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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn - New Beta Screenshots/Info

N.A

Banned
For those that do not know, since Yoshi-P took charge of Final Fantasy XIV he has posted regular letters about the progress of the game. Here is Letter XLI:

Hello again to all of you eagerly awaiting FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn. Yoshi-P here, ringing in the new year with the forty-first Letter from the Producer.

We've been back in the office for almost three weeks now, and our calendars are already marked full of meetings and deadlines. It won't be long before beta testing begins, and soon after that, the release of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn! Looking at the beta test road map we released last month, the road from beta to release would appear to be a long one, but the testing will be over before you know it. There's not a moment to spare in preparation for release, and the development team will stay at full throttle to make sure we get there.

First things first, let's talk a bit about the beta test. Phase one will begin in February, and we were thrilled to see so many players from around the world signing up to participate. I know the beta test is just around the corner, but I'd like to show you guys a few screen shots to tide you over until then.

Here's the title screen, new and improved with a "beta version" tag. The BGM has been changed as well...another little tidbit to look forward to.



Starting from phase 1, all races will be available for testing, so it's time for roll call! First up is the Hyur Midlander female.



The Hyur Highlander female is also front and center, looking strong and sexy.



Next up is the Elezen male smartly sporting race-specific gear.



The Lalafell looking adorable as always, but don't count them out in PvP.



The Miqo'te male makes his long-awaited debut, fueling fan desires for a new project: Miqo'te Online.



Last but certainly not least is the Roegadyn female, with strength matched only by her beauty.



With all these screen shots, it'd be a shame not to include one of the benchmark. We're still putting the finishing touches on it, so pay no mind to the score.



Although all races will be available from phase one of the beta test, not all customization options will be available. We're putting a lot of work into various options such as hair styles and colors (a whopping 192 shades are being planned!) based on feedback from the alpha test, and everything should be ready by phase three.

We wasted no time getting back to work after the New Year's holiday, but you know how we like to start off the New Year...with good old hatsumōde! We broke away from the development floor just long enough to round up the team for our annual trip to Sensōji in Asakusa. With the launch of A Realm Reborn to take place this year, the trip was all the more meaningful.


Here's to a game that fans around the world can enjoy! (Yes, I really did drop that big bill in there.
)

This next part is a little tricky, so a bit of explanation is in order for those who've never visited one of these temples. When drawing an omikuji (strips of paper with fortunes written on them) at Asakusa's Sensōji, there are seven possible fortunes: great blessing, blessing, half-blessing, small blessing, future small blessing, future blessing, and curse. To the dismay of visitors to Sensōji, the chance of drawing "curse" is a whopping 30%—three out of every ten people! Those unfortunate enough to draw "curse" better bear down hard all year long, or suffer the consequences.

Now then, which fortune do you think I drew?


Great blessing, of course. Would you expect anything less from–

What? It looks like I'm holding up more than one, you say? Okay, you got me, I didn't draw the great blessing. It belongs to project manager "M," who's in charge of the Developers' Blog. But no need to worry—I still managed to draw a small blessing.

The fortune itself was very encouraging. So much so, that I'd like to share it with you guys.
  • Much like treasure seen across the vale, the things you desire, no matter how close they seem, are not easily obtained.
  • Do not let your heart falter. Patience is the key to reaching your goals.
  • Stay focused and consistent in your work. When the time is right, the things you desire will be at hand.
  • Remember that you are not alone in your endeavors. Like the phoenix taking flight, you will rise up and find success.
In short, if we keep working tirelessly as we have done so far, without getting hung up on profits or discouraged by the workload, A Realm Reborn is bound to succeed. With the ongoing support of our fans, FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn will rise up from the ashes like a phoenix and soar towards success! At least, that's my take on it. You guys know me—I'll continue working like a man possessed. (lol)


Poor Komoto drew another "curse" this year. I know the chance of drawing it is three out of every ten people, but one can only be so unlucky. I'm sure next year will be better... maybe.



As we returned to working around the clock preparing for beta, two very special guests paid us a visit: Jeff Skalski from EA Mythic, who's been a great friend since I joined the FFXIV team, and Mesanna, the current producer of Ultima Online, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.


Jeff got into the gaming industry as a level designer for Dark Age of Camelot, which I am a huge fan of and played to bits and pieces. He then moved on to Warhammer Online, and is now executive producer for the Ultima Online franchise. He's a big fan of the FF series, and during our visit to Germany, he wasn't ashamed to tell me how FFVI made him cry (lol). He played quite a bit of FFXI as well, and naturally he's attained legacy status for FFXIV. (Jeff was selected for phase three of alpha testing, and was so excited he filled my inbox with screenshots.)

Since they were kind enough as to drop by on their trip to Japan, I showed them around the office and gave them a peek behind the scenes, from the development process to the managerial side of things. There was also time to talk shop and compare notes, and over dinner we discussed the future of the MMO market.

FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn is taking on an unprecedented challenge in the MMO market, and we have not only the support of fans, but also that of our peers in the industry. Taking heart from all this positive energy, we will see the game through to a successful launch and beyond!

See you next time, on the forums, or in the Beta Test!

Bonus, Shiva rendering:

As the old saying goes, all work and no play makes Fernehalwes a dull boy. On the other hand, all play and no work makes Fernehalwes an unemployed boy, despised (and most likely hunted) by hordes of FINAL FANTASY XIV fans patiently waiting for Beta Test content to be localized. And therein lies the dilemma--how to have fun while desperately trying to remain afloat in this sea of guildleve objective text.
I know! I can sneak over to the design team’s booths and snap never-before-seen pics of scantily clad primals and post them to the Developers’ Blog! Score one for lax security!
(The following images are works-in-progress, and do not fully represent what will appear in-game)


That icy stare...!
That icy hair...!
Could it be...? Nah... It couldn't be... [FONT=DroidSansBold, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Or could it?
Lady of frost...
Likes her diamonds in dust form...
Name rhymes with “diva”...
Hmmm... Maybe we need a wider angle...

(This is normal map sculpt data created using ZBrush for those of you keeping track)
Better... But how about one more shot of the original artwork, just to make sure...

There we go. Undeniable proof that this can be none other than.........SIREN!
I mean, Shiva!


About the colours:

Thal's Balls! These forums are hot enough to melt an ice goddess.

I suppose some of that might be due to slight lack of info in my latest Developers' Blog post. (Looks around... Crickets chirp...) Okay, I suppose most of that might be due to a slight lack of info in my latest Developers' Blog post.

So, I just wanted to pop in to clear things up.

The ZBrush models you see are a Work In Progress. The colors you see are mostly for aesthetic purposes so the designer's eyes don't bleed after staring at a grey blob all day, and the final textures will more than likely end up being a lot similar to what is shown in the original concept art. YAY!

Even with that said, works in progress are just that, and as the work progresses, Yoshi-P may have an epiphany and decide to give her a second head, convert one of her legs into a machine gun, and rename her Jezebel (hopefully not, though... At least the second head part...)

Either way, I apologize again for the confusion, and in future Dev Blog posts, we'll make sure that works in progress are properly tagged and branded.

-----

For those of you not familiar with ZBrush, a few users such as Hulan, Zantetsuken, Imoen, and Gramul have already posted (in this very thread!) some basic info on the program, and what it's used for.
 

Forkball

Member
"I've heard people have some serious issues with the questing and combat and are skeptical about how we can remedy this game based on the previous disaster but HEY WE WENT TO A TEMPLE AND ISN'T SHIVA HOT?"
 

Teknoman

Member
He'll go in depth in the next letter most likely. When its something like this, he usually posts one letter just showing off stuff the team did (work or rec related) and then a second with polls,update info, and so on.

Then again, no one is playing anything atm, so probably wont see too many indepth letters until the first beta rolls out.
 

Dunan

Member
A little off topic, but:

This next part is a little tricky, so a bit of explanation is in order for those who've never visited one of these temples. When drawing an omikuji (strips of paper with fortunes written on them) at Asakusa's Sensōji, there are seven possible fortunes: great blessing, blessing, half-blessing, small blessing, future small blessing, future blessing, and curse. To the dismay of visitors to Sensōji, the chance of drawing "curse" is a whopping 30%—three out of every ten people! Those unfortunate enough to draw "curse" better bear down hard all year long, or suffer the consequences.

I wonder how often they switch the fortunes around. On my first visit to that famous Sensōji in 1998, I drew #12 and obtained "great blessing".

Two years later I had moved to Tokyo and was visiting again, this time with a beautiful but believing-in-fortunetelling girl. She really, really wanted to get that "great blessing". I told her I had a pretty good feeling that we were going to get it, and she pooh-poohed me. Well, after tossing our coins and drawing the sticks that tell you what number to draw your fortune from, I promptly disregarded whatever was on my stick, announced that my number was 第十二 (12), and took that one. And whaddaya know, great blessing again!

She was ecstatic.

I wonder if she ever figured it out.

So, Yoshi-P, order all your employees to pick 第九十九 (No. 99), like your manager did, every time they go there. It's a winner!
 

Xux

Member
"I've heard people have some serious issues with the questing and combat and are skeptical about how we can remedy this game based on the previous disaster but HEY WE WENT TO A TEMPLE AND ISN'T SHIVA HOT?"
Those people should check out the dozens of multi-page interviews where he talks about that stuff. Or one of the other forty letters since they talk a lot about gameplay stuff.
 

Noi

Member
Been waiting for male Miqo'te for so long. I love my Roegadyn buddies but I gotta swap ships once ARR comes out. :(
 

edgefusion

Member
I'm actually quite excited about this, despite all its troubles. Will wait for the PS3 version though, I doubt my 4 year old MacBook Pro will have the mana to run it.

Game is looking great, and really has that "Final Fantasy" vibe that I haven't seen out of the series in years. Just let me in the beta, square!

0%. Square said that in Japan F2P is a badge of shame. They'd shut down before going F2P most likely.

Yeah, I don't know if you know much about Japanese culture (I'm an expert) but honour and shame are huge parts of it.
 

N.A

Banned
"I've heard people have some serious issues with the questing and combat and are skeptical about how we can remedy this game based on the previous disaster but HEY WE WENT TO A TEMPLE AND ISN'T SHIVA HOT?"

Yoshi has spoken repeatedly and at length about gameplay. He's also one of the most open and honest developers ever. He's one of the reasons I stuck with XIV 1.0. Anyone who played through that period will agree he has had a great influence on gameplay, story and particularly communication with the players. I have complete confidence the combat will be great come retail (and really, the combat wasn't bad in alpha. It was just early and low-level).

And the Shiva stuff was from the development blog they update twice a week: http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/blog/post/171

Here's some pretty night shots from it:





 

Igniz

Banned
New pc, new 1440p 120hz monitor, I say bring it!! Too bad Im not legacy but I can care less..probably will just enjoy beta anyhow
 

Thoraxes

Member
Number 2 females are definitely now Hyur Highlander females.

Miquo'te are still number one in my heart.

Also dat Shiva daaaaaaaaang.
 

Forkball

Member
Yoshi has spoken repeatedly and at length about gameplay. He's also one of the most open and honest developers ever. He's one of the reasons I stuck with XIV 1.0. Anyone who played through that period will agree he has had a great influence on gameplay, story and particularly communication with the players. I have complete confidence the combat will be great come retail (and really, the combat wasn't bad in alpha. It was just early and low-level).
Wasn't it said that combat was going to get revamped from the Alpha? I know there are varying opinions, but there were some who disliked it, which doesn't seem exactly like the most comforting thing to see that they still don't seem to have a coherent idea about what they want this game to be. I would assume it would be difficult to completely change the core fundamentals of the combat system, but again I'm not sure how keeping a lot of the older elements will be beneficial.
 

N.A

Banned
Wasn't it said that combat was going to get revamped from the Alpha? I know there are varying opinions, but there were some who disliked it, which doesn't seem exactly like the most comforting thing to see that they still don't seem to have a coherent idea about what they want this game to be. I would assume it would be difficult to completely change the core fundamentals of the combat system, but again I'm not sure how keeping a lot of the older elements will be beneficial.

There will be many changes to the current combat (they are completely redoing the algorithms) and lots of additions too (limit breaks and combos for starters). One good thing in alpha was that the combat was very responsive (if you ever played the original XIV you will know how bad that was). They have stated numerous times they want the combat to be fast-paced so hopefully they'll adjust the cooldown timers (ideally they will split the global timers into smaller categories like attack/defence/evade/buff so there is a lot less downtime between actions). And remember Alpha only featured up to level 20. There will be many more skills in higher levels + the job skills. The more interesting skills in 1.0 (AOE's, Dragoon's Jump etc.) were higher level.
 

Suairyu

Banned
No, seriously, that Type 0 Shiva is ridiculous and unnecessary. Square Enix designers are the epitome of excess and throwing in elements that don't match the overall artstyle. Reminds me somewhat of the stupid high-tech airships in an otherwise medieval FFXII.
 
No, seriously, that Type 0 Shiva is ridiculous and unnecessary. Square Enix designers are the epitome of excess and throwing in elements that don't match the overall artstyle. Reminds me somewhat of the stupid high-tech airships in an otherwise medieval FFXII.

Ivalice was medieval? Did you miss Arcadia? And I never heard a complaint about how they looked...
 

Suairyu

Banned
Ivalice was medieval? Did you miss Arcadia? And I never heard a complaint about how they looked...
Medieval wrong word. But they certainly didn't fit. The developers themselves complained about them - they didn't fit at all and looked like something out of FFVIII rather than Ivalice. But the guy who designed them would have got upset if they weren't allowed so they stayed. There was a thread about it on GAF not so long ago.
 

Eccocid

Member
Medieval wrong word. But they certainly didn't fit. The developers themselves complained about them - they didn't fit at all and looked like something out of FFVIII rather than Ivalice. But the guy who designed them would have got upset if they weren't allowed so they stayed. There was a thread about it on GAF not so long ago.

I agree, some of the elements were over designed and they start to lose any kind of sense.
The ships in opening video of FFXII....ugh they were terrible. Those smaller ones which looked like shoes...
 

Suairyu

Banned
FFXII's world design was totally absurd. That was before the guy with the sun glasses showed up.
The tech and fashion certainly was at times. But what makes it stand out more is that the architecture and geography is so impeccably put together. Ivalice in FFXII feels like a giant and believable continent with biomes and seasons. Then just as you're completely falling into this world, an airship that looks like something out of Star Trek appears.
 

N.A

Banned
New music for Limsa Lominsa/La Noscea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=52g8TPxR9XQ

http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/blog/post/180

Hello all!
Fernehalwes back again for another installment of the Developers' Blog.
Recently, I’ve seen several people on the Lodestone forums express how cool it would be if, instead of pics, I could sneak a few music clips up on the blog as well. So, I donned my ninja garb, popped open a bottle of prism powder, and slipped into the shadows of the sound department—destination: FINAL FANTASY XIV sound director Masayoshi Soken's studio.

But alas, I should have known! Soken detects his prey by sound, not sight! I never stood a chance...and now I am his prisoner, forced to translate this message...

-----
Greetings earthlings! I now control the horizontal and the vertical. The Developers’ Blog is mine, and by mine, I mean the personal property of one Masayoshi Soken—Japan’s number one fan of knee-socks—a.k.a. Knee-Soken!



For those of you following my twitter feed (that would be all of you, I presume), you may recall a few days back I HYPOTHETICALLY asked that if I were to HYPOTHETICALLY leak a few of the HYPOTHETICAL tracks I was HYPOTHETICALLY working on for XIV, which ones would you HYPOTHETICALLY want to hear?

Well, despite a few nay-sayers who claimed I didn't have de Balzac to follow through with my intentions, most of you were psyched about getting the chance to listen to some previously unreleased tracks. And so, I devised this über complex plan to lure project manager M into my sound lair and bend her to my will. But wouldn't you know it, Fernehalwes happened to drop by, so I guess this’ll have to do.

Now that the blog is mine and I can do whatever I want, how about I start by leaking one of the tracks for Limsa Lominsa? Oh, and while I'm at it, how about these two tracks for La Noscea? Sure, they won't be officially released in-game until the 3rd phase of the Beta Test, but who's going to stop me? Mwahahahahaha!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=52g8TPxR9XQ

The soft breeze off the ocean, the endless blue sky. Ah, what I wouldn't give to escape from this stuffy office and steal away to a place like Limsa Lominsa, where I could fill my lungs with the salty air and listen to the gulls while sipping on a glass fine wine. If I close my eyes, I can almost feel the cool sea spray tickle my skin.
That reminds me!

The FINAL FANTASY Vocal Collection goes on sale tomorrow in Japan...and it will contain the full, uncut version of “Answers” sung by the lovely Susan Calloway! That's right, the version you heard in the End of an Era trailer was only half the masterpiece! But now, for the first time ever, the song will be available to the public (outside of limited-edition sets sold at private shows, etc.), and that means for the first time ever, the lyrics will be unveiled!!1!

(Um, Mr. Knee-Soken, Ferne here. I, uh, posted the lyrics on the Lodestone forums a few months back, so actually, this is technically the second time ever they will have been released to the public!)

Silence! This is my blog, and I'll have none of your insolence! I was merely saying that it was the first time the lyrics would be released in PRINTED form!
Now, where was I?
Ah yes, the CD! You can find out more about it here. But be careful before opening the site at work, unless you don't think your boss'd mind the silky smooth sounds.

And uh... I guess that's all? Very well. You can have your blog back...for now. But one day I'll return. You won't know when, and you won't know where (though it'll more than likely be here), but mark my words, you haven't heard the last of Knee-Soken! Mwahahahaha!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

-----
I love it when a plan comes together. ;)
(cue fanfare)
Fernehalwes.
 
I don't play XIV at all, but I love this Yoshida guy. Ever since he came on board, he's been nothing but cool.

Yoshida and his team seem to be the only guys inside Square-Enix that understand what made the company so great in the past, and are trying hard to replicate that as best they can.

I can't say that they'll succeed or not, but he's leaps and bounds better than Toriyama. At least FFXIV hasn't been compared to Call of Duty yet.
 
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