Right off the bat, Tanaka confirms that it was the plan all along to make “Rapture”
into the latest numbered installment in the Final Fantasy series. However, he jokes
that they were not sure if Square Enix would have already made it to 14 during the
four years they spent in development, forcing them to go with Final Fantasy XV
Online. Also, just as they did with XI, they wanted to show players that they had
full confidence in the game being worthy of the Final Fantasy name – a feeling that
may not have been conveyed by using “FF World” or “FF Online.”
Eorzea will differ from Vana’diel in a number of ways. First, Eorzea is but a region
within the full world of Final Fantasy XIV, which will be named ハイデリン (ha-i-de-
ri-n). This land will be blessed with high technology, but not to the point of more
sci-fi themed worlds found in Final Fantasy XIII or Final Fantasy X. This new MMO
will stay true to the fantasy-style roots of the series, while setting itself apart
as a completely different world than Vana’diel.
As we have seen in the trailer, all the races from Final Fantasy XI appear to be
present and accounted for. Tanaka comments that this was done in order to add an air
of familiarity to the game, so the Final Fantasy XI community would be comfortable
transferring over and trying it out. However, while they look similar on the
surface, they will be given somewhat of a makeover, which Tanaka says will include
new names for the races. Many noticed the Galka-looking character in the trailer was
missing a tail. Little changes like that will further define the races in Final
Fantasy XIV. TaruTaru and Mithra fans can also rest easy knowing that similar models
will be waiting for them in Eorzea.
The developers attribute the long-lasting success of Final Fantasy XI to the Job
System, and plan to learn from it and greatly expand off the concept. They want to
end up with something completely different, one that maintains this lasting appeal
for the player. Instead of leveling up with experience points, weapons will play a
key role in how a character grows and develops. When the interviewer asks if series
mainstays like Warrior or Paladin will appear, the developers simply hint that
nothing will be exactly the same as we know it. No more grinding XP for levels –
they have something new in store.
So what is going to drive people to buy Final Fantasy XIV? The developers claim that
Final Fantasy XIV is all about “growth.” They laugh as they admit that “growth” in
Final Fantasy XI would often amount to an endless cycle of shoot-pull-kill, shoot-
pull-kill. The new MMO will focus on the variety and accessibility of methods to
grow one’s character. This includes an emphasis on attracting people who are not as
familiar with online games with a smooth progression of content. Core fans can also
count on there being plenty of story-driven content and cut scenes to enjoy.
Everyone will be able to freely choose how and when they want to play, regardless of
style or schedule.
Players looking for action can start sharpening their blades in anticipation for a
battle system that takes a marked departure from Final Fantasy XI. In order to make
the battles interesting and have lasting appeal, there will be a number of
strategical elements added to encounters. They imply there will be a learning curve
of sorts – beginners can expect simpler fights as they get the hang of things, while
hardcore players looking to test their mettle can find serious battles that require
much more cunning. It will not be realtime, action style encounters, but rather a
number of more cerebral aspects.
Career loners will be happy to know solo play is getting a lot more attention this
time around. However, the developers are still going to have a lot for parties to
do. The core concept is growth through one’s natural, everyday activities. Perhaps
you solo a lot of quests, maybe you meet some people and band together against evil.
it’s all about enjoying the game in your own way, and developing as you see fit.
Here, Tanaka chimes in to express his preference for balanced parties, as opposed to
everyone meleeing at once. When designing the party system, he made sure it would
facilitate more strategic setups, where everyone can play their respective role.
As for enemies, there will be instances where you face one at a time and others where
you take on a bunch, but nothing more could really be said, as it has not been fully
fleshed out at this time. Tanaka admitted the Battle System as a whole has not yet
been perfected because that is something beta testers will need to take a crack at.
The interviewer also brought up PKing and PvP, to which the developers responded they
were considering options for the latter. They explain that while the game will
involve cooperation, this does not necessarily always mean party vs. monster. Still,
they say PvP will more likely take a shape similar to Final Fantasy XI, and they seem
to shy away from allowing players to simply fight and kill each other anywhere,
worrying it could lead to monopolization of content.