Q&A z tiskové konference na Fan Festu

V první den Fan Festu se uskutečnila tisková konference. Tady je její anglický přepis z redditu.

Q: In Stormblood, some bosses had QTE events (active time maneuver) where they must push buttons in sequence and this design is reminiscent of how limit breaks in other Final Fantasy titles function. Are there any plans for party Limit Break as a QTE in this manner?
A: That’s a very deep question right off the bat. At this point, we can neither confirm nor deny that we’re going to have this. We definitely had a reason for implementing such a gimmick. During the events in between battles where there’s no particular reason to utilize a certain system we have to consider what kind of gameplay experience our players enjoy during the battle, and so if we don’t have the need to implement such mechanics sometimes it might just break up the pattern within the battle. We have to consider how do we maximise the enjoyment that players get in gameplay. In the future when we’re thinking about the expansion pack we would have to determine the situation; does the battle call for something interesting or special that would change the pattern, if yes we should consider something like that or if there is no need then we wouldn’t utilize it. That’s the kind of thinking that we have, I’m sorry that might not be exactly the answer you’re looking for but we’re doing our best to deliver the best gameplay experience to our players and I think the best way to see for yourself is to play yourself and find out.

Q: Will Nobuo Uematsu return to compose a song for Shadowbringers as he did for Heavensward, Stormblood and A Realm Reborn?
A: I’m afraid we’re not able to give an answer at this point. There is a reason behind that, you may or may not be familiar with Mr. Uematsu’s physical condition. He did make an official announcement about how his condition is getting better but of course I don’t believe he’ll return to work at full force immediately after recovery, and plus our company Square Enix also has a very large title including Final Fantasy VII Remake that we as a company need to tackle. I think there’s a balance that needs to be struck within our company so we would take that into consideration as well as his condition. We hope that he regains himself so that he can come back in his best condition. Those are the things that we have to weigh in at this point.

Q: If you look at how Final Fantasy XIV has evolved over the years, what was the most important lesson of the development for you and your team – and what do you think was the most important achievement with which you could regain the confidence of the Final Fantasy fans?
A: One of the biggest lessons learned, and this is not necessarily just for FFXIV but overall for our company Square Enix: people around the world wait for our latest games that Square Enix publishes and I feel that it’s very important to sort of face that kind of expectation; to look at it and make sure we are responding to that sort of expectation. To give it our best so that we can perform and deliver on that, I believe that very strongly and I also feel Square Enix as a whole has shifted so that we are more focused on that aspect and we continue to pursue those kinds of aspirations for FFXIV as well.

I’m very thankful to my development team as well as the fans, who have been with us in order to drive us. With an MMORPG there is no end per se, and so there isn’t really something that I feel I have achieved or to have reached as a goal. If I were to give an example, it would be when we released 2.0… until then, the trust we had with our fans was broken and we were able to regain that with the relaunch. I think that’s the only thing I could consider as our achievement at this point, because if we get complacent with an achievement then we wouldn’t have that spirit to challenge something to continue to push ourselves forward. I want to continue to not be stagnant; I want to continue to challenge and move forward.

Q: How does a whole NieR Automata raid happen, was it your idea, Yosuke Saito’s, or Yoko Taro’s idea?
A: First and foremost, one of the catalysts of this idea was that all around the world there were players that were requesting NieR Automata costumes so that was one of the first reasons. As mentioned earlier, we do not have an end so to speak for an MMORPG but at the same time we do want to have change happen within the game as well, and if we were to continue with the same staff member and the same game designers, we may potentially end up having a very similar pattern of how we deliver content. But at the same time it would be too much risk if we were to take the system and change it overall, so what I thought about was to bring in creators that have a different mindset and then maybe we will be able to deliver a different kind of content that you have never seen in FFXIV.

That’s why I thought about working with these creators through these alliance raid dungeons, to bring the players something that we wouldn’t be able to achieve with just FFXIV – that’s why we decided to work with these special guest creators. With this collaboration, it was around the time of NieR Automata being released and Saito-san had approached Yoshi-P to do some kind of collaborative work together. Considering how we make plans for FFXIV way in advance and we had everything laid out, doing something so impactful working with NieR Automata, I didn’t want something that was half boiled. I wanted something that had that impact to make sure we had robust content and have Yoko Taro involved as well, so we can bring that surprise to our players. I thought it would be very interesting to do it that way and we were talking about it over some drinks; that’s how the conversation got started. Any sort of surprising collaborative effort, there’s always some kind of getting drinks or alcohol involved in the discussion.

Q: Talking about that, do you expect to continue that pattern into the future of working with guest creators on future alliance raids and if so do you have a wishlist of who you’d like to work with?
A: I’m afraid we don’t have anything in mind for future plans or can’t say for certain for future events, plus in terms of a wishlist we haven’t even started on NieR yet so we don’t have much to say. Of course the fact that we’re talking about how do we want to do future alliance raid content with guest creators, it’s no fun for people to think oh it’s another repeating pattern for us or for the players. We’d like to explore different avenues of bringing that element of surprise and do things that people may not imagine FFXIV doing, so I think at this point we would encourage people to let their imagination run free and speculate.

Q: Recently Square Enix released Octopath Traveler with turn by turn (turn-based) gameplay, is that definitely a thing in the past for the Final Fantasy franchise or is it an open door?
A: I’ve never thought about it actually. I wonder how we’d go about making it. You’re considering that this will be done within FFXIV so it would still be multiplayer? If you’re talking about Final Fantasy overall, I’m afraid I don’t have the position to speak of other titles.

Q: FFXIV takes a lot of inspiration from past Final Fantasy games. How important to you is it to pay tribute to the series‘ history when implementing something relatively familiar like Gunbreaker?
A: Of course I feel that referencing or paying homage to past Final Fantasy titles is important, I have a different approach or different way of thinking about utilizing elements from past Final Fantasy titles. I myself am a very big fan of Final Fantasy; I played the very first Final Fantasy and continue to play, so you can say I’m a very old time fan. But looking at Final Fantasy, especially from Final Fantasy 7 and beyond, with each numbered title there’s a different world setting, different characters, etc, and these are good elements to games like that but at the same time, I think they’re bad elements as well. So with FFXIV especially with the relaunch of A Realm Reborn, I felt that we didn’t have enough fan service to people who enjoy the Final Fantasy series so I try to incorporate as many of those kinds of Final Fantasy elements as I could and make it a sort of theme park of Final Fantasy, so that fans like me (old time fans) as well as more recent fans that got to know Final Fantasy through some of the newer titles can all enjoy and play together. So that’s why I kind of reference the past Final Fantasy titles to pay those homages, and that’s one of the reasons I do that.

Q: With the recent introduction of Blue Mage and Masked Carnival we see weekly challenges that incentivize and rewards creative ways to approach those trials. I was wondering if there were any plans to introduce challenges like this into other pieces of content like Trials, Dungeons, and Raids, to give it dynamic replayability? Such as like a challenge to a dungeon in a certain way, such as doing it with 4 Warriors using only certain skills, to incentivize people replaying that content in a certain new and creative/challenging way.
A: With the Blue Mage, a key element is to learn monster actions and then with the Masked Carnival utilizing those actions learned to clear the different content. And there’s the element of challenging the content as a Blue Mage with balance breaking abilities. Of course with the Blue Mage we definitely do have the Masked Carnival to utilize those actions learned, but at the same time you’re learning more and more actions so there’s the element where you’re enjoying just collecting those different monster actions, so we do intend on expanding that part but we’re not able to say when just yet. Sometime after 5.0 launch, we do intend on increasing the level cap for the Blue Mage so there’ll be more abilities to learn as well as more challenges that you can face as a Blue Mage. [Editor’s Note: Foxclon later spoke with Yoshi-P to clarify this question, and they answered there is a similar idea they’re considering regarding on the question topic]

Q: The previous alliance raid, Return to Ivalice, was the first proper collaboration and with that we saw the story take us out of Eorzea into somewhere else. With the new one with Yoko Taro going to NieR (YoRHa Dark Apocalypse), are we gonna see the story more focused on NieR and do you think that Yoko Taro could be mad enough to put a continuation behind 100 hours of your game?
A: I can say at least with this alliance raid we are going to have YoRHa Dark Apocalypse happen within the realm of FFXIV and we are going start to make that transition very smooth and natural. In terms of how these worlds crossover is something we’d love for the players to find out for themselves. Anything beyond that I think it depends on how Yoko Taro writes his part of the story, so I’m hoping to make an opportunity for the 3 of us (Saito-san, Yoko Taro, Yoshi-P) to sit down and discuss what this is going to entail.

Q: How do you decide which elements of the Final Fantasy series you will integrate into the FFXIV scenario like with the Final Fantasy XII raid?
A: It’s a little difficult to say when you mention how we incorporate things. With the Return to Ivalice, that was because Yoshi-P talked with Matsuno-san about doing something that incorporates the world of Ivalice into the realm of FFXIV. [Editor’s Note: Clarification was requested and the media outlet responded asking the reason why they had incorporated the Return to Ivalice as well as the Viera race] Before we even decided to do Return to Ivalice, Yoshi-P had conversations with Matsuno-san about having him as a guest creator work on something together with the FFXIV title and wanted him to join the creative process. The story was conceived by Matsuno-san and there are elements of FFXII that do appear in that Return to Ivalice content, so it was more Matsuno-san’s choice rather than Yoshi-P’s choice. As for the Viera race being announced, that was not because of Return to Ivalice but because a lot of players worldwide asked: “when is the Viera coming, when is the Viera coming”.

Q: Last time we spoke I asked you about Viera coming to FFXIV and you said one of the problems was working with their design to fit online (into a MMORPG), specifically the high heels. Could you detail some of the compromises you had to make through adding them into Shadowbringers?
A: Yes we definitely made a lot of trial and error, we took the time to experiment with how we depict that raised heel and see how it would fit into FFXIV without having to change our base system, and use expression or rendering techniques to depict that. If I go into the details that we put in on how we experimented and worked it out, it would take a lot of time and would likely fill a whole development panel. I’m afraid I’m going to omit that for now, but I do feel that we are able to depict it where we’re in a good state to have the Viera appear in the game and that’s why we decided to announce that race being added. The race will feel very much like the Fran that you’re familiar with, namely because I think the most prominent Viera is Fran at this moment. I hope that the players will see the Viera show up in the game and feel that we have done a good job in representing them in the game. Once the players experiment with the character creation after the race is implemented, we hope you can find that for yourself as well.

Q: Fans are very excited that Viera is a new race but I think that fans are hoping that we’ll also get the male Viera as a playable character. Can you comment on that? Or even if they’re going to be NPCs if not, or if we have to wait until Tokyo Fan Fest?
A: That’s true we do still have the Tokyo Fan Fest ahead of us.

Q: Until now it was always the Warrior of Light. Why in this version does it become the Warrior of Darkness?
A: If we were to reveal that… that’s actually going to be the biggest spoiler for Shadowbringers so that is something we’d like for the players to experience for themselves; it’s one of the major points of Shadowbringers. It will be revealed in patch 4.56 MSQ so we’d love for you to find out yourself. The question is like asking who is Jon Snow going to fight in the next season of Game of Thrones.

Q: How did you come up with name Gunbreaker? It’s a tank, but the name to me sounds like putting together “gun” and “breaking the enemy.”
A: We would need Koji to answer that question. Honestly speaking, personally I would choose the name based on how it sounds. With the Gunbreaker they would utilize the gunblade to stand at the forefront to be the first person into battle to “break” the situation or “break through” the situation. So that’s the concept we were thinking about with Gunbreaker and that’s why we decided on that name. How the Gunbreaker is going to function within the actual game is going to depend on once we have it in the game, but the thinking behind it was to break through.

Q: I’d like to ask about the future of Final Fantasy online games. As the director of FFXIV, what should a hypothetical FFXVI or FFXVII online bring to the table that is not possible with FFXIV?
A: If we were to think about another FF MMORPG soon after us, I think it’s very unlikely considering how active FFXIV still is. And so what I’m going to tell you is just my personal view: I do have that desire to see an FF title that doesn’t have very many mecha or machines involved and just be pure fantasy. In FFXIV with the Garlean Empire so powerful, they’re definitely a threat… That was meant to be a joke.

Q: Are there any types of content that you can talk about today that are not a dungeon or a raid that will return in Shadowbringers, like a new Deep Dungeon, Eureka, or will Blitzball be implemented?
A: The existing content and an updated version of that, we do have plans for a Deep Dungeon and Exploration content similar to Eureka, and we do continuously think of our next ideas and plans. Especially with Eureka we designed it so that it’s “time to win” [Editor’s Note: Similar to the term „pay2win“ except spending time instead of money], so if you’re taking your time to play through it; it’s more meant for spending that time in the content and we continuously received feedback from around the world, and we do continue to consider that. We do want to take on the challenge for more Eureka-like content in the future, so whenever we get to a position where we can announce it, we hope that players are very surprised and look forward to that.

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