"There is a major risk of boredom and fatigue. In order to mitigate that aspect, that’s why we leave 30 to 40-percent outside of the bundled package so that we can take on new challenges."
- Final Fantasy XIV's Naoki Yoshida shares his advice for thriving in the live games space.
Final Fantasy XIV producer and director Naoki Yoshida sat down with The Washington Post recently to explore exactly what makes the game as successful as it has become, and why Square Enix is hopeful it'll continue to forge forward with new content and even more players.
Part of the secret, Yoshida tells The Washington Post, lies in how the team handles the traditionally tight development cycles needed to support a live game. He explains that, for Final Fantasy XIV, roughly one third of a new piece of content or update's development time is set aside to focus on innovation.
In doing so, developers are given the room they need to keep players on their toes with new concepts while also staving off some of the burnout that otherwise comes with repetitive cycles. This starts at the earliest stages of planning new content.
“For creating our instance dungeon, we would need our game design to come up with the actual content of the plan and that would probably take about 10 business days, and then we would report that for proper approvals which cost another 30 days, and then we’ll route that to the programmers, which would take them about two weeks to program in the mechanics," says Yoshida. "It’s very clear as to how much cost and time we’ll take with each component of the package that we have for our planners and the management.”
He tells The Washington Post that 60 to 70 percent of a development cycle is for the standard work expected of any update. Meanwhile, the rest of the time is set aside for developers to explore new ideas and concepts.
“With that being said, there is a major risk of boredom and fatigue. In order to mitigate that aspect, that’s why we leave 30 to 40-percent outside of the bundled package so that we can take on new challenges, think of new pieces of content we can deliver," continues Yoshida. "And sometimes we’ll make use of that space over multiple patches to bring something larger scale. So by doing so, we still have a sort of stability in our 60 or 70 percent regular content.”
Check out the full interview with The Washington Post for more from Yoshida on Final Fantasy XIV's development, how XIV has evolved through its lifetime, and his advice for other developers in the live games space.