Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn on PlayStation 4 will not utilize the console's tailored social features, such as the spectator mode and the console's video and content sharing features, so as keep the experience uniform across all platforms, director Naoki Yoshida told Polygon.
"Because Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn is a cross-platform game, and players will be able to play together on the same servers, if we utilize the special features for the PS4 exclusively, then it gives those PS4 players an advantage that other players don't have," he said. "We don't want to create that advantage for just those players, so we're not thinking about heavily utilizing those features."
Yoshida noted that Square Enix is looking into tweaking the game to integrate the PS4's user interface features, and moving the game onto the console has been relatively easy due to the PS4's graphical power.
"We built the game engine to be used on a wide variety of machines, and also for very high-end PCs," Yoshida said. "The PlayStation 4 is a very high-end machine. It's very easy for us to port the high-quality PC version of the game to the PS4."
The director believes there are not many massively multiplayer online games on consoles because most Japanese developers would rather make them for PCs, which make up the biggest gaming market and have very few hardware limitations. Yoshida explained that the development team went into production on Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn with the goal of making a Final Fantasy title first and an MMO second, but since the Final Fantasy fanbase is console-based they knew they had to launch on multiple platforms.
As for the Xbox One, Yoshida said Square Enix hasn't ruled it out yet, although publishing to Sony's consoles allows Square Enix to keep all versions on the same server.
"I personally don't like saying no to anything, and I'd like to keep that option open," he said. "We want this game on as many systems as possible and get the game into the hands of as many players as possible, so we won't say that we won't do it.
"But if we published to Xbox One right now, it would essentially be an Xbox only community," he added. "In Japan the Xbox is not as popular as it is in America, and maybe you only have a few thousand people who maybe really love Final Fantasy and are playing the Xbox version. But because it's a closed community, you only have this tiny community that is not allowed to play with the rest of the world, and you worry how you're going to retain that community. An MMO is built on its community, and if it's weak, then what is the point?"
"If you just throw in a chocobo and a moogle, you've got a Final Fantasy."
Although Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn incudes elements from other series titles, such as items from the original Final Fantasy and Magitek armor from Final Fantasy 6, Yoshida affirmed that the game is its own standalone story and is not built on other titles, though it may contain what Yoshida calls "spices" from them. For the director, the "heart and soul of Final Fantasy" lies in the series' commitment to beautiful graphics and deep, rich storylines that evoke powerful emotions, something he feels the team has been able to capture in A Realm Reborn.
"The biggest thing about the Final Fantasy series is that power that makes players go — wow," he said. "The impact is important. The game is made in Japan and this is the Japanese take on fantasy, and some western players may look at it and say, 'This is crazy,' but that's it."
"And then," he added, "if you just throw in a chocobo and a moogle, you've got a Final Fantasy."