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Famitsu.com was given a chance to see a live play session of Final Fantasy XIV Version 2.0. But before that, the site quizzed director and producer Naoki Yoshida on the long awaited reboot of the troubled MMORPG.
The first question the site asked was about the PlayStation 3 version of the game. Yoshida would not share a time frame for the PS3 version. Rather, he discussed the approach Square Enix will be taking with promoting FFXIV to PS3 players. The PS3 version is especially targeted to new players, so he believes they should start promotions from zero When they open a promotion site for the PS3 version, it will begin with the very basics, such as an introduction to the world of Eorza.
Moving on to a general discussion of Version 2.0, Yoshida listed three points that he, his staff, and Square Enix as a whole consider pillars for Version 2.0's development: the ultimate gameplay, a main story that gives the feeling of "FF," and the ultimate graphics for driving the ultimate gameplay and ultimate story.
On the area of graphics, Yoshida noted that the game's graphics engine, which he's had a hand in since concept creation, is built upon the idea of showing as many players as possible. Also, it's designed to be extremely customizable, allowing it to run on high spec PCs, low spec PCs and PlayStation 3.
All the screens we've seen thus far have been from the PC version, said Yoshida. The quality will go up by about 15% from what we're seeing now.
One area that Final Fantasy fans in particular can look forward to is the inclusion of many fan service elements in Version 2.0. Yoshida personally feels that FFXIV should be a fan service title. They're adding elements from past FF games, recreated with FFXIV-level graphics and in the FFXIV world style. As an example, you'll find a Crystal Tower in Version 2.0. This, of course, is from Final Fantasy III. The Mado Armor (Magitek Armor) that appears in Version 2.0 is pretty much the same design as that of FFVI. He also said to expect an Ivalice and the FFXIII world in FFXIV form. Yoshida hopes that this type of fan service gets players excited as they wonder what game's "essence" will next be added to FFXIV.
Famitsu.com asked Yoshida what's certain to be a common question as Version 2.0's release approaches: how about an Xbox 360 version? Replied Yoshida: "It's an MMORPG, so I believe we should have as many players as possible playing it, and when thinking about it as a business, I believe it is my job to get as many accounts made as possible. So I won't say that there is no possibility. However, until we deliver the promised PlayStation 3 version, no matter what we say, people will ask "Seriously?" and "Uhh, how about getting that Version 2.0 running first?", so we must first concentrate on getting Version 2.0 out.
Version 2.0's roadmap is currently running on schedule. They plan on beginning full promotions around August and starting an alpha test in late September. The plan is to start a beta test without too much wait after that.
For PlayStation 3 version beta testers, the plan is to deliver a client in download form, and allow players to take part in the latter half of the beta.
Yoshida would not give a precise timeframe for start of official service, but he assured that the staff of course knows that the sooner the better. Once the beta starts, he believes they'll be able to have a large number of players trying out Version 2.0.
Japanese readers will find even more commentary from Yoshida, and the impressions of the demo session from Famitsu.com's reporter, in the Famitsu.com article[/URL].