gamescom 2012: Interview with Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn’s Naoki Yoshida
Final Fantasy XIV is getting a make-over with a Realm Reborn. Square Enix have done something that few developers will openly admit to, let alone try and rectify – they took a game that both they and the fans weren’t completely happy with, took all the criticism onboard and have come up with a completely new game. Producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Naoki Yoshida, is keen to stress that this new title isn’t an expansion pack, it’s not a version update of the current Final Fantasy XIV. He and Square Enix consider it a completely new game that they’ve built from the ground up, giving players a completely new experience compared to the one Final Fantasy XIV has. I had a few minutes to probe him for some extra info, so was curious to find out how easy it is to make a Final Fantasy style story work in an MMO and more about some of the changes they have made.
What sort of challenges do you face trying to create an MMO story, as opposed to a single player experience?
As you know in a stand-alone role playing game you have a story; its that story which pulls the player along, but in MMO’s because there is so much more freedom it makes story telling a little more difficult. Players can begin from anywhere – they can do anything, they don’t have to follow the storyline. Making a story that fits that more open world and a more open style of play is one of the biggest challenges.
We don’t want there to be limits to what the player can experience; for example, saying to a player ‘you won’t be able to go to this area if you don’t break through this part of the story’ restricts the freedom. We wanted to have a story that allows players to do what they want, but without being restricted by that story.
Which of the previous Final Fantasy’s is the new combat system most similar too, or is it a whole new, completely original system?
Most of the series up until now has been stand alone console games that allowed for more of a turn-based combat system, but because this is an MMO and battles are all in real-time we had to step away from that turn-based type of system. If we were to compare it I’d say maybe the battle system in Final Fantasy 11 or 12 are the most similar to what we have. However, what we have that is different from those is the system in a Realm Reborn is going to be quicker, much more upbeat and probably the quickest that we’ve seen for the series so far.
Out of all the new additions that you have added to the games which one is your personal favourite?
That’s a difficult question because there are so many things that we are changing and so many things that we are proud of. One of the biggest things we want to get across is that the game really is a Final Fantasy title; you’ll have your chocobos, your moogles, your summons. We’ve taken things from many past Final Fantasy games and put them in here – we really believe that because of this we’ll have that Final Fantasy feel and can say that this is a Final Fantasy game.