Both Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy have numbered titles that are also MMORPGs and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn director Naoki Yoshida worked on both titles. Yoshida started his career at Square Enix working on the Dragon Quest: Monster Battle Road arcade game and then was the chief planner on Dragon Quest X. When Square Enix decided Final Fantasy XIV needed a reboot, Yoshida took on the role as the director and producer of A Realm Reborn.
Since Yoshida has a unique perspective on Square Enix’s two main MMORPGs, Siliconera asked Yoshida about the differences between developing Dragon Quest X and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
"I not only worked on Dragon Quest X, but various other Dragon Quest games. When working in all Dragon Quest projects, the theme is not about complexity but having a game that’s really easy to get into. That’s not just for an online Dragon Quest game, but all Dragon Quest games. And so when making Dragon Quest X, yes it is a MMORPG, but it had to act and feel like a regular Dragon Quest and follow those rules," Yoshida said to Siliconera.
"To have that really solo type of feel, there’s a feature in which you can register your character in an inn, to allow other characters borrow your character as an NPC party member. You’re creating a party with other people’s characters, but they’re not being controlled by other people. So even though you have this MMORPG, which is all about partying with other people, you’re not partying with other people. It’s an MMORPG that’s not an MMORPG, but doing that is something you have to do for the Dragon Quest series."
"Whereas, when designing Final Fantasy XIV, we knew that we wanted to get into the hands of hardcore MMO players but also reach out to players that have never played them before. We wanted to reach out to those Final Fantasy fans, knowing that a lot of Final Fantasy fans have never played a MMO before, perhaps because they are very intimidated by the genre. We wanted A Realm Reborn to feel like you’re playing a regular Final Fantasy, for those first few levels. The game design has it so you’re playing solo [initially], and to go ‘wow, this isn’t as hard as I thought’, maybe because you don’t have to talk to other players during those first 15 levels.
But during those levels, we want to show them, from 0 to 100, what is a MMO and get that knowledge to those players. Once we have that, we can introduce those global standard MMO features, with the biggest feature being partying up. We didn’t want to go the Dragon Quest X route; that discourages working with other people. Instead we worked on our party matching system, our duty finder system. By taking the burden of creating a party and making it easy, with a matching system that does everything automatically. You don’t have to go out there, you don’t have to be proactive; with just a press of a button, you can do all that," Yoshida continued.
The other major difference is Final Fantasy XIV was always planned for a worldwide release while Dragon Quest X has only been released in Japan thus far. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is out now for PC and PS3. A PlayStation 4 version is also in development.