JeuxOnLine (JOL): You said in your first letter that you were not really known in the gaming industry, can we have some information about your past and present work?
Naoki Yoshida (Yoshida): As a developer, I accounts for 18 years in the trade and worked at first, various RPGs, but these titles were certainly not brought to Europe, then I also worked on Bomberman. It's been 7 years since I work for Square Enix. I am currently working on online games but I can not tell you for now.
JOL: Wow, Bomberman ... it's great! * Laughs *
Yoshida & Sage Sundi (Sundi): * laughs *
JOL: So how did you become the director of Final Fantasy XIV? What were your previous successes?
Yoshida: Probably because I worked in the latest draft of [the company] and as a game designer - that is my job at the base - I think I've earned the trust of society. I'm also a hardcore MMORPG player, I love MMOs! Apart from that, I think being a good leader, but it's a bit weird for me to talk, I therefore ask Sundi what he thinks of my position as director and why I was chosen.
Sundi: This is undoubtedly a good leader, but more importantly, he is very approachable, therefore, people can easily contact him and he will listen to what you have to say and then make a decision. .. sociable character is very important.
JOL: I see what you mean, but since you've worked on so many games like Bomberman, how do you see Final Fantasy XIII [in whole]?
Yoshida: In my opinion, it is sorely lacking in content: a main frame and solid foundation. For example, the combat system, it certainly is interesting, but it is far too complicated to understand and there are too much scattered. For example, the identity of each class is something difficult to understand and all this does little to help players to be motivated. At least that's what I think!
JOL: Well, let's say you get the project XIV, who had a ... I say strange start, and you seem very confident about his future. Where did you get that confidence?
Yoshida: I think it's fun. This is the main element that motivates me, because thanks to this project, I get to talk to so many people I can talk a lot and besides that, I like MMOs. I also like the challenge that presents itself! I do not know where does this confidence, but many people say "please, do not commit suicide because of Final Fantasy VII" * laughs * but it is not difficult for me, I take really enjoy doing this.
JOL: I hope it is not in your future plans to kill yourself anyway! * Laughs * About Final Fantasy XI, you announced a lot of content. Do you plan to change what has been done so far? Or will you follow the planned schedule?
Yoshida: The changes do not affect the entire contents, and it does not disappear, but some things will be revised to be more suited to the solo game or other game in the group is what kind of changes you'll probably in most cases. But to achieve this goal, we really need to ensure that the combat system works well to give clarity to the roles of each class with the combat system balanced. Once the combat system will be ready, the basic content will be much more balanced and we can finally add content at will. We try to do things in order.
JOL: Without transition, our team is trying somehow to follow your news but compared to other companies, Square Enix is sorely lacking communication. Do you plan to improve this weakness?
Yoshida: In order to improve what you're talking, we've already started doing surveys and writing a newsletter. On 8 March, we plan to open the official forums, we hope a lot of discussion and myself I will post on these forums there. There will be lots of active discussion and I'm really looking forward to watching it. But not only I'll be there, but the development team will also present: they can see what happened on the forums recently, and if necessary, they will post and give their opinion. Whole aspect will change enormously.
Sundi: As you can see with the Producer's Letter, we try to keep you informed regularly. Before, we give you much information at once and then we stayed quiet for a long period. The players did not like. From now on we will try to stay regular so that our players feel involved in [the work].
Yoshida: But just to remind you, March 8, the official forums will not open "really", it will be a beta version and it is certainly what you see with the final version.
JOL: You mentioned the official forum ... it will begin on March 8, therefore, but there is a problem: the forums are already in place, and players already have their own community. In your opinion, what are the benefits of an official forum in relation to existing forums, or as JeuxOnline ZAM?
Yoshida: Previously, when we wanted to get feedback and comments from our players, we should look at several different forums and then collect the information but it will be easy from now through the official forum, intended only to players, although others can read it. But participation will be reserved exclusively to the players. We firmly believe that we will have specific advice directly from our players, and why we set up this forum is to ensure that we have is the real thoughts of players to ensure that we take the right decisions. It is, in sum, why we believe that the official forums will be beneficial.
Sundi: Although we have official forums, other forums, for example, you will be more active on issues such as the discussion on classes, crafting, etc.. it is normal and natural for players to have multiple forums to talk about different things. Everything should not really be condensed to a single official forum.
Yoshida: You can talk about what happens on the official forums on other forums and it will also be interesting [for us] to see, so it is natural to have official forums, fans.
JOL: Previously, we discussed a story about the relationship between fansites and Square Enix. Where are we?
Sundi: For now, it is true that the U.S. sites seem to grow compared to the European Communities, but this is not really the case. We obviously work with the French and German communities and we are really pleased to welcome you today for this interview. The various status does not necessarily change our attitude towards the communities, we want to do more with our players and we want to continue developing in that direction. Please keep a good partnership with us and we will undoubtedly have many opportunities in the future.
I would add, for example, on the official forums, we can not really reveal content that is not implemented yet in the game, but we sincerely hope that fansites can debate, discuss, whether of history or of all that is around the gaming fansites can speak more easily and thoroughly as we can not do that officially. The importance of fansites is given to sharing information as we noted above.
Yoshida: It is not possible to cover all the topics on the official forum, forget the word "official" is more about how we communicate with you and we really, really talk to the players and listen. We believe that talking with you and your community is the best way to approach the players, so we thank you for being there, being present and taking your time to move here and share this interview with us. We are delighted to be able to contact the community directly, and believe us, we really want to go!
JOL: We were concerned at the base, first the Lodestone and the official forums, but after what you just said, I feel that you want to forge stronger links between players and developers, not through the official forums, but through Fansite?
Yoshida: Yes, we want strong ties with our fans, we want and we will sort (have: If there will be discussions on boiling fansites, I am delighted to participate in the discussion and comment on this you talked to have, as I said, a really direct communication between us and the fans. I sincerely want that kind of relationship with the players.
JOL: I'll stop bothering you and ask you the last question, one that we always ask, but can you tell us something very important about Final Fantasy XIII ... or even Square Enix?
Yoshida & Sundi: * laughs *
Yoshida: Something interesting ... hmmm ... know that this is the first time we've talked about the release date of the official beta forums ... In itself, this is already a scoop!
JOL: Okay, well, maybe something more then? * Laughs *
Yoshida & Sundi: * laughs *
Yoshida: I usually write everything on the Producer's Letter, so I do not really have much to hide. I am sincere about this, really! Anyway, know that I share with you something I take very seriously the presence of Chocobo. I know I did not mention it, so, maybe the players think that we ignore this point, but it really is not. I think very carefully about this, so please stay tuned! We are talking about with our team.
JOL: Thank you so much!
Yoshida: Although we can not say when. * Laughs *