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:
Bonus, Shiva rendering:
About the colours:
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 worryI 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.
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 meI'll continue working like a man possessed. (lol)
- 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.
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 teams 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.