We are pleased to present the full digest of the Letter from the Producer LIVE Part XLIX that was delivered from the European Fan Festival 2019 in Paris! If you missed the live stream, or if you just want to watch it again (and again), check it out below! As this event was broadcast from Europe, the full event was interpreted on stage.


* Don’t forget to select 720p option to watch the video in HD!

Patch 4.55 Special
In this broadcast, we've covered the upcoming Patch 4.55 featuring live gameplay footage and videos of the Hidden Gorge, a new variety of the Rival Wings campaign, and the Forbidden Land of Eureka, Hydatos.

■ Upcoming Patch Schedule
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Patch 4.55 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, February 12, followed by Patch 4.56 in late March bringing a conclusion to a Requiem for Heroes (Part 2), a few days after the Fan Festival in Tokyo. Afterward, we're planning to introduce the World Visit System in Patch 4.57. At this timing, we're planning to undergo the NA and EU data center changes as well. More details on this will be released at a later time.

And finally, we have Patch 4.58 that'll bring various adjustments before the release of Shadowbringers.

■ Rival Wings Hidden Gorge
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The rules are similar to those used in Rival Wings Astragalos. Hidden Gorge will be a team-based PvP content introducing unique mechanics to this map.

One of the new mechanics are the "Ceruleum Engines," that will be running along the area's railway system carrying large amounts of supplies. The team that takes control of the loading stations will gain various advantages, so the other team will need to figure out how to wrestle back control from their opponents. However, if you're too focused on fighting the other team and not paying attention, you may get run over by the Ceruleum Engines themselves, so be careful!

The second new feature is the goblin mercenary. They will initially appear in the Hidden Gorge as a third force and play a similar role to how they've appeared in the past raid content. However, they will join sides with the team that has dealt the most damage to them.

We showed a video of the Hidden Gorge map during the show so be sure to check it out. The battle will take place close to Ul'dah and the map was designed so that fights can break out in different areas of the battlefield. We've made it so you'll be able to deploy Brute Justice machinas multiple times in Astralgalos now, but this same feature will be available in the Hidden Gorge as well. Be sure to make use of these mechanics as part of your strategy.

■ The Forbidden Land, Eureka Hydatos
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The Forbidden Land, Eureka Hydatos brings a conclusion to the story surrounding Eureka. Furthermore, the elemental level cap is raised to level 60 and the Eureka weapons and armor can also be further augmented. We've added additional logogram and logos actions as well, so please look forward to those as well.

We've shown live gameplay footage of the Forbidden Land, Eureka Hydatos. The theme of Hydatos is "water", and you'll notice the water flows backward in this area. At the center of the map, you'll see our new open dungeon, the Baldesion Arsenal.

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We've released a bit of information regarding the Baldesion Arsenal. This is a brutally difficult open dungeon content that can be challenged by up to 56 players at once. The entry requirements are strict, you'll need to complete the main Eureka storyline, and also possess specific item as well. In a regular raid content, when someone makes a mistake, you normally wipe to restart; however, in here, you won't be able to do this in the same manner. You can level down and also restart from the very beginning.

Not only will players encounter strong enemies such as Absolute Virtue from FFXI, but players will also encounter traps similar to the ones found inside the Deep Dungeon. Furthermore, while undertaking this dungeon, the detrimental status effect "Resurrection Restricted" will be applied restricting normal forms of resurrection. To clear the dungeon, you need the trust in your companions, perseverance, a whole lot of time, and a lot of luck.

This is a very challenging piece of content, and the risk upon failing is high as well, so players will get additional warnings in-game asking if they're really sure they want to attempt the challenge. This isn't necessary to complete the story, so we'd like for those who are willing to attempt it to share information with other players and take on this battle together.

That concluded the Patch 4.55 special; however, we had more announcement before the end.



Noctis from FFXV is heading over to the world of FFXIV! There are five months until the release of Shadowbringers, but we still have Patch 4.55, 4.56 and this collaboration, so we'd like everyone to enjoy the remaining content from the 4.5x series.

Players will receive the Regalia mount as a reward from the collaboration event, and this will be our very first four-person mount in FFXIV. How your character sits will vary depending on which seat you sit in, so please look forward to it!

Special Guest Section
Guest: Character Concept Artist Ayumi Namae

For the second half of the Letter from the Producer LIVE Part XLIX, we invited Character Concept Artist Ayumi Namae to answer some of the questions we gathered from our forums.

Q: What exactly does the Character Concept Artist job entail?
A: We covered a lot of ground regarding this in yesterday's development panel, but describing it broadly, a Character Concept Artist will take information, and create visual materials for people to better understand that information. The direction is given to the Art Team very early in the development process, and because the amount of information is very limited, they'll need to come up with numerous ideas from that bit of information. In the end, we end up picking only one of the ideas from the many other ideas that were created, but personally, I enjoy this part of the development process the most. Through different iterations, we gather different materials for references, and I discover new things that I never knew existed, so finding those discoveries is also fun.

Q: When creating your designs, do you go about things differently when working on legacy FINAL FANTASY jobs, such as black mage, as compared to jobs that are original to FFXIV, like astrologian?
A: For legacy jobs, I want to make sure that I'm incorporating the signature characteristics of that job. For example, for a paladin, it would be very heroic compared to a dark knight, which would have more of an anti-hero, dark atmosphere. So those types of points are considered carefully when differentiating these jobs. And looking back at previous titles, the color white or blue is associated with paladins or knights, so I make sure to incorporate those elements as well. The job-specific gear is especially difficult to create art for because the requests ask for something that is iconic to FINAL FANTASY, but something different from previous job-specific gear. However, we've had many pieces of job-specific gear up until now, so requests in Shadowbringers have been eased up a bit. As a result, there are some gear designs that are completely different from what we've showcased before.

For job-specific gear for jobs that are original to FFXIV, we'll need to start the creation process from the point where we think about "what makes that job iconic." In that aspect, we brought in moons and the stars as a motif for astrologians. A lot of focus goes into the characters design from the bust-up; therefore, when designing, we pay careful attention and come up with many ideas for the headgear.

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Along with that answer, we showcased the new Shadowbringers job-specific gear designs for black mage and astrologian. For black mage job-specific gear, we've differentiated between the male and female outfits. The female attire emphasizes more of a witch aspect. For the male attire, there was an impression that their outfit was somewhat worn/used, but this time around, we went with a more clean/smart looking outfit, imagine a mature Harry Potter type of character.

As for astrologian's job-specific gear, we were a bit worried about our players' reaction as there are less differentiating points from male and the female outfits, but I'm relieved that everyone at the show floor seems to like this design. In the Shadowbringers trailer, you see Urianger wearing a customized version of this astrogian's outfit.

Q: Are there any restrictions to adhere to for an MMO, such as implementing capes, or how you decide on the dyeable parts?
A: Compared to an offline game, MMORPGs display a lot more characters. For that reason, there are many restrictions when designing gear. However, I believe this is where we as designers can do our best to try and show how rich the designs can be while still having these restrictions. As for the sections that can be dyed, this isn't something that's set up when designing a piece of 2D art. The team that creates the 3D models of these designs consider things such as in-game lighting to determine which parts can be dyeable.

As for capes, capes were first incorporated into the game when designing Ilberd's design of him wearing a white mask. We have something called "bones" in the design that restricts the movement of characters and gear, but in FFXIV, bones do not exist for capes. However, we did have bones for skirts, so we linked that with the capes and discussed with the 3D team to see if we can somehow move them. While it may not look as ideal as to how it should move, we believe it's important to be able to adapt in an MMORPG, and so this was something we challenged. Once the cape for Ilberd was created, we thought that we're now able to add capes for players as well, and so, as part of paladin's job-specific equipment, we've designed the blue cape.

Q: You have worked on both FFXI and FFXIV, what are some of the similarity and differences you have encountered designing gear for both of these projects?
A: As both being an MMORPG there are strict design restrictions; however, FFXIV is developed with new technology, therefore, there is a broader range of what can be done. The amount of resources put into the design is different. Aside from simple color variation, everything is designed by the Art Team. Even if the model of the gear is similar, if the texture is different, then we create a design for them.

As for FFXI, I have designed them only when it was a brand new model. If the models were the same but utilized a different texture, then the Texture Team was also in charge of those designs. In FFXI, I specifically was in charge of the artifact gear designs for the blue mage, corsair, puppet master, dancer, and scholar. As I was also working on the original FFXIV, I haven't been involved with as many gear designs for FFXI. The Goliard design has been brought up several times by Japanese players in the past, but that was not designed by me.

Q: One of my favorite things to do in FFXIV is to dress-up with the glamour prisms, what kind of coordinated outfit would you recommend?
A: While this isn't me recommending this personally, there are many players out there that are really enjoying glamour, and I love finding those glamours coordinated by the players and bookmarking them. Especially for those players who constantly update their social media, I check those out every morning, just as I would do my email checks. Even if it's a gear I have designed, when looking at player's glamour, I can discover "oh you can coordinate this way too", so I'm learning from these discoveries!