in either
  • 720p resolution for PS3. DirectX 9 and 10 for Windows

  1. General World Questions
  2. New Battle System and Skill Chain System
  3. Large scale PVE Questions
  4. Class Role Questions
  5. Graphics Questions
  6. Beta Testing Questions

General World

GAME Watch (below GW): First, we'd like to ask you about the trailer. We noticed a sailing ship in the beginning of it, what was that?
Nobuaki Kawamoto (below NK): If you think about how, in Final Fantasy XI, you had to choose which nation you belonged to when you started, then the answer should be easy to figure out.
GW: Ah, now that you mention it, it reminds me of the Sandoria opening scene. So this would be the ocean city, Limsa Lominsa, is it?
NK: You could think that.
GW: I see, so all adventurers come to Eorzea by boat, then?
NK: Yes. We thought people would get excited if it were a story about people shipping in from other lands, and Limsa Lominsa were a port city.
GW: Will all city prologue scenes be made in such high quality?
NK: Yes.
GW: What will the other two countries' prologue scenes entail?
NK: Who knows (he laughs). We're still working on those.
GW: The background music was impressive. Is this a song by Nobuo Uematsu? When is this song used?
NK: Yes, itā's an Uematsu song. The first song is for cut scenes and other events. Nothing's set yet, though. The second song is for battles, I think. They don't have any direct relation to the scenes in the trailer.
GW: It's hard to tell the difference between the pre-rendered and the in-game engine footage in the trailer because the quality is high all around. Can you tell us which parts are which?
NK: If you just want to know the ratio of pre-rendered to in-game rendering, then I'd say there is just a bit more pre-rendered footage. There are a lot of times where we slip in flashes of pre-rendered footage, and it's done in such a way that sometimes WE can't even tell. (He laughs)
GW: In the end there's a scene with a cannon-firing battle ship. What scene is that?
Hiromichi Tanaka (below:HT): That's a secret. (He laughs)
GW: Can you get a ship and have marine battles?
HT: Who knows (he laughs again).
GW: After that, there was a scene with airships and a sci-fi-like flying weapon with a strong FF feel to it.
NK: To be honest, that has no relation with what else is going on in the trailer. We think we slipped it in there very well. (He laughs)
GW: We've be wondering about that since E3, but what is that floating machine?
HT: Um, that would be something like 'Magitech Armor'.
GW: When you say Magitech armor, I'm reminded of the sci-fi qualities of FFVI and FFVII. Will there be a lot of sci-fi essence in FFXIV, as well?
NK: Not only will there be maybe different types of essences around the world of FFXIV, but we wanted to create a world that makes players realize, these are all things that exist in our own world, as well. When we started creating an image of what was at the CORE of the FFXIV world, our entire team dreamed things up with that in mind, and in that sense, we'd like users to be able to dream about living in this world, as well.
GW: FFXI was a completely fantasy world, but FFXIV looks to be shaping up to be something else. What kind of world is it?
NK: It's "high fantasy". Instead of realism, we aim over-the-top. We don't think of it as science-fiction, we think of it as fantasy. We are trying to make fantasy even more beautiful.
GW: I see. I apologize for the cliche question, but since you have magitech armor, do you plan on adding telekinetic or psychic powers?
NK: (Laughs) If we were, we wouldn't use those names. Anyway, magic and psychic powers like telekinesis are similar, so that's a difficult question.

New Battle System and Skill Chain System

GW: The battle system shown at GamesCom is different from FFXI, very dramatic.
NK: We actually weren't even sure we were going to present that until the last minute.
GW: How much would you say is completed?
NK: About 50%.
GW: So we're barely breaking the skin here. Can we expect a lot of changes?
NK: As much as time permits, or even a little bit after release. FFXI was the same way.
GW: The menus and things from the FFXI beta version changed completely from the tests to the finish product. Do you think that will happen again?
NK: Yes.
GW: There doesn't seem to be a lot of influence from FFXI in the interface.
NK: There's a lot of things that we took from FFXI, though. The current menu is actually like the FFXI macro menu. Users gain abilities as their character grows. You take those abilities and put them into selectable areas in the UI (user interface). So this is kind of like the macro list, and we think it'd be best if you were able to select your own useable move list.
GW: How many abilities do you think users will be able to set at once?
NK: We've still got to figure out that part of the system.
HT: In FFXI, users told us a list of 200 wasn't even enough! (He laughs)
GW: Monks in FFXI were considered a job that had a lot of free time to sit back and let auto-attack take care of the work. This time, monks seem like they'll become pretty busy.
NK: That they will. We don't want you to think that you'll just keep hitting the basic attack command, though; remember that there are weapon skills you can use pretty frequently. You can also think about swinging weapons vertically and horizontally and stabbing.
GW: What about the FFXI skill chain system?
NK: It just barely didn't make it into the Gamescom version. We're still trying to figure out when we can show you the system, but because it's based on a system without auto-attack, it will be a very different system than that of FFXI.
GW: A completely different system? Please give us a hint. For example, in Everquest II, a player can chain skills together alone. Is it going to be something like that?
NK: We'll think about something like that further down the road, but right now we're focusing on how to make linking attacks with your friends more fun.

Large Scale PVE

GW: What do you think is the most interesting part about the FFXIV battle system?
NK: I'd say it would be trying to figure out with your friends the best positioning and timing during battle.
HT: In FFXIV, enemies will also be in parties, so you have to decide whether or not you want to divide and conquer.
GW: So normal monsters will be in parties this time, not just special bosses?
NK: Right. The guildleves we showed at Gamescom were also created to show this. In FFXI, the focus was on how to get one enemy away from its group and take it out, but this time we want players to think about what to do, how to position themselves, when more than one enemy approaches them.
GW: If monsters are in a party, will all of them attack if you try to pull one?
NK: Something like that. Of course, there are situations where there will be just one enemy, but we want players to fight parties with parties, too.
GW: What are the number limits on parties for enemies and players?
NK: We're in the middle of deciding that right now, looking at many different situations, and maybe making it adjustable in some cases.
GW: In FFXI, a six person party and an eighteen person alliance constituted fully functional groups.
NK: That's about what we're aiming for. We're playing around with the concept of not including a set ideal number of people per party, so we don't really want to say that the max per party is six. We don't want to players to think mathematically about what makes the best combinations. We want parties to be fully functional, no matter how many people are in them.
GW: I see. In FFXI, there was an experience bonus incentive to create larger parties. Are you doing away with this to make it just as easy to progress with one person as with six?
NK: Well, since the focus in this game is on the level of your skills and not experience points, what's important is not whether you are with someone strong, but the difference between your strength and the enemy's strength.
GW: In FFXIV, you can draw your weapon anywhere. Is there some significance to this?
NK: There was talk that it would be undesirable to walk through a city with your weapon out constantly, ready to fight, but at the same time there was a discussion about how it might be nice to constantly have your weapon out. Whether or not you have your weapon out may also affect speed and healing.
GW: For example, sheathing your weapon to run from an enemy might be a good idea?
NK: Yeah, it's possible you'd run faster with your weapon put away (he laughs).
HT: In this game, going between cities and fields is seamless, so they're not separated into different types of areas. You could probably run into town in the middle of a fight if you wanted to.
GW: I see, so battles in the city would probably happen pretty frequently.
NK: I don't know about frequently, but they will happen.

Class Roles

GW: In FFXIV, there are classes in lieu of the concept of changing jobs. The four main class groups are divided into small classes. Why did you introduce this system?
NK: I was thinking about battle in the first place. There must be Sorcerers and Soldiers. After considering what else we can do, we reached the ideas of Gatherers and Crafters. In FFXI, it was a skill, not a job, but I really agreed with opinions that it would be great if we could play the game just by collecting or fixing things. So, it was very sure from the beginning that Sorcerers and Soldiers would be divided, and the division continued into smaller types.

GW: How is Class change?
NK: You just have to change weapons. However, you have to be skillful at the weapon or you will be weak all the sudden.

GW: How many classes are there?
NK: We are still working on it, to be honest. We'd like to create more and more classes after the service is officially started.

GW: From the class group, it seems like there are no thief or knights.
NK: There are classes for those. By this you can choose your class if a certain class is lacking on that day.

GW: Producing classes such as Gatherers and Crafters are very outstanding. What kind of variation they have in a sense of materials and actions?
NK: well, We'd love to do everything that we can imagine. Would be nice if you can make something big like furniture!

GW: That'd be very exciting for players who are into producing. So there would be players who only do Gatheres and Crafters?
NK: Yeah. The main plan was that FFXIV is enjoyable for those people. We are thinking about supporting those players to get through the forests without being attacked by monsters. Of course, it would be ideal if player can have skill of producing and fighting.

GW: Since the vocational view has changed greatly, seems like there is no abilities like "Run away" or "control"?
NK: No way. Run away would be there for sure!

GW: I see. So classed are not necessarily connected by weapons?
NK: How you customize your ability decides your style.

GW: Ah, right. FFXI was infinite due to job change system. So which system is like that in FFXIV?
NK: I think Class is. The fact that you can change your weapons will enable trying different abilities. We hope you will enjoy job for a long time.

GW: You say items will be lessened through use, but it means they will be gone?
NK: As for that, we are thinking about many things now.

GW: There are many games that items will degenerate, but can a blacksmith fix them?
NK: Yeah. So those crafters are really needed.

GW: So you are saying that all the items in FFXIV are lessened gradually?
NK: Yep, pretty much.

GW: Even rare weapons will, and they could be fixed?
NK: It must be an honor to fix Excalibur. But of course, it would need a high skill.


GW: One of the best things about FFXIV is the beautiful graphics. But does PC version respond to DirectX11?
HT: Now we are making it with DirectX9. We are still working on DirectX10. But think about exchangeability, Drectx9 is the one for now.

GW: Is it possible that Windows version has different graphics?
HT: well, in five or ten years span, I think we need to live up to new tech.

GW: In Windows, there must be lots of graphics options.
HT: yes. It is changing time. So it depends how much change there would be in 2010.

GW: FFXIV will be applied to multicore Windows 7 64bit OS?
HT: Yes. I want nobody who can't enjoy it.
NK: In FFXi we were making Windows version depending on Consuma version, but this time is vice versa.

GW: How much the frame rate would be? Especially in PS3 version?
HT: We are working on it with SCE.

GW: Do you have ideas and plans already to have that quality in PS3?
HT: We are going to prepare graphic things just for PS3.

GW: Windows version and PS3 version would have different graphics?
HT: as for the texture, there are things exclusively for PS3.

GW: So expressed rate would be 1080p?
HT: Might be 720p in PS3.

GW: why did you hire Akihiko Yoshida as Art director?
HT: Well, just becauseā€¦

GW: Though we haven't got whole view, but it already does have strong image.
NK: we think so too!

GW: Mr. Yoshida is directing every part?
HT: yeah, so every material for ads are checked by him.

GW: Are there anything particular in art that you want people to see?
NK: Back grounds far away. They look seamless and very impressive, I should say.

GW: So you are going to depict everything in far ends?
NK: You can see a mountain far away and you can reach it by walking.

Beta Testing

GW: Why there was no playable exhibition in Germany but in Gamescom?
HT: just because of timing things.

GW: No playable at TGS?
HT: We emphasized FFXIII.

GW: Any news on beta?
HT: We are trying to make it asap.

GW: how big the beta test and its region?
HT: Not that big at first. All the region will be.

GW: So you guys are to adjust it worldwide with four languages?
HT: Yes. We want to separate time depending on its aim.
NK: In FFXIV, we would like to have lots of experiments and see you guys growing.

GW: Windows and PS3 too?
HT: Only Windows at first.

GW: What are you going to do from develop version to official service?
HT: after having beta test from time limited ones to 24 hours thing then have stress test. We'll start from ten thousand people, then increase to twenty thousand, forty, then eighty thousand. After that, we'd like to do a completely free open beta.

GW: How long would it take from Develop version to Open beta test?
HT: I said half a year, but might get shorter.

GW: So in the summer of 2010, the official service might start?
HT: We'll see.

GW: Develop version would be within this year?
HT: Don't know. Depends on how hard we work on it.

GW: Are you trying to do something different from FFXI in a sense of managing?
HT: When FFXI was released, RMT want that serious. But we will introduce one time password from the beginning.

GW: Any comment for users?
NK: At Games Com, we had German users try it, but for Japanese users, it will not be that long!
HT: I will light a fire under the programmers' asses.


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