FFXIV will be getting its first graphics update by the time its next expansion rolls around. Producer Naoki Yoshida teased the improvements during the “Next 10 Years of Final Fantasy XIV” segment of the February 18, 2022 Letter from the Producer Live broadcast.
Though the game received various improvements and updates to its visuals over the years, the team is calling this FFXIV‘s “first graphics upgrade” as a way of setting expectations. Calling it the “first” implies that a “second” and more will follow, allowing the team to implement changes in stages with testing. This development will be ongoing until the 7.0 expansion releases. Yoshida also made clear that while these upgrades would likely cause the game’s minimum required specs to change on PC. However, they will not drop support for the PS4 version, at least through the 7.0 expansion. In fact, optimizations for the PS4 version are in the works to allow players more control over their graphics settings. Similarly, the game will continue to support as broad a range of hardware specifications as possible for PCs.
The first FFXIV graphics update will target the appearance of characters. This upgrade will include higher resolution textures, improved shaders, and adjustments to lighting to improve the looks of characters and gear in-game. Yoshida showed off some results from their first month of testing higher-resolution textures and shaders, as well as experiments with improving lighting on characters. The results included looks at some of the in-game player races. He commented that Lalafell characters were the most challenging to improve, because their faces have few places where making things “more realistic” would be a clear benefit. Aesthetically, the team isn’t aiming for the photorealism or extreme detail expressed in many standalone releases (Yoshida mentioned Horizon: Forbidden West‘s graphics as an example of something that would be unfeasible for FFXIV).
Check out the gallery below for captures from the presentation.
Yoshida also indicated that the FFXIV graphics update will also affect certain NPCs, who may be “rebuilt” to bring them in line with the changes to things like lighting or animation. He mentioned one character, Teledji Adeledji, who may receive updates due to his prominence in certain story-important cutscenes.
Some improvements will also extend to map visuals, with additional light sources for certain areas to make places look more interesting or atmospheric after the Final Fantasy XIV graphics upgrade. Other improvements include better shaders for metallic textures, better shadows, and an increase in the memory limits for areas to allow more objects to be placed in the same space. Even things like the automatically generated grass will receive retouches. Yoshida showed off before-and-after test results for in-game areas from Shadowbringers and Endwalker. Yoshida was quick to stress that these were just test results. Some changes were deliberately exaggerated as a way of showing how things could change, and not reflective of what the “live” alterations might look like.
The team plans to share more updates at future events.