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  1. #1
    Community Rep Voltenyne's Avatar
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    Jul 2019

    Letter from the Producer LIVE Part LXV Digest (7/26/2021)

    We are pleased to present the full digest of the Letter from the Producer LIVE Part LXV!  
    If you missed the live stream, or if you just want to watch it again (and again), check it out below! 

    * Don't forget to select the 1080p option to watch the video in full HD!

    Endwalker Benchmark Trailer

    We launched the show with the new benchmark trailer, which you can watch in 4K 60FPS on YouTube.

    A new benchmark is released with each expansion, and Endwalker is no exception. The software runs real-time graphical processes on your PC to measure your system’s performance.

    One thing we’ve changed in this iteration of the benchmark is the score threshold for the highest rating, “Extremely High,” which is now set to 15,000 or higher. This rating was previously displayed for scores of 7,000 or higher, but we decided to update this after accounting for the rise in large-scale multiplayer content over the last few years. The scoring method and everything else remains the same from previous versions.

    As for the benchmark trailer, quite a lot of detail has been put into the camerawork and characters’ actions. There’s still more you’ve yet to see, but we packed in all the new things we can show you at this time, so be sure to take a closer look! We also hope you’ll have fun with the character creator included in the benchmark, where you can create your own male Viera, the new playable race to be added in Endwalker!

    Learn more about the benchmark: NA EU

    Regarding Paladin’s Resistance Weapon


    A little while ago, players noticed that paladin’s Resistance weapon had the Legacy mark on the back of the shield. This was originally intended to display company crests, and the Legacy mark was the result of an error.
    The Legacy mark is displayed when a certain parameter in the data is set to “0,” and in this case, the staff member in charge had set an incorrect default value.

    This will be addressed in a future patch, and we apologize for the oversight on our part. We will be changing how the Legacy mark data is handled in order to prevent a similar situation from happening again.

    What’s to Come in Patch 6.0

    New Stories

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    The conclusion of the Hydaelyn and Zodiark saga, which began with FFXIV 1.0, will contain more story content than ever before. Looking at the number of voiced lines alone, there’s 30% more compared to Shadowbringers, and there will be more cutscenes as well.

    Shadowbringers was also quite voluminous, but more Scions of the Seventh Dawn means more characters accompanying the Warrior of Light, and when you factor that in with the helpful hints they provide, the amount of dialogue increases exponentially!

    In Patch 5.5 Part 2, we were introduced to Fourchenault Leveilleur. He and his family are another focal point of this saga, which can be interpreted as a tale of the Leveilleur family as well.

    New Cities

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    Old Sharlayan will be a major city in Endwalker, fulfilling a role similar to that of the Crystarium in Shadowbringers. Its name has been mentioned sporadically since FFXIV 1.0, and now Warriors of Light will finally be able to see the city for themselves.

    Lore enthusiasts may also recognize Radz-at-Han, a locale situated on the island of Thavnair. This smaller city will fulfill a role similar to that of Eulmore in Shadowbringers.

    Massive New Areas

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    In Endwalker, you’ll be journeying through a diverse range of environments. These include an underground area lit by an artificial sun, the capital of Garlemald, the unfamiliar scenery of Thavnair, and of course, the moon. There’s also one other area we have yet to describe in detail.

    Overall, development of these new areas is complete, and we’re currently applying the finishing touches.

    New Jobs: Sage and Reaper

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    Two new jobs will be introduced with the new expansion. The first is sage, the new healer job of Alphinaud, whose job change will be explained during the story. The other is reaper, the new melee DPS job of Zenos, who was seen performing a particularly impressive attack towards the end of the benchmark trailer.

    New Dungeons

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    The new dungeons will be tied to the main scenario, excluding a few that will be unlocked after reaching level 90. Each setting spurs your emotions during the story and comes with elaborately designed mechanics, so please look forward to it. The new areas in Endwalker may be rich in variety, but these dungeons won’t fall behind in that department either!

    Furthermore, exploration mode will be added for these dungeons. Since it still needs to go through the QA process, we’re unsure whether exploration mode for these dungeons will be ready by 6.0, but we’ll add it soon as we can.

    High-end Raid: Pandæmonium

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    Pandæmonium is a series of raids that will be released during the 6.x series, following the release of Patch 6.0. To allow players to enjoy the story, Savage will be implemented about two weeks after the normal raids. The illustration we’ve used here carries a deeper meaning, which you’ll gradually understand as the story progresses.

    As some of you may have guessed, we’re aiming to release the raids within the year. If you’re hoping to challenge them on release, you may want to set aside some time during the holidays!

    Alliance Raid Series: Myths of the Realm

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    Myths of the Realm is a new 24-player alliance raid series that will begin in Patch 6.1. It’s bound to be filled with fascinating new lore, as we’ll be diving deep into the mysterious nature of the Twelve!

    New Tribes: Arkasodara and Loporrits

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    Both tribes are quite charming, and each have great characters and important roles in the main scenario. While we can’t reveal too much yet, we can tell you they’re not just new tribes we’ve added to populate the new areas!

    New Threats: the Magus Sisters and Anima

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    These aren’t the same Magus Sisters that appeared in FFIV, but rather characters of the same name that happen to exist in the world of FFXIV. As for Anima, there isn’t much we can share at the moment without spoilers, but we’ve enjoyed reading through many different theories from players.

    New Gear and Crafting Recipes

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    As with previous expansions, numerous new equipment and other items will be added in Endwalker.
    Most of the graphical elements are nearing their deadlines, and Yoshi-P has started his inspection. If he finds something to share with the rest of us, he might post a screenshot on the official forums for us to see.

    We also showed exclusive equipment for each job, which you can see in the video.

  2. #2
    Community Rep Voltenyne's Avatar
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    Jul 2019
    Additional Updates

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    We went over a number of other updates we have planned.

    The new small-scale PvP mode is in production and will be showcased at a later time along with an overview of its new rules and reward system.

    A lottery system will be implemented for purchasing housing plots. Relocation rules will be adjusted, and there will be designated areas for purchasing plots via lottery, or first come, first served. These are currently in preparation for the release of the housing area in Ishgard.

    Players will only be permitted to enter the lottery if they meet the requirements necessary to own housing. A number of features have been prepared to prevent RMT and troublemaking, such as depositing the gil upfront and disallowing participation on Free Trial accounts. Furthermore, there will be a gil penalty for those who do not purchase a plot after being selected in the lottery. Please note that this penalty will be quite strict.

    Additionally, certain areas will be reserved for purchase as personal or free company housing. Details regarding this and other housing-related updates will be shared later.

    As for Data Center Travel, we’d first like to get a feel for the feature for its initial release, so at first, you won’t be able to travel to data centers in other regions. For the initial release, players will be able to travel between data centers of the same region.

    Downscaled Values in Battle Calculations

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    The values used in battle calculations have become too large. As this increases the likelihood of errors, the values will be downscaled to reduce place values.

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    Both players and enemies will be affected by the same adjustments during downscaling. For example, if you were to face an enemy designed for item level 500 while wearing item level 500 gear, both sides will be downscaled equally, so there wouldn’t be any changes in balance.

    On the other hand, if you were to face the enemy with item level 530 gear, your gear stats wouldn’t scale as high as it did before the downscaling, so it may feel like you’ve gotten weaker after these adjustments. But rest assured, battles will feel the same as before when you’re facing enemies designed for your item level.

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    As mentioned in the previous example, gear stats won’t scale as high as they do now and may result in situations where undersized parties struggle more than before. To counteract this, we’re working on a buff exclusive to undersized parties, which will be like a stronger version of the Echo that adjusts the buff according to a player’s level when they enter the duty. Rest assured, adjustments will be made to ensure that players can still take on content with undersized parties.

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    It’s possible that we may return to dealing 100,000 damage in a single attack someday, but for now, damage values will be downscaled overall. This is a decision we made with the mindset of continuing service for many years to come, so we ask for your understanding regarding this.

    Belt Removal

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    There isn’t anything players need to do to prepare for the removal of belts, but do note that after the change, you won’t be able to extract materia from belts that have reached 100% spiritbond. On the other hand, materia that have been affixed to your belts can still be retrieved even after 6.0.

    Future Update Schedule (Tentative)

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    We went over a tentative schedule of events leading up to Endwalker’s release. With Patch 5.58, certain restrictions will be lifted, and Season Twenty of the Feast will commence.

    The FFXV collaboration event will return starting Monday, September 13, along with the new Seasonal Event Replay feature. Players who already completed the event can use this feature to replay the quests again. However, Seasonal Event Replay works differently from New Game+, and you will not be able to reset your event progress after only playing the beginning.

    Battle-related news and other details will be revealed in the Media Tour, planned to begin in mid-September.
    The Media Tour will be held remotely to prioritize safety against COVID-19, but we will be inviting global media to attend, so we hope you’ll look forward to it!

    For COVID-19 safety reasons, we will be holding the Media Tour in a remote format, but we will be appealing to global media so please look forward to it.

    All Saints’ Wake will be held later in the year compared to previous iterations, due to the overall schedule being delayed by the COVID-19 situation.
    However, we felt there was no need to cancel the event simply because it was delayed, and have decided to implement it at this later timing.

    In addition to the events listed here, we also have patch updates to release raids and other content.
    Further details will be announced at a later time.


    To wrap up the first half of the show, we showcased the character creation of male Viera in the benchmark, which can be seen in the video.

  3. #3
    Community Rep Voltenyne's Avatar
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    Jul 2019
    Special Talk Session


    In the latter half of the broadcast, we were joined by guest creators Yosuke Saito (Producer of the NieR series) and YOKO TARO (President and CEO of Bukkoro / Director of the NieR series) to reflect back on the YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse alliance raid series, as well as answer questions gathered on the official forums beforehand.

    Q: The epilogue showed the results of whether players had chosen Anogg or Konogg, and results showed that Anogg had won across all Worlds. Would the ending have been different if Konogg had won?
    YOKO TARO: I’m generally not very fond of talking about the lore or scenario. Today, I’ve told the FFXIV team that I won’t be answering any lore-related questions. However, the voting results themselves aren’t part of the lore, so I’d like to share my thoughts on the results instead.

    At the time, when Mr. Yoshida and I were discussing how the story would progress, one of our plans was to change the story based on the percentages of the voting results. So when I saw the results, I thought that the FFXIV team decided to be lazy and manipulated the data so they’d only have to create one ending. (laughs)

    Yoshida: Mr. YOKO asked us to collect the total percentages of votes on each World, but we didn’t have any features that could do that and ended up creating one. When we aggregated the results, however, the percentages were almost exactly the same on all Worlds...

    From the FFXIV team’s perspective, our first reaction was, “Was the feature bugged?” But there were definitely variations in the numbers, and after looking into the log data, the results were unmistakably what players had actually chosen. On the other hand, I knew Mr. YOKO would suspect us. (laughs)

    YOKO TARO: But I did think that if you actually fudged the numbers, you’d spread them out a little more and maybe sprinkle in an 8:2 or 9:1 to make the one-sided victory seem more natural. So I felt that how the percentages were almost identical across all Worlds proved the results were real and untouched by human hands.

    Yoshida: In that sense, to answer the question, rather than preparing different endings based on which side won, it’s possible the whole story itself would’ve gone in a different direction if we saw more varied results across the Worlds.

    YOKO TARO: Looking at the voting results for each World made me think about the study of statistics, which I believe is something along the lines of analyzing a certain sample size to estimate the outcome on a larger scale.

    For example, this would mean that despite our democratic system in Japan, you can just randomly select a small percentage of our voters to estimate the overall results. I felt as if I’d gotten a glimpse of a natural law, where perhaps we humans don’t have many differences in individual will and can be lumped together with the rest of the world based on a small percentage sample, which I found really fascinating.

    Yoshida: I also thought it was very cryptic. The decision appears at the beginning of the story, before the players get a chance to familiarize themselves with the characters. It was also the kind of decision that reflects on players’ personalities, where some might choose one without giving it much thought while others carefully ponder their choices, so I really didn’t expect the results to be so close.

    YOKO TARO: It made me think that people can be split into similar percentages based on their personality, and I came to the painful realization that the things we consider our quirks are actually designed by default.

    Another possibility I considered was that perhaps the choice displayed at the top tended to be selected more. But if that were the case, I felt that it meant humans didn’t have any choice in the matter and were simply manipulated by the UI, which I thought was very fascinating in itself.

    Yoshida: I also thought that the choice at the top of the UI would be chosen more, but if most of us based our decision on that, there should’ve been a larger difference in the results, so it really was mysterious.

    YOKO TARO: I felt like I got a glimpse into the amalgam that is humanity. Just looking at those results made me glad to have collaborated with FFXIV. It was like a small social experiment that portrayed the meaning of a large population coming together to play a game.

    Q: I'd love to have the flight units and pods as mounts, NieR-themed weapons, A2 and Red Girl's outfits, and other YoRHa and NieR: Automata-themed items! Is there a possibility more will be added in the future?
    YOKO TARO: Let’s do it!

    Saito: If the question was directed at Mr. YOKO and he says, “Let’s do it!” then you’ll just have to do it, right?

    Yoshida: Since we already have the animation for hanging from the pod, I think a pod mount should be possible. My question is, does this mean you’re giving us the okay?

    YOKO TARO: Oh absolutely, if you have the budget, just go for it. The two of us are quite at ease now that the collaboration is complete, so our hearts are simply brimming with, “Oh yeah, go ahead!”

    Yoshida: I think our Development team is the most surprised right now... at the very least, I’d like to do something about the pod. As for the flight units, they do morph quite a bit, so I’d like to discuss it with the Development team.

    Q: Please tell us the meaning behind the title, “YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse.”
    YOKO TARO: We were originally requested to use “YoRHa” in the name, so I came up with a few titles that sounded good with it. Quite frankly, “YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse” was dropped from the list at one point, but Mr. Yoshida said, “I want to use this one,” so we ended up using it as the title.

    Yoshida: From my days in middle school, I’ve liked the word “mokushiroku” or “apocalypse” in English, so I’d always wanted to work on a game that had “apocalypse” in its name some day. And there it was, in the list of potential names! It was even paired along with the word “dark” and I just knew it had to be that one.

    That reason aside, I figured these titles were included in the list because they were appropriate for what Mr. YOKO was trying to make. So I was like, in that case, I’d like to pick one that will make me grin, and chose this title.

    Saito: But I’d say you chose the one that was least likely to be selected. So I was like, “Wow, he went for that one.”

    Yoshida: However, there were a lot of people who struggled to pronounce “YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse,” so I do wonder if I made the right call as a producer. (laughs)

    Q: What would've happened to the world if the False Idol had defeated the Warrior of Light?
    YOKO TARO: Perhaps the False Idol would’ve sided with the Warrior of Light and accompanied them on an exciting adventure! (laughs) If we’d talked with them, they might’ve turned out to be quite the likable character.

    Saito: It might’ve brought about an ending where the Data Center explodes.

    Yoshida: That could’ve been the case.

    YOKO TARO: In any case, I thought this was a thought-provoking question.

    The final boss of a game exists to be defeated and the game data doesn’t have an ending where the last boss is victorious, so in that sense, the protagonist will never lose.

    The final boss in any game, not just FFXIV, is an entity that can be eventually defeated. Because of how the story is supposed to turn out, even if the player loses, they’re still guaranteed to win in the end. There isn’t an ending where the final boss wins, and the future is already fixated on the limited possibility that the protagonist will triumph, which I thought was very cruel.

    Yoshida: So what you’re saying is, while we can imagine what could’ve happened if the final boss won, it’s actually not something that can happen.

    YOKO TARO: Whereas freedom is sought after in modern games, the fact that they aren’t allowed to end with the final boss claiming victory is quite profound.

    Q: I'd like to know how Mr. YOKO's team and the FFXIV team divided the development of the elements that make up the alliance raids, such as the scenario, mechanics, and music.
    YOKO TARO: The work was divided in many ways. For example, the track selection was suggested by the Scenario team, and I made the final decision. For the music that combines tracks from FFXIV and NieR, I’d chosen a song from Stormblood. But we ended up using a different one after an avid FFXIV player in the Scenario team told me, “It’s a good song, but not one that represents FFXIV as a whole.”

    Yoshida: Right, you’d chosen the boss theme that plays in Stormblood dungeons. It’s definitely popular. But if you were to ask if it represents FFXIV as a whole, it’s not quite there... I see our viewers are commenting, “I wanted to hear a version using that theme!” but in the end, we chose “Torn from the Heavens” which was a representative track from when the game was reborn.

    YOKO TARO: I’d felt that an opportunity to collaborate with FFXIV’s music was unlikely, but I’m very glad the song turned out wonderfully. Mr. Okabe told me it was incredibly difficult, though. (laughs)

    Yoshida: He merged them together in a marvelous way.

    By the way, the overall flow was roughly something like this: Mr. YOKO’s team wrote the scenario under his supervision, then the FFXIV team brainstormed ideas for bosses and other elements based on the scenario, which was then supervised by Mr. YOKO who made the final decisions on designs and other aspects.

    The battle mechanics were primarily planned by the FFXIV team, then checked by Mr. YOKO. For example, it was the FFXIV team’s idea to send a building flying, to which Mr. YOKO said we should make it look like the Square Enix office building. The development team got a really wry reaction from the Marketing team about that, so in the end, the letters on the building were abbreviated to just “SQE.”

    Q: Was the Dying Dragon that appeared in the Copied Factory REALLY an unintentional mistake? I thought it was an amusing mistake since it seemed like a reference to Drakengard.
    YOKO TARO: That wasn’t by mistake, I snuck it in there!

    Yoshida: You lied without any hesitation. (laughs)

    It was definitely a bug, but since it was so popular and befitting of the situation, perhaps it would’ve been better if we told everyone it was on purpose.

    Q: Anogg and Konogg are twins, just like Devola and Popola from the NieR series. Are the two pairs related to each other somehow?
    YOKO TARO: Whether they are related or not is lore-related, so I can’t answer that. On the other hand, I recently saw a comment noting, “YOKO tends to kill off twin siblings,” but there’s a reason for that and I’d like to talk about it.

    When you want to make a story more dramatic, one method is to build suspense by killing off a character who is dear to the protagonist. It could be a family member, or a lover, or any other intimate relationship, but it just doesn’t build suspense if it’s a complete stranger who happened to be passing by. So the idea is to kill off the character that is most intimate with the protagonist. We often see this method in TV shows.

    When employing this method, let’s say we choose to kill off the mother of a big family. We’d have to design character models for the father and children and write scenarios where players can see their relationships, which increases the cost of development. By narrowing this down, we end up with two characters, one of whom will be killed off during the course of the story.

    Typically, the relationships of the two characters are twins, lovers, parent and child, or siblings. I tend to employ this method of taking two intimate characters and killing them off with minimal development cost, and I feel apologetic towards my players who have caught on.

    Saito: But Mr. YOKO, you kill off both of them in the end. It doesn’t seem to be about just killing one of them. (laughs)

    Yoshida: I understand what you mean, since twins can use the same character model with minimal differences, after all. So a serious response might be that you’re coming up with ideas under all sorts of limitations, which results in that kind of storyline. But I think those of us who were quite taken with the scenario may be thinking, “I regret listening to this conversation.” (laughs)

    Q: Is there a possibility that the story of YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse will be continued in FFXIV or a different series?
    YOKO TARO: I’ll continue the story anywhere, as long as you pay me!

    Saito: Well, I think we’re a little curious about what happens afterward.

    Yoshida: If it’s fine for us to request that of you, I’d like to take the possibility into consideration. When it came to YoRHa, the FFXIV team came up with ideas in a different way from usual. They took inspiration from their experiences with Mr. YOKO’s games to develop many new features and mechanics. This furthered FFXIV’s development as a result, so if you’re willing to do it as long as you get paid, I may want to ask the CEO for approval and take you up on that offer.

    Saito: That being said, YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse was a truly difficult task for the NieR team.

    Yoshida: I’m sure it was. I really appreciate the development effort you’ve put into the collaboration.

    Q: Telling the epilogue through weekly quests was an innovative idea. What were your thoughts behind this implementation?
    YOKO TARO: Most of the games I’ve made are finished after you beat them, but FFXIV is an MMORPG, which really made me feel that there is a never-ending everyday life that goes on in the game. Since there are actual people living out their lives in the game, I felt it was important to create an immersive experience into a world where life goes on even after players complete the content, as opposed to TV shows or movies that are over once their experiences have been conveyed.

    With that in mind, I designed the weekly quests hoping they would leave some sort of emotion or meaning with players.

    Yoshida: I see, that’s why the weekly quests don’t have a grand conclusion. In online games, there’s an everyday life that still carries on after grand conclusions, just as we saw the daily lives of those who remained through weekly quests.

    YOKO TARO: Fairy tales like “Cinderella” all end happily ever after, but they don’t tell you what happened after that. You never know, perhaps there was a world of despair awaiting the characters... I think I was able to express that a future continued to take place afterward in FFXIV. I believe I was able to achieve a method of storytelling I was unable to express with consumer games.

    Q: The alliance raids felt quite lengthy overall. Was this because you packed in as many references as you could? Or is this a final version after you removed some of the elements that you wanted to add?
    Yoshida: I think that we just happened to end up at these lengths after we brainstormed ideas for the story elements and overall battle mechanics. There wasn’t anything we removed in particular to shorten the content. The alliance raids have mid-battle cutscenes and other theatrics, which may be why they seemed longer compared to previous ones where we couldn’t add those kinds of elements.

    Saito: The cutscenes and everything were created very beautifully, and I was blown away by the FFXIV team.
    We did share our assets with you, but I felt that we may never see such a faithful recreation of our games’ atmosphere ever again.

    Yoshida: It’s all because our staff members really love the games Mr. YOKO has worked on.

    YOKO TARO: Since I was originally told, “Let’s create something about this big,” I worked on it thinking it was the typical size for collaborations, and had no idea it’d be considered lengthy.

    Yoshida: I believe a big part of it was the asset data you provided as a foundation.

    Of course, our shaders and graphics engine are different from yours and we made a lot of adjustments on that end, but I think the designers really enjoyed themselves since there were a lot of things they wouldn’t be able to add to FFXIV under normal circumstances.

    As I mentioned earlier, they all love the NieR series, and I think they had their own interpretations as well...
    I’m sure they also didn’t want to disappoint any NieR fans who would be playing, and the production process really flew by. When it was time for my inspection, the staff members in charge were beaming as they told me, “We made something amazing, so please take a look!”

    Q: Arrangements of "Weight of the World," "The Dark Colossus Destroys All, and "Kainé" were mixed with tracks from FINAL FANTASY, but who chose these songs in particular? If you can, please tell us the reasons why they were selected.
    YOKO TARO: As I mentioned in an earlier question, the Scenario team proposed a few tracks, and I made the final decision.

    Q: In the battle with Red Girl in the Tower at Paradigm’s Breach, I often accidentally step in the small insta-kill zone in the middle! I’m used to it now so this isn’t a request to change it, but I’d like to know why it was added.
    Yoshida: Frankly speaking, we added it because it’d be too easy if the center was open. By blocking off the center, you have to take a long way around, which makes it a bit more challenging.

    Saito: In terms of difficulty, how was this alliance raid series compared to previous ones?

    Yoshida: I believe they turned out just right, but I think they were extremely difficult when you two were testing them.

    YOKO TARO: If it was going to be that difficult, I wish you’d made it so that if anyone got hit by the curtain fire along the way, everyone would be incapacitated. (laughs)

    Yoshida: The time and place for mechanics where one person’s mistake can incapacitate everyone else is extremely limited. If it was your own mistake, you’d just get a little frustrated with yourself, but it wouldn’t be like that if it was someone else’s mistake.

    Additionally, curtain fire-type mechanics rely on both the server and client to determine whether the projectiles hit or not, so it’s easy to have those occurrences where a projectile hits you even though it looked like it shouldn’t have. Adding a harsh penalty to that sort of situation makes it frustrating for players, so we instead allocated the complexity to other mechanics, resulting in its current form.

    Q: There were still a number of unsolved mysteries after the story concluded. Will they be resolved in the future?
    YOKO TARO: You’re not going to hear the answers from me, but I’d like to talk about why.

    By the way, in a recent interview or something, Mr. Yoshida replied that the scenario of YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse may have been interpreted differently by NieR fans compared to everyone else, and I’d like to add that I wrote the scenario in a way that even NieR fans wouldn’t be able to figure out the whole truth. In that sense, I wrote it so both FFXIV players and NieR fans would have unanswered questions.

    However, I think that NieR fans may have reacted differently because they’ve gotten used to not understanding everything, and therefore responded, “That’s how it’s going to be this time, I guess.” I’d like to reiterate that having played the NieR games won’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to understand all of the mysteries.

    On the topic of why I won’t explain what actually took place, I recently came across a good example which I’d like to share with you.

    It was an interaction I had involving a poem by Shuntaro Tanikawa, a prominent poet of modern Japan. I can’t share the title of the poem since it contains obscenities, but please look it up on your own if you’re interested.

    Yoshida: It’s a famous poem, but we can’t mention its title here.

    YOKO TARO: The other day, I was talking about this poem with a female friend, who said, “I couldn’t show this poem to my mother.” When I heard that, I said, “Even if it was written by someone as well-known as Shuntaro Tanikawa?” and explained the meaning behind the poem.

    In the poem, the planet and the earth are likened to a feminine entity that one merges with as they meet their end. I think there are many reasons why Shuntaro Tanikawa wrote that poem.

    I felt that this poem represents the cycle of birth and death of a person. Shuntaro Tanikawa is nearly 90 years old, and perhaps he is very conscious of the concept of death. The poem expresses that when one becomes conscious of death, they return to the feminine entity. However, the poet and I are male, and I feel that the poem expresses a desire that men have for something they lack, perhaps something like loneliness that they feel when they realize they are missing something.

    As such, I personally believe this poem may be interpreted completely differently between men and women.

    However, you may be wondering why Shuntaro Tanikawa deliberately used obscenity. You might think he may have done it to evoke reactions or to become the talk of society and sell more of his work, but he’s an extremely well-known poet and has no need for tactics like that.

    Upon giving it further thought as to why he may have done it, I thought he might be trying to get us to question why we can’t say this obscenity, something he considered comparable to the world, life, and our planet.

    Although Shuntaro Tanikawa’s work is occasionally mentioned on TV, this poem is never brought up. I think Shuntaro Tanikawa is asking us all, “Why doesn’t it get brought up? What’s holding us all back?” Are we being held back by law, or by common sense? How did we end up this way? Do we blame the people who frown at the obscenity, or the people who use abuse the word? Or are we all at fault for pretending it doesn’t exist and looking the other way?

    So I would personally go as far as to say that I could even feel a guilty conscience in this poem, and I explained all this to my female friend who’d said, “I couldn’t show this poem to my mother,” but I really regretted it afterward. Poems provide readers with the freedom to interpret them as they please, and each person is allowed to have their individual thoughts and emotions about it. At the time, having explained one such interpretation of the poem, I felt I had made a grave mistake.

    The interpretation of the poem I just shared with you is all just based on my imagination. I have strong feelings for freedom of expression, and I think my beliefs were subconsciously reflected in my interpretation of the poem. My thoughts regarding Shuntaro Tanikawa’s poem isn’t supposed to be what’s the correct interpretation, but instead about seeing a reflection of myself. And that, I feel, is the best part about poetry reading.

    So my friend’s reaction of, “I couldn’t show this poem to my mother,” is correct in its own way. You could say that how she felt she couldn’t show it to her mother is the reflection she saw of herself through the poem. Furthermore, the sacredness that men don’t have is something that women themselves refuse to express, further adds to the loneliness of men, which I thought was a beautiful irony.

    In that sense, there are innumerable answers and ways of thinking, and I think it’s very exciting that we have so much leeway for us to let our imaginations run free. Today, I’ve done the very boorish act of explaining a poem, but I would like to at least refrain from doing the same with the games I create. Additionally, because I am a game designer, if I said something about my games, you might think, “That’s the correct answer!”

    As such, I would prefer to refrain from providing an answer and believe there is meaning in all of you pondering them on your own.

    Of course, I’m sure some of you who think “It’s all your fault for not explaining, YOKO TARO!” and I think that way of thinking is also correct. My personal desire is that everyone would ponder all sorts of things through experiencing my work, but you’re also free to not think anything at all, and I think that’s what makes games so wonderful.

    Yoshida: Regarding the ending of the story, I used my own interpretations of the story as a basis for making adjustments, and was graciously allowed to make changes till the very end. I personally felt there were things that should be shown a bit more for players, like the Warrior of Light being the protagonist of the story or how Konogg’s actions leading up to the present had affected events, and I was careful not to allow these nuances to detract from Mr. YOKO’s expressions.

    Saito: I remember you were making very small adjustments towards the end, right down to individual lines of dialogue.

    Yoshida: That was me being very particular. There were certain things I had wanted to express a certain way, based on my own interpretation as a Warrior of Light myself. My personal wish is for players to have their own interpretations, rather than compare answers with others regarding the ending.

    YOKO TARO: I think this scenario wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for FFXIV. Personally, I was heavily influenced by FFXIV when writing the story, for which I am very glad.

    Finally, Shuntaro Tanikawa is truly amazing, so please look him up if you aren’t already familiar with him. One poem in particular, “Two Billion Light-Years of Solitude,” may be relatable when it comes to FFXIV. It talks about how humanity inquires about their loneliness, and I’d like to recommend it to you all.

    Q: I have a question for Mr. Saito and Mr. YOKO: If you were to work with Mr. Yoshida again, what would you like to do?
    YOKO TARO: I’d like to write the scenario for FFXVI! Please, Producer Yoshida!

    Yoshida: To give a serious response, the scenario is already completely finished, and we’re in the middle of recording the final voiced lines. (laughs)

    YOKO TARO: Every time Mr. Saito and I made an appearance, I personally felt it was our mission to eke out information about FFXVI, so today’s mission was a success.

    Yoshida: It may sound like things are coming along smoothly, but there’s still a lot for us to go through. By the way, it’s not as though we want to hide everything from all of you, but we’d like for our next reveal to be so amazing that everyone who sees it will be like “I’ll buy it!” The art quality, battles, and biggest pull of the game we have yet to talk about, are all things that we want to reveal then.

    So we were hoping to make it in time for Tokyo Game Show... but I don’t think we’ll make it. (laughs)

    This is how I personally feel, but I think being constantly teased with bits and pieces of information can get boring, so we’ve had extensive discussions within our team to limit the information. In the recent E3, we already had a list of titles that we were revealing information for, but everyone was expecting FFXVI to do a surprise reveal, and I was taken aback.

    I’m certainly very grateful that you’re looking forward to the game, but I also think it wouldn’t be good if we started weird rumors by showing something half-baked. So I’d like to do a huge reveal all at once, which will include details such as the interesting points of the game and aspects that we’ve intentionally left out. Of course, we’re putting our all into both FFXIV and FFXVI, and as such, I’d like to ask for you to wait a while longer.

    Upcoming Installments of the Letter from the Producer LIVE

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    Finally, we shared our plans for upcoming installments of the Letter from the Producer LIVE. In the next installment, Part LXVI, we plan on showcasing battle-related updates. As with previous expansions, there are many things that will be updated in Endwalker, and we hope to share the details with you then.