Greetings everyone!

We're pleased to present the full Q&A digest from the Letter from the Producer LIVE Part XIV! If you missed the live stream, or if you just want to watch it again (and again), follow the link below! Please note that subtitles will not be added to the LIVE letter itself.
Don't forget to select the 720p option to watch the video in HD!

Letter from the Producer LIVE Part XIV Q&A

Saga of the Zodiac Weapons
Q: Please tell us what will be needed to continue to Saga of the Zodiac Weapons quest line?
A: Simply put, you’ll need to have a relic weapon animus to continue. Players who have acquired a relic weapon animus will be able to undertake the next quest in the series right away.

Q: When will we be able to customize the stats of the Zodiac Weapons?
A: When you complete the upgrade this time around, you'll receive a relic weapon novus, which will allow you to customize its stats to a certain degree.

While I can’t go into too much detail, upgrading a relic weapon animus will require use of a new item called a "Sphere Scroll." However, this will also require a new catalyst called "Alexandrite." When we were planning to release this in patch 2.25, the means to obtain Alexandrite were very limited, and one suggestion from Takai was to make it purchasable with Allagan tomestones of mythology. As we were unable to create new means to acquire Allagan tomestones of mythology, we decided to push it back a patch to work on more ways for players to acquire Alexandrite. Patch 2.28 and 2.3 will both offer players several ways to obtain Alexandrite, but I probably shouldn’t say any more about this.

Q: Will the design and glow be different for novus weapons?
A: I don't want to spoil the surprise too much for those who plan to rush out and finish complete their weapons right away, but I can say that they will be different. They will definitely get flashier as time goes on, and ultimately their designs will undergo more significant changes down the line.

Q: The Trials of the Braves are ancients texts that illustrate the deeds of the Zodiac Braves, but why are modern-day imperial enemies shown in the book?
A: There is actually a really interesting reason for this. While the Trials of the Braves you can purchase with 1,500 Allagan tomestones of mythology are indeed ancient texts, the texts used by players are an Eorzean edition that traces the deeds of the Zodiac Braves. In other words, it’s been translated with the supposition that if you defeat similar enemies you’ll be able to enhance your weapons. The enemies originally listed in the Trials of the Braves don't exist in Eorzea, and this version has been translated into terms that Eorzeans can understand. Recreating the actual enemies encountered by the Zodiac Braves would be a bit too much, so we’ve created the books with the fact that players are receiving a translated version in mind.

Q: What item level will the novus weapons be?
A: 110.

There have been forecasted roadmaps in some magazines recently, and they have been predicting that the next weapon upgrade will be item level 115, which has led some to believe the novus weapons will be item level 115. However, the development team has planned the Saga of the Zodiac Weapons far into the future, and novus weapons were originally set as item level 110.

Q: Are you planning to adjust the spawn rate of FATEs, the drop rate for atma, and the amount of mythology needed for the current Saga of the Zodiac Weapon quests in the future?
A: It really depends on how far you are referring to when you say “future.” At present, we have no plans to make adjustments in patch 2.28 or 2.3. If we were to make changes now, the effort put in by all the players who've been working hard on their weapons up until now would be wasted. However, in the future, with new players coming in and item levels increasing, it will be difficult to do everything from the beginning, so we're planning to make adjustments at that point in time just like we do with other aspects of the game. With that said, it’s not that we won’t be doing it in the future, it just won't be right away.

In regards to Allagan tomestones of mythology, while we don’t have plans to reduce the cost of the books from the Trials of the Braves, the amount of mythology you can receive from undertaking certain duties will be increased in a fashion similar to previous patches. In short, the amount of tomestones of mythology players can receive will increase to maintain overall game balance, rather than simply reducing the cost of the books. Players can expect to see an increase in the amount of mythology they can earn in patch 2.28 as well as patch 2.3.

Q: What else will be implemented in patch 2.28?
A: In addition to the next part of the Saga of the Zodiac Weapon quest line, there will also be a number of system changes and additions, which we’ve organized into a nice implementation list.
First, we’ll be adding new quests for the Saga of the Zodiacs Weapons that will set you on the path to upgrade to novus weapons.

Next, we'll be making adjustments to pet behavior. One example of this is an adjustment to fix strange behavior when using the jump pads in the Binding Coil of Bahamut Turn 3 and the Second Coil of Bahamut. We’ll also be adding new objectives in the Challenge Log, which we hope players will enjoy trying to complete.

The Sightseeing Log is something I haven’t talked about at all yet, but because it was completed in time for patch 2.28, we’ve decided to implement it ahead of patch 2.3. We realize there are players who enjoy climbing the various heights of Eorzea, and the sightseeing log is focused around searching for beautiful landscapes and stunning vistas throughout the realm. The objectives will be locations that at first glance appear unscalable, and we’ll be introducing 80 or so spots in total. Amongst these spots, there are objectives that involve areas that have been posted as screenshots on the forum. The first 20 or so are practice objectives and we’ve prepared plenty of hints, but the remaining 60 locations only have small bits of flavor text, so discovering these locations should prove quite challenging. Also, it’s not just about reaching the destination; you’ll have to do things such as squat or take a sweeping glance of the area to complete the objective. For those who enjoy taking in the sights of Eorzea, the sightseeing log should prove to be a fun and challenging way to test your knowledge of the land when you're not off saving the realm.

We’ll also be implementing a filter and sort feature for the Expert Delivery window.

As I mentioned during NicoNico Chokaigi 3 regarding changes to the PvP system, players will no longer need to collect points to purchase PvP actions, as all actions will be unlocked from rank 1. From there, players can allocate points to PvP actions and traits as they see fit. We’ll also be making PvP adjustments in patch 2.3, and I’ll discuss this more in the next patch 2.3 special.

In patch 2.28 we'll also be adding Thornmarch (Extreme) and the Whorleater (Extreme) to the Duty Finder. As most players seem to have an understanding of how to beat these trials now, we've decided adding them to the Duty Finder shouldn't be a problem.
Until now the Echo bonus was not applied to pets, but this will be changed in patch 2.28. Also, we'll be adding a filter feature for the objectives displayed in the Crafting Log.

Repairs by Disciples of the Hand will also see several changes. First, we’ll be making it so that as long as you’ve fulfilled the criteria for repairs, you’ll be able to repair gear without changing your class. Second, repairs performed by Disciples of the Hand will allow gear durability to exceed 100%. This won't be possible with gear that's already at 100%, but once it reaches 99% you can make repairs to raise its durability to 199%. Even if you repair when it’s close to the breaking point, you’re guaranteed to recover 100%. This update will not only make repairs by Disciples of the Hand easier, but also offer an advantage over NPC repairs.

Next, we’ll be making it so your party list is automatically organized each time you enter instances.

Starting in patch 2.28, players will also be able to join Duty Roulette: Expert and Duty Roulette: High Level as a party. A full party isn't required, making it easy to invite one or two friends to join you before firing up the Duty Finder.

As for commendations, players who register for a duty as a party will now be able to give commendations to players who registered alone.

We’ve also finalized the gear preview feature. In patch 2.28, when you're purchasing equipment from the market boards, from NPC shops, or even when making equipment from the Crafting Log, you’ll be able to preview it. In the future, we plan to expand this feature to allow the preview of gear that drops from dungeons and other trials and duties via the reward window or the reward selection screen when you complete quests.
Coinciding with the changes to Duty Roulette I mentioned earlier, we're also making adjustments to the Party Finder.

Selecting FATE icons on the map will now show their progress. This should prove helpful for those times you're running toward a FATE, wondering if you’ll make it in time.

One of the more popular requests we’ve received is the ability to use Teleport via aetheryte icons on the map. While this won't be possible using the minimap, you'll be able to bring up the main map and click aetheryte icons to teleport.

We’ll be adding a new text command allowing players to erase “Tell” history.

At long last we'll be implementing a list that shows all available text commands within the game. You'll no longer need to constantly check websites to lookup your favorite commands, and the ability to copy and paste them should make setting up macros much easier.

You'll be able to dismount from your mounts by pressing the L1+R1 or LB+RB buttons at the same time.

The titles you obtain from achievements can be displayed next to your character’s name plate.

We’ve already implemented a feature that allows you to skip cutscenes for various modes of transportation that you’ve ridden before, but in patch 2.28 you'll be able to skip cutscenes for duties and trials as well. Accessed via the Character Configuration menu, toggling on this option will let you skip all cutscenes when entering an instance.

This is just a list of the notable additions and changes ready for implementation, but you can expect plenty more once the patch arrives.

Q: When will Fantasias go on sale?
The highly requested phials of Fantasia will be available for purchase with the implementation of patch 2.28 as an additional service in the FINAL FANTASY XIV: Mog Station. However, as I mentioned briefly during NicoNico Chokaigi 3, it will be an interim system for now. With bonus items you can receive in FFXIV: ARR, such as the Helm of Light, the system has been set up so that they are attached to your account and all of the characters you create are given the item. Players are meant to purchase Fantasia for a specific character, but as the system is still in development, all characters on the selected service account will receive Fantasia. If we were to wait for the system to be finalized it would push back the start of sales even more. Rather than forcing players to wait, we decided to begin selling Fantasia as an additional service on a per account basis.

The advantage to this is if you have eight characters, you can purchase a phial of Fantasia and it will be delivered to all of them. However, you won’t be able to trade them, and you cannot store all of them on a single character. Additionally, a restriction on the number of Fantasia that can be purchased has been set with the current system. Due to this restriction, we'll be offering three purchasing options: one, three, and five phials of Fantasia. We’re aiming to implement a system that will allow you to designate a specific quantity of Fantasia for characters individually before you run out of these. Furthermore, purchasing three or five phials at once will be slightly discounted. As for the pricing, I mentioned this during a previous Letter from the Producer LIVE, but I’m thinking that around 1000 yen will be a fair price. While we are using this interim system, each of the three purchasing options can only be selected once. If, for example, you have already purchased the three phial set, you’ll only be able to select one phial or five phials the next time you make a purchase.

Q: When will patch 2.28 be implemented?
A: We planned for a May 28 release, but we've recently encountered company-wide network issues that not only disrupted GM support and inconvenienced players, but also delayed work on addressing bugs by three days. In addition to this, the building where Square Enix is located will have a yearly power outage from Saturday, May 31 to Sunday, June 1. While it may have been possible to release the patch on Friday, May 30, we wouldn’t be able to address issues in the event something happened to the servers over the weekend. I sincerely apologize, but we're putting all our effort into a June 4 or 5 release. We’ll be delivering the new features and adjustments shown in the slides as best we can.

Q: Is there a patch 2.3 trailer?
A: Currently, Takai is hard at work creating one, but it’s going to take a bit longer. We’ve decided on a patch title, however, and it’s “Defenders of Eorzea.” This title has various meanings associated with it, and the portions with the broken-like font also have meaning.

There are various organizations in Eorzea such as the Scions of the Seventh Dawn and the three Grand Companies, each working to defend realm in its own way.

We’ve already announced that Ramuh will be making an appearance, but in the main scenario it’s said that he refrains from violence, keeping watch over his domain in the Black Shroud. Your battle with Ramuh in 2.3 may make him appear to be violent, but his purpose is not necessarily to destroy the realm, nor to save it. The title encompasses the struggle for the realm that unfolds in 2.3.

Ramuh, the Lord of Levin
Q: During the main scenario, it mentions that Ramuh is a guardian deity, and even if he was summoned again, as long as you don't disturb the sylph’s territory you should have no fear of angering him. So why will we end up needing to fight him?
A: If I were to explain this I would have to give a summary of the entire main scenario. You’ll have to play through the quests in 2.3 to find out why Ramuh was summoned and why the Scions of the Seventh Dawn have to fight him.

Q: Will the hard and extreme modes of Ramuh be implemented at the same time?
A: Hard mode Ramuh will be the Ramuh you battle for the main scenario. Naturally there is also the extreme mode Ramuh, and we'll be implementing both for you all to enjoy.

Q: Are there Ramuh primal weapons? If so, what is their item level?
A: We’ve prepared Ramuh primal weapons and they are item level 100. However, the main reward for extreme mode Ramuh is accessories. The weapons are not guaranteed every time, but they will drop at a moderate rate.

Q: What kind of battlefield will it be? Will there be mechanics like in the Titan and Leviathan fights where you can fall out of the battlefield?
A: The mechanics are a secret! However, if falling were a possibility, there would be a lot of ways to fall. Your fight with Ramuh will be unlike any primal you've seen yet, and we hope you enjoy it.

Q: Other extreme primal battles have rare mount drops. Can we obtain a mount from extreme mode Ramuh as well?
A: Yes, we’ve definitely prepared a mount for extreme mode Ramuh. In a previous letter LIVE I believe I mentioned this, but if you collect all of the primal mounts something interesting might just happen. Try to collect them all!

Q: Will you have to complete the sylph beast tribe quest storyline in order to battle Ramuh?
A: As Ramuh is tied to the progression of the main scenario it’s not required that you complete the sylph beast tribe quests, and as long as you progress through the main scenario you will be able to battle Ramuh. However, as the sylph quests reveal a lot of information about the sylphs, you’ll be able to learn about their relationship with Ramuh and enjoy the main scenario more. Naturally, you can also complete these quests after you’ve finished the patch 2.3 main scenario quests as well.

New Instanced Dungeons
Q: I don’t recall seeing Hullbreaker Isle on the map at all, so where is this dungeon located?
A: In the southern portion of La Noscea there is a chain of islands, and one of these islands is Hullbreaker Isle. It will have to do with one of the NPCs you’ve come into contact with during the main scenario. This is something that I personally really like, so please be sure to check it out along with the new dungeon mechanics.

Q: What are the item requirements for each dungeon?
A: We’re going to be making adjustments to the item level requirement up to the last minute as we look at everyone’s average item level, so we might not be able to let you know on the Lodestone. Every time we implement new dungeons we are always making adjustments until the very end, so please hang in there for information. However, we don’t plan on making it very high, so please don't worry.

Q: Show us a video of the new dungeons.
A: I’ll introduce the new dungeons via Powerpoint. You’ll have to wait a tiny bit for the video.
*In the latter half of the show a video showing off the new dungeons is played. Click here to view it.

Q: Will any famous bosses from the FINAL FANTASY series make an appearance in these new dungeons?
A: There will be a kraken in Hullbreaker Isle, and it’s a somewhat different boss than what players have faced up to this point. Look forward to what kind of battle it will be!

Q: What is the item level of the dungeon rewards?
A: We’ll be making adjustments to this up to the last minute as well, so please wait for information.

Q: Will there be rare drops from the new instanced dungeon similar to the “baby opo-opo” minion that drops in the instanced dungeon Brayflox's Longstop (Hard)?
A: The other day, I heard from Minagawa there is a group within the development team working behind the scenes going by the name of the “Minion Union.” I checked with one of the members and their answer was “Maybe? Maybe not.” If the requests are large enough, I’m sure they would do something even if their schedule is stacked.

Item Desynthesis
Q: What is item desynthesis?
A: It’s a system where you can break down the items you possess to obtain materials. Using various weapons and armor you've crafted or collected, you can desynthesize them and obtain their original materials. Every now and then you might also obtain something rare.

We’ll also be implementing new skills specifically for desynthesis. Rather than just making it a simple process for recovering crafting material, players will have to raise their desynthesis skills to reap greater rewards. In fact, each Disciple of the Hand class will have their own skill.

Q: Can we use item desynthesis for everything?
A: It won’t be possible to use on every item, but it will be possible for most weapons, armor, and furnishings. It can also be used on certain fish as well.

Q: Will the items we obtain be random each time? Will it be possible to obtain rare items if our luck is good?
A: As those of you who craft already know, items are made up from specific materials, and you’ll be able to obtain one of these materials when you use item desynthesis. What material and how many you receive is dependent on your desynthesis skill and the item level of the item you are breaking down. There won’t be cases where you obtain a completely unrelated material.

As for rare items, I think looking back at the origin of materia will make this easier to explain. Materia are essentially the crystallized essence of gear, encompassing the history of an item and the person that used it. In the same vein, item desynthesis may result in something that encompasses the relation between an item and the person who crafted it. These crystallized objects will be a new material that you haven't seen before. And by combining these with a certain item that already exists, something interesting might happen, so please try it out. Also, even if you don't receive one of these crystallized items, item desynthesis is convenient for recovering ingredients to create things you need, so please try breaking down a variety of items. However, there is no guarantee that you'll obtain all of the materials that make up an item. If we were to make this possible, the game’s economy would collapse. The item you obtain and how much of that item are decided by your desynthesis skill and the item’s item level.

Q: Are the type of items that can be desynthesized different for each Disciples of the Hand class?
A: I touched on this a bit just before, but there are desynthesis skills for each of the eight Disciples of the Hand classes. In order to desynthesize an item you’ll need to be level 30. When reaching level 30, you’ll learn a desynthesis skill, and by desynthesizing items your skill will increase. However, this new system has been designed so that it won’t be possible to master all of them because the skill growth is shared between the eight crafting classes. If you’ve leveled all of the Disciples of the hand classes to 50, you’ll have to choose if you want to master one of them or evenly level up all of the skills. Additionally, even after you've mastered one of them, you'll have the option to lower your mastered skill to increase another. This is a completely new skill growth system for FFXIV: ARR.

Q: Are there any restrictions such as item level for the items we can desynthesize?
A: You won't be able to desynthesize items with the highest item level available in the most recent patch. As we progress through patches, it will eventually be possible to desynthesize items that were formerly top tier. However, as I mentioned just moment ago, whether or not you will succeed and obtain materials depends on your desynthesis skill and the item’s item level. If you try to desynthesize an item with a high item level and your desynthesis skill is low, it will not work. You'll have to try for yourselves to see where the line is between what you can and cannot desynthesize.

The Hunt
Q: What can we expect from the new Hunt system?
A: Certain enemies that roam the lands of Eorzea have been designated as "marks," and by hunting down and defeating these enemies, players will be rewarded with Allied Marks. You’ll then be able to purchase items by exchanging Allied Marks, the number of which depend on how many of these dangerous enemies you defeat. There are different ranks of marks: Rank S, Rank A, and Rank B. Naturally the higher the rank of the mark, the more Allied Marks you will obtain. This is something you can enjoy in your downtime, or whenever you're looking for a quick challenge. There are no restrictions on the number of hunts you can undertake, but for players who tend to play at a slower pace, a rank B monster will be assigned as a weekly mark by the Grand Companies. Marks will prove much more difficult to find as they increase in rank, and, as you would expect, will be more dangerous. However, defeating an indicated mark will yield bonus Allied Marks. Also, all players will be assigned a specific target by the Grand Companies every day.

Q: What kind of rewards can we obtain?
A: I believe most players no longer exchange their Allagan tomestones of mythology for equipment, but it will be possible to exchange Allied Marks for same equipment received using mythology. We’re considering changing out the equipment you can exchange for Allied Marks as we progress with every patch, but there will also be items that can only be obtained by participating in the Hunt. You’ll also be able to obtain the Alexandrite I mentioned earlier for the Saga of the Zodiac Weapon quest. Overall, there will be more Hunt-exclusive items than anything else.

Q: Will there be various difficulty levels?
A: Yes. Just as I explained before, the ranks will not only show the strength of the marks, but also the difficulty of their spawning conditions. There will be a variety of enemies that you can solo with item level 90 gear, enemies you can defeat that require the aid of a companion, and enemies that will require a party to defeat. If you come across one of these more difficult marks, we hope you'll make use of the party finder or shout to enlist a few able-bodied adventurers to help.

Q: There are a lot of battles that require the memorization of patterns in order to win, but in the future will there be any battles with more random elements?
A: We’ve been receiving questions about this even here at the Full Active Time Event in NAGOYA, but we don't have any plans to implement something like this. For really close end-game battles, in particular, random elements would make these encounters very luck-based. To give an extreme example, in one phase of Titan extreme there are four abilities he uses, and if you remember the pattern, it’s easy. However, if every time the pattern changes, or the number of times he uses a certain ability is different, what’s going to happen then? It’s really not difficult for us to do, but it would make it difficult for us to do anything about game balance. Another example is of two free companies racing to beat the Second Coil of Bahamut turn 4. While one group easily cleared it because nothing but easy abilities were used in succession, the other group ate nothing but the worst of the abilities and was unable to beat it. I believe it would become extremely frustrating due to a feeling of unfairness. However, there are some random elements in content already such as what party member is going to be targeted by an ability or which enemy is going to use an ability.

But as they as say, “experience is everything,” and since we’ve received a lot of feedback on this, one of the three new dungeons will have a boss that has a high degree of randomness. Everyone’s average item level is quite high so if you really push it you’ll probably be able to get past it, but we’d like you to challenge it without pushing it too hard and hear your feedback. Our policy isn’t such that we definitely won’t add random elements, but we want to create battles that offer players a fair chance of clearing.

Also, we haven’t announced this yet, but we’re thinking to try something else new in patch 2.3. We’re considering preparing a ridiculously high difficulty encounter where the reward would only be a title. This would be at a level that the development team might not even be able to beat, and we’re interested to see what kind of players will rise to the challenge. We’re preparing “Something-Something Extreme,” but it may not be ready in time. The rewards will be the same that you would normally receive, except for the special title.

Q: When are you planning to enhance black mage?
A: We are planning to make adjustments in patch 2.3.
Black mage is purely meant for DPS, and the focus of the adjustments will be centering around increasing their overall DPS on single targets. However, as they are already very powerful when it comes to AoE DPS, they would become too powerful if we just boosted their single target DPS. Our goal is to make adjustments so that they're not immediately overlooked for trials and duties such as the Second Binding Coil of Bahamut simply because other jobs are more advantageous; however, instead of simply enhancing black mage, we’ll be making overall adjustments to balance in relation to other jobs.

With regards to other adjustments, we’ll be adding the large scale PvP known as “Frontline” in patch 2.3, and we plan on revamping and adjusting PvP actions. Additionally, we are looking into making adjustments to actions and abilities that aren't used very often by each job. Once the details have been finalized I'll make an announcement.

Q: When will we be able to reallocate our companion skills?
A: This will be possible in patch 2.3. We also have some other chocobo-related activities planned for patch 2.3. I’ll explain the details at a later time, but I can tell you now that players will be able to reallocate their companion's skill points, and there will be a way to exceed the current cap.

Q: Can you make it easier to obtain the materials to enhance items to item level 110?
A: This is referring to oil of time and sands of time, right? The development team has a plan outlining the timing with which these items would gradually spread from the top-tier of players, becoming easier to obtain with the introduction of new encounters. This plan is adjusted as we monitor player progression. Patch 2.3 will see the continuation of the Crystal Tower, and we plan to add oil of time and sands of times as rewards here. However, this doesn't mean there will be changes to their drop rate. Rather than making it possible to obtain everything right away, we’ll gradually add the items you can obtain in patch 2.3, 2.35, and 2.38.

Q: Please implement an official DPS tool and a feature that shows the HP % of enemies.
A: I've talked with Gondai about displaying HP percentages, and it doesn't seem to be difficult to implement. Once I get back to Tokyo, I'll talk with Minagawa about it.

As for a DPS tool, however, there was a question posed in North America asking if it was okay to use them, and we replied saying it is not okay. First, let me say that we are proactively eliminating speed hacks and warp tools, and we are permanently suspending FINAL FANTASY XIV accounts as soon as we confirm their use. We don’t want players using these as they are strictly prohibited. As the developers of FINAL FANTASY XIV, we have to say no when asked if it's okay to use third-party tools. Even if it’s just a program that takes what's in the logs and calculates it, we have to say no as there is a possibility that the program could be harmful. However, to delineate this somewhat, there are ideas for user created content, and I believe that modding PC games is one part of enjoying game culture. While you're expanding the ways you enjoy games through mods, you’ll also be entering into the realm of individual responsibility.

I’m asked quite frequently whether we have plans to address an official feature that displays DPS measurements, but due to our current policy, we don't have any plans for this. The reason for this is that certain levels of DPS will be forced upon players. However, I understand the desire to know how much damage you are outputting, and while it will take some time, we’ve been discussing making it so striking dummies measure DPS as well as whether we can add a training activity for new players where you’ll have to deal a certain amount of damage within a certain time. This is how we've decided to address an official DPS meter.

Q: Please tell us what will be implemented in patch 2.3.
A: I’ve put together a patch 2.3 implementation list, so please take a look.

This implementation list is only a portion of what we have planned. Today I’ve been mainly discussing the items on the left side of the slide. The next Letter from the Producer LIVE will be part 2 of the patch 2.3 special, and I’ll be discussing the items on the right side of the slide. We will, of course, be implementing a lot of other things as well, and I'll be sure to tell you all about it.

Special Guest: Lead Designer Takeo Suzuki

Titles he has been involved with as a lead:
Chrono Cross, Gekikuukan Pro Baseball, Bouncer, FINAL FANTASY X, Kingdom Hearts, FINAL FANTASY X-2, Kingdom Hearts 2, Front Mission 5, FINAL FANTASY XII, FINAL FANTASY XIII, FINAL FANTASY XIV, FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn, DRAGON QUEST X

Q: Please tell us more about Suzuki. What is he in charge of?
A: I create graphics for a variety of game elements including art, characters, animation, cutscenes, effects, and technical art. I have to manage several teams to make sure everything is progressing in step, and make adjustments with the programmers. It’s quite an interesting combination of responsibilities.

Q: As lead designer, are there any accomplishments you're particularly proud of? What work have you had a difficult time with?
A: At my core I’m an animator, and I'd been working as a technical artist creating cutscenes, but my work now allows me to see the game develop as a whole. Seeing how various aspects of the game come together gives me a very unique look at the game, and I'm thankful for the opportunity. On the other hand, since I focused primarily on animation until now, I didn’t know much about the other sections and I had a bit of a struggle when I started as lead designer.

Yoshida: Essentially, he works with various sections of the team, which keeps him involved with all kinds of work.

Q: Have you ever screamed out “Yoshidaaaaaa!” at work or have you ever wanted to? If you have, can you tell us why?
A: Well, maybe not so much at work, but when I’m watching Letter from the Producer LIVE I’ve wanted to. Yoshida's always showing off lots of illustrations and designs, and sometimes he shows stuff I didn’t want him to.

*The video introduces a screenshot of dyed job-specific equipment.

Yoshida: I believe everyone has a lot of equipment they’ve been storing on their retainers, and we’d like to do something about that which might just be introducing the ability to change their colors.

Suzuki: It’s times like this I want to scream at him since the data isn’t always quite finished.

Q: Comparing the graphics and designs of FFXIV 1.0 to FFXIV: ARR, could you tell us what you think improved and what you think was better in 1.0?
A: With the graphic engine change for FFXIV: ARR, I think there was an overall increase in quality. I think the real-time rendering of shadows, in particular, really helped improve the graphics. I also think the level design of landscapes improved, and everyone is enjoying the freedom of being able to dye their equipment. The tempo of movement allows for a lot more enjoyment than before, as well. As for what I think was better in 1.0, it would have to be the creation of cutscenes. We really pushed them to the limit, and spent a lot of time carefully creating the lighting and effects. However, I agree with the direction of wanting to show a lot of story in the cutscenes, and I think we’ve been able to provide really good cutscenes, so I’m not saying by any means that FFXIV: ARR cutscenes are bad.

Q: Can you explain to us the basic process of how a piece of gear is designed?
A: When designing gear, we first draw up plans for how we'd like it to look. After this, the art team creates concept art and based on this we create a design, and then the character team handles the modeling and sculpting, textures, and framework.

*The video shows artwork of equipment designs that are currently in-development.

Yoshida: After the team works on all of that, we get this type of thing. What Suzuki is explaining about right now is for this equipment that will be implemented, but they’re also pouring in all of their energy to create really cool designs as well, and we will gradually be implementing them.

Suzuki: That’s right. Also, backgrounds undergo roughly the same process. After we receive initial plans outlining how they would like the dungeon to look, we then draw up the art for it, and ultimately hand it off to the background team for them to handle the modeling and textures. Since I’m here today, I’d like to show you a bit of how we are designing the new Crystal Tower.

*The video shows artwork of the new Crystal Tower content.

Q: Are there any plans to implement any male-specific vanity gear?
A: In patch 2.2 we implemented dresses for females and sailor outfits for both male and females, but I think there’s an impression that there was a bit more for females. However, we originally considered making sailor outfits specifically for males and dresses specifically for females, but we felt it would be strange if females couldn’t wear sailor outfits, and so we decided to change our plants. Our goal is to create cool looking outfits befitting male characters, and more fashionable outfits for female characters.

Yoshida: For example, these?

*The video shows off artwork of wedding outfits.

Q: Are there any plans to implement more vanity gear like the spring gear?
A: Yes, in patch 2.3 we’ll be introducing nightwear.

Yoshida: Think of them as pajamas.

Suzuki: We’d like to prepare cosmetic gear for every major patch.

Q: Can you make it possible to dye the lens portion of glasses?
A: I've wanted to do this as well, and I prepared a video of some of the glasses we're currently making, so please take a look.

*The video shows off a video of glasses in-development.

Q: Can you make it possible to dye the unique/untradable gear (green colored items) we obtain from dungeons?
A: Yoshida often says this, but dyeing equipment is one of the special perks for Disciples of the Hand classes, and we’d like to reserve this for equipment that is crafted by Disciples of the Hand classes as much as possible. Our current policy is to keep the appearance of the equipment found in dungeons unchanged.

Yoshida: What Suzuki is trying to say is that we’d like to make it possible to dye these designs when they are implemented as recipes that can be crafted by Disciples of the Hand classes. Despite this, I personally would like to be able to dye dungeon reward items.

Suzuki: Let’s discuss this when we return to the office.

Q: Can you tell us about difficulties you have adding hairstyles?
A: Recently I had a bit of difficulty creating styles with long hair. Even when we're simply transferring hairstyles to other races, though, it can be quite problematic. For example, we have to make adjustments around the Miqo’te’s ears, and when transferring a Roegadyn-specific hairstyle to Lalafells, we had to make several balance adjustments. I guess you could say these adjustments to hairstyles are the hard part.

Yoshida: The same holds true for all equipment in FFXIV: ARR. There’s not a single gender or race specific hairstyle that's been reused. Because they have the same designs, however, it may appear that they're being reused, but we want to make each one look proper for each race. For example, when making a hairstyle for Lalafells, adjustments are needed to make sure their hair has the right amount of volume. We also have to make sure nothing is sticking out and check how it meshes with equipment, so it takes some time. I've given the order to increase the production of parts for character models, but because this is a FINAL FANTASY title, there are some things I simply cannot allow for the sake of quality, and we have to make very fine adjustments to alter models to their allowable limits. Because of this, I think the character team's hairstyle lead has a hard time, but we are very particular about these things when we release new elements.

Q: Are there any plans to implement new emotes similar to the Manderville and step dances?
A: We realize looped dance emotes are very popular, and although it won’t be right after patch 2.3, we'd like to add new looped dance emotes for a seasonal event in the near future.

Yoshida: Summer is coming and it’s going to be hot, so it’s the season to put on some swimwear and light clothing…

Suzuki: Like yukatas…

Yoshida: And dance!

Suzuki: We have a certain dance in mind, actually. I believe those of you who played 1.0 will remember it, and we definitely want to implement it as a looped dance emote. As for new emotes you can expect to see soon, we'll be adding more poses to the /changepose emote in patch 2.28. Since there've been a lot of requests to change poses while sitting on the ground, we've added a new pose for that as well. I didn't hear about the new pose with characters sitting on their knees until it was finished, and I asked "why that pose?" Takai replied that it would be good for the times in raids when someone is giving a lecture.

*The video shows a video of the new poses for the /changepose feature.

Q: Suzuki, are there any plans to implement a skirt where the length is somewhere between a mini-skirt (starter gear for female Hyur and Miqo’te) and a long skirt (spring skirt)?
A: Due to system specifications, we've yet to make outfits like this. The reason is that when you combine these with equipment such as darklight boots that comes up to your knees, the graphics with a long skirt are covered around the knees, and for mini-skirts you’re able to see everything. With designs that are somewhere between these two, however, the interference is noticeable. With that said, I understand that players would enjoy more variety in our designs, and I'd like to take on this challenge.

Yoshida: This is a difficult issue, and there are also opinions that since it’s a FINAL FANTASY game it wouldn’t be good to have skirts overlap with other equipment. However, not implementing something due to this would take away the opportunities to enjoy other kinds of gear variety. I personally feel it’s fine to do this and think we should be adding more variety to gear, so the direction we are going is to add as much as we can based on the requests we receive. It’d help if you can all overlook the aspects where there are overlaps.

Q: Suzuki, are there any plans to implement cuter-looking chocobo barding in the future?
A: At the moment, we're working on designs based around primals. In patch 2.2 we released Leviathan barding, and we're planning to implement a similar design based around Ramuh. However, before this we have other designs we need to test for chocobos. We’ve received a lot of requests for two-person mounts and we’ve begun work on them, but we’re still only testing movement and issues related to programming. The models haven’t been finished, but if there are no issues, we will be looking into making a special chocobo design and create the model for it.

Yoshida: Since the time has just about come for the implementation of two-person chocobos, we’ve also been preparing a special chocobo that can be ridden by a bride and groom when they get married.

*The video shows a video of a chocobo being ridden by two players.

*In the video artwork of a two-person wedding chocobo.