Final Fantasy 14 has been rolling out patches to wrap up the Stormblood expansion and prepare for Shadowbringers to launch in July. The latest patches have brought out new content, including the limited Blue Mage job, a new dungeon, and more Fat Cat cosmetics.
We talked to Final Fantasy 14’s producer, Naoki Yoshida, over email about these updates, as well as about some of the other changes to come in the future. Most importantly, we asked him how he felt about Fat Cat, the beloved chubby calico cat minion.
The interview below was done using a translator provided by Square Enix and has been edited for clarity and length.
Polygon: While Blue Mage was released to be a solo-oriented class, players have been partying up more than ever to collect skills, clear dungeons, etc. How was the release of Blue Mage different from what you initially expected it to be?
Naoki Yoshida: The release of Blue Mage did not fall far from my expectations — the job was not meant to be subject to the standard rules of FF14 gameplay that players are used to, but rather it was meant to give players freedom in the way they approach the job. That is why it is a “limited job” only in the sense of content matching; there is no limit to the type of play style, and that was the initial concept behind it.
The Ghimlyt Dark felt like a really epic dungeon to go through, since you were fighting by the sides of various allies that you collected over the game. We had the Sirensong Sea dungeon that had a few of the Scions with you in the beginning, but this felt like a huge leap in quality that really made you feel like your allies were valuable and important. Were there technical limitations preventing dungeons like this from happening earlier? What was the design goal behind this dungeon?
Firstly, not being able to mass-produce dungeons like the Ghimlyt Dark is a simple matter of developmental cost and resources.
I believe the Ghimlyt Dark was well-received as a result of our team’s efforts in creating a very real atmosphere that brought the NPCs of this dungeon to life. There was a true sense that the Warrior of Light was fighting alongside these characters against the Garlean Empire. There is also a very unique and deep presentation throughout this dungeon that brings variety to the encounters within.
At the same time, in order to create the Ghimlyt Dark, we spent the same amount of programming and scripting resources we would use normally use to produce two separate dungeons. There is, of course, an increase in quality, but it isn’t something we can feasibly accomplish with every patch. I allowed for is this time because we were approaching the climax of the Stormblood main scenario questline. That being said, I can see us bringing similar experiences in future dungeons that mark pivotal moments in the story.
Additionally, Shadowbringers will introduce the Trust System, in which NPC allies from the main scenario will fight alongside the player. You may even find that new stories emerge out of your dungeon experience through this — we’re excited for this upcoming content and hope our players are as well!
Is new content always going to focus on new areas in the FF14 world? Is there a possibility that we might end up needing to explore Eorzea again?
As a rule of thumb, we implement new content in new areas. The areas players have explored previously on their journey through the main scenario questline are no longer dangerous for the Warrior of Light, nor are there any surprises or secrets waiting to be found.
If we are to have players return to these older and lower-level areas, I feel a new system on par with our “level sync” system for Fates would be needed, and I don’t believe it is time for this yet. However, there are opportunities currently which allow players to enjoy older zones. The implementation of Blue Mage has brought many players back to the older zones from A Realm Reborn to learn actions, and with future implementations of limited jobs, we may even see further opportunities to explore areas from earlier content.
Crafting can be seen as much more difficult before all Disciples of Hand (DoH) classes are level 50 and can utilize every cross-class skill available between all classes. Disciples of War and Magic previously had a similar cross-class skill system, but level requirements were alleviated in Stormblood with the introduction of role actions. Are there plans to simplify the DoH classes in a similar way?
We are aware of the hurdles to newer players when it comes to crafting, and specifically the problem surrounding the dependency on multiple actions across the various crafting classes. As we head towards the release of Shadowbringers, we do plan to reevaluate both how these crafter actions are acquired alongside overall class balance. We hope future adjustments will be able to help alleviate some of the issues we currently see.
Last question: Everyone loves Fat Cat. There’s so many Fat Cat items in game now! How do you feel about Fat Cat? Or do you prefer a different minion?
No matter where in the world you go, it always seems that Fat Cat is popular. I absolutely find Fat Cat cute, but it doesn’t have that characteristic Final Fantasy series feel to it, so as a producer/director for the game you could say I have mixed feelings. [laughs]
Fat Cat aside, I must say my current favorite is the Omega minion. The mount is very cool as well, but don’t you think Omega is cute?