Final Fantasy XIV is one of Square Enix's hottest properties coming out this year and naturally, there are a lot of questions that arise from a game of this nature, especially since it succeeds Final Fantasy XI.
We sat down with Hiromichi Tanaka, the game's director and Yasu Kurosawa, the game's community manager, at E3 2010 to ask them some questions about their upcoming project.
Gaming Union: In Final Fantasy XI, people felt it took a long time for the story to get going - especially with the later missions. Is this something you'll be addressing in Final Fantasy XIV?
Hiromichi Tanaka: It will probably be similar in Final Fantasy XIV as well because we don't want people to see the full story right away.
Yasu Kurosawa: We're trying to make Final Fantasy XIV accessible for solo players. As it's an MMO we do expect some party play to be experienced by players and hopefully that will bring the story much more meaning.
Gaming Union: Will there be an over-arching story, or will it be specific for each race and classes?
Tanaka: It will depend on where you start from. If you start in different cities, you will see a different story. However, the ending climax will be the same for every player.
Gaming Union: How will Final Fantasy XIV differentiate itself from other MMOs on the market, such as World of Warcraft?
Tanaka: Usually MMOs have a very time consuming image, but Final Fantasy XIV will be very friendly for the people who don't have time. That's why we have implemented the Armoury system and Guildleve as they will allow players to get their skills levelled up.
That being said, there will of course be a lot of hardcore content. So the high level players will definitely enjoy the game as well.
Gaming Union: In Final Fantasy XIV there's a great deal of familiarity between that and Final Fantasy XI with the races and the cities. Was that a hard decision to make?
Tanaka: When we decided to make Final Fantasy XIV the first decision we made was to use the same avatars as in Final Fantasy XI. The reason behind this is because we wanted Final Fantasy XI players to be comfortable in Final Fantasy XIV - people have really special feelings for their characters in Final Fantasy XI, so we didn't want them to feel sad about leaving them.
Kurosawa: We also felt it was important from a community perspective because people who were friends in Final Fantasy XI will want their groups to maintain the same appearance.
Gaming Union: If you make another online game, is that a decision you'd make again?
Tanaka: At the moment we don't have any plans for the next MMO.
Kurosawa: Right now we're focussed on updating and growing Final Fantasy XIV together with the community.
Gaming Union: Will it be possible to add more races to the game through updates?
Tanaka: From a game design point of view, we do have other races already prepared, but during the development process we had to put priority elsewhere and due to the schedule we had to give up. In the future, if we have enough man power, it is very possible to add it to the game. We're just not sure at the moment.