By Jeffrey Kerkdijk (Hyarume, also known as OnRPG’s Nr1 FF fan), OnRPG Journalist
It is E3 2009 and Sony had a surprise at their press-conference, right after a new trailer from Final Fantasy XIII. Jack Tretton the head of Sony Computer Entertainment America, announced Final Fantasy XIV as a console exclusive MMORPG for the Playstation 3 Computer Entertainment System. The public thought it was a joke. After the trailer it became quite clear that Jack was, in fact, not joking. The crowd went crazy.
Final Fantasy XIV was announced and Square Enix confirmed the game’s release for the PS3 and PC. They cancelled their own press-conference and did a Question and answer session about Final Fantasy XIV. No filming was allowed, and only the press had access to get in.
The Q and A gave us the following info:
The World of XIV will be named Eorzea and it will be totally different from the world in XI: Vana’diel.
FFXIV is a completely different game; there will be no such thing as character transfers (even though the character designs are similar). They also announced to be stepping away from the Playonline Platform.
The game systems will be different as well. FFXIV will introduce new systems for character development, and a different type of job system. Additionally, Square Enix stated that they have learned a lot from XI and XIV will have many things improved upon. There will be content for everyone; solo play and party play the hardcore and the casual. You will still be able to have fun in FFXIV, even if you can play only 40 minutes a day.
They’ve also added that player feedback has a very important role in their development. After FFXIV’s launch, there are no plans to stop development for XI. Square Enix hopes that both of the games will be played. They also said to be trying out various concepts with the many servers of the game during the beta, which will determine whether the game will be world-wide and/or cross-platform.
FFXIV Trailer Released:
Finally Square Enix told us that there is footage from the game engine in the trailer (the part where you see the Galka-like (Roegadyn) fighting on a boat). They also revealed that the game will have a simultaneous launch world-wide in English, Japanese, French and German on both the PS3 and PC.
The trailer can be viewed here.
IGN had the opportunity to interview the team behind Final Fantasy XIV. From this interview we learned that XIV will have some things in common with XI, such as familiar monster design. Furthermore there will be options to create a character that looks somewhat similar to your character in XI. Also XI won’t stop developing as long as people are playing it.
And the most interesting detail of this interview was that FFXIV will not have a character growth system based on experience, but based on an all new different system. The returning job classes are somewhat unclear, but they will be slightly different from FFXI’s job roster.
Square Enix then explained to IGN that when they approached Yoshitaka Amano for the logo art for FFXIV, weapons were very important. The concept was a wheel of adventurers carrying their weapons. It had to look like the adventurers relied on each other. The interview can be viewed here.
There was speculation about Square Enix hiring people to test FFXIV in September and it is likely to be true, but Square Enix is very strict about the NDA.
It was quiet around FFXIV until July 28, when Square Enix announced that FFXIV will make an appearance at the Gamescon convention. Tons of new information about the game appeared from the depths of the unknown. The races where announced, some classes where revealed, some in game screenshots arrived, and the websites were heavily updated. Along with this surprise were some demonstrations, where the game was actually playable.
The following information was taken from the FFXIV offical website.
The Elezen (The Elvaan like)
From Square Enix: Noble and Refined
The Elezen are a traditionally nomadic people who in former times claimed sole dominion over Eorzea, their presence predating that of the other races. Believing this prominence to be ordained by the gods, they came to develop an esteemed sense of honor and pride.
Their characteristically tall, slim physiques and elongated limbs are part of a successful adaptation to the land’s various environments. Indeed, it is said that their highly sensitive ears can discern the squeak of a field mouse at a distance up to several malms.
The Elezen perceived the immigration of the Hyur as tantamount to invasion, and as a result the two share a past plagued by warfare. At present, however, they can be seen coexisting peacefully, the exception being the reclusive Duskwight Elezen.
The Hyur (The Hume like)
From Square Enix: Diversity in Numbers
Boasting the largest population in Eorzea, the Hyur came from neighboring continents and islands in the three great migratory waves. With hem they brought sophisticated technology and complex ethos tempered by the breath of the outside world. They rapidly became a driving force behind the cultural progress, and are now widely attributed with spearheading advances in Eorzean civilization.
One of the Hyur’s strengths is the staggering variety of languages and social institutions they exhibit. This is said to account for their firm conviction in individual freedoms, though it also results in a relative lack of solidarity and group cohesion.
Two distinct groups now exist among the Hyur-Highlanders, denizens of mountainous areas, and Midlanders, who reside in the lower elevation.
The Miqo’te (the Mithra like)
From Square Enix: A Tribe of One
During the age of Endless Frost, as the seas turned to ice and passage over them became possible, Eorzea saw and influx of Foreign fauna to her shores. This in turn brought the hunting tribes which subsisted upon them, the modern descendants of whom are today known as the Miqo’te.
Since then, the Miqo’te have diverged into two physically distinguishable groups-the diurnal Seekers of the Sun and the nocturnal Keepers of the Moon. Both groups share a suberb olfactory sense and powerful lag musculature, results of a long evolution geared towards hunting and predation.
Comparatively few in number, they maintain an insular group mentality, tending to avoid contact with other races. Many individuals lead isolated lifestyles, even when residing in the more populous cities.
The Lalafell (The Taru-Taru like)
From Square Enix: More Clever by Half
The Lalafell where originally a group of agriculturalists inhabiting the fertile islands of the south seas. With the introduction of transmarine commerce, they soon wound their way into Eorzea via trade routes. They are now one of the more populous races and are well established troughout the region, though they remain averse to cold climates.
The short, rotund builds of the Lalafell belie an incredible agility, and their seemingly feeble legs are capable of carrying them long distances over any terrain. Many among them are also known for possessing highly developed and cunning intellects.
The lalafell place a great deal of significance on familial bonds, but are by no means unfreandly to outsiders. This is evidenced by the fact that they continue to share prosperous relations with all of the other races of Eorzea.
The Roegadyn (The Galka like)
From Square Enix: Size Matters
The Roegadyn are a maritime people whose largest of the concentrations are found in the northern seas, by the way of which they came to Eorzea.
They possess enormous, muscular builds and are known for the cultural emphasis they place on competition and unflinching courage, though tender, introspective individuals can also be found.
Rougadyn in and around the Limsa Lominsa area are typically seamen putting in at port, but many have also settled permanently, becoming mercenaries, bodyguards, or even pirates by trade. Far away, deep into the mountains of Ul’dah, live mountain clans of reclusive Roegadyn known as the Hellsguard, said to have mastered the magical arts.
Here is a demonstration from emotes within FFXIV.
Eorzea, a world loved by the gods
As previously announced FFXIV will take place in Eorzea. Eorzea is but a region in the vast world called Haiderin. It is a geographical name for the continent of Aldenard and the islands that are surrounding it. Sevaral cities can be found there as well: Limsa Lominsa, a pirate hub; Ul’dah, a desert city; Gridania, nestled deeply in the ageless wood; and Ishgard, bastion at the top of a mountain.
Cities of Eorzea
Let’s take a look at the highly detailed weather effects in Eorzea. The area has both harsh and soft climates. You can watch a demonstration of the weather effects from Gamescon, here.
A character progression not based on levels?! What?
“The Armory system is one of the foundations of the FINAL FANTASY XIV experience, simultaneously being both the impetus behind character development and a key factor determining individual gameplay. By merely equipping any of a variety of weapons or tools, players can instantly change their active skills, thus enabling them to dramatically alter their style of play as well as their character’s outward appearance.” – Square Enix.
So let’s capture all of this. Get a sword, become the Knight? Get a staff, become the Mage? The currently known classes are: Gladiator, Archer, Thaumaturge, Illusionist, Gardner, Fisherman, Blacksmith and Chef. That is all that we know about the classes.
Players may also specialize in one particular art, let’s say the art of magic, or the art of fighting. This is what Square Enix calls the disciple system. You can either pick a disciple or make free use of the armory. The choice is yours. The Disciples are: Disciple of War, Disciple of Magic, Disciple of Land and Disciple of Hand.
Guildleves are small rectangular plates made of stained crystal, set into a frame of metal. They act like missions or quests. You have the option of completing them alone or with other players. The harder the challenge is, the more you will be rewarded.
Aetheryte is the name of the massive shards created from aetheric mist, cut precisely and fused into arcane machinery. They are used mainly for teleportation, however using them to often or using them to travel greater distances requires you to rest as it can damage the body.
In the latest of Japanese interviews we learned that:
- FFXIV will not have an auto-attack feature; doing the same attack again and again will be noticed by the monsters and won’t work. The enemy will see right through you, and they won’t take the hit. Specializing in a good method of combat is the way to go in FFXIV.
- FFXIV will be a pay-to-play game. (this is confirmed twice) We can expect to see paid server transfers and that kind of stuff in FFXIV as well.
- You gain abilities by advancing in skill with the weapons that you use.
- There will be action gauges, one for each hand you will attack once the action gauge is full or do a skill once it is full.
- You can change your weapons anytime, but not in battle. Unlike FFXI where you have to change your job in the mog house, you can change your job anytime in FFXIV.
- Within each race there are different clans, these also affect your appearance. There will be many customization options available.
- Players can choice freely where to start, and the difference between attributes of the races will be more or less equal.
- PvP will not be there in the sense of open-world PvP. They rather offer PvP games like in FFXI. PvP will also (most-likely) not be available at the launch.
- There will be three different camera angles, 3rd person, 1st person, and a camera angle coming from behind your shoulder, much like a shooter game.
- The game was created on the PC and is ported to the PS3.
- The PS3 version will have full keyboard/mouse support
- The cut-scenes will have voice acting
- Square Enix is looking into a variety of payment options, including pre-paid cards
Gamescon in-game footage
Some gameplay footage is available at sites such as gametrailers.com and 1up.com. Most of the people who played it didn’t know what to do, and it seemed like playing the game correctly wasn’t an easy task for the most of them. You can watch them here and here.
FFXIV promises to be an interesting and unique MMORPG. I think that FFXIV will be a great MMORPG. I wonder how all of the features will turn out, and I look forward to playing FFXIV when it releases, or maybe even before.
What do you think of Final Fantasy XIV? What are your expectations? Will you play?
Let’s discuss it!
FFXIV is scheduled for release in 2010 on both the PS3 and PC. An Xbox360 version might come later as well. Square Enix is still in discussions with Microsoft on that since there are issues with the Xbox live policy.