Before 'Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2017 Seoul', which will be held on 21th, and an update of 'Stormblood', which is an expansion pack to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy franchise, the interview was prepared for introducing stories about the contents of the event and update. Therefore, Acrofan met with Naoki Yoshida, producer and director of Square Enix, to hear about the fan festival and expansion pack.
Q1. What do you feel about the first 'Fan Festival' being held in Korea?'
After the 'Fan Festival' was held in Shanghai in August for Chinese users who are servicing through local publishers as in korea, Korean fans and Identity Entertainment are constantly sending their opinions that they want to hold 'Fan Festival' in Korea. Since it is difficult for a single game to conduct a festival independently, I was careful enough to check intention to hold a number of times. However, the will was so passionate that we finally decided to hold a fan festival in Korea and helped with especial vigor. I heard that the site entrance ticket was sold out very quickly, so I think that the users' enthusiasm is hot. I am very much looking forward to it personally.
Q2. What kinds of events will be held in this 'Fan Festival'?
In this 'Fan Festival', we will have time to introduce the content of expansion pack 'Stormblood', which will be added to Korean server soon. The members of the development team in Japan will also attend to give a talk about development stories after summarizing questions of the story, world view setting, etc. There will also be on-site Q&A, character cosplay and competition using in-game PvP content 'The Feast'. At the finale of the event, performances of ‘The Primals’, which is a rock band decided by Masayoshi Soken, sound director of 'Final Fantasy XIV', will be held. Since most members are made up of professional artists, it will be possible to enjoy high-quality performances.
Q3. It was reported that 'Final Fantasy XIV' was the first MMORPG to approach the number of users of Blizzard 'World of Warcraft (WOW)'. What do you think was the reason for this steady growth?
We have been preparing "Stormblood" based on know-how and experience to progress service for a long time, but I honestly thought, "Isn't it a limit to the recruitment of new gamers?". However, after the service of "Stormblood", many return users and new users participated in the game and recorded the highest number of users. Personally, I was very surprised. So when we think about why most users have come with this expansion pack, we concluded that we have been developing "contents for gamers" that we consider to be more important than specific factors. It is true that the current MMORPG genre is in a slump, but Final Fantasy XIV progresses a major patch every three months and releases its expansion pack every two years, and we got a good response from users and media. This continuance of positive feedback has become a factor to absorb new users, and marketing and PR, which focused on this, seemed to have played a significant role. I think that it will be able to grow even more if the content that can be enjoyed only in 'Final Fantasy XIV' in the future increases.
Q4. Introduce about a new expansion pack, "Stormblood".
"Stormblood" is released on a global server in June, and it has a tremendous story that is the most popular among 'Final Fantasy XIV' expansion packs. As it is getting positive response from overseas users and media people, we hope that users in Korea will have a lot of feedback. In addition, two new characters are added, one for Samurai and the other for Red Mage.
Q5. What are the characteristics of the new job, Samurai?
The samurai is a close ranged dealer, a style similar to Monk. It uses various combo attacks using sword. The method of giving damage is to combine three kinds of status, 'Sen', depending on situations, and it can give a lot of damage by filling the gauge of the ‘kenki’ and releasing it. Also, when filling this gauge completely, it allows a user to use the special skill, and the important thing is when the user uses the skill while accumulating combos. Another feature is that Samurai is a pure dealer with no skills to support other members of the party, so the operational skill of each user plays an important role. In addition to this, we have also paid much attention to the sound and effects of swinging and cutting with the sword.
Q6. What are the characteristics of Red Mage?
In the 'Final Fantasy' series, it is a very classic job with more demanding than Samurai all over the globe. The image of the basic Red Mage is a so-called hybrid job with using techniques of white mage and black mage as well as making physical attack by using rapier, so there was a lot of worries in the development stage. If the game was a regular packaged game, we could make the character strong as much as we want, but in online game, balance with other jobs should be considered, so it is hard to make it very strong or weak. In addition, the reason why hybrid jobs in the existing online games are poor is that it is not well balanced. In the meantime, the battle system team made a key suggestion, 'fight against black mana and white mana', which seems to be hybrid since it uses several magic. However, in an actual operation, it can be operated as a pure caster. Thanks to that, Red Mage, the character that we worried about putting in the game until the last minute, is applied to the game. Currently, the dealer's DPS (damage per second) is the highest, and for this reason, the black mage masters have been complaining that "give us resurrection skill like those red ones!".
Q7. Are there any plans for an onion knight to be introduced by event or other means?
The onion knight is a transcendent job, and it is the highest profession among the hidden professions. I do not think about putting it because the balance of the game will be completely shaken when I put this onion knight. However, I am always thinking about ways to increase the number of new gamers, so I would like to say that I have plans to surprise gamers in the future.
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