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Interviews with Naoki Yoshida – Some Insight into Patch 4.1 and Beyond for Final Fantasy XIV

October 9th, 2017 by Raptorchan

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Thanks to a couple of individuals on the Final Fantasy XIV Sub-reddit, some new interviews with the Producer/Director of FFXIV, Naoki Yoshida, have been translated into English, providing us with some insight of what to expect in Patch 4.1 and beyond.

These translations are not official, and full credit goes to those who worked hard on translating these interviews. These are direct copies from the reddit threads.


From the “Pre 4.1 Interview with Yoshida” thread.

Return to Ivalice.

  • The rewards will be left side gear and no accessories.
  • You will also be able to obtain one item per week which you can trade for items such as the Lost allagan twine.
  • Two of the bosses were designed by Keita Amemiya.
  • They’ll go all out with FFT and FFXII elements.
  • They put a lot of effort into the battle with a ton of new mechanics.
  • The difficulty will be around the same as the usual alliance raids.
  • The alliance raid roulette will not include the ivalice raid.

The unending coil of Bahamut (Ultimate)

  • The entire battle is long.
  • Clearing it will be an extremely tough experience.
  • The person in charge said “There’s no way i’d allow players to restart half way through the battle” (note:like the 2nd half of exdeath).
  • They made each phase transition clear, so there’s a sense of accomplishment of gradually moving forward, but there is also a lot of fatigue involved.
  • The fight is basically about dealing with mechanics, but there is a rather strict DPS check at the start.
  • The twister dive isn’t some sort of special mechanic and it shows up numerous times as a base mechanic.
  • A lot of randomness is involved and every player needs to be able to deal with each and every mechanic they are in charge of (assigned to by the fight).
  • Especially Black mages might have a hard time in the early stages (note:probably during the learning process).
  • The reason they decided to implement “Ultimate” is because the average player skills of those longtime players have increased and players have had less of an opportunity to go through the “dancing experience” (Note: He uses the term “kirikirimai” here, which is a type of Japanese dance and also a metaphor to”be rushed off your feet” ) they used to have.
  • Back in the planning stages, they were having trouble deciding to choose Titan or Bahamut for the ultimate fight.

Shinryu (Extreme).

  • The difficulty rests between O2 and O3 savage.
  • The reward will be weapons and the item level will be what players are expecting. (Note: Players are expecting 335)
  • The first half will be an extension of the existing Shinryu fight, but the second half will be a totally different fight.

Lost Canals of Uznair.

  • If you don’t want to risk it, you should have 8 members in you party.
  • Each party member will receive a reward that easily surpasses one million gil, if you win all five of the “all or nothing” games.
  • The new map to enter the new floors are untradable.
  • The materials required to craft the new items in 4.1 are also obtainable in these new floors.

Rival wings and pvp adjustments as a whole.

[Rival wings]

  • You can participate from level 30.
  • You will always be matched up as a 24 man team (assuming there’s no 8v8 like frontlines). The game will begin either way, even if someone withdraws during the queue pop and the game will look for a replacement.
  • There are 3 types of goblin robots and each of them have characteristics.
  • There is no time limit for riding these robots.
  • One game is aimed to last for approximately 20 minutes and there are rewards that match that length (note:probably talking about the amount of tomestones you receive).
  • They do have achievements for rival wings, but they want players to wait and look forward for it until they see it themselves.

[The feast]

  • Their main focus for pvp is the feast, so the addition of new content (like rival wings) will not make job balancing complicated in any way.
  • There will be adjustments to the matching system in 4.1 where you get matched up with players closer to your rank “as your rank goes up”.
  • The “Alt character problem” is very difficult to solve, but after they implement the “team registration system” in the future, they do think the amount of alts will decrease.
  • With the “Team registration system” they are adding in the future, they are considering implementing a rule where your ratings decline after not playing for a certain amount of time.

Perform feature.

  • You will only be able to use the harp in 4.15.
  • The perform feature will have three octaves.
  • They deliberately made it so you cannot macro songs.
  • Instruments such as flutes that already have animations (created for bards) will be added as soon as possible.
  • Future updates to this feature will include adding new timbres/tones and adding effects to the animation when you control your character during your performance.

Job adjustments.

[Dragoon]

  • Dragoons are slow starters, so they fixed the job as whole.
  • They also made adjustments to reduce the DPS loss caused by each penalty and closen the gap between the advanced players and casual players.
  • The adjustments are mainly about raising the base damage and reducing the potency on the bonuses.

[Machinist]

  • Raising their damage even more is…a little troublesome.
  • Since they already have Astrologian as an example in the past, they are continuing to discuss the matter, including opinions like “We already did it with astrologian before, so maybe it’s worth a try going in that direction”. (Note: This is an opinion of one of the devs and not all of them)

[Scholar]

  • Scholars will be too broken if they add over the top buffs, so they are going to observe the situation after the incoming changes in 4.1.
  • They do talk about how there are many cases where Excogitation turns to waste without activating and it’s difficult to use/understand.

[Others]

  • All the “relic weapon” type of content will be mashed up in “Eureka”.
  • Regarding “Eureka”, the content itself will have a “leveling type of concept”. Edit: Additional info from theFamitsu interview:
  • Eureka is not content that was created for the “relic weapons” alone. It’s the other way around, where the new type of game play comes with “the weapon upgrading content”. Eureka is a type of content where we want to send off players who enjoy gradually developing/building on their characters.
  • Eureka is nothing like palace of the dead. It is an instanced zone, but it can hold a large amount of players and you can gather members through /shouts. You can enjoy it with a crowd of players and it’s also created so you can play alone. However, the leveling process will be exhausting.
  • The future expert roulettes will consist of 4 dungeons and one of the four dungeons will be chosen randomly (note: this does not mean they are adding 4 dungeons each patch).
  • The rewards for the alliance raid roulette will be exp, gil, allagan tomestones and 2 mhachi matters which you can trade for grade V materia (note: not VI).
  • 4.1 will not have any crafting recipes that are harder to create than the ones added in 4.0.

New minions:
Hien, Koala, Shibainu.

New mounts:
Flying Korpokkur and flying couch.

New hairstyles:
Odango(bun) for women and ponytail for men.

New emotes:
Spar? and talking emote.

Additional info from the full interview will be added below:

  • Vierras will not show up (at least not in patch 4.1).
  • We have not explored all of Hydaelyn, so Bangaas might be living somewhere we have not visited yet.
  • The FFT soundtrack they used is exactly the same as the psp version. not because they were lazy or because they didn’t have the cost, but because it was a complete masterpiece.
  • Shinryu EX will not have a phase with a human form like Nidhogg. Shinryu will still have its “tidal wave opener”.
  • If not enough people clear Bahamut (Ultimate), the fight might have small adjustments.
  • The difficulty of Bahamut (Ultimate) is designed with food, pots, materia in calculation and there are certain scenes where it is impossible to live with your “base state”.
  • Bahamut (ultimate) does have a hard enrage that wipes the raid.
  • Bahamut (ultimate) has all the previous songs and there is a special and unique stage effect designed for this fight.
  • The alliance roulette will give you tomestones of poetics, Verity and Creation.
  • They will be making adjustments to make the leveling easier from level 50 to 60 for crafters. They will boost the exp you gain from leves and increase the exp you get when you create NQ items.
  • No adjustments for Samurais and red mages.
  • They had some discussions regarding dragon sight’s animation(line), but they decided to leave it this time.
  • When talking about damage source alone, the overall balance within the same roles have lined up after 4.06, so there aren’t many changes to direct damage dealt. The jp audience is a little loud when it comes to scholar, but from the data they have, they can see all 3 healers are rather close to equal. The top players prefer using scholar and a lot of them are using scholar, so they think the playerbase’s “impression” on scholar is disturbing with the actual gap between the healers.
  • They will be adding some items obtainable with yellow scrips, but 4.2 will be the timing where they add a huge amount of items to it.
  • The drop rate for the new map will be something close to 2/8 members getting a map. New orchestrion rolls and a large amount of grade VI materia are obtainable from the new floors.
  • For machinists, they understand players want more “utility”, but from a third person’s view, they acknowledge the balance between machinist and bard is fine and more and more players are using machinist now. They do think they can change the impression on machinists by adding something, but they are scared of overpowering machinists.
  • GC squadrons will only have the “free” mode (one of the orders you give them) before you train them, so players will have a hard time at the beginning. They intetionally made it like that, because that’s actually what makes it entertaining. For example, the healer prioritizes raising over healing, so there will be situations where you think “This healer just abandoned the ranged dps and started raising”. There are also cute moments where the tank brings the boss with him and starts attacking the adds (facing them this way), but they think this is exactly what makes you start loving the squadrons. If your squadron’s rank is already 5, you can challenge wanderers palace right away, but you can only use the “free” order, so the huge tonberries will stab every single one of them to death.
  • The rewards that stand out the most from the squadrons will be the emotes. Sit ups and push ups will be obtainable, so they want players to spend their time and gradually obtain these.
  • The level cap for the squadrons will be 60.
  • You can take squadrons to dungeons while they are training, but you cannot take them while they are on a mission.
  • Each Goblin robot has a different BGM when you ride them in rival wings.
  • The entrance to the new floors for the lost canals are all under water. After usiing “dig” under water, no monsters will pop and the gate to the instance will open automatically.
  • When a trap shows up to ask you if you want to double up with your rewards, they show you the rewards before you say yes/no. The “double or nothing” trap and the doors to the next room are seperate mechanics, so you can continue moving forward even if you fail the “double or nothing” (of course, you lose what you bet). The new floors will have 3 doors instead of 2 we have now.
  • There are certain methods to beat the rare monsters in these new floors, but they won’t spoil how. They did say “it’s obvious” how you deal with them.
  • Yoshi-p cleared Shinryu ex on his second try. He received instructions on the mechanics of the fight, but since the other 7 were hardcore dev members, this won’t be a good sample to judge the difficulty.
  • Famitsu asked Yoshi-p how shinryu ex is compared to Thordan ex and he said it’s difficult to say, because they were made by different dev members and the way they create each phase is different. He said some people might think O2s is harder, because some players measure difficutly with “is there a one shot mechanic (when someone does something wrong to wipe the party) or not?”.
  • Most of the dev members said o2s is way easier than Shinryu ex and after all, Yoshi-p thinks it’s between o2s and o3s. If the tanks and healers do their jobs, you can still clear it with a few deaths, but on the other hand, if you queue up on raid finder with people who have already cleared the fight, you can still wipe over and over again. Yoshi-p is confident to say that Shinryu ex is easier than o3s, but he wasn’t adamant about it either.
  • Yoshi-p recommended Sudou (The man who makes all the hard content) to use Titan for the first “ultimate” fight, but Sudou said since it’s the first one to introduce the “ultimate series”, he wanted to choose Bahamut which has a lot of memories tied to it. Yoshi-p then said, if you use Bahamut first, the person who makes the 2nd fight will have a hard time (as in a higher hurdle), but Sudou said “That’s the opposite. Going all out first is the point” and Yoshi-p commented on how manly he was. Sudou commented on how Titan already has a place in peoples’ hearts, so someone else will probably be able to create it, but he didn’t want to give Bahamut to any other dev. When Yoshi-p walks over to the team who are making adjustments to the ultimate fight, he hears weird laughs from them. At first, the testers were like “What the heck is this”, but it shifted to those weird laughs (during september). All they say is “This is great”.
  • There a lot of phases and unless you are one of those world first racers, he recommends players to take it easy with the mindset of spending 3 months to clear it. The staff members were saying “We have no idea how long it will take, even for the world first team”. Since patch 4.1 will not raise the item level cap, if the world first team cannot beat it in 3days, the other teams will have a much harder time. They know the top teams have amazing skills in solving mechanics which surpasses their expectations, but even then, Solving each puzzle and continuiing to play with zero mistakes will require a huge amount of concentration and cause mental fatigue. He begs players to make sure they don’t over do it.
  • Sudou (dev in charge of utimate Bahamut) has gained a lot of experience and can look at both sides of the coin when creating content now and he’s an expert. He used to have the mentality “I’m going to show them hell”, but he has become a little kinder and now he plans content for two sides. One for those “who enjoy hell” and those “who suffer from hell”. He intentionally made a cruel hurdle to split those “who can pass here” and those “who can’t”. Yoshi-p praises him for his plans and specifications and he can’t find a better example of a “battle content creator”.
  • The “next ultimate” fight is not limited to primals. Yoshi-p talked about how a “Ultimate crystal tower” is even a possibility. Back when they created the crystal tower, they were still new to the scene and weren’t used to creating 24 man content. There was a lot more they could have done and they do have ideas and voices on what they wanted to do, so there is an open possibility on what they will do next.
  • Each of the members from the battle content team are hardcore players, so they enjoy talking about “if i were to make ultimate titan, i would make 4 islands and you move from one to another after the plat form is gone”. When Yoshi-p asked them “How do you dodge the 8 way land slide?”, they said “Let’s think about that after we make the content” and avoided the question. They said it casually, but it’s a difficult task to actually make content and still, they really look like they are having fun when they do tackle content creation.
  • They heard feed back on how players want an Ultimate Ultima weapon, so they want to continue with the “ultimate” series.

Some interesting Game watch Q&A pick ups:

Q. Is the “hero” in the patch title a reference to “those 2″ in the logo? (Note: The jp title is The return of the hero/heroes)

Yoshida: The “return” from the patch title was decided straight away, but we had some discussions on what the hero/heroes refers to, and we narrowed down the second key word to be “hero/heroes (legend in EN)” and kept it simple to understand. Just like other patches, it’s related to the main scenario quest as well, but that’s not all this time. It also has a double meaning for the nightmare of “The binding coils of bahamut” coming back again as “Zetsu” (“Ultimate” in the EN version. Zetsu can a part of the word Zetsubou = Despair) and it also reflects other content “returning” in some way. Even for us devs, it has a meaning for us to “return to the usual patch cycle” after releasing the expansion, which was a huge job. The 2 people in the logo are aimed to describe how they are still an illusion.

Q. Now that you’ve said so, Those challenging bad guys like Nael and Bahamut are returning.

Yo: After you play through “the return to ivalice” and the main scenario quest, i think you’ll understand how the title fits the patch.

Q. I’ve heard you’re a huge fan of Yasumi Matsuno (Creator of the ivalice universe) and i’m sure you were obsessed with his products, but did you have any trouble implementing those elements into FFXIV?

Yo: If Matsuno told me “You can create anything you like. Do as you please”, we would have had a hard time, but this time, Matsuno wrote the script himself, so i was personally really excited and all i did was grin after reading his text and we just implemented what he decided to write. However, the scenario team did have some points where they had trouble and that is the fact that Matsuno’s writing “leaves space for imagination”. Matsuno himself has the whole picture/answers, but he leaves out the explanation on purpose. He doesn’t write it as “lines read by people”, so those words leave a strong impression and stays with you for longer. Which is why it’s hard for the scenario team, because FFXIV is an MMO and focuses on its lore and it usually has a lot of lines that explains everything, which brings up the question “Don’t we need to explain this more in detail?” and we were not sure if we should add information to the original script.

Q. That does sound like a difficult decision.

Yo: As a result, i made the final decision of leaving it as it is and most of it is left untouched. “People will imagine this and that and come to a conclusion” and even if they don’t, players can have discussions on the topic. That’s Matsuno’s taste and since we invited him to bring in fresh air to FFXIV, we decided to leave it as it is. Which also means, it will have a different atmosphere to the other content.

Q. Is all of the story written by Matsuno? From the Plot?

Yo: Yes. What we did was, create a number of totally new characters for the first chapter. Then we told Matsuno “This is the amount of new face structures we can create”. In another words, we told him the total cost each patch can have and told him that first. If we really wanted to add something brand new (outside of Matsuno’s reach), we would discuss within the dev team first, then deliver it to him asking him to include it in his scenario.

Q. So you can’t just keep adding new characters like novels.

Yo: Matsuno is a game designer and he’s also had experience as a director and he’s shown me his plans before, but he is a person who really writes them with detail. So it really helped us how he wrote the scenario understanding those restrictions.

Q. Did Matsuno give you ideas on what boss mechanics are like and what attacks they use?

Yo: When it comes to “Who will be the boss here”, of course, Matsuno stated those specifics, but he was generous enough to leave the game experience aspect to us devs, so each boss has a member from the monster team assigned to them and they are all Matsuno fan boys. Also, those members don’t want FFT and FFXII players to say “What the hell is this?”, so all the bosses ended up with entirely new mechanics. It was difficult adjusting it (laughs).

Q. I’m sure the key word “Ivalice” will attract players outside of FFXIV to give FFXIV a try.

Yo: The main visual art has Delita and Ramuza included, so i hope people think “What’s going on here?”. “What is ivalice like in the world of FFXIV?” or “What is the war of the lions?” are stories that Matsuno is writing now and i can already see how players will react and interpret it, so the more of a Matsuno fan you are, the more exciting it should be. We made sure those who haven’t played FFXII and FFT can enjoy it as a totally new story, but we organized FFT and FFXII elements that will put a smile on your face for those who do know these 2 games.

Q. I saw a Banga in the trailer.

Yo: You know, that’s just how Matsuno is (laughs).

Q. I’m sure players were thinking “That’s where you were supposed to show a Vierra!!!”

Yo: I’ve already told Matsuno that we don’t have the cost to create a totally new model (laughs).

Q. What’s the reward going to be for “return to ivalice”?

Yo: We aren’t going to show it in advance this time, because it’s a bit of a spoiler and it will cause misunderstandings.

Q. Is it gear? What sort of misunderstandings?

Yo: Like “Why is it rearranged?” There’s a reason for it, but i thought it was better for players to find out about it after actually playing the game.


Shifting to “ultimate” questions.

Q. Is twister dive one of the easiest mechanics?

Yo: Twisters and dive bombs are both basic mechanics. You will see a twister from the get go and later on, when you see “twister dives”, you think “So this is where fire balls come in to play…” There are a lot of combination of mechanics, so players will need a lot of getting used to.

Q. What i imagined was, dodging dive bombs from T9 while you deal with akh morn. There’s a lot more i can come up with.

Yo: The fight starts with being able to get past the 1st phase or not. There’s no way i’d tell world first raiders to stop, but for those who cleared o4 savage after the 3rd or 4th week, i would advise them to take their time and spend about 3 months to clear it, so they won’t be strained. There is a lot of randomness involved, so you cannot create a time line for mechanics and there is no update in item levels this patch, so no mistakes are unforgiven (damage wise). Please have composure in your heart before you challenge this content.

Q. Just hearing it makes my heart pump.

Yo: This new patch won’t raise the item level cap and since it’s content only for those who have cleared the 4th turn, we balanced it so 340 is the “minimum item level”. You will always have to have a barrier or cool down to live through it as a team, so a lot of cooperating and adjusting will be required.

Q. It really is the Pinnacle isn’t it.

Yo: Yes. You will need to be one strong rock, so i don’t want players with the mentality “We couldn’t clear because of who” and prefer them to have the mentality to cover each other.

Q. It feels like i won’t be able to clear it for a while.

Yo: I don’t mind players visiting to just see the content, but please try to have the mentality of laughing as you go through phase 1. It will be released 2 weeks or so after patch 4.1 releases, so please take your time to enjoy it.


4gamer “ultimate” questions.

Q. So, only those who have cleared o4s can join the “ultimate” fight?

Yo: Correct. That is the “minimum requirement”, but the difficulty for “ultimate” is on a different scale compared to o4s. I would like players with the mindset to be ready to climb the tallest mountain out of the seven continents. Also, those who cannot get past the 1st phase might be better off rechallenging the content after a certain amount of time or reexamine their gear and rotation.

Q. You need to go that far…So you’ll cutting them off during the first phase.

Yo: That’s Sudo god’s kindness. If we made the first phase easy, players would just end up suffering more and dragging on to the next phase.

Q. I’m a raider so i know, but it does help to have someone like faust sensei at the start to tell you to give up at an early stage.

Yo: Phase 1 is like Faust sensei, but the difference is, she doesn’t just stand there like Faust.

Q. I watched the trailer and saw some hints. A twintania model and a Nael model. Are there going to be situations where we fight multiple enemies at a time?

Yo: Maybe. It’s content where it’s like KotR ex and bahamut combined. Twister dives are just basics!

Q. That’s just a basic move…

Yo: It’s content where that’s just an ordinary move. I’d like players to enjoy the battle where they have such a close game.

Q. I see…Looks like many players will be giving up in the 1st phase. Casters might have a hard time.

Yo: Casters…especially black mages might have a rough start. Black mages have a handicap of needing to cast, so if they don’t know the fight/content, it’s difficult for them to optomize. When ti comes to early progression, i can’t deny the fact black mages are disadvantaged.

Q. You are a black mage.

Yo: Yes. I also attend the tests, but it feels like rotating 360 degrees and laughing about it with a stiff face while i play.

Q. That much…

Yo: This is the first fight out of the “Ultimate series”, so we decided to start by making a truly merciless fight then receive feed back and use that to improve the future “ultimate” fights. So, we went all the way with the difficulty this time.


Shake it off
Q. Now, we would like to ask some questions regarding the job adjustments. What interests me the most is shake it off. (shake off in the jp version)

Yo: Shake it off will have a totally different effect. We received feed back on how warrior is far behind when it cames to raid utility, so we gave shake it off a “warrior like” utility.

Q. I’m really happy about that, but the name of the skill won’t fit what it does?

Yo: You are right, but everyone (in japan) calls it “Shake off san” (Mr. shake it off), so maybe we’ll leave the japanese skill like it is and change the other languages (laughs).

Q. Are all the jobs going through adjustments?

Yo: No, only about half of them. After 4.06, the situation has gotten a lot better, so the main focus of the adjustments for 4.1 will be jobs like warriors that were avoided by players because of its low utility and jobs like dragoon, where many people are using it, but the DPS gap between the same job is extremely high.

Q. I see. Tanks and DPS and next comes healers. I feel like scholars have a hard time with AoE heals.

Yo: That might just be a problem about “impressions”. If you’re talking about the mp costs and the potency on the barriers, we do think it’s okay to make it a little more efficient, but scholar once had a one and only position in the past, so we brought the other jobs to the same level, which made the other 2 jobs stand out a little more. With all the updates, more and more of the top players are using scholar now. Even with Astrologian, before we overpowered it, it was avoided by some players. Scholars will be broken if we go too far with buffing the job, so we’d like to observe the situation after the 4.1 changes.


From the “4.x Series will provide closure to key FFXIV history” thread.

“NB: not literal translation, paraphrased in some.”

[It was clear where HW was heading in 3.1, but SB has many path that it could take. Is the scenario going to be a mixture of adventures, like the 4.0 MSQ in Ala Migo and Doma?]

[Yoshi: If there’s one thing that I can say, we’ve made the story as easily understandable. In 4.x, we will be giving closure to a key historical event that XIV has carried on from its 1.0 days. Players may find it impactful, seeing it closed here]

[Does that mean old characters from 1.0 will feature?]

[Yoshi: It’s not so much the characters, unlike the ALC quest line where 1.0 characters came in. It’s a larger plot, and people may find it surprising. Some may also feel like “it’s been 4 years…”. The scenario this time will silently arouse, and silently progress, but I believe the finale we have made is well done. The voice actors have done a splendid job at it too]

[Does that mean that there are certain foreshadows that is currently in SB?]

[Yoshi: There are some foreshadows in-game, but the hints we have provided are scarce and I don’t think anyone will be able to guess the climax. In 4.1, there are two scenes where a very important key phrase will come up. Please look forward to it.]


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