Two perky idols from Morning Musume, Ai Takahashi and Linlin, stopped by the Square Enix offices to try out something new -- an online game! Producer Hiromichi Tanaka and Director Nobuaki Komoto sat them down in front of Final Fantasy XIV to give it a test run and share their impressions. The interview was recorded in this month's volume of Game Entertainment!/p>
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-- So, this is the first time you two have ever tried an online game. What was your first impression?
Takahashi: I always saw Final Fantasy games as having a set name and set appearance for your character. In FFXIV, you get to make the character yourself, and it feels like you get to be the producer in a way. It was really fun.
-- You were really agonizing over all those choices in the character creator.
Takahashi: Yeah. If we didn't have a time limit, I was thinking of going back and choosing a different race.
(Elmer Point: This is because they didn't have all day to play around. There is no time limit on the in-game character creator.)
-- When you get the chance to play again, what kind of character would you want to make?
Takahashi: I like to just get out there and fight, so a swordsman-type character would be good. I probably shouldn't have chosen Archer. (laughs)
-- What were you aiming for this time in terms of character?
Takahashi: I was going for a blonde, perfect-looking character, but then I saw the Lalafell, which are just so cute! Next time I play, I'm going with Lalafell!
-- Linlin, how was your impression?
Linlin: Ever since seeing Final Fantasy over at Ai Takahashi's house, I've always wanted to play one. Now that I've gotten to try out FFXIV, I'm blown away by the amazing graphics. With the rain and falling of leaves, everything just feels so real. I didn't really get the battle system at first, but now that I've learned the ropes, I'll do much better next time. Also, since it's an online game, I really want to jump in and play along with everyone.
-- Linlin, you had a character pre-made for you, but what character would you have liked to make if you had the chance?
Linlin: A character that looked like me but with silver hair would have been nice. People with silver hair have that image of being real strong, you know? (laughs) Also, the Lalafell are cute, so I would like to try out them as well.
-- This time you two were able to play alongside each other, but during actual play, there will probably be many times when you and your characters are apart. If you could choose, what kinds of people would you like to play with?
Linlin: Chinese people! And my buddy Ai, of course!
-- Takahashi, what kind of people would you party with?
Takahashi: Americans. I really like English, so it would be awesome to practice my English conversation skills while playing a game.
-- In the actual game, you'll be able to chat with people while you play.
Takahashi: The controls keep you a little busy, but it was fun. I can only use simple English anyway, so if I play with American players, I'll just being throwing out "Yes" and "Hello" over and over. (laughs)
-- Besides chat, there are also a number of emotes you can use.
Takahashi: Yeah, I like how you can dance and such to show how you're feeling.
Tanaka: It hope to see the whole world dancing together.
Takahashi・Linlin: (gasp in awe)
-- Even if their words aren't understood, perhaps people can still make their feelings known. By the way, as you walk through the field areas, how does it feel compared with other Final Fantasy titles?
Takahashi: I have to keep looking at the map and end up running off in some weird direction. It takes a bit to get used to the controls, so I hope to get the hang of it soon.
-- You got to experience a lot of battles in the field, so how was your impression of that?
Takahashi: Battles were fun. I want to fight many more.
-- You'll be able to fight alongside people from around the world too. Battles will get much more exciting.
Takahashi: This time I was just playing alone, and it was lonely, but nice and quiet. Then, I was surprised to see one of the staff just running by! I'm excited by the idea that you'll just randomly meet people throughout the course of play.
-- There are also various conflicts that can pop up as well. For example, people may leave mid-battle.
Takahashi: Ah, yeah, like people just saying "I'm stopping now." There's also the time differences, so people may say, "I'm tired, I'm going to bed."
Linlin: I feel that communicating with people from around the world really works the left-side of your brain and is good for the mind.
-- Another feature of online games is they keep evolving through version updates.
Komoto: You will also be able to experience new parts of the story, such as the movie-like event you saw at the beginning of the game.
Takahashi・Linlin: Really? Wow!
Tanaka: Also, in Final Fantasy XI, you could get married to fellow adventurers your knew in-game.
Takahashi: Really? What a fun place to meet people.
Linlin: They probably have international weddings too...
Komoto: You are able to mask your true self in an online game, so players would never know they were adventuring alongside Takahashi or Linlin.
-- Takahashi and Linlin, do you have any questions for for Tanaka and Komoto? Any things you would like to see in XIV?
Takahashi: Oh! Is it alright?
-- If you ask them now, they might do it for you.
Komoto: We may get to it in about 5... no, maybe 3 years. (laughs)
Linlin: Well, then I want NPCs with my name and Ai's name!
Komoto: Oh, that's alright. I'll sneak them into town somewhere.
Takahashi・Linlin: Wow, really?!
Linlin: You could make it a monster if you want.
Takahashi: Make me a boss monster.
Komoto: It might be doable. I'm not sure, though. (laughs)
-- Any final comments regarding FFXIV?
Takahashi: For me, Final Fantasy is a relaxing experience. The series always surprises me in a positive way, and I can't wait for this one!
Linlin: This was my first time playing a Final Fantasy, and it was a lot of fun. Final Fantasy is very popular in China too, and I bet people will be jealous that I got to do this interview. I hope that people all around the world will be able to enjoy this.
Tanaka・Komoto: We're working on it!