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PAX Prime 2013: Final Fantasy XIV's presentation apologizes for a 'rocky' launch

Jef Reahard

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Final Fantasy XIV had a sizable presence at PAX Prime this year. Massively sat in on Square's presentation and group interview, and we also managed a separate session with producer Naoki Yoshida apart from all the hustle and bustle.

In this recap, we'll walk you through the highlights from the first session, which also featured sound director Masayoshi Soken and localization lead Michael-Christopher Koji Fox, who handled translation duties.

PAX 2013 - Yoshida talks Final Fantasy XIV's 21, 22, 23, and moreYoshida started out with prepared statements, most of which boiled down to heartfelt thanks to fans for coming out in support of the game. There were also a good number of apologies for the "rocky" launch, as well as assurances that Square is working on it and that new servers are coming next week.

Yoshida was asked about the player feedback that has happened since the launch of the full game. He responded with a tongue-in-cheek answer admitting that a lot of it has centered on connectivity and server issues, and his affable responses generated big laughs from the crowd. The feedback from the people who have been playing the game has been incredibly positive, he explained, and he also said that the team is working feverishly to increase capacity in order to deliver that positive experience to a larger number of players.

The next bit of dialogue mentioned Soken's active Twitter presence, as he has a reputation for answering all of his followers including English speakers. Koji Fox mentioned that FFXIV's sounds and music really feel like a Final Fantasy game, and then he poked fun at Soken's abnormally nervous demeanor. "He's usually a lot crazier," Koji Fox said, after which Soken loosened up and offered the audience a couple of amusing and impromptu vocal renditions of his themes. He mentioned the Titan Battle theme in particular, and his light-hearted recreation of it delighted the crowd.

Yoshida then talked about his world travels to various gaming conventions in recent weeks. He said that the American fans have an incredible amount of passion for the game and that he's been stopped numerous times on the street by fans who wanted to say thank you. It's actually Square who should be thanking the fans, he explained, before noting that the love-fest continues to inspire the dev team.

PAX 2013 - Yoshida talks Final Fantasy XIV's 21, 22, 23, and moreSoken was then asked how he approached this, his first score for a Final Fantasy game. It doesn't matter about the game, he said. For FFXIV he gave everything he had as he always does. He did note that FF is different in terms of being in the shadow of Nobuo Uematsu and his melodies, while respecting and building off of them while also making something new.

Soken then detailed the audio creation process, which starts with a mockup when he gets the game content outlines. When he gets the content in a playable state, he does the audio touchup with music, voice, and sound effects. You can make a bunch of great songs, he said, but not all of them will fit with the game or with particular experiences.

Yoshida then fielded a question about player progression. More specifically, he was asked whether players are behaving as he expected with regard to the hard content after the storyline stuff. Many people are still working on the main story scenario, he said, and a good portion of the game starts after you finish that stuff and get to some of that hard content. "We made that so difficult that you'll be weeping before it's all over," Yoshida said in response to some of the hardcore players in the audience, which generated another round of laughs and applause.

It was also noted that Yoshida does a lot of the game's content checks personally. Many of the screenshots posted on his producer letters are actually taken while he's playing the game. His preferred jobs are Thamaturge and Black Mage, though "of course he plays all the jobs and is good at all of them." Yoshida said that the Black Mage gives him the best chance to put out high-end damage and really test the endgame, though the rest of the dev team always asks him why he's not doing more damage!

The presentation concluded with previews of what's to come. The team is already in production on the game's 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 patches, Yoshida said, and the plot for the next expansion is already written. Housing and the PvP wolves' den are ready, as are daily quests and hard dungeons and instance battles, all of which is coming in 2.1. It's not all hardcore content either, Yoshida explained. There will be stuff for casuals and solo players, and something for everyone thanks to a "great deal" of content in each and every patch release.

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 30th to September 2nd, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2013. Whether you're dying to know more about WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, EverQuest Next, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

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