On the second day of E3 2005, Eint and I had the chance to hold an interview with the PlayOnline section of Square Enix. The appointment was set for 11:00 a.m., so we decided to head there a little early. It means a lot to Asian companies when you meet a little early. Therefore, we got to the media registration desk so that we can get the proper information on where to meet our contact. The problem is the Square Enix booth is big, noisy, and overcrowded. I mean, they are showing so many great games to a lot of fans, which stood up in front of a giant screen. After a few minutes, we managed to get to the meeting point. It was behind the booth in an under leveled lounge with six or seven private rooms, which allowed people to conduct interviews properly without being annoyed by all the sounds and crowd.
Walking down the red carpet floor to our room, we met different people just relaxing a little. As we entered our room, we are right away welcomed by five people who work on Final Fantasy XI. As we exchange handshakes, bows, and business cards, we actually get to know who’s who and what they are doing for PlayOnline. We have met Yasu Kurosawa, director of community service, Sage Sundi, global online producer of the community service division, Toshio “Foxclon” Murouchi, European online producer, M.C. Koji Fox, senior translator from localization division, and the last but not the least, Hiromichi Tanaka the senior vice president of software development.
The interview was maintained by Tanaka, with the help of the translator. Having seen the news about FFXI making an appearance on the Xbox360, we quickly started the interview asking about that move. The main reason they decided to make a 360 version is that they wish to bring the Vana’diel experience to a broader audience, and with that new console, it is really easy to adapt FFXI to it and have the Xbox Live system working. There were actually two other people playing the game on a widescreen with an Xbox360 controller and it looked to work great and easy to play as the PS2 version. Tanaka also informed us that the 360 is ready to accept the game, and there should be no problem to have it ported quickly. Perhaps this means that FFXI will be one of the launch titles, but this is mere speculation, and only time will let us know.
With this first question out of the way, we could finally get on with the current flow of how things are going right now. The current point of interest for the development team is to complete the Chains of Promathia story line. They are putting in a lot of effort into this in order to make the story experience even better for very player. Although the content coming up is more meant for the high level population, the dev team wants to help the community rise in level to let them see more of the game and in different ways. There is still some content for the others on the horizon. We tried to dig our way into the story plot, but couldn’t get any information on that part, as they love to keep the story hidden until the last moment.
We did manage to find out that there is a new expansion in progress. As we asked some information on it, knowing we wouldn’t get any but it was worth a try anyway, we all laughed together as Tanaka gently declined that he cannot talk about it at the moment.
As far as PvP content goes, there is currently no other plans on expanding the ballista fights. With the current changes with field reservation and such, they will gather information on how ballista runs at the moment as make modifications as it comes. But all of you PvPers, fear not, for there is a new conflict currently in development. Conflict is the general term for the PvP action in the world of Final Fantasy XI. Ballista is the first and only current feature of conflict.
That’s about all the time we had to cover up with our interview. Even though we didn’t get that much information on new things, we did manage to find out some cool new things like the development of that new expansion and a new part of conflict. With that we also made friend with all of them and they should be helping us out in expanding the site to please all of the community for this is one of their main goal: please and unify the community of Vana’diel.