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    Producer Letter LIVE XX - JP Media Summary Translation

    Translation of information from Game Watch article is below. I'll check other JP media sources to compare and see if this has all of the information. Of course this is mostly information that is all already known and translated (much of it from before the letter with the previous Famitsu interview), but I think there are some specifics here that were picked up from the talk at the letter which I haven't seen in other places, so give it a read and see. For those who haven't finished the storyline yet, I spoiler tagged the part with the actual spoiler.

    Original Game Watch Source: http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs...12_697380.html
    Additional info added from Famitsu: http://www.famitsu.com/news/201504/12076490.html

    -----

    Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward World Premiere!
    Read on for details about the world premiere of the opening movie and the latest information about Heavensward.

    On April 11, the "20th FFXIV Producer Letter LIVE" for the Square Enix MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV's expansion pack, Heavensward, was held along with the screening of its opening movie at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills.

    The opening movie was screened with theater quality picture and sound in front of a crowd of 500 fans who won tickets. Additionally, the "End of an Era" movie was re-edited and combined with the movie that displays after completing the third turn of Final Coil of Bahamut for the screening of "Final Fantasy - Flames of Truth."

    In addition to the screenings, a "Producer Letter LIVE" was held with producer and director Naoki Yoshida who introduced some of the new systems and content which will be seen in Heavensward. During the second half of the event, Mr. Ikumori from Visual Works was brought up as a guest to talk about creating the movies.

    In this article, we'll be summarizing the latest information discussed in the Producer Letter LIVE for Heavensward. Please note that since the opening movie contains spoilers about the story's climax from Patch 2.55 of A Realm Reborn, those who would like to avoid spoilers and only read about Heavensward information should skip to the next page [[as mentioned above, I spoiler tagged the info below, so just don't pop it open if you haven't finished the story yet]].


    (Spoiler Alert!) Awesome dragoons in the Heavensward opening movie

    The opening movie that was shown at this event was a combination of the teaser trailer that had previously been published for Heavensward and story that was told in patch 2.55 of A Realm Reborn, connecting the two. It was about five minutes long.

    Spoiler: show
    There are several shocking developments towards the end of A Realm Reborn's final patch, Before the Fall, where Nanamo, the sultana of Ul'dah, is poisoned, and General Raubahn of the Immortal Flames loses an arm in battle. The warrior of light is falsely accused of assassinating the Sultana, and flees with Cid and Alphinaud to Ishgard.


    These game scenes were beautifully reproduced in the CG movie from Visual Works, which also included a battered Ishgard and majestic dragoons in battle with dragons in more detail than the previous teaser trailer. Along with the depiction of dragoons and dragons battling in the skies, it was clear that flight would be a central theme in Heavensward.

    There were several points of discussion regarding the production of the movie at this event. While you can review the movie online, for those who were not able to make it to the Roppongi venue, you'll be able to see the trailer in TOHO Cinemas around the country prior to certain films. The official detailed screening schedule will be announced at a later date.


    The main scenario of Heavensward has about 50 hours of content!

    Heavensward, the first expansion pack for Final Fantasy XIV, will focus on the ongoing Dragonsong War in Ishgard, located in the northern area of Eorzea. The approximate amount of content of the main scenario will be on the order of the main scenario of A Realm Reborn - approximately 50 hours of content without skipping cutscenes. As with A Realm Reborn the story will have a finale and defined ending, but the scenario will continue to progress with each future update. The story will begin a few days to a few weeks following the ending of A Realm Reborn. "Although you're on the run, House Fortemps was willing to assist with your escape." (-Yoshida)

    There are two clans of the new Au Ra race - the Au Ra Raen and the Au Ra Xaela. As the Au Ra Raen have long been associated with the people of Doma, their naming convention will be more of a Japanese style, while the nomadic Au Ra Xaela will have a unique naming convention. Since the naming conventions of the Au Ra will also be posted on the forums, "if you want to stick with the world lore, please check it out." (-Yoshida)

    The level cap for all jobs will be raised from 50 to 60 and it will not be necessary to clear any quest to reach level 51. Accordingly, new job quests through level 60 will be added. For existing jobs, this will be a continuation of the previous job quests through level 50 with the reappearance of familiar characters. It was also announced that the three new jobs, dark knight, machinist, and astrologian, would start at level 30. For the new jobs, since you can begin their job quests immediately when you go to Ishgard, if you want to play one of these jobs as your main job, you should grow them to level 50 first to enjoy the story. Although a large number of skills are being added past level 50, since all of the new skills are tied to the job quests, don't forget to do the job quests while you're leveling.

    There will also be plenty of new equipment added for the new level cap. Along with new job-specific equipment, new Allagan Tomestones of Law and Allagan Tomestones of Esoterics will be added. For "Law," there will be no restriction on acquisition, while "Esoterics" will be limited to a preset maximum that can be acquired each week. Additionally, there will be a unique mount that Dark Knights can obtain from an achievement, like Warriors and Paladins.

    After receiving many requests in the past, animations for the level three limit breaks for each job will be individualized. The current animations will be distributed to certain existing jobs. The new benchmark to be published at Niconico Super Conference 2015 will show the dragoon's limit break.


    Flying mounts were demonstrated, which can freely alternate between the sky and the ground.

    Nine new field areas will be included with Ishgard and the floating continents. Each area is about 1.5 to 2 times the size of areas in A Realm Reborn. "For the continents, if you see something and wonder if you can go there, you should try it out - it will be that type of atmosphere." (-Yoshida)

    In the field areas, high level and large scale FATEs, high level levequests, new hunt monsters, gathering locations, Treasure Hunts, and other elements present in existing areas will all be introduced.

    Flying mounts, which will be one of the key elements of Heavensward, were demonstrated live for the first time. Flying mounts can run on the ground like other ground mounts, but they can start to fly by jumping into the air. When running off a cliff, they will automatically switch to flying without jumping.

    You can steadily raise your altitude by pressing and holding the jump button while flying. The sky's boundary is fairly high, but altitude will be restricted when you reach an unreasonably high level. To descend, you direct the camera downwards. According to Yoshida, the mount speed on the ground is 90% of existing ground mounts, while the speed will be about double existing ground mounts when flying, with the possibility that this may be increased even further.

    Your currently raised chocobo companion can also be used as a flying mount after completing a certain quest. There are also plans to change certain existing ground mounts, such as the Ahriman and Kirin, into flying mounts in the future. "The rise and descent animations aren't completed yet, but these will be properly implemented by the time 3.0 is released." (-Yoshida)

    Even during flight, you can sometimes run into monsters the same way as when you're running on the ground. However, since enemies won't be scattered around the air, it should be easy to escape once you're airborne.

    You won't immediately be able to fly in all field areas upon obtaining a flying mount - it will be necessary to meet a certain condition in the game first in the corresponding area. Except for the city (Holy See of Ishgard), it will be possible to fly in all of the new areas. Although it won't be possible to fly in the original field areas, it may be something that's possible in the future.

    Along with Alexander, eight new instanced dungeons will be implemented when Heavensward is released, with at least some of the new instanced dungeons involved with the main story. Although each turn could only be completed once a week in the Coils of Bahamut, in the normal version of Alexander, like in Crystal Tower, only the lotting restrictions on items will be limited and it will be possible to enter as many times as you like.

    New hard and extreme primal battles for Ravana and Bismarck will be implemented at the same time. Up to this point the battle mechanics haven't been discussed, but based on the uproar from certain past battles, it's unlikely that you'll be able to fall off the arenas - if a fall gimmick is present, it will be more of a "gentle fall."

    For PvP content, a new map will be added to Frontline. This map will have a new mode which applies exclusively to that area. The map seems to be an open field area with some ancient Allagan ruins. It seems that these ruins will have some relation to the outcome. The starting points for the three grand companies will change each time, which likely means that the starting points won't all be from equivalent places like in the past. In addition to this, new PvP equipment will be implemented, after the images of monsters like behemoths, griffins, and dragons. According to Yoshida, the monk weapon is "extremely cool."


    Many new systems will be added such as "specialization," "divine favors," and "regional folklore."

    The maximum level for gathering and crafting classes will also be raised to level 60, as well as the corresponding addition of new actions. A large number of new systems will also be implemented at the same time. For crafters, the "Specialist" system will be added, allowing one character to choose up to three specializations. When you become a specialist, certain unique actions can be used. Utilizing an item called crafter scrips will allow you to change specializations. Since up until now it's been necessary to level up all crafting classes and this was deemed too taxing by the development team, this is being introduced as a means to facilitate play. For gatherers, new unannounced actions will be learned by simply raising the level.

    For gatherers up to level 60, two new systems will be added - the "Favor" system and "Regional Folklore." Divine Favors will be a buff which lasts for a certain time after activation. With the buff active, certain exclusive hidden gathering points will be discovered. There are different types of Favors which will allow unique items to be obtained. Favors can be obtained by exchanging gatherer scrips. Regional Folklore will be another similar element which allows gatherers to collect certain high level items.

    In addition the "Collectible" system will be added starting from level 55 for both Disciples of the Land and Disciples of the Hand. Here, Rowena will task players with obtaining a certain number of a certain item. As a reward, players can obtain EXP and scrips. From these tasks, players can obtain red and blue crafter's scrips or red and blue gatherer's scrips. While there is no restriction on acquiring the red scrips, the blue scrips have a weekly limit.

    According to Yoshida, up until now it was difficult to proceed with high level crafting as it required forbidden materia melding. With Heavensward, a new path will be opened to obtain such equipment by saving scrips over time. For those who want the fastest way to craft the best equipment, it will still require forbidden materia melding like before, but those who craft diligently over time will be able to eventually get there even without materia melding. Naturally there will be a benefit to getting there first, but the idea was to implement a new way of developing the classes.

    Additionally, tier V materia [[JP: "Materija"]] will finally be implemented in 3.0. Final balance adjustments are currently in progress and these will be implemented from the start if there are no issues.


    Create an airship with your FC and ride it with fellow adventurers in the future.

    With regards to housing, along with a number of new furniture items to be implemented , two new systems will be added in Heavensward - "house crafting" and "airship crafting."

    According to Yoshida, "house crafting" is "like glamour prisms for houses." "Airship crafting" is a new play element to create original airships. By paying several tens of thousands of gil, you can add a basement workshop to your free company house. It will be possible for one FC to have multiple airships. The airship is divided into four parts - the sail, bow, hull, and stern, with multiple components of different performances available for each part. After completing your airship, the first installment of the content will allow players to search the sky map and explore for treasure among the island continents. When the first patch is released, a play element currently in development will allow players to actually board their airships and travel to explored locations. Other new free company crafting systems are planned to be added in the future.

    Like players, the level caps of retainers will also be raised to 60, and new retainer ventures will be added. Other system related items will be expanded, like the sightseeing log and the addition of an Ishgard market, and new Triple Triad cards will be added. While they have no plans to change the falling element of the Titan battle, there will be adjustments to certain parameters, such as the strength of the Echo, in A Realm Reborn content.

    New organization to Duty Finder will make it easier to use than before. Additionally, it will become possible to enter certain content with as few as two people in a formed party. It will be possible to try the Coils of Bahamut with a party of seven. Also, a new feature called "lower limit level sync" will be introduced for certain content, which will sync players to the minimum Item Level for the content. This is under preparation for hosting official "time attack" events in the future - but "many players might choose to use it for their own personal events to compare their strength." (-Yoshida)

    For the loot system, several new systems will be added. The normal version of Alexander will have the same loot system as Crystal Tower, where players may repeat a particular portion of the raid as many times as desired to obtain an item, but once equipment is won, their lotting rights will be removed for the rest of the week. However, they will still be able to enter to help other players. Because the system for savage Alexander is a bit complex, a detailed description will be offered in a future Producer Letter LIVE, it was just mentioned at this time that the systems between normal and savage will be different. In primal battles, a new system will be added to allow players to obtain the equipment they want for a certain job by collecting tokens that are obtained upon winning. It will probably be at least around 10 tokens to exchange for an item. Additionally, a new "lootmaster" system will be added which can only be used in a preformed party where the leader can manage loot distribution, with styles such as "auction" where players will bid against each other for items. Separately from the lootmaster system, it will also be possible to enforce things such as "All Greed" with certain options in accordance with the situation, so players will not be able to select "Need." Finally, it will be possible to cancel a lot once in situations where players may have clicked inadvertently.

    For players with compatible graphics cards, the new Direct X 11 client will be available for download, providing significantly enhanced visuals.


    It was noted that with consideration for players who want to slowly enjoy the main scenario and related content of Heavensward after released, end-game content will be introduced with a slight delay. More specifically, the normal version of Alexander will be opened two weeks after the June 23 launch. Allagan Tomestones of Esoterics, and the savage version of Alexander will be implemented four weeks after launch. The new Frontline content was also delayed to four weeks after launch to help avoid extremely long queue times. Several more Producer Letters LIVE will be held between now and the release of Heavensward which will each introduce new elements in more detail, with the next upcoming one at Niconico Super Conference [[around April 25-26]].

    [[Last part was mostly JP-specific details, e.g. about the T-shirts they are selling at Niconico Super Conference.]]

    [[New stuff below]]


    Behind-the-scenes information about FFXIV movie production

    The second half of the Producer Letter LIVE began with a showing of the special video "Flames of Truth" where the true ending to the Seventh Umbral Era is revealed. This movie is a combination of the original "End of an Era" movie and the movie that plays after completing the third turn of the Final Coil of Bahamut. By the way, the Echo will be added to the Final Coil of Bahamut prior to the release of Heavensward.

    When Yoshida returned to the stage, he introduced the chief creative director of Visual Works, Kazuyuki Ikumori, responsible for the creation of the beautiful CG movies in many Square Enix titles. The broadcast then continued, focusing on the movies from FFXIV. Here are some details from the exchange.

    A single movie for FFXIV takes about a year to produce. (-Ikumori)

    Although the warrior of light has previously worn AF armor in the opening movie, for the dragoon in the new video, it was decided that it should be different and be dressed in the new equipment. We actually compared by preparing both versions - one with the current AF, and one with the new job-specific equipment. (-Yoshida)

    I have a lot of fondness for the scene where the adventurers are fighting the Malboro in the original FFXIV. Since the original request for that movie didn't specify a kind of monster, I had my favorite Malboro appear. (-Ikumori)

    Yoshida is one of those people who doesn't say anything is impossible. But just before the deadline to complete the opening movie, I was surprised that he gave us instructions to change the color of the dragons. (-Ikumori)

    The depiction of the magic of the Twelve that appears in the End of an Era was an idea from Ikumori's side. Although I did not instruct that he be sealed again, the scene was beautifully depicted. (-Yoshida)

  2. #2
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    Very nice summery, thanks for this slycer.

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    Added new translation stuff from Famitsu interview in red above. Working on a bit more stuff involving the talk with the guy from Visual Works about the CG movies. Not sure if this was already mentioned elsewhere, but there's a small bit in there that says that Echo is going to be added to Final Coil before Heavensward is released.

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    Added the bit towards the end with the CG guy.

  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by Slycer View Post
    A single movie for FFXIV takes about a year to produce. (-Ikumori)
    Ya know....like....maybe.....rethink your priorities?

    Other than the ~5s of DRGs fighting the dragons the new FMV was not terribly interesting.

    Maybe put that manpower towards producing quality CSs in-game and just use those for trailers >_>

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    ^ Or they could have different teams working on different things as specialized and not some freelancer-based worker pool where people are randomly assigned to do random tasks as time dictates?

    That's a boneheaded comment I hear so much from people who, unsurprisingly enough, aren't in the business and have no idea what they're talking about.'

    A more sensible comment would have simply been to say "I don't care about the FMVs," because them not doing them or having less people do them wouldn't speed up development of any of the other areas of the game.

    Edit: Nice work as always, Slycer.

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