Translation of a relatively short Yoshida interview that Game Watch held at the Tokyo Fan Festival. Some quick recap of information discussed in the keynote, and a few new tidbits. It's Christmas and I have one foot out the door already, so this is a first pass rough translation and may have typos, grammar errors, etc. Feel free to let me know if something makes no sense, and I'll check again later on or tomorrow. Merry Christmas!
So this is your second keynote speech now after Las Vegas - how are you feeling?
Yoshida: I was a bit more comfortable this time because we weren't delivering such major announcements as last time, but I still felt anxious. Since Japan is my home country, I'm able to communicate directly with the audience in Japanese, and with the audience being so excited and getting involved, I think the keynote lecture went very smoothly.
What was the theme of this keynote lecture?
Yoshida: Starting with the Fan Festival in Las Vegas and the patches along the way, this is just the halfway point towards developing the story of 4.0. With the completion of this Fan Festival and part 1 of Patch 3.5 "The Far Edge of Fate" next month on January 17th, we'll be a a turning point. After that we'll have the last fan fest in February in Frankfurt, followed by part 2 of Patch 3.5 "The Far Edge of Fate" which should take us neatly into 4.0 if all goes according to plan.
With today's announcement, about how much info has been revealed?
Yoshida: Around half?
Yoshida: Yeah, we'll have more surprises in store for the Frankfurt keynote speech. The fan festival in Frankfurt will also be after patch 3.5, so we'll be able to reveal everything. After you play part 1 of patch 3.5 you'll probably get the feeling like "hurry, hurry!"
About Red Mage
The big announcement for this time was the reveal of a new job.
Yoshida: Yeah. I think there was a feeling after the Fan Festival in Las Vegas that people wanted more information, so in Japan I decided with the development and PR teams to start with a job. It was exciting to kick off this presentation with a new job.
What made you decide on red mage out of all the other possibilities?
Yoshida: Once I took over from the old version of FFXIV, I said that we would definitely implement more FF-like jobs once we got to A Realm Reborn. With the 30th anniversary of the Final Fantasy series next year there are many jobs in my memories, but going back to the origin and considering the essential ones, red mage is definitely one that needs to be there. We also got a lot of requests from players around the world to see red mage in with the FFXIV graphics and battle system, so we decided to go for it. We decided to implement red mage fairly early on in the process.
For the red mage's job design, since they fight with a rapier and a magicked crystal medium, is the rapier treated as a physical attack?
Yoshida: Well, physical is physical. It's hard for me to say more, there are a few things keeping me from answering this right now (laughs).
How does the magicked crystal medium come into play?
Yoshida: As I discussed in the keynote lecture, it's separated into the two components during battle, but it can also be combined into one single weapon. It's just a main hand item, not offhand, but that doesn't mean it's just the rapier and no crystal.
Is red mage a pure DPS or is it support?
Yoshida: It's a pure DPS.
In terms of likeness, which other DPS can you compare it to?
Yoshida: It depends on the party situation, so I can't really say; however, I'd like to make it as attractive as possible for people to use since it's a new job. That said, development teams from some other companies tend to set new jobs to be quite overpowered, but our team is trying to carefully align it so it fits in with the other DPS.
I was surprised to find out that red mage was a DPS, I thought it might have been a healer.
Yoshida: It was something we had to consider since the original red mage is able to use both black and white magic, so we wouldn't have been able to use it without making it unique to FFXIV. To make red mage we had to distill about half of it, while retaining the essence of the design. Since FFXIV is an independent entry into the series, I think this will become a new kind of red mage.
So do you intend to put something like "red magic" used by red mage?
Yoshida: It's still hard to say (laughs). If we have all these different types... white, black, red... I think it would be really confusing. That said, I think it's still a bit early on to talk about which type of magic red mage will use. Now that we're beginning to work on implementing the actions, there will be a lot of changing, adding, and removing during the process, so I think we'll discuss it more after we have something more concrete.
Now that the president has spilled the beans on the release date (laughs), I think we'll talk about jobs in the April or May timeframe. I think the community will start feeling too anxious if we drop too much information earlier than that, so we'll probably be going silent on red mage for a while until it's completed.
How will red mage's auto-attack work?
Yoshida: You can auto-attack, but like I said we'll be going silent for a while. We'll have a mechanism incorporated so that there isn't much of a damage loss when you're at a range, but that's all I can say for now.
At the Las Vegas Fan Festival you announced that there would be "multiple new jobs," so can we expect additional new job announcements at Frankfurt?
Yoshida: That should be fine.
On that note, you said it wasn't related, but what was up with your Spider-Man t-shirt today?
Yoshida: Oh, that was nothing (laughs). There isn't just one director for Spider-Man, though. Maybe it's a spiderweb class. It's a job that has a Final Fantasy feel to it, and maybe spiderwebs are related (laughs). Hopefully you can consider that and get excited.
FFXIV in 2017 and the new alliance raid
Although next year is the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy, what kind of year do you want to make 2017 for FFXIV?
Yoshida: I think I want next year to take the momentum up another level with the next expansion. FFXIV hasn't yet been completed, and as a theme park MMO there are new elements I'd like to introduce, but we also want to meet the needs of today so we'd also like to challenge ourselves to develop based on our customers' needs. By the way, I think Stormblood will be the first of the 30th anniversary titles. Other than hoping it comes out (laughs), I'd like to work on it and make it feel like a true 30th anniversary title.
Along those lines, having guest creators like Matsuno and Amemiya involved in the alliance raid development is something totally new for FFXIV.
Yoshida: Yeah. That's something that's hard to do outside MMOs, but it seems like there are many people in the gaming industry (creative, voice actors, and so on) who are playing FFXIV and want to be involved in the development. We wanted to take that passion and work with it. I might call it a guest creator, but it's really like a famous newcomer joining the development team. When we get to work, I might not be so reserved, so if Matsuno asks me about the schedule, in order to keep things going I might have to say "even if you have great ideas, we can't let that delay the patch." (laughs)
Being able to work with Amemiya is also great. Matsuno has just as much respect for Amemiya as I do, so when we've eaten together I've always asked Amemiya about the creative process, and Matsuno also has a great interest. So I think we'll be able to keep the schedule and get some great synergy there, and I wonder if this will be new for FF.
This will be Amemiya's first involvement in FF, but he has many fans around the world who are interested to see how his art will be implemented. Matsuno is interested in bringing his Ivalice Alliance world saga back to FF once more, so I think that we'll see some interesting things that mix the old and the new.
How did this collaboration originally begin?
Yoshida: I was in charge of FFXIV and working hard on my own, but I've always been a fan of Matsuno, same for Amemiya. Even when I was talking to the media about FFXIV, when I was asked what other works I was paying attention to, I would always talk about things like Garo.
Matsuno wanted to meet up with me to thank me for the hard work in FFXIV, and said he wanted to be involved with FFXIV if he could. A lot of good came out of all the hard work we put in, so I wanted to surprise and give back to the players something special. When I first went for drinks with Matsuno, I pleaded with him to write something for the game, and that it could be a major story component. We started talking about this around spring of 2016 but it took a while to solidify our plans.
Will the alliance raid be playable right away with the release of 4.0?
Yoshida: No, it's due in patch 4.1. However, we'll be doing promotion for it along with the rest of 4.0.
When will you start revealing more details?
Yoshida: It's already fairly well-defined, so it might be sooner than you think. By the time 4.0 is released, I think we'll be just about ready to talk about it. We want to avoid the delay we had from patch 3.0 to 3.1 with 4.1 this time. Last time we had put so much effort in that we just needed to catch our breath, but we're planning early on so that won't be the case this time, so I think the 4.X series should progress at an even pace. I think you should expect to see more shortly after 4.0.
I'm personally quite happy to hear about the Garo collaboration. I think I want to get that as soon as possible, so should I go back to PvP now to start saving my achievements?
Yoshida: Yeah, you can start earning now and the results will be saved.
Will there be something like medals from the Yokai Watch collaboration?
Yoshida: There won't be anything like that, it will just be based on your battle record. You'll be able to get it as soon as you've earned it.
Will it be hard to get the full set?
Yoshida: Similar to the Yokai Watch collaboration, it will be easy if you just want to do it for one job. However, the requirements won't multiply as they did before, all the values are the same, so you should be able to get what you like for several jobs.
This should be exciting for PvP.
Yoshida: That would be great, I hope it doesn't cause too much dispute (laughs).
Will there be new emotes added?
Yoshida: There won't be. We considered it, but I thought it might be overkill (laughs). The Garo collaboration for PvP equipment will last a while longer than the Yokai Watch collaboration did, so you'll be able to take more time collecting it. If you have any requests, now that Amemiya is a member of the FFXIV development team, we might be able to consider them.
Also, regarding the Garo collaboration, we also got the original high quality CG models used, so we were able to make them into low polygon models with the development team and their quality is just about the same as our main content. We're just doing our first checks now so I don't want to say much more, but I hope you enjoy it.
Will the mount be achievement-related?
Yoshida: Yeah, it is. However, I will say now that it won't be added to existing achievements.
About underwater actions... on the whole, flying was a crucial element in Heavensward. How much weight will underwater actions carry in Stormblood?
Yoshida: Well, maybe there's a bit of a misunderstanding, but in Heavensward, we also made it possible so that you didn't have to unlock flight until after clearing all of the main scenario content, so you actually didn't need to fly at all in the main scenario. Regarding the underwater elements, there will be places that you need to dive to as part of the main story, so you'll learn to dive, but it won't be forced too much elsewhere. It's meant to expand the range of gameplay styles, and once you clear the main story there will be some other content that you can play in the water. In Heavensward, flight was just included as a means of transportation, so I think with this there will be more elements involved than with flight.
Does that means instanced dungeons or towns might exist underwater?
Yoshida: Well, I won't say they aren't.
Will you be able to swim in the Limsa Lominsa housing area?
Yoshida: No comment. Otherwise everyone might start moving to Limsa (laughs). I can't say much more, but we'll be announcing a new housing area in Frankfurt, so please look forward to that.
Thank you very much!