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Hot Read Thursday: Tanaka or Yoshida?Follow

#1 Apr 26 2012 at 8:58 PM Rating: Excellent
Hey all,

This week's Hot Read Thursday focuses on a thread from the Lodestone forum. The point of this thread is simple: is Hiromichi Tanaka or Naoki Yoshida the superior game developer for FFXIV?

I've got my own take on this, which I share in this week's HRT column.

Discuss your own opinions in this thread!
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#2 Apr 26 2012 at 10:22 PM Rating: Excellent
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This is a terribly thorny issue that I'm personally afraid even to address. I will say, however, that Tanaka is the experienced director/producer for many beloved Final Fantasy games (as well as some highly successful remakes), including FFXI, and that there's no way he would have released the game unless something else was forcing his hand. Whether Tanaka's decision was right or wrong (most likely wrong, given how things turned out), I think that it would be a gross oversimplification to place the blame on a single director who went inexplicably crazy, forgetting all the games he has made and played over his respectable career.

Tanaka may make some questionable design choices, but it would be clear to anyone that FFXIV was in a terrible state when it was released. After the colossal failure that was this game's launch, however, a scapegoat was needed in order to convince the public that the game could change. A change of only the most visual parts of the game's management was therefore deemed necessary, and here we are today.

Many of the updates and assets that Yoshida has relied upon and released have been in the .dats since the game was first released, and were made while under the supervision of Tanaka. The giant chimera used as the frontispiece for version 2.0, for example, was found and wondered about long, long ago, as well as various unused monsters, NPCs, weapons, armours, and vehicles.

We will never know the true reasons why FFXIV came out the way it did. Some people like to weave a classically influenced tale of SE's hubris and eventual fall, but the real world doesn't really work that way, and is always much more multifarious. It is most likely that FFXIV suffered through a disorganized development (as well as some badly done outsourcing) and, as the released date crept up on the team, the decision to release and scramble to fix was ultimately made. It's less dramatic and less about poetic justice, but it's also more likely.

Yoshida has stepped up to lead the team, and is clearly influenced by Korean and Western games - in other words, the competition - for he had said so himself. While I personally believe that his direction will ultimately make the game unattractive to me, a hardcore JRPG fan, I also realize that, after the terrible first months of FFXIV, someone like Yoshida may have been the only option for eventual success. In other words: SE's hand was again forced.

The whole history of FFXIV develops in this way. It is a series of decisions made due to constraints and circumstances. Things are done as far as the engine lets them be done, as much as the servers allow, as long as current mechanics will hold. Time and again things are made under these restrictions until the point becomes less about who should direct the game and more about just letting someone have the freedom to make something. I don't care who leads the project, I just want them to break free from the limitations of FFXIV - whether that be its reputation, its engine, or its team - and make their vision manifest. That's what should have been done from the beginning, anyway.


Edited, Apr 27th 2012 12:25am by KaneKitty
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#3 Apr 26 2012 at 10:34 PM Rating: Decent
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Tanaka hands Downs! He has the hands on experiance, the ability to see long term, instead of short term as far as developing content, and the life expectancy of such content etc etc.

Yoshi is not a horrible producer, but to me IMO what he has shown is that he is willing to write letters, and crack jokes, everything else has been a given had there been any other person on his position, had it been tanaka, or thayos the game would have been updated anyways, also the direction where he is taking the game, i dont think he knows what he is getting into, but i would not put all the blame on him, is more SE not nothing the beast that is casual MMO gaming as opposed to yoshida not knowing.
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#4 Apr 26 2012 at 10:47 PM Rating: Decent
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Prior to 2010? Tanaka. Now? Capcom is better than either.
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#5 Apr 27 2012 at 12:29 AM Rating: Excellent
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KaneKitty wrote:
Tanaka may make some questionable design choices, but it would be clear to anyone that FFXIV was in a terrible state when it was released. After the colossal failure that was this game's launch, however, a scapegoat was needed in order to convince the public that the game could change. A change of only the most visual parts of the game's management was therefore deemed necessary, and here we are today.


In all fairness, Tanaka was the captain of that ship. If it went down, it went down under his direction.

Frankly, I see too much of FFXIV's original design geared towards stopping hacks and RMT and not nearly enough towards a good player experience. The drive to "fix the mistakes of FFXI" on the server side rather than primarily create something that customers would enjoy is what doomed FFXIV from the start. Flashy graphics are nice, but they aren't going to carry the day if people aren't having fun (if they even had a computer strong enough to run the game).

They didn't even have the combat system figured out by the time the first public test started, scrapping the first one they started with. That was a bad, bad sign from the start since combat is the bulk of what an MMO is generally about and they should have had that down perfect well before public testing began. The UI was also so unintuitive, bulky, with unnecessary clicks and Square is usually pretty good about that sort of thing. The quality that Final Fantasy was known for just wasn't there. You could see tatters of it, in the music, in the creatures, in the view of your hometown looming in the distance, but it never came together in a way that didn't frustrate the **** out of you: The cut-and-paste environment; the laggy UI that made you work to get simplest thing done (crafting an eight ingredient item drove people to tears, if something needed repair you had to inspect every single possible item from your inventory since not even the gear window could tell you); the roadblocks to leveling (fatigue, surplus xp); the inability to manage friends, linkshells, and parties from a distance; and the abysmal market system designed to keep people from making another FFXIAH. Time and again, it seemed like the player was the afterthought under Tanaka's direction this time around, with the emphasis on creating an impenetrable online fortress rather than an enjoyable service.

The fact that it's almost going to be three years to get FFXIV into a state that's ready for the PS3 market just goes to show how far off the mark he was. If the pressure was on to release early, he had an obligation to push back. Tanaka was one of the original Final Fantasy developers. I find it astonishing he would release this major embarrassment to the brand he helped create. There's no way it should have come to that. Rough around the edges is one thing, but this was an unprecedented disaster.
#6 Apr 27 2012 at 12:33 AM Rating: Excellent
KaneKitty, you are right... this is a very thorny issue... but I feel you expressed yourself very well!
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#7 Apr 27 2012 at 1:23 AM Rating: Excellent
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I'm gonna keep my opinion short and opinionated. I loved FFXI and thought Tanak did a great job with that game. While I'm sure the majority of the faults of FFXIV can't fall entirely on Tanaka's shoulders, I still think he screwed up bad on a conceptual level with FFXIV with many systems not the least of which include the battle system, guild Leves dominating the scene in the game, and the market wards. Nothing was cohesive and it seemed to me like he had ideas and he wasn't willing to collaborate because I just can't see how these decisions were made unanimously.

That aside, I think the verdict on Yoshida will have to wait til 2.0. I think he's done a good job with what he was given with 1.0 and I think the guy is a great PR and people on the main forums eat him up like jelly on a stick (what's with this obsession with "celebrities" and making gods out of nobodys?) but the ultimate test is 2.0. I think he'll pass but just a gut feeling, only time will tell.

Oh and I completely agree with Kitty, Tanaka is really just a scapegoat here, and the entire debacle of new team is a PR move for the most part. I'm sure the main change from "team A" to "team B" from the Tanak to Yoshida era is n fact Tanaka and Yoshida. Everything else is just resource allocations which SE seems to have heavily skewed in FFXIV's favor after the horrible launch (I honestly think they've pulled a lot of resources from versus XIII and Agiti XIII in favor of this game, otherwise how in the world would they build an entirely new MMO in 2 years time from ground up. Makes sense t me too since it seems like the other two games haven't seen much daylight lately).

Edited, Apr 27th 2012 3:29am by kyara10
#8 Apr 27 2012 at 1:42 AM Rating: Good
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Xoie wrote:
KaneKitty wrote:
Tanaka may make some questionable design choices, but it would be clear to anyone that FFXIV was in a terrible state when it was released. After the colossal failure that was this game's launch, however, a scapegoat was needed in order to convince the public that the game could change. A change of only the most visual parts of the game's management was therefore deemed necessary, and here we are today.


In all fairness, Tanaka was the captain of that ship. If it went down, it went down under his direction.

Frankly, I see too much of FFXIV's original design geared towards stopping hacks and RMT and not nearly enough towards a good player experience. The drive to "fix the mistakes of FFXI" on the server side rather than primarily create something that customers would enjoy is what doomed FFXIV from the start. Flashy graphics are nice, but they aren't going to carry the day if people aren't having fun (if they even had a computer strong enough to run the game).

They didn't even have the combat system figured out by the time the first public test started, scrapping the first one they started with. That was a bad, bad sign from the start since combat is the bulk of what an MMO is generally about and they should have had that down perfect well before public testing began. The UI was also so unintuitive, bulky, with unnecessary clicks and Square is usually pretty good about that sort of thing. The quality that Final Fantasy was known for just wasn't there. You could see tatters of it, in the music, in the creatures, in the view of your hometown looming in the distance, but it never came together in a way that didn't frustrate the **** out of you: The cut-and-paste environment; the laggy UI that made you work to get simplest thing done (crafting an eight ingredient item drove people to tears, if something needed repair you had to inspect every single possible item from your inventory since not even the gear window could tell you); the roadblocks to leveling (fatigue, surplus xp); the inability to manage friends, linkshells, and parties from a distance; and the abysmal market system designed to keep people from making another FFXIAH. Time and again, it seemed like the player was the afterthought under Tanaka's direction this time around, with the emphasis on creating an impenetrable online fortress rather than an enjoyable service.

The fact that it's almost going to be three years to get FFXIV into a state that's ready for the PS3 market just goes to show how far off the mark he was. If the pressure was on to release early, he had an obligation to push back. Tanaka was one of the original Final Fantasy developers. I find it astonishing he would release this major embarrassment to the brand he helped create. There's no way it should have come to that. Rough around the edges is one thing, but this was an unprecedented disaster.


Well said, some great points...
#9 Apr 27 2012 at 2:51 AM Rating: Excellent
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Tanaka had a good track record through about 2006 (FFXI's ToAU, FFIII DS) but since then, he has fallen under the influence of whatever everyone else at SE fell under, some malady that keeps them from developing great games and from avoiding huge mistakes. He's particularly villified among FFXI & FFXIV fans because they forget about all the past offline games he had a major hand in and that he was in charge of FFXI, which was a resounding success for SE (has it made more money than FFVII for SE? Thayos, that's a question I would love to see answered at the next interview with SE) and was perfectly timed (its profits no doubt helped fill that gaping hole known as Spirits Within) and was able to hook people for years and maintain a very stable high (on a pre-WoW scale) population.

A niche of the FF fanbase loves Matsuno, but they forget FFXII's flaws occurred under him too (long development, a story 75% unwritten in the final draft even by the time he left 2/3~3/4 thru development). Kitase had his reputation tank since FFX and Toriyama is making a name for himself, just not the kind of name he wants to be making, if he gave a **** he is coming to be seen as the future destroyer of the Final Fantasy franchise (which melds nicely with him being Kitase's formal heir as Kitase was Sakaguchi's former heir). Ito (or is it Itou?), has anyone even seen him in the past few years? Yoshida doesn't really have the track record to be judged by and he;s been handed someone else's mess, making it hard to evaluate his contribution.
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#10 Apr 27 2012 at 2:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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That's tough to say, I've wondered about it a bit but it's a tough comparison for me to make because Tanaka's game was not ready for release and he never got a chance to finish it (I won't get into it, but there were so many obvious faults at launch that the released product could hardly even be considered ready for beta, and I'm sure they knew this). At the same time, Yoshida doesn't even get to create his own game, he has to do the best he can with an existing, unfinished game made by Tanaka.

For example, let's look at the combat. The original idea was for a combat system where positioning mattered and every command was input by the player. Now on paper, this sounds amazing. In fact, there's a few MMOs releasing around now or in the near future (I won't name any names, I don't want this to become a comparison thread) that also place emphasis on positioning and use commands for even basic attacks, and people are loving it. I'd imagine FFXIV was originally intending to go for a similar approach and would have been met with high praise if they pulled it off, but it didn't turn out nearly as well as it could have. Combat lag was horrible at launch, making an interactive combat system nearly impossible, and while I cannot say for certain, I'd imagine the combat was not fine tuned to a point that they were happy with it (a guess based on how it turned out, in addition to the number of other aspects of the game that were obviously very far behind). With Yoshida in charge, auto attack was put in place, which I personally feel was more of a step back than a step forward, but I'm not sure I can hold this one against Yoshida. The current system was not working, server lag was still pretty bad, and a lot of players were asking for auto attack (which I feel is mainly due to how bad the new combat system turned out, rather than auto attack being the optimal solution). So it is possible that the developers under Yoshida were only making the best of a bad situation, rather than doing the best that they possibly could.

I could give plenty more examples, but the point would become redundant. Neither of these guys were put in a great situation and for every fault the game has under their watch, I have to wonder, do they actually want things this way or are they just making the best of the situation they've been given?

Edit: By the way, I think this is worth bringing up here. Does anyone remember the original development team's plan for companies? For those who don't, I did a little digging and found what I think was the first mention of it.

Quote:
Establishment of In-Game Communities

The first version update of 2011 will introduce what are known as "companies," a special type of linkshell with more group-oriented progression and goals.

Once estbalished, companies will be able to work towards acquiring their own communal assets, such as buildings that can serve as headquarters, or ships that can be used to access multiplayer content. The system will provide concrete benefits to players who align themselves with a company, as well as motivate already established companies to seek out new recruits. In essence, the focus will be on providing new, innovative content for all players to enjoy. The FINAL FANTASY XIV Lodestone will also offer a number of online services covering both companies and linkshells.


This was at one time the feature I most looked forward to, as the thought of working with my friends to buy not just shared housing but ships as well, sounded very enjoyable to me. I believe the team was shifted within the next month and obviously this idea was scrapped or at the very least, put on hold for quite some time. It makes me wonder what the original team's game would have looked like with their vision fulfilled. Imagine if they had worked on it longer, on responsive servers with a fully fleshed out interactive combat system, player run housing and ships, maybe updated zone design (given more time/resources, I'd think they'd have probably wanted to do this, as I really doubt the massive sea of copy/paste was their ideal vision), and the general polish you'd expect from a Final Fantasy main series title.

Edited, Apr 27th 2012 7:21am by Susanoh
#11 Apr 27 2012 at 9:29 AM Rating: Excellent
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zoogelio wrote:

Kitase had his reputation tank since FFX and Toriyama is making a name for himself, just not the kind of name he wants to be making, if he gave a **** he is coming to be seen as the future destroyer of the Final Fantasy franchise (which melds nicely with him being Kitase's formal heir as Kitase was Sakaguchi's former heir). Ito (or is it Itou?), has anyone even seen him in the past few years? Yoshida doesn't really have the track record to be judged by and he;s been handed someone else's mess, making it hard to evaluate his contribution.


The Kitase/Toriyama Producer/Director team seems to me that they're destroying the franchise by making it more FPS than a RPG feel. Toriyama even stated in an interview that he hates letting the player explore everywhere since it takes away from the story, which is why XIII is way too linear for my tastes.

My speculation is that Ito is probably working on another unannounced Final Fantasy game, it's been confirmed as of late last year that he's still working for Square Enix. It's probably Final Fantasy XV, but they don't want to even go around to announcing it when XIV isn't even done yet.

As for Tanaka/Yoshida, Tanaka is a great developer. He directed Chrono Cross and Secret of Mana and FFIIIDS. But even in the day of FFXI, he is not very talkative. If you read his unfrequent posts in the FFXI forums, he is very direct, rarely posts or talks to the forum, and just kind of says how the game is going to be. He treated XIV's launch more or less this way. (Does anyone remember his angry Twitter post in Summer 2010 that we didn't understand their view of the Fatigue system?) He just doesn't have the communication skills to be an efficient MMO developer in the modern world. Personally, if I were in his position, I would go and get a team to finally start producing another Chrono game and keep working on single-player games.

Yoshida, on the other hand, is newer (he's been working for S-E for 8 years now. Not as new as people think.) And that's about the timeframe it took for the others to receive Producer status. Heck, Kitase was only in the S-E since 1991 or so and he was co-directing FFVI by 1994. So I'm not going to fault his inexperience as many as other posters will. He's doing a good job of turning things around. Though right now it seems that we're seeing his work on top of a bad foundation still. When the foundation is changed for 2.0, we can really see how he imagines the future of FFXIV.

In any case, I'm looking forward to it. If I wasn't, well I wouldn't be playing.
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#12 Apr 27 2012 at 10:18 AM Rating: Excellent
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I think Tanaka is a bigger risk taker than Yoshida. Designing FFXIV as an MMO for casual gamers, at least conceptually, was a pretty novel idea. And at least in principle, the Armoury system was very different from current MMOs on the market. I liked the principle behind a completely player driven economy. I liked the concept of leves. I liked the idea of quality of kill vs quantity. For those who were not around in the first months, experience was supposed to be based on how abilities were used vs the traditional number of monsters you killed. Which again was novel. Where Tanaka struggled/failed was in the execution of his vision and ideas. I'm not sure I'm informed enough to declare that Tanaka was forced to release the game early but all of the concepts I just listed felt like they were only half way thought out and developed at launch.

Yoshi has done a superb job in establishing a vision and executing but I don't feel the content he has developed is in anyway 'groundbreaking'. I think he understands the popular style of gameplay and has made FFXIV fit that style.

It is kind of a whatever floats your boat type arguement. I would have liked to have seen the game Tanaka was developing work but I understand the need of corporations to make money and the move to Yoshi was the logical one. Perhaps down the road Tanaka will be allowed to collaborate on XIV and bring some of the novel ideas to Yoshi for execution.

Edited, Apr 27th 2012 12:54pm by kainsilv
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#13 Apr 27 2012 at 10:40 AM Rating: Excellent
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I don't think the discussion with regards to failed launch is as simple as saying it was Tanaka's fault.

IMO it has way more to do with SE attempting to please shareholders or higher ups

That being said I have a very high disdain of how Tanaka / Old FFXI management handled communication and implementation of community suggestions / requests and just communication in general. I always got the impression of "STFU we know whats good for FFXI". He's a great man with great vision but close minded and in his own happy world.

Yoshi on the other hand seems to be open minded, and so far the changes to FF14 have made it less insufferable. I'm not sure I would call it a good game but its definitely come a very very long way.
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#14 Apr 27 2012 at 1:14 PM Rating: Good
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I guess it's a "We'll never know" type of situation for me. I can't believe that what we saw at release was was Big T's vision of FFXIV. I just can't. The thing was full of implemented ideas (some not even that much). I don't know Big T well as a producer but my brain cannot comprehend the idea that someone intentionally created that and that it was even close to being ready/good.

I really wonder "what could have been". What was their original vision? What could have the game been like if it had been given another year or two of work? How many things that we see added now and credit Big Y with were always planned from the beginning but are only now being implemented/implemented correctly?

At face value.. I guess I got to go with the Y Man but there are so many "What if's" that I'm finding it hard to do even that.
#15 Apr 27 2012 at 2:15 PM Rating: Good
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Well we know the companies and hamlet defense only recently added were in plans before Yoshi got into the picture. Nobuaki Komoto is still in the team as the designer of all of this new content was the old director of the game. So I'm interested on how they're working together to try and merge the two visions together.
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#16 Apr 27 2012 at 5:30 PM Rating: Decent
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UltKnightGrover wrote:
zoogelio wrote:

Kitase had his reputation tank since FFX and Toriyama is making a name for himself, just not the kind of name he wants to be making, if he gave a **** he is coming to be seen as the future destroyer of the Final Fantasy franchise (which melds nicely with him being Kitase's formal heir as Kitase was Sakaguchi's former heir). Ito (or is it Itou?), has anyone even seen him in the past few years? Yoshida doesn't really have the track record to be judged by and he;s been handed someone else's mess, making it hard to evaluate his contribution.


The Kitase/Toriyama Producer/Director team seems to me that they're destroying the franchise by making it more FPS than a RPG feel. Toriyama even stated in an interview that he hates letting the player explore everywhere since it takes away from the story, which is why XIII is way too linear for my tastes.

My speculation is that Ito is probably working on another unannounced Final Fantasy game, it's been confirmed as of late last year that he's still working for Square Enix. It's probably Final Fantasy XV, but they don't want to even go around to announcing it when XIV isn't even done yet.

As for Tanaka/Yoshida, Tanaka is a great developer. He directed Chrono Cross and Secret of Mana and FFIIIDS. But even in the day of FFXI, he is not very talkative. If you read his unfrequent posts in the FFXI forums, he is very direct, rarely posts or talks to the forum, and just kind of says how the game is going to be. He treated XIV's launch more or less this way. (Does anyone remember his angry Twitter post in Summer 2010 that we didn't understand their view of the Fatigue system?) He just doesn't have the communication skills to be an efficient MMO developer in the modern world. Personally, if I were in his position, I would go and get a team to finally start producing another Chrono game and keep working on single-player games.

Yoshida, on the other hand, is newer (he's been working for S-E for 8 years now. Not as new as people think.) And that's about the timeframe it took for the others to receive Producer status. Heck, Kitase was only in the S-E since 1991 or so and he was co-directing FFVI by 1994. So I'm not going to fault his inexperience as many as other posters will. He's doing a good job of turning things around. Though right now it seems that we're seeing his work on top of a bad foundation still. When the foundation is changed for 2.0, we can really see how he imagines the future of FFXIV.

In any case, I'm looking forward to it. If I wasn't, well I wouldn't be playing.


The problem with the producers at SE, is that Sakaguchi is gone, he was the brains of the operation, and knew who worked great with who, for example kitase on his own is a very bad producer, none of his games are all that impressive, the same can be said for toriyama, none of his game feel "Final Fantasy" at least in IMO, sakaguchi was a good talent manager, he paired kitase and itou and made FFVI( The best FF of the series). He also paired itou with yizmat and made vagrant storie, the first SE game to get a perfect score on famitsu. So on their own those 2 can put out avarage games, but together kitase and itou can deliver epic gaming, kitase storytelling with itous gameplay and mechanics.

As far as tanaka, yeah he was a reclusive and dint talk much, but look at FFXI, it was a great game for its time, i'm pretty sure he knows WTF he is doing and does not need to ask his fanbase on every little decision he wants to make, look at Blizzard, for all the talk they do and they do talk a lot to their communities in the end, is their way or the highway and it has seem to work great for them.
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#17 Apr 27 2012 at 8:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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Kitase was a solid #2 (as FFVII, FFX shows) but a weak #1 (so, a Commander Riker in other words) [wasn't FFX a transitional title where Sakaguchi briefly had some early input but then focused on Spirits Within?]. Toriyama, he's the guy other people have to follow behind and clean up the messes he leaves. He was the one really into FPSes and didn't like RPGs and he wrote parts of FFVII but his content had to be scrutinized and cleaned up. He wrote a huge amount of stuff for the Honeybee Inn and a lot of it had to be removed (still in the game's code). The writer of the content comes off as kind of a weirdo pervert. And others said he puts stuff into games just to see what he can get away with. Even looking back to his '90s contributions, he looked like someone who should be kept from the upper tiers of development. And he's in the wrong genre too. One should not be making games for a genre he has contempt for.
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#18 Apr 27 2012 at 8:52 PM Rating: Decent
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Kitase has the right vision as far as story telling and so on, but he really messes up as far as gameplay and mechanics to advance the story, Itou has the vision and the right mentality on how to implement gameplay and mechanics in a fun way to advance the story.

Those 2 together can turn a **** into a golden egg, tho i would rather have Yazmat and itou than kitase.
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#19 Apr 27 2012 at 9:18 PM Rating: Excellent
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I say throw them both out and get Hironobu Sakaguchi back. He is the father of Final Fantasy and he made the franchise what it was before the series took its nose dive after the SE merger.

It was because of this guy we got, Xenogears, Parasite Eve, Chrono Trigger, Mario RPG, Final Fantasy 4,6,7,8,9, and Tactics (the best ones), Brave Fencer Musashi, Legend of Mana.

Square (Enix) has lost its identity through a merger and has failed ever since. They have alienated their original fan base and have failed time an again to modernize JRPG's. I have written many blogs and researched this topic a lot and have come to the conclusion that JRPG's are not dead and that you can combine old traditional turned based combat with innovative game play found in games like: Xenogears, Mario RPG, Legend of Dragoon, PE I (not II which was garbage) etc. etc. to keep the player involved and not mashing one button throughout combat.

Edited, Apr 27th 2012 11:23pm by Schmidtnurface



Edited, Apr 27th 2012 11:26pm by Schmidtnurface
#20 Apr 27 2012 at 11:33 PM Rating: Decent
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Didn't sakaguchi also develop FFXII? If that's a yes, Im totally in favor of this guy. Some great games in that list and 12 was my favorite.
#21 Apr 28 2012 at 1:17 AM Rating: Good
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Matsuno (Ogre Battle series, Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, et al) developed FFXII. Sakaguchi was long gone by the time FFXII development started.
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#22 Apr 28 2012 at 4:25 AM Rating: Decent
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Oh yea Matsuno! I know nothing about him other than that he had a hand in XII but I love this man. I think he also developed The Last Story for the Wii. If i still had a Wii I'd give that a playthrough, looks pretty sweet.
#23 Apr 28 2012 at 9:30 AM Rating: Good
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kyara10 wrote:
Oh yea Matsuno! I know nothing about him other than that he had a hand in XII but I love this man. I think he also developed The Last Story for the Wii. If i still had a Wii I'd give that a playthrough, looks pretty sweet.


That's Sakaguchi, (creator of FF and left S-E in 2004) that developed Last Story.
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#24 Apr 28 2012 at 10:14 AM Rating: Good
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Yoshida is who I would put my money on.

Ultimately, most people are forgetting that while Tanaka had a hand on being on crew with a lot of great games in the past he was also dealing with offline games. The fact of lack of communication between players and developers should have been a gigantic flag that the team was being lead by someone that isn't adept to handling a project of said sensitivity. FFXI's success was based on when it was released and the infant market it was introduced into; Tanaka actually being at the helm had nothing to do with it. FFXI actually launched with an official forum (look it up) but was closed down by Tanaka himself when he and the majority of his crew got tired of being forced to read criticism on how they developed and managed the game.

The other gigantic flag should have been the fact that he's publically admitted, several times, that he hasn't bothered to look or play with any other MMO outside of FFXI (this is at least partially false since FFXI was based entirely around EQ but hasn't bothered to really incorporate a lot of modern elements of the genre without massive pressure from the public). Tanaka wants to develop in a vacuum because that is what he has been used to for over 20 years, and in the MMO genre you simply can not do that. In an offline game, Tanaka has the final say and doesn't have to worry about the "EVIL RMT". He and his crew designs the game and ships it; there's no need to interact with the customers. He's in his element in this style of developing and you can see it time and again with every event that was released in FFXI; no public input during testing and virtually very little changes are made (outside of bugs or issues that force his hand) until perhaps years later as a token gesture of 'listening' when the events aren't even worth doing.

Frankly, hearing that the concept of "JRPG" and "MMO" somehow being something that no one else can do outside of SE correctly from KaneKitty is a fallacy: because no one's done it correctly. Frankly, FFXI feels absolutely nothing like a JRPG outside of the archaic nest-style menu system, music, and artwork: it's Everquest (you know, a Western game) with a few cutscenes. So no, to date, there actually hasn't been a single JRPG based MMO and if I had to point at one that's closest to the feel of getting sucked into the story I'd actually lay my money on LotRO, SWTOR, or even WoW before I'd vote FFXI *OR* FFXIV on those principles.

i.e. Simply because it was produced by a Japanese company doesn't automatically make it a JRPG considering the entire core principle of FFXI was based on a Western MMO.

Yoshida, on the other hand, has broadened his horizons related to what is out there on the market. He listens (which *can* be a bad thing, I will admit) and as an MMO player himself actually has a sense of what the majority of the populace enjoys -- and this is something Tanaka doesn't. He actually steps out of a bubble to see what his competitors are doing, looks to see if he can adapt it to the FF brand, and brainstorms with his crew.

Plus, while he may be new, I have never heard him refer to a successful development of a game that's widely enjoyed as a failure (i.e. Tanaka and Abyssea).
#25 Apr 28 2012 at 10:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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Ostia wrote:
As far as tanaka, yeah he was a reclusive and dint talk much, but look at FFXI, it was a great game for its time, i'm pretty sure he knows WTF he is doing and does not need to ask his fanbase on every little decision he wants to make, look at Blizzard, for all the talk they do and they do talk a lot to their communities in the end, is their way or the highway and it has seem to work great for them.


I wouldn't use Tanaka and FFXI as a shining beacon of anything. After he started focusing on FFXIV is when FFXI got to shine and many of the community requests finally starting to change as well as the stagnation finally being lifted. He may be great for single player games but he is IMO also still stuck in the "vanilla" EQ1 frame of MMO mind.

*edit* lol, just read the post above me

Edited, Apr 28th 2012 12:54pm by Levish
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#26 Apr 28 2012 at 10:53 AM Rating: Excellent
I think they are both good. Tanaka however got the recent bad rep since he took a shot at something with FFXIV and failed. Was it his fault? Maybe. However it could have been a lot of other things: marketing issues, poor executive decisions, etc. Has Yoshida done a good job so far? I believe so. Tanaka has the experience sure, but Yoshida has the benefit of showing he can step up with out the mistakes made (by SE in general) to tarnish his persona.
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#27 Apr 28 2012 at 11:16 AM Rating: Excellent
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Viertel wrote:
Yoshida is who I would put my money on.

Ultimately, most people are forgetting that while Tanaka had a hand on being on crew with a lot of great games in the past he was also dealing with offline games. The fact of lack of communication between players and developers should have been a gigantic flag that the team was being lead by someone that isn't adept to handling a project of said sensitivity. FFXI's success was based on when it was released and the infant market it was introduced into; Tanaka actually being at the helm had nothing to do with it. FFXI actually launched with an official forum (look it up) but was closed down by Tanaka himself when he and the majority of his crew got tired of being forced to read criticism on how they developed and managed the game.

The other gigantic flag should have been the fact that he's publically admitted, several times, that he hasn't bothered to look or play with any other MMO outside of FFXI (this is at least partially false since FFXI was based entirely around EQ but hasn't bothered to really incorporate a lot of modern elements of the genre without massive pressure from the public). Tanaka wants to develop in a vacuum because that is what he has been used to for over 20 years, and in the MMO genre you simply can not do that. In an offline game, Tanaka has the final say and doesn't have to worry about the "EVIL RMT". He and his crew designs the game and ships it; there's no need to interact with the customers. He's in his element in this style of developing and you can see it time and again with every event that was released in FFXI; no public input during testing and virtually very little changes are made (outside of bugs or issues that force his hand) until perhaps years later as a token gesture of 'listening' when the events aren't even worth doing.

Frankly, hearing that the concept of "JRPG" and "MMO" somehow being something that no one else can do outside of SE correctly from KaneKitty is a fallacy: because no one's done it correctly. Frankly, FFXI feels absolutely nothing like a JRPG outside of the archaic nest-style menu system, music, and artwork: it's Everquest (you know, a Western game) with a few cutscenes. So no, to date, there actually hasn't been a single JRPG based MMO and if I had to point at one that's closest to the feel of getting sucked into the story I'd actually lay my money on LotRO, SWTOR, or even WoW before I'd vote FFXI *OR* FFXIV on those principles.

i.e. Simply because it was produced by a Japanese company doesn't automatically make it a JRPG considering the entire core principle of FFXI was based on a Western MMO.

Yoshida, on the other hand, has broadened his horizons related to what is out there on the market. He listens (which *can* be a bad thing, I will admit) and as an MMO player himself actually has a sense of what the majority of the populace enjoys -- and this is something Tanaka doesn't. He actually steps out of a bubble to see what his competitors are doing, looks to see if he can adapt it to the FF brand, and brainstorms with his crew.

Plus, while he may be new, I have never heard him refer to a successful development of a game that's widely enjoyed as a failure (i.e. Tanaka and Abyssea).


This was essentially what I came in here to say. Agreed 100000% percent. An offline game development mentality is not compatible with the ongoing needs of developing online games.

Edited, Apr 28th 2012 1:17pm by hexaemeron
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#28Schmidtnurface, Posted: Apr 28 2012 at 12:25 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Dude I know we all have our opinions but FFXII was the biggest sack of crap on the planet only being topped by FFX-2 and FFXIII and its sequal FFXIII-2. When you were the leader and tycoon of great RPG's and know the biggest laughing stock of the planet you gotta ask yourself were did it all go wrong and the general consensus is it started with X-2 and progressively got worse.
#29 Apr 28 2012 at 6:28 PM Rating: Good
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UltKnightGrover wrote:
kyara10 wrote:
Oh yea Matsuno! I know nothing about him other than that he had a hand in XII but I love this man. I think he also developed The Last Story for the Wii. If i still had a Wii I'd give that a playthrough, looks pretty sweet.


That's Sakaguchi, (creator of FF and left S-E in 2004) that developed Last Story.


Lol no kidding? I don't keep up with this stuff. So what happened to Matsuno, is he still with SE?
#30 Apr 28 2012 at 8:35 PM Rating: Decent
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Levish wrote:
Ostia wrote:
As far as tanaka, yeah he was a reclusive and dint talk much, but look at FFXI, it was a great game for its time, i'm pretty sure he knows WTF he is doing and does not need to ask his fanbase on every little decision he wants to make, look at Blizzard, for all the talk they do and they do talk a lot to their communities in the end, is their way or the highway and it has seem to work great for them.


I wouldn't use Tanaka and FFXI as a shining beacon of anything. After he started focusing on FFXIV is when FFXI got to shine and many of the community requests finally starting to change as well as the stagnation finally being lifted. He may be great for single player games but he is IMO also still stuck in the "vanilla" EQ1 frame of MMO mind.

*edit* lol, just read the post above me

Edited, Apr 28th 2012 12:54pm by Levish



Excuse me, but tanaka developed one of the top 3 MMOS of all time in FFXI, you cannot take that away from him, he has also worked on some classic all time games, to say that yoshida is a better MMO developer because he writes stupid letters is just Blasphemous. Where are his credentials ? What has he worked on that can even be compared to tanaka's work ? This notion that a developer or producer needs to listen to his fanbase in order to produce a quality product is ********* look at blizzard for example they spent 5-6 years developoing wow, never lead an ear to what their fans wanted and what you got ? Wow outright changed the face of MMOS, same with FFXI, tanaka never let his fans shadow his vision and you got a classic MMO, what has every other company since tried to do ? imitate either of the two and go out of their way to put the fans vision instead of their own in their MMO and they have all failed.

Take for example the little mess with power leveling in FFXIV, at first yoshida was adamant and in favor of it, then 20 nerd ragers started foaming at the mouth, and he changed his stance and what was the result ? The same, power leveling dint disappear, it was made lightly more troublesome to appease 50 people, and he looked like an idiot for backing it up in the first place, then making a change so minimal that might as well have been left alone in the first place.

See he is already, setting his fanbase to expect, that any little thing they dont like, he will change, and he only has what ? 20k people playing ? what will happen when you have 500k or 1mil or 3mil ? and they all start asking for different things ? Will he put his vision first or will he do as he has done so far and just start changing stuff until it works ?

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#31 Apr 28 2012 at 8:37 PM Rating: Good
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kyara10 wrote:
UltKnightGrover wrote:
kyara10 wrote:
Oh yea Matsuno! I know nothing about him other than that he had a hand in XII but I love this man. I think he also developed The Last Story for the Wii. If i still had a Wii I'd give that a playthrough, looks pretty sweet.


That's Sakaguchi, (creator of FF and left S-E in 2004) that developed Last Story.


Lol no kidding? I don't keep up with this stuff. So what happened to Matsuno, is he still with SE?


No, like every other great asset SE had, they pushed them out of the company, he did work with SE for the remake of his game "Ogre Battle Tactics" but other than that, he is on his own, or with L5
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#32 Apr 28 2012 at 11:13 PM Rating: Good
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Final Fantasy XI was my first MMORPG and I am sorry to tell you that after 5 years of playing that game off and on. (no I dont like WoW or any other rpg as much as FFXI) you are out of your mind if you rank FFXI in top 3 mmorpg of all time. Are you forgetting the milestones and impact that games like Everquest, World of Warcraft and Eve. Because I havnt played any of them but WoW and I still know that they were considered the best of the best. FFXI never even came close to living up to any of those games.

And be realistic not a fan boy. I loved FFXI for what it was but it wasnt the greatest of all time. Yes to some people it may have been but I am going by support, numbers, impact, logevity, etc.
#33 Apr 29 2012 at 7:12 AM Rating: Excellent
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Ostia wrote:
[Excuse me, but tanaka developed one of the top 3 MMOS of all time in FFXI, you cannot take that away from him, he has also worked on some classic all time games, to say that yoshida is a better MMO developer because he writes stupid letters is just Blasphemous. Where are his credentials ? What has he worked on that can even be compared to tanaka's work ? This notion that a developer or producer needs to listen to his fanbase in order to produce a quality product is bullsh*t, look at blizzard for example they spent 5-6 years developoing wow, never lead an ear to what their fans wanted and what you got ? Wow outright changed the face of MMOS, same with FFXI, tanaka never let his fans shadow his vision and you got a classic MMO, what has every other company since tried to do ? imitate either of the two and go out of their way to put the fans vision instead of their own in their MMO and they have all failed.

Take for example the little mess with power leveling in FFXIV, at first yoshida was adamant and in favor of it, then 20 nerd ragers started foaming at the mouth, and he changed his stance and what was the result ? The same, power leveling dint disappear, it was made lightly more troublesome to appease 50 people, and he looked like an idiot for backing it up in the first place, then making a change so minimal that might as well have been left alone in the first place.

See he is already, setting his fanbase to expect, that any little thing they dont like, he will change, and he only has what ? 20k people playing ? what will happen when you have 500k or 1mil or 3mil ? and they all start asking for different things ? Will he put his vision first or will he do as he has done so far and just start changing stuff until it works ?



I believe you meant Tanaka developed a MMO that ranked in the Top 3 (at the time, definitely not of all time).

And I'm inclined to believe that much of FFXI's success was due to there not being anything else worth plaing at the time, consider for example how many US players would have touched FFXI had WoW come out first? The MMO community more or less didn't know any better and it has raised the bar of what we expect from a MMO.

WoW developers quite did listen to the fanbase, to say otherwise is just silly.

The key is not listening to everyone, its listening to the best ideas that fit your vision that aren't game breaking.

Edited, Apr 29th 2012 9:12am by Levish
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#34 Apr 29 2012 at 8:17 AM Rating: Default
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Schmidtnurface wrote:
Final Fantasy XI was my first MMORPG and I am sorry to tell you that after 5 years of playing that game off and on. (no I dont like WoW or any other rpg as much as FFXI) you are out of your mind if you rank FFXI in top 3 mmorpg of all time. Are you forgetting the milestones and impact that games like Everquest, World of Warcraft and Eve. Because I havnt played any of them but WoW and I still know that they were considered the best of the best. FFXI never even came close to living up to any of those games.

And be realistic not a fan boy. I loved FFXI for what it was but it wasnt the greatest of all time. Yes to some people it may have been but I am going by support, numbers, impact, logevity, etc.


Erm i rank EQ at #1 WOW at #2 and FFXI at #3, Eve is not even close to be as good or influential as those 3 where, and if you are going by support, numbers and longevity how can you not name XI ? 10 years in and still running, has an equal number of subscribers as EQ ever did, and has mantained it for 10 years.
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#35 Apr 29 2012 at 8:23 AM Rating: Good
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If you are going to specify "of all time" you also have to consider current MMO's

Rift / Tera / Aion / Star Wars etc all of which are significant, and are significantly better designed than FFXI is / was in terms of playability especially in terms of accessibility and ease of getting started. I can't recall a point in any other game than FFXI where I had to resort to spreadsheets /datalogs to try and decide on a new piece of gear.

Again part of the reason FFXI was so successful is that when it came out it was more or less FFXI or EQ or some of the other MMO's that were quite a bit older than FFXI at its release. Timing was on its side, and once you have people playing and investing themselves like you had to in FFXI even when something "better" comes along you aren't very likely to jump ship.
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#36 Apr 29 2012 at 12:57 PM Rating: Decent
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I like Tanaka over Yoshi most of the time. It's not that Yoshi is doing a bad job. He is doing great job at what he is setting out to do. I guess it's the approach/philosophy they take towards this game. Yoshi is pushing for an almost complete or controlled themepark experience. Now alot or some players may enjoy that. But I loved the original concept of trying to blend themepark with a dash of sandbox. Even the original combat system they had in alpha was off the rails to an extent. The potential for a fully tuned version of that far eclipsed the potential of a standard auto attack. It needed more time in the oven to make that gauge matter on things like potency, magic radius, magic range, charging of skills, the possibilities were endless. But whatever, that combat system is not coming back here. Hopefully, Tanaka will try and introduce a similar system in a new chrono or secret of mana game.

Guildleves, another victim of pulling it out of the oven before it was done. Just imagine if every one of the guildleve card images represented a unique style of quest or content? I thought aytheryte was going to be used as a fast travel option to access different contents faster. Some don't like fast travel. But the game had to have some form of it. Look around at any modern rpg with big worlds. And you will see it. I think they pulled it off pretty well. It softly moderated you on overusing it. And usually required a bit of running to get places. If it was instant, the game would feel like a huge lobby. Lobbies, well there seems to be some grievances on the game trying to minimize open world aspects too much.

Both directors/producers do what they do well. People complain this isn't enough like XI or it's too similar. The two leads have different design philosophies. You got the old school slightly masochistic version in one who is kind of slow on modern standards. On the other, you have a somewhat fresh out of school lead who is up to modern quo. But at the same time he lacks some of the familiar rabid pitbull that the other had. Sure alot of the original design team is still onboard. But regardless of what they design. If it doesn't fit the leads vision, it gets no red carpet.

The talks about Sakaguchi need to stop. Yeah, many enjoyed his games, he created the first FF, and was the face of FF for many years. But he is gone. And he is never coming back unless his company goes broke or gets bought out by SE in some alternate universe. His main strength in my eyes. Was letting the teams do what they wanted creatively. But when he saw them veer to far from the original vision. He would pull the reins in. That's why they had continued success for many years in good span. If he would have made spirits within based off of fantasy like the fanbase recognized. I believe the movie wouldn't have flopped as hard as it did.
#37 Apr 29 2012 at 8:08 PM Rating: Decent
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Levish wrote:
If you are going to specify "of all time" you also have to consider current MMO's

Rift / Tera / Aion / Star Wars etc all of which are significant, and are significantly better designed than FFXI is / was in terms of playability especially in terms of accessibility and ease of getting started. I can't recall a point in any other game than FFXI where I had to resort to spreadsheets /datalogs to try and decide on a new piece of gear.

Again part of the reason FFXI was so successful is that when it came out it was more or less FFXI or EQ or some of the other MMO's that were quite a bit older than FFXI at its release. Timing was on its side, and once you have people playing and investing themselves like you had to in FFXI even when something "better" comes along you aren't very likely to jump ship.


The movie 'Star Wars' was released in 1977. If it had been released in 1990 it might not have been a factor in shaping the movie industry as it did. Timing is everything no matter what industry you compete in. I think minimizing the success of FFXI by claiming it was only successful because of timing is reckless. And if you gave me a choice today asking which game I would rather play between SWTOR, WOW, Rift, etc... I would still choose XI. No matter how well designed you say these newer games are FFXI came first and it has forever shaped gamer expectations. I have yet to find another game that lives up to the expectations I developed from playing XI.
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#38 Apr 29 2012 at 10:59 PM Rating: Excellent
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kainsilv wrote:
No matter how well designed you say these newer games are FFXI came first and it has forever shaped gamer expectations.


I don't know if FFXI carries the same level of prestige with typical online gamers. When people talk about "classic" MMOs that forged the genre, you usually hear of games such as Everquest, Asheron's Call, and Ultima Online. WoW released only a few years after FFXI did and completely shattered everything before it in terms of success, and since WoW there have been other games that have been have a very good deal of success such as Guild Wars and Aion.

FFXI was released after the "classics" but just before WoW, achieved moderate sales and subscription numbers and retained them a good while. It could definitely be argued as one of the best, but so could a dozen other games for a dozen different reasons. With many people the MMO they played first or the one they played for years and years tends to be what they consider the best.

Edited, Apr 30th 2012 1:00am by Susanoh
#39 Apr 30 2012 at 4:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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Susanoh wrote:
kainsilv wrote:
No matter how well designed you say these newer games are FFXI came first and it has forever shaped gamer expectations.


I don't know if FFXI carries the same level of prestige with typical online gamers. When people talk about "classic" MMOs that forged the genre, you usually hear of games such as Everquest, Asheron's Call, and Ultima Online. WoW released only a few years after FFXI did and completely shattered everything before it in terms of success, and since WoW there have been other games that have been have a very good deal of success such as Guild Wars and Aion.

FFXI was released after the "classics" but just before WoW, achieved moderate sales and subscription numbers and retained them a good while. It could definitely be argued as one of the best, but so could a dozen other games for a dozen different reasons. With many people the MMO they played first or the one they played for years and years tends to be what they consider the best.


I agree. FFXI slipped between the cracks of EQ and WoW in terms of influence.

One thing FFXI did contribute to the MMO genre which was widely adopted is the Auction House. I can't help but feel the sting of irony that FFXIV dropped its predecessor's most successfully renowned concept altogether.
#40 Apr 30 2012 at 11:54 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
I don't know if FFXI carries the same level of prestige with typical online gamers. When people talk about "classic" MMOs that forged the genre, you usually hear of games such as Everquest, Asheron's Call, and Ultima Online. WoW released only a few years after FFXI did and completely shattered everything before it in terms of success, and since WoW there have been other games that have been have a very good deal of success such as Guild Wars and Aion.

FFXI was released after the "classics" but just before WoW, achieved moderate sales and subscription numbers and retained them a good while. It could definitely be argued as one of the best, but so could a dozen other games for a dozen different reasons. With many people the MMO they played first or the one they played for years and years tends to be what they consider the best.


The lack of prestige is because FFXI was ignored by many MMO players because they play Western MMOs and FFXI was this "other" to them (note that console games thru 2003 had a very disproportionate number of games coming from Japan whereas PC games NA & EU gamers played were overwhelmingly from the US & Europe). It was given nowhere near the attention of other MMOs, even contemporaries like Star Wars Galaxies because of its origin (Japan) and being console-based (PS2 hardware base, PC port).

FFXI had moderate sales figures compared to WoW yeah, but FFXI was the #1 MMO for a time. It was a time for several months in 2004 and very early 2005, between when Everquest started to decline and before WoW took off that it was the MMO with the most subscribers. WoW eventually pulled FFXI down from that all-time high but for several years until the dev team left FFXI derelict except for a skeleton crew to stop by and dust a little every 4 months FFXI was stable with what was considered very high numbers on the pre-WoW scale. FFXI was very successful before WoW changed the whole scale success was judged on. FFXI's design was aiming for success on that scale as opposed to FFXIV which was aiming for success (and by that I mean how much they spend/what they consider the level of subs needed to pay off dev costs) on a WoW era scale.
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#41 May 01 2012 at 6:19 AM Rating: Good
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Xoie wrote:

The fact that it's almost going to be three years to get FFXIV into a state that's ready for the PS3 market just goes to show how far off the mark he was. If the pressure was on to release early, he had an obligation to push back. Tanaka was one of the original Final Fantasy developers. I find it astonishing he would release this major embarrassment to the brand he helped create. There's no way it should have come to that. Rough around the edges is one thing, but this was an unprecedented disaster.

Sums it up for me: Tanaka as a senior member must of realised it was poor and should of stood his ground. He either had his hands tied, didnt care or worse had not actually tried XIV.

Tanaka to me loses out, in this case experience was the key to causing a bad XIV.
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