“If we were to start considering upgrading the graphics into our normal development schedule, I’d be very worried about our cycle,” says the MMO’s director Naoki Yoshida.
Having relaunched in 2013, Final Fantasy 14 is a game that, in spite of being years old by this point, still looks really good. But as is often the case with long-running MMOs, simply by virtue of how old it is, it also doesn’t hold up in terms of visuals as compared to contemporary games.
But is a visual upgrade on the docket for the highly successful and beloved MMO? Is that something Square Enix are looking into? Recently, while speaking with DualShockers, Final Fantasy 14 director Naoki Yoshida said that he understands why fans of the game want a visual upgrade, and that at least as far as desire is concerned, it’s something that he wants to do.
“Of course, I understand that with the different MMORPGs some of them have become old,” said Yoshida. “We see many titles that have released in the past and some that reflect the graphics depiction in sort of updated ways as time goes. I’m sure people do want to see the graphical quality improve in the game. I totally understand that. From that perspective, yes, we would love to eventually update the graphics so we can continue to claim that Final Fantasy XIV has world class graphics while being an MMORPG. The simple answer is, yes, there’s always that desire.”
That said, don’t take that to mean a visual upgrade is on its way- because it isn’t. Yoshida then went on to say that the process of keeping an MMO active and functioning – on top of constantly releasing meaty new expansions for it – is a very busy and hectic process, and if Square Enix were to add a visual upgrade on top of that, they might not be able to maintain their output.
“There are two major issues with it,” he said. “Even now, we strive to have high-quality visuals. It is very detailed, very vivid, we made sure the quality’s already high. When we think of rendering this to still look beautiful on a 4K monitor, making sure that the texture doesn’t become degraded, adding more polygons in our models, of course, it’s not impossible to do but we currently have a patch upgrade cycle. We release a major patch or update every three and a half months or so, and all of the gear we design and the content we build is part of that cycle.
“It is quite aggressive even now so if we add on top of that the workflow for making our graphics depiction advanced it will add to the cost that is required. We would have to add to the workflow as well and not just cost in terms of bandwidth, time as well, it’s not a matter of just adding additional people who can resolve this issue. It is quite a tough predicament. If we were to start considering upgrading the graphics into our normal development schedule, I’d be very worried about our cycle.”
Personally, I don’t think a visual upgrade is all that necessary for FF14 in any case. Sure, it doesn’t look cutting edge, but Final Fantasy 14 is still a really good looking game- and the fact that it it’s built on six year old visuals doesn’t really matter when the game itself is as stellar as this one is. I mean, just look at its most recent expansion.