FFXIV 2014-02-20 Famitsu Interview
Famitsu Article - Source : http://www.famitsu.com/news/201402/20048324.html
F = Famitsu
Y = Yoshida
F: When did you start the PS4 versions FFXIV ARR development?
Y: Development started at an early stage. Once we had the NDA tied with SCE we used the information provided by them to estimate the hardwares release date. We used that date as our goal and started working towards it. As for the real coding, this started around October of 2013, so it was pretty quick to go through the optimizations.
F: Why did you keep the price for the PS3 and PS4 versions price the same?
Y: This was done to prevent something like for example, where people purchase the cheaper PS3 version and use the free transfer to the PS4 version. We don’t like to put variations depending on the hardware, so even if there is any type of bonus materials, we try to always keep it fair to all, and made sure people don’t have to purchase new collectors edition.
F: So you personally don’t like something that you don’t feel right, to be done to others?
Y: I would like to keep it that was as much as possible. For those that purchased the standard edition, we prepared the digital upgrade to collectors edition as an optional method. I try to stand in players shoes, we have a reason behind every measure we take.
F: How would you like the players to play the FFXIV ARR Beta test for the PS4 once it starts on 2/22?
Y: I want them to think of it as a benchmark software for the PS4’s hardware. Hook it up to your TV and download the beta test program. Please check out and feel how beautiful and smooth the PS4 works through the world of FFXIV ARR.
F: Can you test out the individual features of the PS4 during the beta test?
Y: It’s possible to utilize the PS Vita’s remote play feature and video sharing feature from the start of the beta test, so we would like everyone to use it to check out the PS4’s specs. As for the video sharing service we are not planning to place any NDA so please go ahead and upload a lot.
F: How much of FFXIV can you play in the beta test?
Y: It will be to a point where it’s right after you fight Ifrit in the main story quest. For leveling it’s up to about level 20. As for areas, there isn’t any restrictions so if you want to you can travel to every part of the world.
F: We assume there is going to be increase in players once the PS4 version is released, what kind of plans do you have to address the congestion.
Y: We have PS4 specific test servers opening up on 2/22, and we’re going to open several worlds for it. This data center will be placed in Japan.
F: Why is the data center going to be in Japan?
Y: If we can put it there, if there is any troubles the server team can address the issue quickly. Even if we put the data centers in overseas it’s possible to work, but it’s highly possible that there will be some loss because it’s not in Japan.
F: For the 2nd phase of beta test planned on 4/4, it will be possible to play on the data centers placed in each region, correct?
Y: Yes. With that timing, we are planning to have a brand new worlds at the same time for those who are newly starting their adventures from the PS4 version. You’ll be able to select existing worlds to create a character as well, so you can join in with your friends on existing worlds, or if you’re one of those that want to get in the start rush when the PS4 version starts, you can do that by selecting the brand new world.
F: How many worlds are you planning to add for each region?
Y: Currently we are planning to open up several for each data centers, but we’ll have to see the amount of access after release and add as needed from there.
F: I can imagine there will be people that will get invited from their friends to start in extisting worlds.
Y: That’s true. By that time, those players on the legacy worlds will be able to transfer to non-legacy worlds as well, the restriction should be lifted by then.
F: When is that planned for?
Y: If early, it’s planned for beginning of March.
F: Being able to transfer means the economy between worlds is being resolved?
Y: For those players in Japan’s Legacy worlds their wallets are pretty tight (bitter smile). Due to the price reduction on the housing, lots of lands were purchased by FCs, also we observed the players gil data and market situation and decided that it should be good now.
F: Can you please tell us the characteristics of the remote play using the PS Vita?
Y: Graphic quality is same as the PS4 version, unlike the PC version you can take it out and play outside.
F: For example, in what kind ways can you use this?
Y: If you connect it via Wi-Fi, you can do the beastmen daily quests, or while heading home in the train, you can put up Duty Finder and when you get home you should have enough members set up to enter the dungeon... that kind of thing is probably possible. However, if you use it from outside and use the infrastructure mode to access, it’s possible that there will be lag, so in this case it’ll probably mainly used for solo contents or just to wait for Duty Finder match.
F: Will it be difficult to play through instanced dungeon contents via remote play?
Y: I think it’ll be really hard to clear extreme primals with it...... When we did an in office remote play test we were able to clear though (laugh). Anything aside from that, for example battle contents that are about the same Beastmen dailies or crafting items, these can be completed without any problem.
F: There might be players that will try and test how much they can fight through remote play (laugh).
Y: As long as it doesn’t bother other players when trying it (laugh). It’s probably best if they try it out between their friends. It’ll be fun to see something like “Challenging Titan extreme on PS Vita” being broadcasted.
F: Is there a PS Vita specific config feature?
Y: When you use the remote play, we have a configuration prepared so it has better controls.
F: We can’t forget about the video sharing feature as well.
Y: For example when you create a video on the PC version, you’ll need a pretty good capture board, and pay attention to the video when recording so the performance doesn’t drop, and then you have to edit before uploading. As for the PS4 all this can be done with by press of a single button.
F: Will there be new contents or gimmicks for the new players along with the PS4 versions release?
Y: We have introduced the Duty Roulette and Treasure Hunt in patch 2.1, we are planning to continue to add these type of contents. Currently we believe that we need to release more contents which required more time to put into, we don’t have these. We have to watch the balance between these and this is also what we are concerned the most. Went off topic, but as for new players, when they play through the game for the first time, since the Treasure Hunt and Duty Roulette is put into it, it should allow players to be able to choose from more variety of things compared to when it was first launched.
F: Are there anything else planned for the new players?
Y: Not contents, but we want to prepare some commentary videos.
F: Is it possible the players starting new from PS4 version to reach the current top players?
Y: If you’re talking as in progress, you’ll be able to reach the advanced players for sure. Reason is because as contents are released, older contents difficulty will be eased. Of course the top runners will keep on progressing forward, but you’ll at least be able to reach right behind them pretty quick. This game stance was planned and put into the foundation, so it doesn't matter when you start playing FFXIV ARR.
F: You’ll be able to use the strategies already used by those older players, so it’ll be easier to run through them as well.
Y: With the patch 2.1 being released last year December, the story is much deeper than when it was first launched, on top of that we have new contents and we continue to add more features that can be done.
F: There are lots of good hearted older players.(older player = long time players)
Y: Lots of older players are nice enough to explain the strategy. I’m sure they will happy to welcome new tanks (laugh).
F: When developing the PS4 version, was there any advantages?
Y: We have the experience for developing the PC versions FFXIV ARR while developing the PS3 version in parallel. That know-how is there among our staff, so they have learned to bring over the architecture set for the PC version into household consoles. I believe that’s one of the big part.
F: So the PS3 versions development experience was put into good use.
Y: Yes. The FFXIV ARR had plans from beginning for the PS3 version and for the Chinese market and we had set the minimum running specs.
F: So that being said the Chinese version is closer to the PS3 version?
Y: Some may already know this but in China there are more players using the internet cafe to play rather than playing on their own PC’s, so the speed in which they switch OS’s is bit slower compared to other countries. When I took over as the producer and director, I checked the average specs of the PC’s used in the internet cafe’s and the specs were pretty much close to the PS3.
F: So if it’s something that can run on the PS3, it should be possible to run on the PC’s in foreign countries such as China?
Y: Yes. That’s the conclusion we came to when we first started looking into the PC hardware structures. However, if we develop the game optimizing for the PS3 alone it’ll hit a cap, so first we completed the PC version, and made a structure where if you increase additional optional setting it will become bit heavier, or if you remove it it’ll be lighter.
F: So the PS3 version is actually a version that took off some of the settings?
Y: Think of PS3 as a small box. We put in the features that are required and not required, put in what’s there for the PC version, and optimize as much as possible, it’s something like that. Now , the PS4 on the other hand, if you compare it with a high end PC it might be smaller, but it’s much bigger than the PS3. We don’t have to think too much about what to take out, we were just able to put all the stuff needed right inside. Unlike the PS3 the memory size is uncomparable, it’s huge, so we put in everything that we should be putting inside. From development standpoint it was really easy.
F: Which part of the PS4 makes game development easier?
Y: I believe the big part comes from game developer, Mr. Mark Cerney being involved in the hardware development. We had him visit us from the planning stages and requested for memory size increase, and other requests. From that, I believe the hardware turned out to where an excellent game can be made easier. As mentioned earlier, PS4 versions FFXIV’s coding started October last year. If you think about that, you can see how fast and smooth the development went from there to current beta test.
F: Yes, that is really fast.
Y: If I say this, I might get scolded by the programmer in charge, but I was surprised the graphics worked easily. We have no problem putting in contents, and most of the work was to address SCE’s regulations and making optimization for the PS4 hardware.
F: Was it hard to develop game for the PS3?
Y: Let me say, no comment (laugh). I have personal attachment towards the PS4, and it might just be because I have stronger feeling towards the PS4 than others.
F: Once you transfer the service from the PS3 to the PS4 , you lose the rights to play on the PS3 version, but why is this?
Y: Originally we were planning to make it possible to play on both PS3 and PS4. It even looked like that was going to be possible when we negotiated with SCE. However when our legal offices checked into this, we were told this cannot be done in Japan......
F: Why isn’t it possible?
Y: In Japan we have a rule where you can’t have one product with two values. For a product that can be played on the PS3, being one value, we cannot add another value later on to where you can also play on the PS4. As a business, this means that you’re adding two values onto one object.
F: So it’s considered same as a package deal?
Y: It’s part of the the anti-trust law. By adding another value on top later it takes away the rivals. It’s a rule put in place so it will prevent sales to promote your own companies product having more advantages.
F: When you think about it, being able to switch between the two is only beneficial to the players.
Y: It’s possible to make it possible to make foreign PS3 and PS4 both playable, but if we do that, that becomes a disadvantage for the customs in Japan, so we didn’t go with this option. After careful thoughts, by losing the right to play on the PS3 by moving to PS4, it will clear the legal issues so we went with this.
F: Did you come up with this idea?
Y: Was just and idea, but when I brought up this idea to our legal offices, and through investigation we received the OK. We also contacted SCE and they also confirmed that there was no issue with this, so we gave the final go with this.
F: After transferring to the PS4 version, if you repurchase the PS3 versions package, you can play with both hardware?
Y: In that case, it’ll be easier to buy the PS4 version package and apply the registration code and I think it’s much more convenient (laugh). But if you’re asking if it can be done, it can.
F: When increasing the household console or PC specs, will the PS3 version pull the developments leg?
Y: We are still challenging the PS3 hardwares limitations in our updates. For example in patch 2.16 we have plans to add an effect where the players gets wet, this can also be done on the PS3 version. But I’m sure sooner or later we’ll hit that maximum limit. We do have PS3 in our plans for our next expansion pack, but if asking if that will happen for the one after, we cannot promise.
F: For example what kind of stuff will it go over the PS3’s limit?
Y: Say you want to fight a 200 meter long dragon while rotating around it... stuff like that. We want to challenge FFXIV ARR with the world, so if we can’t put in features in which we feel interesting, we will lose and would be lost on what we can use to fight with.
(Talking about fighting with other existing/new MMORPGs)
F: So before that happens you’ll make the decision?
Y: It won’t be right away but there will be a timing when we ask players to please shift from the PS3 version to the PS4. But until that day comes, we would like to continue to take responsibility to maintain the quality of the service for those that purchased the PS3 version.
F: What kind of material will confirm to put an end to the PS3?
Y: We will observe the ratio of amount of players moving from the PS3 to the PS4, and using that information, we are going to plan out the final timing.
F: So in order to switch over hardware you have the free transfer service.
(Transferring from PS3 to PS4)
Y: We have been requesting to SCE from an early stage that we want to offer free transfer. We want the players to make payment when playing. Say for example something aside from this, for example when changing the play environment, when this happens we are trying as much to get rid of handling charges as much as possible.
F: Do you have plans to release Xbox One version?
Y: Xbox Live’s gold membership has about 60,000,000 members around the world so it’s very attractive. However, there are two problems. First because of the gold membership, there isn’t much registered members in Japan. Secondly, Xbox Live runs on a closed network, so the community will be separated from other platform players. I believe the second part is the biggest issue, until this is resolved I think it will be hard to release.
F: If that problem is resolved then it may be possible?
Y: Highly possible. That’s really the main issue really. I really love the Xbox game console, so I really would like to try right away (laugh).
F: Are you negotiating with Microsoft?
Y: We have talked with the Xbox’s general manager Mr. George Beckham during in every E3.
F: Would be nice to at least be able to play with those playing on the same Microsoft’s product, those playing on the Windows.
Y: Yes. I feel the same way.
F: OK, how about releasing for the Mac version?
Y: For the OS itself it’s gaining popularity, as well as other MMO makers are starting to look into Mac version as well, so we also are talking with staffs about starting to look into this.
F: Will it be possible to automatically apply the PC versions macro’s and UI onto the PS4 version when they login?
Y: For macro sharing, right now we cannot save the data from the PC version onto the server, so you will most likely need to recreate the macros.
F: What do you mean by that?
Y: Because the save file structure for the PS4 and the PC is different, if you can overwrite the PC data it goes against the regulations so.......
F: I hear people saying that it’s possible with the FFXI but why can’t you do the same with the FFXIV ARR?
Y: Back then MMO genre was still not known, so there were many irregular things that were allowed and that’s what I believe made it possible.
F: Isn’t there any solution to this?
Y: Right now we’re looking into solutions in a way where we prepare a space on the server where you can temporarily save datas such as macro data to solve this. However even with this, we have over 6,710,000 characters so...... If we release this feature it will surely overload on access, and that will cause another issue.
F: Looks like you will need additional investment put in place for this.
Y: It will probably go over couple million yen, so we’re looking into trying to use the previous FFXIV’s Lodestones back-end server to this. We currently don’t know if this can be address by the PS4 versions release, I’m sorry.
F: Moving macros from the PS3 to the PS4 is also hard to do?
Y: It looks like we can use the feature which SCE is preparing to move client data between PS3 to PS4 to address this. We are developing on this as fast as possible to try and get it out while the beta test is going on. Once we can address this, we’re going to make an announcement so please wait for it.
F: In March you are planning to release patch 2.2, but which scenario is going to be the main feature
Y: In patch 2.1’s story, it went over about how Garlean Empire’s threat was gone for now, there was a weird atmosphere surrounding.... it was more like a ‘omen’. In patch 2.2 Leviathan will be summoned and Eorzea centered around Limsa Lominsa will panic.
F: Will the three nations of Eorzea make a move following the appearance of a new Primal?
Y: Since the issue surrounding Garlean Empire is taken away, the motive for each nations is starting to change. You’ll start seeing the bad side, and the gap after the 7th Umbral Era.
F: Will the main story be centered around the Maelstrom?
Y: The lead this time will be Limsa Lominsa. For example if Ramuh is summoned later those in Gridania (where the Sylph’s live) will go into panic.
F: So the story surrounding the Primal will be unfolded?
Y: No, it’s different. The nation in where the primal is summoned will have to address the issue in some way.
F: So if it’s Shiva then it’s Coerthas is going to be the main stage?
Y: I’ll leave that to your imagination (laugh).
F: Will we see new character appearance?
Y: Yes. Not only new characters, but it will involve nations such as Ul’dah, to make the story. You’ll also start noticing how Alfino is still ‘young’.
F: He already has a leader status in the Scions of the Seventh Dawn.
Y: You’ll find out why he also can’t keep up the leadership later on as well (laugh).
F: This time it looks as if the story is going to be pretty deep.
Y: On the other side, we got character like Hildibrand where he makes new efforts as well (laugh).
F: In the Beastmen daily quest the “Chosen One” is born, but will it affect later on?
Y: Sylph’s “Chosen One” will relate to Ramuh. Please look forward to the future scenario on how the chosen one will grow.
F: Will FFXIV ARR cover and reveal story that wasn’t really talked over enough in previous FFXIV?
Y: Things that aren’t inside the current FFXIV are the parts I chose to drop, so in general we won’t go deeper regarding these later on. Although, I think we should go over the story surround F'lhaminn and the scenario surrounding Niellefresne. But even if we officially chose to do so, it’ll be further out in future to release this.
F: What kind of reward can we get from Leviathan hard mode?
Y: For the “Hard mode” this one will relate to the main story quest. We have item that’s needed to progress in the quest, also I think you’ll be able to get strong weapons from it as well.
F: Will it be possible to attack the boss from behind?
Y: We made sure you can attack from behind and the side as well. Even if it looks like you can’t attack from the side, we made sure the action from behind will work.
F: It looks like the ship, used for the battle tilts.
Y: It’s one of the key points to the strategy on what causes it to tilt that much.
F: For the “Hard Mode” wouldn’t it become easier than the Moggle Mog fight?
Y: As for Leviathan Hard Mode, it is adjusted to match with the same amount of difficulty set to Moggle Mog battle adjustments made in patch 2.15. If everyone understands the gimmick, it should be pretty easy. Even if there are new players, you should be able to cover. If everyone was new, you should be able to take it down with 2-3 tries, that’s about the right image. The Moggle Mog that was released in patch 2.1 was put in because we needed to try and get something we developed in previous FFXIV into the game, so there was little bit difficult.
F: Back then we used the kiting method to strategy.
Y: When we were thinking of the gimmicks on make it where you needed to run while having other take it down was harder than expected. But these parts were adjusted already in patch 2.15.
F: What about the additional features for retainers coming in patch 2.2?
Y: We will implement a fee based retainer service which we have been announcing since the previous FFXIV days. With that, we’re going to add new features aside from being able to store items, and currently preparing for it.
F: It will be a type of useful feature?
Y: It’ll will be a new play mechanic where you can dispatch. You decide on the retainers job and class, then pay a tip (tip/chip - as in form of payment, tokens) and choose the item you want to obtain. Then you dispatch the retainer. Once the retainer successfully obtains the items, they will gain experience points and gain levels, and will be able to wear different types of gears.
F: Retainers will be able to wear gears for adventurers?
Y: Yes. As the retainer gains higher level, he/she will be able to equip better gear, with that they will be able to bring back a much rarer items.
F: Will the items vary depending on the class/job role we assign to the retainer?
Y: If you want items that drops from monsters then set it to battle type class. If you want items that are obtainable by gathering class, it will be better to choose gather type class.
F: Along with Great Labyrinth of Bahamut, will the Crystal Tower end once version 2.0 is done?
Y: We are currently talking about releasing a new raid once the expansion pack goes on sale. But if we ended Crystal Tower at that timing, it’ll end up with tons of ideas that we haven’t used I think.
F: So currently there is a possibility of a situation where severals raids being updated at the same time.
Y: I think for Crystal Tower we can keep on updating even after the expansion pack is released.
F: On the other hand, are you working on plans for the next high end content which will replace the Great Labyrinth of Bahamut?
Y: The title and theme is already decided. It’s really FF like and it’ll probably make everyone go “So that’s the route you guys are going to take next”
F: Will item levels increase as every new patches are released?
Y: We are not planning to increase the item level with every patch. Please think of it happening about every 2-3 patches.
F: When patches where the item levels remain are released, do you have plans to stimulate the economy?
Y: For example in patch 2.2 the item level will greatly increase, and in patch 2.3 we are implementing a large scale content. With this content it should create a new business opportunity.
F: It won’t cause a halt to economy like right now?
Y: It is due to our problem, but I think the shock from housing in patch 2.1 was huge. Many players have decided to save their money to purchase a house, and because of the the market halted. And because of that the market went down, and lso made it harder for the gil rotation causing negative spiral. We’ll make sure this type of situation does not happen again.
F: Do you have plans to sell a product like collectors edition that has bonuses?
Y: In general nothing is decided yet, but we will for sure release a collectors edition for the expansion pack. Just like the package version we are planning to have some attractive items.
F: What kind of things would you like to add as the bonus for collectors edition?
Y: We were really going to put a figure with the launch versions collectors edition. Due to limitations to time we couldn’t get it out......
F: Do you plan to put in different figures in each package......?
Y: No we’re not going to do that (laugh).
F: Do you have any plans for special package, PS4 bundled with FFXIV ARR?
Y: I personally want to do that, it’s up to SCE so it’s hard to answer. If I was in SCE’s shoes, PS4 is currently in shortage in the world, so instead of releasing a bundle, I think it will be better to put in that power into hardware production.
F: Lastly, can you please give comment to those that doesn’t know FFXIV:ARR, those that doesn’t know the games attraction.
Y: In FFXIV ARR we have the Duty Finder so you’ll be able to form a party quickly. When going through contents it doesn’t require much communication so you don’t need to plan ahead, you can play as if other players were NPC’s. You can enjoy playing an online game at ease, in your living room. Please participate in the beta test, and see that there was a world like this. You don’t have to be scared just because it’s an online game.
F: Thank you
(Interviewed January 30th )
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Corneille"...j'étais venue jusqu'ici pour bouffer du Buble Gum et en cogner quelques uns... et comme j'ai plus de Buble Gum..."
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