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E3 2009 Square Enix Press Conference: Tons Of Final Fantasy XIV Details Revealed

JGaskill
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Posted June 3, 2009 - By Jake Gaskill




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Final Fantasy XIV Online

During Square Enix's E3 press conference (aka as Q&A session specifically about Final Fantasy XIV that started an hour late), director Nobuaki Komoto and producer Hiromichi Tanaka were on hand to discuss and reveal a slew of details about Square's recently revealed and hotly discussed MMORPG FFXIV, scheduled for release next year.

The first comments made were among the most compelling, as the developers admitted that while FFXIV is currently planned to be released only on PS3 and PC, the team is "considering all options at this time, including Microsoft hardware." Not entirely sure what that might mean, but it's certainly an interesting thing to know.

From there it was all about the FFXIV, so hit the break to see how the Q&A went down.

Q: What are the ties to Final Fantasy XI, if any?

A: While you may have noticed that some of the same types of races appeared in the trailer, the world of FFXIV is different from FFXI [XIV does not take place in Vana'diel]. The reason that we made the races similar to the FFXI races is so FFXI players could choose a similar type of race in the new game. For example, in movies, you might have an actor that plays many different roles. Please, think of it that way.

Q: What happens to FFXI now that we're moving to FFXIV? Are you going to phase it out or continue to publish new content for XI? How will the development team be split?

A: The development for FFXIV started four or five years ago with primary ideas. Development started a few years ago, while FFXI was still being supported. FFXI will continue to be supported. There is another year of content planned. There are no plans in the near future to stop development on FFXI.

Q: What influence have games like World of WarCraft had on the development of FFXIV?

A: As with WoW, we want to aim a bit for the casual user. However, we don't want to make a copy of WoW. We believe we will have things that are unique and will stand out from that game.

Q: Will combat be more action-oriented or turn-based?

A: We cannot talk about the battle system at this time.

Q: FFXI has evolved a lot over the years, especially in the areas of player accessibility and the ability to solo. Will you carry over features like level sync and other features to FFXIV?

A: Yes. All of the knowledge and experience we gained from FFXI will be used in the development of FFXIV. At the launch, we intend to have content for solo players as well as large-scale battles. We want a wide variety from the start.

Q: Are you planning a simultaneous worldwide release or will it be released in Japan first?

A: Yes. At the launch, this will be a worldwide simultaneous launch on PS3 and Windows PC. English, Japanese, German, and French versions released at launch.

Q: Will all servers be worldwide or split by territory?

A: The current plans are to have worldwide servers that are cross-platform and cross-region. We will do a beta test and look at the balance and player experience. We want to look for a good balance between region and cross-region play.

Q: Will you be taking feedback from your FFXI users?

A: Yes, we still get a lot of feedback from our FFXI players and will continue to take feedback as we move into beta. The game will change as it goes.

Q: Will you try to move players from XI to XIV or will they be separate communities?

A: It's up to the community themselves. We envision users that will hopefully play XI one day and XIV another. They will be independent, but users are free to play both.

Q: Are there plans to localize the game in Spanish?

A: Currently, there is no Spanish version in development. We'll consider it if enough Spanish-speaking users demand it from us. Getting good translators in Japan is hard, but if there's enough demand we will consider it.

Q: How can users transmit this demand?
   
A: We will conduct marketing research.

Q: Is there any special element in the MMO genre that you will improve with this game?

A: Our plan from the beginning was to make the best Final Fantasy game available. That is our vision for XIV. Then we thought, how can we make the best FF game? We came to the conclusion that it would be an MMORPG. It was decided to make the best FF first, and that led to the decision to make it an MMORPG and use that genre.

A: However, we are trying to implement a lot of new systems that other MMO's haven't used in the past.

Q: Why did you decide to make a new game rather than continue to evolve FFXI?

A: It all comes down to, originally, FFXI was designed for the PS2. It then moved to PC and Xbox 360. A lot of people have asked for a port to the PS3. With an MMORPG of this size, you have to develop new content. Porting to a new technology would take a lot of effort. Instead, we decided to use that time to make something new.

Q: Yesterday's trailer that was shown, was that running off a console or was it pre-rendered?

A: There were parts that were pre-rendered and parts that were running on the in-game engine.

Q: Is that the quality you're aiming for? The scene with the Galka fighting, is that what you're aiming for?

A: Yes, that is the part that was running in-engine.

Q: In that scene, we saw many parties and many enemies. Is this the new focus: many parties fighting many enemies?

A: I cannot say too much, but we hope to have battles that are many vs. many and many vs. one.

Q: What would you like to emphasize with this game? What is different from FFXI?

A: For FFXIV, the keyword that we've been using is "The Growth and Development of the Character." We will have the same type of storytelling and high-quality graphics. We also want to expand and create new in-game systems. The player can grow and develop in a more natural way without putting too much weight on the player. We will expand the job system to make it fairly different from the one in FFXI.
   
A: Another very important concept that takes a different direction from FFXI, is that for FFXIV we want to make it so the player can choose to play solo, in a party, 40 minutes, all-day... there will be content for ALL of those play styles and systems for all of those play styles.

Q: On the beta process, will current XI players get in?

A: As with the actual release date of the game, we don't have a concrete beta schedule yet. We will have a beta and look forward to more information about it shortly.

Q: Will FFXI characters be portable to XIV in any way?

A: The game is completely different. There will not be any XI character transfers to XIV. However, the character design is familiar and XI players will be able to create a similar character.

A: We will NOT be using PlayOnline, but friend lists will transfer over.

Q: If I'm new to the MMO genre, why would I choose FFXIV over other games?

A: We believe that players will fall in love with the world and story that we have created.

Q: I've been seeing information that the title is free to play, is this true?

A: No pricing has been decided at this time. It is still TBD.

Well, there you have it. Exciting stuff about a game none of us expected to be talking about a few days ago, so mission accomplished Square.

So what are your thoughts on the next Final Fantasy MMORPG?

E3 2009 Square Enix Press Conference: Tons Of Final Fantasy XIV Details Revealed
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