I would be silly to believe that a group of Dev, speaking English as a second language, would be so cunning as to pick their words oh... so... brilliantly. But I've been surprised in the past, regardless.
Which is why I have a hunch that the FFXIV system will be reminiscent of the materia system in a large way. What is the evidence for this?
Just two things:
1 The focus on weapons and the idea offered by the devs that different weapons lead to different paths of growth. That would indeed be a nod to materia (perhaps a nod to FFIX as well).
But that's just one hint--and it could really mean anything. So what's a bigger indication that XIV will borrow elements from the materia system? What game is the materia system in? Final Fantasy 7. What is 7 times 2?
2 "A: Our plan from the beginning was to make the best Final Fantasy game available. That is our vision for XIV. Then we thought, how can we make the best FF game and we came to the conclusion that it would be an MMORPG. It was decided to make the best FF first, then led to the decision to make it an MMORG and use that genre. However, we are trying to implement a lot of new systems that other MMO's haven't used in the past."
Now, as a business, shouldn't all your products build on the strengths of the previous and be the "best ever"? That's a given. Okay, that's a pretty big statement to make in general, but for the Final Fantasy numerical games, it seems to have been the philosophy for roughly twenty years.
It goes without saying that 7 is the best in at least one element, recognition, and, to certain fans, is the best Final Fantasy, period. Therefore, it wouldn't surprise me if 14--7 doubled--aims to be the best Final Fantasy by capitalizing off the last "best" Final Fantasy.
PS As a further caveat, others have cited FFIX's system as "Weapon-based" growth. IIRC, the Director of that game called it the epitome of a "Final fantasy game". If someone could get that quote, I'd be much obliged.
Edited, Jun 10th 2009 5:40am by Pikko