A Focus On Graphics Killed Final Fantasy XIV. Here’s How Square Enix Revived It

By Spencer and Ishaan . March 19, 2014 . 4:41pm

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn producer Naoki Yoshida began his GDC panel this afternoon by sharing a little bit about himself with the audience. Yoshida, who serves as both director and producer on the game, says that he was a Final Fantasy fanatic, and that his favourite games in the series are Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy VII.


(He also mentioned that his favourite job is the Black Mage.)


Yoshida shared that he’s a hardcore MMORPG player. As the panel went on, he proceeded to explain why the original Final Fantasy XIV failed and how Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn came about.


Prior to Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix’s horse in the MMO race was Final Fantasy XI. While XI is seen as a mid-scale game, the title earned Square stable profits, Yoshida said. The game still continues to be played today. Eight years went by before Final Fantasy XIV was developed, and during that time, the MMO market changed, especially in terms of player psychology, after the release of World of WarCraft and user interface (UI) improvements.


Unfortunately, said Yoshida, Square Enix’s culture of achieving the best graphics hurt Final Fantasy XIV’s development process. Square’s tendency to focus in graphical improvement put the game at odds with the rest of the MMORPG space, in which most games were focused on content rather than visual fidelity.


During the PlayStation 2 era, Square Enix were able to produce graphics that their competitors couldn’t. This, Yoshida said, was done in the style of Japanese swordsmithing,  where everyone on the team mastered their craft. During the PS2 era, Square Enix employed teams of highly-talented creators to create graphics for their games. This approach worked when the company had to make a small number of swords, Yoshida said, continuing with the swordsmith comparison, but Square felt the need to extend this approach to Final Fantasy XIV as well.


The thinking was that fans would be disappointed if Square Enix didn’t continue to push graphics as they always had in the past. From Square Enix’s perspective, that made sense. After all, Yoshida said, if you’ve found success one way, it takes a lot of courage to change. Unfortunately, change is precisely what was called for, and when Final Fantasy XIV failed, it had an impact on other MMORPG developers in Japan, too, in that it was a discouraging message being sent out, due to the massive risks involved in developing a game of that scale.


Final Fantasy XIV’s failure was bad for Japan’s MMO industry in general, was the point Yoshida was trying to make. If the number of Japanese MMOs drops, a gap is formed between developers in Japan and actual players in the west, which is something he used the chart you see above to illustrate.


Yoshida then moved on to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. He stated that Square Enix kept the “Final Fantasy XIV” name in order to regain the trust of the game’s audience. Development, he said, was a race against the clock, as interest was waning in FFXIV, but Square Enix had to keep updating that game while developing A Realm Reborn alongside it.


The usual amount of time it takes to develop an MMORPG is 4-5 years. However, A Realm Reborn was completed in merely 2 years and 8 months, all while maintaining the design values that Square Enix felt needed to be in the game. Since it was Final Fantasy, you needed a fantastic story with high production values in the graphics and sound department. As a result, Square Enix updated Final Fantasy XIV’s graphics system to that of A Realm Reborn’s, so they could work the new game and on updating Final Fantasy XIV at the same time.


To speed the development process up, Yoshida came up with 400 fundamental design decisions for the team to follow for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. This would mean less approval time and more time for the game’s developers to fill in details more easily. Standards were emphasized over optimization, and tried and tested features were actively implemented. Yoshida personally studied and implemented elements from other MMORPGs into the game to minimize risk.


Two months went by until programmers started building the game. At this point, the majority of programmers were still working on updates to the original Final Fantasy XIV. Yoshida revealed that he wouldn’t let people program on ARR until systems were completed, and programmers that weren’t building familiarized themselves with the design. Training the company’s staff was important because the developers didn’t have MMO experience. A plan was drafted and a workflow created to bring Final Fantasy XIV to A Realm Reborn, and all the while, the team, faced with harsh reviews, kept updating the original game for fans that believed in the rebuild.


Eventually, the team was shifted over to A Realm Reborn. While story was viewed as important, Yoshida says that the development team only started working on it during the latter half of development. The staff would make map mock-ups on paper to test them. Finally, on October 11th, “Final Fantasy XIV Version 2.0” was announced to players. This was prior to the game being renamed to A Realm Reborn, and the staff livestreamed upcoming updates and changes and used social media to interact with fans. Even Square Enix’s former president, Yoichi Wada, stepped in to help this process. You may recall seeing Wada in a some of the livestreams for the game. At this point, the game had been in development for about 9 months.


Finally, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was released on August 27th, 2013. Yoshida compared developing an MMORPG to running a country, which he illustrated using the slides below.


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  • LastFootnote

    A Focus On Graphics Killed Final Fantasy


    • Anime10121

      A focus on graphics is killing gaming in general…

      • Surgeon of Death

        Serious lack of innovation. I really miss the PS2 days. AMAZING generation for gaming.

        • Kaetsu

          Agreed. All of those games still hold purely because of gameplay. In fact some of them still hold up graphically because their art styles like Dragon Quest 8, Dark Cloud 1&2, Rogue Galaxy, Digital Devil Saga, Nocturne, e.t.c.

        • Masa

          psx, ps2 and snes, in my eyes the best consoles of all time.

        • Fallen_Persona

          Reign that in just a tad. You have to remember then gaming was still evolving, and there were still many things we’ve yet to try. Now, in a lot of ways, the core foundations of genres have been established, and you can find ways to go outside of those genres, or do something different with them, but oftentimes now games are berated for doing so in the media.

          I mean, all I have to say is that I remember Tales of Vesperia back in 2006 was tagged as “A relic of JRPGs past better left behind.” (Paraphrasing).

          That’s just sad. If that happened to a game I put so much heart into, I’d probably sell out and make clones too. I’ll always be a writer, but that would break my heart a little.

      • Death Metal

        You guys say that, and then when you see Watch Dogs with an apparent slight drop in graphical fidelity…


        • Anime10121

          Don’t over generalize every gamer just because of a few loud obnoxious gamers. I didn’t give two craps about Watch Dogs “downgrade” and in fact, even AFTER all the noise, haven’t watched a comparison vid to even notice the difference :/

          • Aspenharls

            And yet, you’re complaining about a focus on graphics. I hate to be that guy, but you sound just as obnoxious as the rest, you’re just preaching to a different choir.

          • Anime10121

            Oh whatever, I’m not complaining, just stating a very real fact. I’m sorry if it hurt your feelings or whatever, but the truth is the truth whether people like it or not…

          • Death Metal

            More like “the majority” than “a few loud”, sorry. Just look around the most known gaming news sites to see what I’m saying.

            Also, what the guy above said. And finally, you tell me “Don’t over generalize every gamer…” and yet you put up, just above, a sentence like “A focus on graphics is killing gaming in general…”.

            …Okay, bro.

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            The down grade is only on consoles so it doesn’t matter anyways

          • Thatguy

            Few? I think it wasn’t *few*.
            Internet really screamed that day.

        • Fen Y

          Except the problem wasn’t that its graphics weren’t up to par, the problem was that the developer promised what they couldn’t keep.

          Consumers very much have a right to complain about that one, sorry to say.

          There would be no outcry if they hadn’t overhyped to begin with.

          • Death Metal

            1) They did not “promise” anything about the game, except that it would have lots of new, never-before-seen gameplay elements.

            2) They did not state they couldn’t keep anything because, again, there was never any promise with regards to graphics.

            3) They said that the first footage they showed was running from PC, which a powerful one is very capable of reproducing what we saw back then.

            4) Said “hype” was the fault of gamers themselves, since all Ubisoft did was show some footage of a work-in-progress product up to now.

            Sorry, the outcry is unreasonable whichever way you look at it. So, in other words, if anything is killing games at the moment, it’s definitely not a focus on graphics. Maybe that was the case with Square-Enix in FFXIV, but I think that generalizing it as an actual thing in the industry is looking for the wrong culprit, especially because gamers DO EXPECT awesome graphics in next gen consoles. I know I do, I did not buy a PS4 to play 8-bit content on it like every indie thinks it’s still cool to do.

    • Surgeon of Death

      It’s not dead yet. I may not be a big fan of his character costume designs but Nomura seems to have that old school final fantasy heart. The battle system is never the same any installment and FF15 has kingdom hearts so I’ve no problem with that. The story should be fine and AIRSHIPS ARE IN. Looks promising IMO.

    • ShinGundam

      More like hyperbole Period.

      Without decent graphics and presentation, stuff like extremely low quality animations or flat environments and lack of attention to detail can be extremely off putting in those games, especially if the actual game could easily be done on older game systems.

      I mean we are talking about JRPGs, they don’t push gaming boundaries with AI, physics or interactivity. We are talking about games that is almost entirely context sensitive even in the battles.

      • Fallen_Persona

        But what JRPGs do, is they often are pretty good at storytelling. Remember, realism isn’t a “good thing,” only a thing. Same with physics. I suppose interactivity could be considered a good thing, but I believe that’s also subjective, though I do prefer a higher level of interactivity.

        What you have to understand, is pushing boundaries in character depth, storytelling, and all that is just as important as AI, Physics, or Interactivity.

        The reason why you don’t see it as much is because the same gamers who are only looking for the newest, trendiest games, and that’s all that is important to them, likely wouldn’t know the components of a well-told story if it bit them in the face.

      • Ultima-X


  • revenent hell

    Ah, this kind of confirms what ive been saying for years now. Focusing on making things Purdy is all well and good but story and gameplay outweigh that I do believe for most gamers.
    Yes,we like seeing the Purdy but Purdy alone wont keep gamers wanting to play the games.
    For me I don’t require “awesome” new age graphics to make the game good. I need to be immersed in the story, feel empathy for the characters, and have a world I want to play in with a great battle system and fun things to do basically.
    I think most can overlook “basic” or “average” graphics if the game hits all other points.

  • beepboopity

    Oh lord they read niconico comments? That must be a little demoralizing.

    • SPPP

      Nico Nico Mansion awaits.

  • Roberto

    that last image
    if only everyone else in the industry looked at that

  • JustThisOne


    Felt like I should leave this here, too.

    Very interesting and detailed article though. It’s pretty amazing that they managed to revive a game like that. And an MMO, too!

    EDIT: Wait… Is moving to Canada really so bad? :<

    • Yeah, we took that exact same photo, too, but I decided against including it, since the others were more informative. I didn’t want people latching onto that one slide and going, “See?! I knew it!” over and over.

      • JustThisOne

        Ahh, that’s true. But it’s still a good summarizing slide nonetheless.

      • Kari

        And yet it got posted anyway ><

      • fairysun

        “See?! I knew it!” XD

      • Crevox

        Equally so though, I think the topic title is a poor summary of the reasons for the failure, both of what we know and what he stated. It is one of *many* reasons, but not nearly the entire cause, nor the main factor.

    • ShinStar

      That 1st reason could also be a reason why FFXIII failed (in many eyes.)

      Edit: Oh someone sorta said this down below already….I still stand by it!

      • Mike Sauer

        Not really…not at all. The graphics quality didn’t hinder the general playability of Final Fantasy XIII. Final Fantasy XIV was literally UNPLAYABLE by the majority of people that got it. Hell, my computer was only a year old when I got it, and it could hardly play on just above the lowest settings. My computer is 5 years old now and it plays ARR on mid-high settings.

        Like that one slide says, That one little flowerpot had 1,000 Polygons (that’s 2,000 Triangles….) and over 100 lines of Shader code. “that’s around the same amount as a single Playable Character!” If I made a model like that in work, that’d be crazy. Conservation is a big deal here. 2,000 triangles on a single flower pot. That flower pot at most could survive with about 10-12 polygonal faces, resulting in 20-24 triangles. The texture maps really take care of the rest.

        That ^ right there is absolutely insane for an MMO currently. Maybe in the future, but that can’t happen right now, and it certainly couldn’t happen back in 2010 if it can’t happen NOW.

        XIII didn’t fail. People didn’t like XIII because of the linearity. That has absolutely nothing to do with the graphical quality of the game. People praised the graphics of XIII. Never knew anyone that said the game failed because the graphics sucked.

        • ShinStar

          I should have been more clear about my comment. Don’t get me wrong. The graphics are gorgeous. It’s just that I feel like they spent so much time making the game look good that the other aspects of the game got neglected.

  • Amalaira

    Honestly, the current FF14 still feels mediocre. It’s combat is so slow-paced that it feels like a turn-based game. Maybe they were going for something like that… Ya know, to make it like other FF games?

    • Suzaku

      They intentionally went with a 2.5 sec global cooldown to make it a bit slower and more deliberate. Compare to WoW’s much faster paced combat with 1 sec gcds that can further be reduced with haste.

    • Senka

      I think that’s true, and it’s the same reason FFXI’s pace is as laughably slow as it is, even for its time. As slow as FFXIV may feel to you, it’s so much faster than FFXI. In fact, in FFXIV beta the GCD was going to be 3 seconds, so 2.5 is already a compromise.

      That said, after raiding so much in WoW since Classic and experiencing how incredibly difficult and convoluted most of the raid fights have become since Cataclysm, I actually really enjoy the slower pace in FFXIV. It’s possible to get used to anything.

    • Fen Y

      Yeah – it definitely isn’t that great, but it’s definitely playable now.

    • Fallen_Persona

      Monster Hunter is popular in Japan. Don’t forget.

  • ShinGundam

    FF14 supposedly a fun game? To me XIV feels like a cross-over of random elements from FF but ultimately very bland. I am not into sidequests with little variation, loots, small zones.

    • Ferrick

      i take it that you’ve never actually played the game?

      • Suzaku

        The zones are actually pretty big, IMO. And I personally love that individual zones support multiple level ranges, so you actually revisit locations, characters, and plot points.

        • Ferrick

          they are quite big, even the towns. And funny thing is, some starter areas also serve as an end-game area (IE Odin appearances)

        • rurifan

          I was impressed with the areas and monster variety in the FF14 PS4 beta, but the quests were appallingly boring. Very quickly I was paying 0 attention to the text and just taking them all and following the markers…

          Getting items for completing generic quests is a lot less fun than finding them by exploring etc.

          • Alestaos

            WildStar has these same quests you speak of, WoW has them, GW2 dressed them up as dynamic events or personal story but end of the day still has them. Yet to see a full fledged MMORPG that allows different things via exploring etc.

            Atleast in ARR theres normally a useful story or a short story about the quest. Generic yes but still story

          • Leonesaurus

            Trust me, this is the best current method for leveling in an MMORPG. That’s why everyone does it.

            You have dungeons, FATE’s, side quests, class quests, job quests, hunting logs, exploration exp rewards, and more.

            Take it from me personally, I was there for the original FF XIV’s launch and stuck with it till the day it died. Grinding in that game was the ONLY way to level, and let me tell you, it was fucking TEDIOUS and duller than you could imagine.

            It’s never all that bad at first, but after the first hour or so from grinding in FF XIV 1.0, it just became a test of endurance. I couldn’t have been happier when they announced that they were changing to a leveling system through quests instead with ARR.

            Doing sidequests and actually reading the little text info that the NPC’s give you gets you into the lore more and makes things seem like you have a purpose rather than just running around killing the same mob over and over again.

            Of course, once you hit level 50 several times and then max every job out (like I did back in 1.0), side quests in ARR become a waste of time and pale in comparison to the “bigger fish to fry” aspect of the other content, but as you level for your first time, it’s apart of the experience overall.

            You just have to be willing to do so and not get bored and say it’s a bad game design. It’s all about what you, the player, make of it and put into it. There are so many ways to level in FF XIV compared to back in version 1.0 that there’s really no excuse to be a negative.

    • Masa

      the game is super fun! i quit a few months ago though as the community for the game is horrible.

      • Alestaos

        Im on Moogle server, i have yet to see this. Unless you mean outside the game and if you do then the same can be said for loads of Games. WoW i even experineced it with GW2 and WildStar.

        Shiva as well always meet nice people from that server

  • Crevox

    If only everything in these slides were still true.

    FFXIV nowadays is “going the path it’s going” and not much can be done to SE to change that. People suggest stuff on the forum all the time and they just say “well that’s not in the plans, sorry.” There are a ton of people complaining about stuff like the vertical progression system, and SE says nothing or just says “it is how it is.”

    I sincerely hope they ARE taking the feedback to heart, or are going to do something in the future. Either way, feedback shouldn’t take many many months to apply…

    • Ferrick

      except that most of the feedbacks are what will kill the game, so why should they listen?

      • Crevox

        I’m not saying they should listen and apply the bad feedback. I’m saying there’s a lot of good feedback and that they simply ignore. Even the bad feedback makes some good points that they can take and apply.

        • Ferrick

          true, funny thing is, they do listen to feedbacks nonetheless, 2.1 is a good example of that (Fates nerfed, bards nerfed, warriors buffed, melees buffed, etc.)

          • Crevox

            I don’t think anyone really asked for fates to be nerfed. People on the forum are actually complaining that fates suck now and nobody levels through them anymore.

            All the other changes were just changes they made internally. They noted an extremely high percentage of players using Bard and it did more damage than they wanted. They noted that nobody plays Warriors in Coil because Paladin could handle higher stacks than Warrior and people thought Warrior sucks. Same for melee; nobody was using melee in hard mode primals or coil because ranged were safer. Square Enix has stats, they monitor the game and make changes accordingly. It doesn’t mean they listen to the players.

            I don’t think the “feedback” had any effect on this.

          • Loli Summoner


            There were WAY more but a lot got deleted a long time ago.

          • Okami

            They didn’t want fates nerfed, they wanted dungeons to be worth experience akin to fates. They wanted hard work to be worth more than slamming down whatever aoe/claim button you have to win. Fate grinding was as close to afking through exp as you can get.

          • Ferrick

            it’s because on how many people steamrolled through the last 5 levels because of DD that the ones who were salty (and ironically used the same method to go to 50 as well) made several topics in feedback about this.

  • James Stine

    “Fun comes first” that’s why I love this game so much.

  • Crimson_Cloud

    I find graphics to be like a short-lived eye candy. As soon as you get used to graphics, the gameplay, story and atmosphere is all that is left. I still play some of the oldies, aside from GBA and PSX games recently I finished BattleToads and Double Dragon on Genesis for 19th time. When the games has ”that something” the graphics don’t matter. ˇˇ

    Square needs to learn that. A lot of their newer games feel so lifeless and boring. It really pains me when I remember the good- old Squaresoft days….

  • Yan Zhao

    Im pretty sure A Focus On Graphics killed every Final Fantasy since the PS2 era. FFX wasnt bad but the signs of the change were already evident since then, and just got progressively worse, until we reached the 13 trilogy.

    • Misty Dawson

      I beg to differ, but 13 really put the nail in the coffin. The graphics weren’t really that good either. Made me disappointed.

  • ReidHershel


    • Kaetsu

      All I want is some kind of trial so I can at least try the game.

      • axemtitanium

        The game is $15 on Amazon RIGHT NOW and comes with a free 30 days. If you get the PS3 version ($25), you get a free upgrade to the PS4 version.

        • raeldor

          Where’s my Vita version? :P

          Seriously though, that would be awesome!

          • axemtitanium

            The PS4 version has Remote Play support so you can play on your Vita.

    • luckytanuki

      sorry but these things cannot be done with this level of quality without asking people for compensation

      • Bobby Bardot

        I think games like Guild Wars 2 BEGS to differ what you are saying and it with FFXIV are practically on the same level if you ask me

        • raeldor

          Yeah, but doesn’t GW2 also have a cash shop? FFXIV doesn’t. Both are workable models, but some players don’t like the idea of being able to shortcut by paying real world money for a leg-up.

        • luckytanuki

          when you say “games like Guild Wars 2” do you mean every other F2P game?

          on that game you have the gem shop that keeps the game from creating a money sink and the expansions will eventually cost you anyway, i believe.

          other than that guild wars 2 is just like any other F2P game but they require an initial fee to let you play

          many of us prefer the subscription system.

          • Bobby Bardot

            I mean if you guys want to spend $20 a month on a game you probably won’t play for another few month’s I won’t stop you, but honestly, wasting more money on games, online mmos and such for that matter, when in america we already pay $60 plus for games seems pretty redundant to me e.e

            As far as the Cash Shops are concerned, well, some MMO’s keep them as optional, I usually stay away from ones that do it to further enhance your characters and all, but I hardly use Cash Shops either way every time I play the F2P’s that offer them and my characters turn out ok still…but hey, to each their own

    • Paul Jackson

      If you play the PS4 version, all you have to pay is the playstation plus fee.

      • Fallen_Persona

        BS. You’re kidding right? Link! If I can play FFXIV with only a copy and PS Plus I’M IN! I’M IN! Link me!

        • Paul Jackson

          Turned out i misunderstood the terms, it’s just too good to be true…

          • Fallen_Persona

            Was getting ready to say. If that was true, I was getting a PS4 TODAY.

            …They should consider working out a deal with them for that. Considering my reaction, might system-sell. xD

      • Nik

        completely untrue. You *don’t* have to pay for PS+ to play XIV on PS4, but you *do* have to pay XIV subscription fees.

        • Paul Jackson

          I checked again, turned out i misunderstood the terms…sorry about that and thanks for pointing it out ;-)

    • Marcelo Verderossa

      First off, ALL CAPS is yelling, the internet isnt new so you know better yet you still do it, grow up

      Secondly, dont try that poor college student crap, I dont believe for a second that you cant afford the 50 cents a day that it costs to play this game.

      You’re just cheap and cant grasp why you should pay to play, college didnt make you a thinker, did it? lol

  • Zezlar

    It’s still not a very fun game. It’s misguided by blindly trying to replicate the success of another. Spoiler: It’s not going to happen Yoshida.

    • Ferrick

      while the first phase of XIV did feel like it’s trying to be a 11 with upgraded graphics, this phase, it’s different, it’s now it’s own game instead of XI-2

      • Zezlar

        It’s different in a sense that it’s not FFXI, sure. However, let’s not try to hide the fact that it basically is a carbon copy of the more standard MMO with a lick of FF paint.

        • Ferrick

          well i played many of the “standard mmos” and WoW (quit after burning crusade), and while there are many similarities (like UI, and hotkey battles), it’s very different as well, in standard MMOs, it’s very easy to win just by facerolling, while in WoW, the 1s GCDs makes it a button masher, XIV on the other hand, leaves little room for error, because of CDs and 2.5s default GCDs, once you miss a rotation, you have to go back to the beginning of said rotation and do-over, decreasing your potential dps, leading to a cleave that instakills the party, save the tank, because of not fulfilling the dps check (50+ dead bodies during Odin’s fight is a sight to see)

  • ElAbuelo69

    This game is awesome and is a financial success that exceeded SE’s expectations. And all thanks to the man. Yoshi-P, a big salute to you. Upcoming patch looks epic btw.

    Sincerely, a subscriber since re-release :)

  • Hau To

    That first step to failure should be a rule for any games. Well it should be more along the lines of “Graphics is not the only thing important.”

  • Judgephoenix

    While I do agree graphics was a problem in the first 14. Though I still don’t think it was major problem. (Though it would have been a problem for the PS3 to handle it. According to what Yoshi said back during the betas.) So I was happy he toned it down for the other players.

    For me though I just don’t like the feel of the game :/. The world just seems to focused on dungeons. There is a list of of other things but eeh. (Just my opinion)

    Now as far as newer players and new mmo players in this genre, it is too me a perfect game for them since they do not have to worry about variety of gear, just the level of it. Not as heavy on the grind, engaging story, a sleuth of other things they may never have tried before.

    • darke

      Probably a lot of the current-day WoW influence (all about the gear level, instances, etc) leaking into their design.

  • Masa

    “A Focus On Graphics Killed Final Fantasy XIV”

    That’s what a lot of people said about XIII, too much time on the graphics not enough on the gameplay, story and characters.

    • Wait what


  • Jirin

    I’m not really into MMOs, but it’s good to hear Square acknowledge finally that gameplay and immersion is what fans respond to more than just cinematography.

  • ReMeDyIII

    Reminds me of EA’s obsession with graphics over gameplay. EA knows graphics translate the best in promotions (ie. videos, screenshots, box art, etc.) so, for example, in the Madden series, they focused on 3D grass, pylon physics, the announcers, stadium entrances, touchdown celebrations, player faces look similar to their real life persona, etc.

    What they forgot is the gameplay is still lacking even to this day. The AI still lacks basic football concepts. AI still cheats to fabricate a sense of challenge. Players warp into position to make plays. They are still using animations to appease their outdated engine. Gang tackling is still an issue. The list goes on.

  • That last picture is worth 1000 words.

  • Eilanzer


  • Kumiko Akimoto

    As long as they can focus on graphics and game play more from now on I’ll feel happy.

  • Yause

    The key to understanding Yoshida’s argument is craftsmanship. He isn’t arguing against cinematography or even high end visuals, but rather the chase for artistic perfection that can prevent assets from being finished in a timely fashion or impact engine design and optimization (this left FFXIV 1.0 bare in terms of content and choked performance). In short, it’s about corner cutting, and Square Enix artists were traditionally uncompromising. There were rivalries between staff, and the culture encouraged artists to view the game as a medium for their craft (i.e. one saw himself/herself as a 3D modeler first and a game creator second, etc.).

    This is a paradigm shift because it’s like asking a sculptor to leave some rough edges so that he can triple his output in the same timeframe. While it may be the norm in the western development world (and teams have become highly adept at deciding what to sacrifice), Japanese studios aren’t all accustomed to it yet.

    • Godmars

      The thing is when the company was Squaresoft, “uncompromising” was about 8 and 16 bit graphics. Later what was done with FF7-9. Square Enix only began showing its head around FF10 and that’s when too much attention was put into detail and presentation. At the compromise of story, character definition and general plot development.

      This is not about art but pride. S/E thinking it can do as good if not better than what came before it. They need some honest humility, to make “adequate” rather than spectacular visual art while relearning about interesting story elements, but show no sign of realizing that.

    • This sums it up very nicely. That’s precisely what Yoshida was getting at.

  • Yoshida: “Learn to listen and adapt.”

    Player comment: あああああああああああアアアアアアアアアア

    • darke

      “Your complaint at the term of ‘Horsebird’ has been noted.”

    • Rose Spinoza

      Yeah, that slide witht that player comment made me laugh too.
      (for those that don’t know, it just says, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” )

  • Trotmeister

    Yoshida is amazing. Forget FFXIV, the man should be in charge of everything at Square Enix.

  • Monterossa

    better make it adjustable. a lot of people with super ultra high end PC including me want to play XIV in its full potential.

    and lol at the last pic. they forgot their original fanbase and the roots of the series. since when that FF roots are on smartphones?

    • saxophone15

      When I think of FF roots, I think more about the spirit of Final Fantasy rather than what platform it’s on.

  • Kornelious

    A focus on graphics over gameplay killed EVERY game. Can’t they both live in peace? :(

  • Take out the gcd

    • Ferrick


      • It slows the game down

        • Ferrick


        • Let me smack my face onto the keyboard every time I’m at BC. Waiting 2 second to recast is too much for me, think about the amount of thing I could do during that time.

          • Yeah exactly, it made me quit the game cause there’s no way I could tank properly with it. Drove me nuts

          • Ferrick

            what was your ilvl when you go to bc

          • Theywontseemecoming

            -_- you do know how to tank right?

          • Colonel Custard

            Shin buddy tank better or get better gear its that simple. I played both the tank classes I never lose aggro from the gcd most the time its me forgetting defiance or shield oath and that for all content save for t5. Just saying if a tank is losing hate its 1 of 3 things 1. tank fucked up 2. Whitemage has downsyndrome 3. fucking bards.

          • in Shin case it’s;

            1. GCD
            2. Bad tank
            3. GCD
            4. Simple impatient
            5. GCD

          • You do know I was being sarcastic right?

  • Mr. K

    That last image is hypocrisy at it’s finest. They say “never forget the
    fans”, and “don’t forget your roots”, yet all that we fans actually liked
    from version 1.23 of the game (which WAS better in some aspects
    compared to 2.0 or “ARR”), was completely scrapped. That is, the deeper
    combat system, the BGM, the well paced story with amazing quality
    cutscenes, and the promise of a better open world, including things such
    as bigger and tougher beastmen camps and more interesting areas like
    Shposhae (an open world dungeon of sorts with some interesting mechanics
    that existed in version 1.2x of the game). Instead of delivering on
    that promise, they scrapped everything, and delivered something that
    intends to cater to a completely different audience – yet another WoW clone, as if the MMO market wasn’t full of em already. Oh, and not only that; they’ve also resorted to permanently banning from their forums
    some of those who dare criticize the new direction of the game and suggested one more… you know, true to their roots. And soon, they apparently plan to somehow filter the wave of posts that have been comparing ARR unfavorably against FFXIV 1.23, so as to “not discourage new players”, they say. “Never forget the fans”? Right, that’s why you want to shut ’em up now that you’ve attracted a completely different audience. “Don’t forget your roots”? Yeah, right. I never knew Final Fantasy’s roots lied on fully mimicking other stuff instead of being authentic. Way to go, SE.

    • ElAbuelo69


    • Ferrick

      lol wat? “we fans”? don’t kid yourself, 1.23 is still a broken mess of a game and this is why:

      -Deeper combat system: Bullcrap, there is nothing deep about waiting for your TP to fill up to fight faster. If i want to wait for that, i’d just move to XI, much better built than XIV1.0~1.23

      -BGM: nope, wrong again twerp, XI had better bgm than that, and ARR had good or should i say better bgm than 1.0

      -WoW Clone: and this is where nobody will take you seriously, have you played WoW and ARR? I doubt you did, because the difference are very apparent

      so, QQ moar, and gtfo

      • Mr. K

        You evidently didn’t even know 1.23 at all, and are just one of those people who still hate it blindly even to this day. 1.0 was broken as fuck, but 1.23 was better gameplay-wise than ARR is thus far.

        The combat system was deeper in that you actually had to THINK when and where to attack depending on your target’s moves (which were varied even against “trash mobs”) – that’s all gone, only bosses have more than 2 moves, and even then, you can spam everything whenever, nothing stops you from dancing circles around a mob. Also you didn’t have to “wait” for your TP to fill up; you filled it yourself through good use of your abilities (each job had it’s own unique way to fill it up quickly), and then through good use of your combos you could conserve it better (though there were situations where you had to *gasp* break away from your “rotations”). Look up videos Nael Van Darnus’ fight from 1.23 or some vids from Cutter’s Cry.

        The BGM was way better than ARR’s 30 second songs every 30 minutes anywere outside of a city (or just the first 20 seconds prior to engaging anything in a dungeon), or the exact same battle theme for the entire world, just with different instruments. Look up On Windy Meadows, Whisper of the Land, Twilight Over Thanalan or Unspoken, to name just a few.

        And yes, it is a WoW-clone when it comes to gameplay. The combat system has been devolved into a terribly simplified version of the same combat formula everyone has been copying from WoW for a decade, the leveling, and even a great part of the main storyline has been devolved into an uninventive and super lame mess of fetch quests, à la every MMO since WoW. Even Yoshida himself has been admitting for a very long that they’ve been taking from every popular MMO around, mostly from WoW, so I can’t even fathom how people are still trying to refute this. You can find this on quite a few interviews.

        Gotta love fanboys in denial going full-blown hyper defensive mode, to defend a corporation that just sees them as a wallet no less. Lovely, really.

        • Ferrick

          oh go cry me a river

          you evidently didn’t even know 2.0 at all, and are just one of those people who still hate it blindly even to this day. 1.0~1.23 are still broken as fuck, but 2.00 was better overall-wise than 1.23 is thus far.

          the combat system is much simpler but still a challenge in a sense that you had to THINK on what to use next in the skill rotation, and “trash mobs” can be dangerous as well to the extent where you can’t stand in place while waiting for enemy attack to hit you, even if you’re a tank, and the 2.5 GCDs make it a way for you not to roll your ass along the keyboard to dish out skills/spells in order to win, and then a good use of combos to increase dps or enmity or healing also decides the battle to whose favor. There are also situations where you had to *gasps* break away from your “rotations” as well because it can cause an instant kill to the party.

          The BGM isn’t any better than ARR’s, i’ve listened to the ones you listed, as well as others and it’s still not as good as XI’s or ARRs

          WOW Clone this, WoW clone that, it’s very obvious that you’ve never played 2.0, and you’re too suckered in your petty little nostalgia glasses that you can never stop whining.

          Gotta love nostalgia fags in denial going full-blown hyper defensive mode, to defend a dead horse that just sees them as life support no less. Lovely, really

          • Mr. K

            Yep. It’s obvious that I’ve never played 2.0. I’ve only been able to beat Twintania (and let my subscription run out shortly after 2.1 landed), but clearly, I’ve never played 2.0. Fuck PLD swords, btw.

            What you say about combat is mostly bullshit, since you can keep attacking pretty much endlessly (with almost infinite TP through Invigorate) while dodging red patches on the ground minus a very limited number of cases like Twintania or killing the bits against Ultima hard. Also, the game clearly IS based on WoW’s vertical progression and quest hub model, and Yoshida himself has stated so, so yeah… As for the BGM, well it’s a matter of taste, I guess. Still I’d take themes that lasted more than 20 to 30 seconds, and take Uematsu’s talent to create amazing original pieces, unlike stuff like Soken’s new version of The Shire’s theme for Gridania.

          • Ferrick

            rightttt, you beat twintania, surreeeeee, very believable, especially after seeing your character lodestone

            right, WoW did vertical progression, so ultimately everything else is a copy of it, sureeeeeee. right, i’m done, it’s obvious that whatever i say won’t stop your endless crying about 1.23’s death

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Enough folks, move on from the round about.

          • Colonel Custard

            But the roundabout is not a bad song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Tdu4uKSZ3M

    • This isn’t neogaf.

  • Dan Lieo

    Still no same sex marriage though so there not going with the times really now are they?

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