Dive into the world of Eorzea with Yoshi-P as he reflects on the journey of Final Fantasy XIV.
In an exclusive interview with Naoki Yoshida, renowned as Yoshi-P in the gaming world, the director and producer of Final Fantasy XIV, we delve into the past, present, and future of this iconic MMORPG. Yoshida shares insights into the lessons learned from the game's evolution over the past decade, how storytelling has kept players engaged, and the challenges of maintaining a consistent narrative experience. He also addresses the announcement of Dawntrail and its connection to the game's legacy, adapting to industry trends while preserving the core identity, and the impact of player feedback and community interactions on development. Dive into the world of Eorzea with Yoshi-P as he reflects on the journey of Final Fantasy XIV.
Looking back at the journey of Final Fantasy XIV over the past decade, what are some of the most significant lessons you've learned as developers, and how have those lessons shaped the game's evolution?
As a developer, I would say that you have to be patient, believe in the power of the content itself, believe in the staff and the community, and update steadily, step by step. I have learnt once again the importance of continuity. As a result, the accumulation of these steady updates has led to the richness of FFXIV's current content and the accuracy of the updates, all of which I believe have an impact on FFXIV's evolution. Of course, the many cheers of support we receive from our players have also had a big impact on the evolution of the game. Thank you always for everything!
The Endwalker expansion marked the end of the 10-year long Zodiark saga. Do you see the launch of Dawntrail as another 10-year saga or is it more of a standalone project after full decade?
The end of one saga does not mean that all of the player's previous adventures, steps and encounters will cease to exist. Even if a new saga starts, it will eventually be something to be felt in the same way years from now, when you look back on the present. Everything is connected and grounded together. That's how people relate to each other, and we will continue to cherish the connections we have made not only through the story of FFXIV, but also through the FFXIV project. So I don't see it as an independent project at all.
The MMORPG genre has seen its fair share of changes over the years. In what ways has Final Fantasy XIV adapted to industry trends while staying true to its core identity?
It is very difficult to explain in only a few words, but gamers today have significantly less 'disposable time' than before. However, more and more games are being released, and they tend to be grander and better than ever, so games are having to compete for the time that gamers have to play them, as well as other forms of entertainment. In response to these subtle changes and nuances, we are constantly fine-tuning not only the production of content, but also the calculation of how long it takes to get reward items and the time spent to get them. Therefore, 'responding to trends' does not mean just responding to one thing, but the entire team needs to be aware of trends overall and reflect them in all the detailed adjustments. In this respect, we're always thinking about this in FFXIV, and it might be special for that.
Over the course of those 10 years, you have brought us several intriguing expansions. In your opinion, which one was the most well-received? Is it Stormblood or Shadowbringers, as players often debate?
There seems to be a certain amount of difference between regions, and in Japan opinions are divided between Shadowbringers and Endwalker. I also hear often that Heavensward is a favourite. For me, each story in each expansion is an essential part of the story that had to be told in FFXIV, so I can't decide which one is the best. In terms of the players' evaluation, I see Shadowbringers as being in the lead worldwide, with Endwalker as a close runner-up.
In what ways has players' feedback and community interactions influenced the game's development?
Both of these are great motivations for us in the Development/Operations teams and have a huge impact on our development itself. It is thanks to your feedback that our desire to deliver better and more content and to get excited together through our events has not diminished in the 13 years counting from the original version of FFXIV!
The storytelling in Final Fantasy XIV is often praised for its depth and emotional impact. As the narrative has unfolded over ten years, how have you managed to keep players engaged and invested in the ongoing storyline, and what are some of the challenges you've faced in maintaining a consistent narrative experience?
First of all, I make sure that the team is clear on the understanding that the main character is you, the player, the Warrior of Light, and at the same time, the story experience is the most important element that comes along with being part of the FF series. When we create a big story, such as an expansion, we have a thorough meeting where we discuss the ideas that each of us bring to the table, and then we decide on the subject matter and build the story around the theme of the expansion that I give them. This is then shared with all the teams, and even the battle contents are aligned towards the aim to enhance the story of the game. If you have been able to immerse yourself in the story of FFXIV, that would be because all of the staff are continuously working hard to create ideas, graphics and battles to create a 'story experience'! Please look forward to what's in store for the future!