After chatting with Hiromichi Tanaka over a lively round of puk extermination, Famitsu sat down with Sage Sundi, who returns to Final Fantasy XIV to once again offer global user support.
Read on for the interview and discuss this in the ZAM forums.
Sage Sundi begins by explaining that he will be returning to his role as Global Online Producer for Final Fantasy XIV. They are looking at the development team, management team and user base as the three key factions supporting their MMO. Sundi's job will be to build the bridges between these three areas and get them working as one. For example, when there is an interview with the foreign media, Sundi will be there with Hiromichi Tanaka.
When asked how GM policies might change, Sundi doubts there will be any significant changes from Final Fantasy XI. More than establishing "public order," they wish to maintain a peaceful and safe playing environment for their users. Most of the policies from Final Fantasy XI will simply carry over and even the team is an expansion from the previous generation's MMO. However, they are going through the details of the system in order to make improvements to certain areas. One adjustment Sundi wishes to implement is making it easier for players to call upon a GM. Also, beyond simply improving the GM system, there will be active collaboration between the Special Task Force, management team and community team in order to create a better experience for all players.
Speaking of community, there is the issue of how Square Enix will maintain a solid flow of information between all the different regions they support. Although developers have expressed interest in an official forum for some time now, they are reluctant to limit it to one language. "If we make the forum in Japanese," Sundi says, "then it would become the Japanese player forum." Instead, they feel the best way to support all languages is to establish premiere sites and allow them to act as "community managers" for their respective user bases. Square Enix can then pull feedback and questions from these sites, allowing every user to voice their opinion in their own language. Sundi continues to say they wish to utilize the web even more than before and trade information directly with the users, tapping into the ingenuity they show when constructing item databases and wikis.
As for in-game communication, Sundi stated there will, of course, be a chat function included. There will also be something akin to the Final Fantasy XI linkshell, and a "Linkshell Community" of some sort on the official site. Sundi is unable to elaborate on any specific plans, but says they intend to use the site to communicate with players and perhaps work with fansites and blogs.
For the final question, the interviewer hints that a number of players may be looking for language-specific servers and looks for Sundi's reaction to such a request. However, Sundi believes that seeing as Final Fantasy XI made it this far without segregated servers, adding such a feature in Final Fantasy XIV would feel like a step backwards. They would rather work at making mixed servers a success instead of abandoning them altogether.
Sundi then closes with some words for players in Japan. He decides to speak directly to Final Fantasy XI players, and assuage some of the fears they have about moving to Final Fantasy XIV. "Making Final Fantasy XIV enjoyable for all users, including Final Fantasy XI players, is our number one priority," Sundi said, "We cannot build a community without considering that. First we address how to satisfy Final Fantasy fans. From there, we will attract other MMO players and develop a community like never before. I believe Final Fantasy Xi players will find their time in Eorzea to be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, and I hope you look forward to it."