When it was first launched back in 2010, Final Fantasy XIV for PC was criticized by players and the media, and eventually the planned PS3 version was postponed. Since then, Square Enix decided to reshuffle the leading developers of the game. Version 2.0 of the game will mark a new beginning for the game with it launches this Winter, alongside the PS3 version, hopefully.
The game didn’t make a show at E3 this year, but it was available to press behind closed doors but only on the PC. “Right now it’s optimized for PC. We’re about 50% into the development of the PS3 version, but it’s pretty much how it’s going to look on the console as well,” explains Naoki Yoshida. “It uses the same new graphics engine we built just for this game. This summer we’ll have an opportunity to show the PS3 version.”
In the meantime, he briefed the PlayStation.Blog on what to expect from the new version of the game. “We believe that Final Fantasy XIV 2.0 can be considered the next real Final Fantasy game in the series,” he adds. This re-release is based on three pillars that have also been the aspects the series is known for: high quality gameplay, great storyline and beautiful graphics. “And on top of that, there’s our MMORPG community, which will consist of both PC players and also the PS3 players all over the world.” Which means the game will be cross-platform, like FFXI before it on PS2 and PC.
Things are looking promising for the second coming of Final Fantasy XIV, and PlayStation fans will finally have the chance to explore the lush visuals of Eorzea in this deeply-revised version of the title. Below, Yoshida-san goes deeper in some details of his project. And we can’t wait to gather some friends and ride some chocobos around those wonderful vistas.
PlayStation.Blog: Besides the new control scheme and new user interface, does the PS3 version has any new exclusive features compared to the PC version?
Naoki Yoshida, Producer and Director: Because players that’ll be playing on the PS3 client and on the PC client will all be on the same servers, we can’t give either group something special, because everyone is playing together.
But we know that a lot of players have a PS3 and PCs as well, and depending on the mood, sometimes you want to sit down and play in front of your screen, whereas in other times you want to sit back on your couch, relax with controller in hand and play. We believe that we offer opportunities for players to enjoy both worlds
PSB: Final Fantasy has a rich universe, evolving its mythos and its narrative from episode to episode. How do you translate this into a massive open world, into an MMO form, where players can dictate the story?
Yoshida-san: It is an open world in the sense that you can explore freely, but that doesn’t mean is hasn’t a main story. In this open world you have this very detailed story, which has a beginning and it has an ending. What is good is that, once that story ends, we can add new tales. That’s one of the greatest thing about an MMO: you expand a certain story or add new storylines via patches.
PSB: We know some friends that still plays Final Fantasy XI today, 10 years after it was first launched. Do you have a roadmap to keep supporting FFXIV long after its launch?
Yoshida-san: Yes, definitely.
PSB: Are you incorporating easter eggs for fans of the series?
Yoshida-san: Yes, we’re definitely planning on lots of references to past Final Fantasies. This is a game we believe is for the fans of the series, so we want to bring back a lot of nostalgic monsters and other things. For example, we’re planning the Crystal Tower, which is the last dungeon of Final Fantasy III. Basically we’re taking all the great things from the the first 13 episodes, squeezing it into the game and giving them some polish. For example, in FFIII you were limited by the technology of the time, and we’re going to re-render that in this type of high quality graphics. So you’ll have the opportunity to re-visit these sections and see the difference between the lower quality graphics from the past and the high resolution visuals of FFXIV.
PSB: Being players of Final Fantasy XI as well, we know the game was really party-based, and that was a problem with some audiences. Can you also play solo onf Final Fantasy XIV?
Yoshida-san: Definitely, you’ll be able to play the content solo too – it won’t be as party-based as Final Fantasy XI. But, on the other hand, we believe that in this current generation there are a lot of people with time constraints, and it’s hard for them to spend time finding a party. So we’re going to make sure that, for party-based contents, we make it easier to recruit a party. With the Content Finder tool, you’re going to be able to decide “Okay, I want to do this today”, then simply press the button and you’ll be joined by other people with similar goals. So you’ll be able to decide if you’re making a party and, if you don’t have the time, just press the button on Content Finder and you’re automatically in a party.
PSB: With the game finally launching on PlayStation 3 soon, how are you planning to attract those potential new players? You know, the console audience is very different from the traditional PC gamer.
Yoshida: We know that a lot of console players never played an MMO and they may be scared by not knowing what to do, and we want to stress that it’s very similar to an offline Final Fantasy that always had great stories, made you cry, changed your life. There will be a beta for a limited time where people will be able to try it out. And an additional factor to bring in console games are graphics: something of this quality you can’t have in any MMO title.
PSB: Will there be a public beta for 2.0?