Final Fantasy XIV: Hiromichi Tanaka Q&A
Why did you decide to create another Final Fantasy MMO at this time?
Final Fantasy XI has now been out for 8 years and is quite dated, from a technological perspective. So we decided to make a new type of MMO… There are a lot of MMOs in the market that have an open world and small quests, but they don’t necessarily have that huge story that we do. We’re trying to be different from those other games.
How important is the story to the game? How long will it take to see the whole thing?
Because this is an MMO, you don’t necessarily have to follow the storyline but we think you’ll have a much better time if you do… It depends how you level up your character but we believe it could take up to one year to see the whole story.
Do you fear that some MMO players, unfamiliar with Final Fantasy, might feel like they’re coming to the franchise too late to join in?
There may be some people who are unfamiliar with the series, and it’s very important that we communicate the game well to them. But our main target is Final Fantasy XI players who have stuck with us for eight years and want to proceed into the next generation of MMO.
How has your approach to MMO development changed alongside the market?
We had an alpha test for Final Fantasy XIV and received a lot of feedback from players in Japan, Europe and America. A lot of them said that ‘because World Of Warcraft works in this way then we also expect Final Fantasy XIV to play in the same way’. We heard that a lot and though we’re not trying to imitate any other games we are taking player feedback into account.
The PlayStation 3 version is arriving six months after PC. Why is that, and how will you handle things like expansion packs in the future?
We were aiming for a simultaneous launch but, unfortunately, it was not possible. The PlayStation 3 has a limited amount of memory compared to the PCs we’re aiming at. We have to optimise the data so that it will fit on the console and that’s taking a lot longer than we first thought… In the future, all updates and expansions packs will launch simultaneously, cross-region and cross platform.
At E3 this year there was a version of Final Fantasy XIV running with stereoscopic 3D visuals. What was the feedback to those tests?
At E3 we had a surround system with three screens in 3D, thanks to the support of Nvidia. Assuming that the player has the correct hardware, they will be able to enjoy the 3D in this way. As for feedback, because E3 was media focused, we didn’t get much player feedback but we do know that they are looking forward to it.
You’ve mentioned that users will be able to transfer some data from Final Fantasy XI to XIV. Can you clarify this, and will it apply to PlayStation 3 players too?
As the game itself is totally different, you won’t be able to simply use the same character between games but we consciously decided to include similar race styles in XIV so that XI fans could create a character very similar to their old avatar. But if you have a unique character name in XI then you will be able to transfer it to XIV. And yes, the account will allow you to log in on either PC or PS3.