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  • I handled network and server related matters.

  • At the time, PlayStation 2 was implementing online connectivity for the first time

  • Of course, online connectivity was available through the Dreamcast but for the PlayStation platform it was the first time they were implementing the online element to it.

  • So I was in charge of writing programs for network related things for the PlayStation 2, such as TCP/IP drivers

  • Back then we were still on modems for communication transmissions, so PPP transmissions. ADSL was starting to get implemented, too

  • I wrote programming for PPPoE for the authentication of ADSL. Really the lowest part of the network

  • that no one would write programming for anymore, was what I was working on.

  • So with Final Fantasy 11 it was the first time for Square to do an MMO to that scale in Japan. And there were many many different things...

  • Am I allowed to say more? *looks at PR and laughs*

  • But for MMO titles overseas like there was Ultima Online and other, different predecessors in the overseas market.

  • But most of the games, if not all of them, were basically on PCs only. And so coming up with the idea of having an MMO

  • on a console was treated as something that was almost impossible.

  • As well this was in the PS2 era with the hard-disk, and there were so many different arguments that were going on around that.

  • Their perspective was that it was impossible to do. So it was quite a challenge.

  • What I believe are some of the problems in looking at that first version of Final Fantasy 14 was

  • that the initial concept was for the game designers to write the scripts to create the game.

  • Of course there is an advantage of utilizing scripts in that the game designer can write the script and then it's executed quickly.

  • You don't have to consult with an engineer to talk about how the game is structured or you don't have to debate on the

  • different parameters that have to be set if a script is used.

  • So the majority of the game elements were built upon the usage of scripts that kind of automate the process.

  • The user interface was affected by this as well. When those scripts are running

  • it uses a lot of CPU resources. The usage is extremely high to just run these different scripts.

  • So as we try to execute something in game it led to the servers being slowed down because it's trying to execute these different scripts.

  • And so whatever we tried to do would lead to the slowdown of the servers and then the load that was on those servers was just too heavy

  • and we could not do anything robust or rich in terms on in-game depiction.

  • and we could not do anything robust or rich in terms of in-game depiction. And interface-wise a lot of it was being executed via scripts, so those were some of the problems that we were facing.

  • So the tasks just discussed were done during January 2010 to the actual release of August.

  • When we took notice of the game not being good, was ultimately when the beta started around August, through September, October timing

  • And then we went into the beta phase. And then more people were starting to notice that they were having a problem here

  • In actuality, the team's feeling was that, before the release, before the beta started,

  • people were questioning whether or not we should even release this game. Whether it is at a quality to release it to the world.

  • Of course not officially, but amongst developers they were taking notice of it and deliberating about it.

  • So at the time I was CFO but I did notice the biggest difference between all the issues that happened around Final Fantasy 11

  • versus the original 1.0 Final Fantasy 14, was that despite all the issues that were happening with Final Fantasy 11, the game was still fairly received well.

  • But of course there were some operational issues surrounding Final Fantasy 11 and it was kind of expected for those problems to happen.

  • But the game content itself was going well received and people were accepting and they thought that it was okay.

  • But with Final Fantasy 14 - the 1.0 version of it.

  • What I felt was problematic was that the game itself was not regarded very well it was actually received very poorly at and after launch. I really felt that sort of reaction.

  • And so you are not too far from the launch of the old Final Fantasy 14.

  • They was worry and concern within the company about can we continue doing this.

  • As mentioned earlier the developers were already sort of sceptical even at the beta even pre-beta phase.

  • There were feelings that this game is very premature, it shouldnt have been released to the world at this state.

  • But before the launch there was this sort of broad feeling that maybe it will resolve itself.

  • Maybe once it's launched maybe. Sort of like a glimpse of hope. We had nothing to back up this feeling

  • but we were hoping that it would all work out well once we launched the title.

  • But the magic didn't happen. Once released, our fears did come true.

  • It was not ready to be released to the world and I think everybody already had that worry in their minds somewhere in the back of their head.

  • And so it wasn't difficult for everybody to realize that there is some kind of fundamental issue that we need to resolve.

  • So it wasn't difficult to convince the other team members that we were running into an issue here.

  • The first game I have played was on the on the Japanese system it's called Family Computer.

  • the American system I believe it's called Nintendo Entertainment System.

  • But the original Mario Brothers was the first I played.

  • Up until now as a child I always thought a TV is something that you look at.

  • But when I first got a chance to play with Mario Brothers and got to hold that controller in my hand I wish I was

  • actually playing this at my friend's house but being able to move something that's on the TV screen using a controller - it was just shocking to me.

  • And of course another very impactful video game was the Dragon Quest. It is one of the titles that spread the whole RPG gaming in Japan.

  • It's not about action or the back and forth of numbers but it was very story driven that was very impactful for me as well.

  • And so that kind of prompted me to focus in on the RPG genre as well. And of course the Final Fantasy game

  • that came out the following year after Dragon Quest took a more cinematic movie like approach to depicting these pictures.

  • So those two games Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy are definitely very memorable games for me.

  • And then the following year one of my seniors had recommended to me Ultima Online and I joined in their beta.

  • And so that would have been my first MMO game. And those like the third time I received such a huge shock.

  • This time it's 3000 people concurrently playing on the same game. That was a big impact to me as well.

  • Ultima Online, especially in the earlier days, I felt like the level of freedom was very big. Some players would have the title of "Lord" and be very gentleman-like...

  • a sort of community leader-type, plus I created a separate, completely evil character that would kill other players. I played a lot as both.

  • And so through Ultima Online I was able to sort of study what kind of like engineering is required for an MMO type game.

  • So yeah around then I think I was playing games on PC just as much as I was on a console.

  • And so I also looked into some FPS games and then also 3D MMOs

  • Everquest was one of them. I just I got to tell you it was very difficult to obtain a package of Everquest in Japan.

  • I would travel to Tokyo on a business trip and I would go to Akihabara and I would search like a zombie trying to find it.

  • Moving from store to store asking "Do you have Everquest? Do you have Everquest?"

  • This may be at risk of being cut by corporate PR but

  • a middleware by the name of Crystal Tools was in the process of being developed company wide.

  • And a lot of the really talented programmers were pulled from all different projects and different lines so many different projects

  • were missing our lead programmers, our main programmers.

  • So. I feel that that is one of the reasons that led to the failure of 1.0 as well.

  • And then two large points that were involved in that sort of problem.

  • One of the problems was that because Square-Enix in the PlayStation 2 generation

  • had produced games that were revolutionary. With very high graphic quality and quality gaming experiences also.

  • That it was regarded as perhaps on top of the line of the world that the corporation itself became very, arrogant so to speak.

  • We had that extraneous sort of confidence that - oh we have the world's number one graphics and only we are able to accomplish that kind of quality.

  • And I feel that that extremely large success had become a sort of shackle

  • and I think we had become very arrogant very prideful.

  • Back then, we had swordsmiths, artisans that make katanas

  • We compared them to swordsmiths creating katanas one by one, by hand. And they would create world-class quality, but

  • meanwhile the world is developing technologies so that they can cover that sort of tedious manual labor through technology.

  • And so going back to the gaming industry once PlayStation 3 came out.

  • Technology finally had caught up and you are able to cover those tedious task through technology

  • but Square-Enix did not change our old methods of creating assets. And then we didn't have the resources to catch up

  • on the technology to cover for that as well. And then the programmers we knew that we had an issue that we needed to catch up

  • technology-wise were wrapped up in creating middleware. And of course the artists are in that sort of artisan mindset thinking

  • that "oh I make the worlds best graphics" and so it was a very laborious and time consuming way of creating our assets.

  • And I believe that that is one of the large problems that we had in terms of the original 1.0.

  • So the second problem relates to - of course pride is very important but with great success.

  • they started thinking that because they are great they dont need to look at other games.

  • So say for example with an MMORPG. If you ask anybody who knows MMORPGs what is

  • the most well known MMORPG that you know. If you asked 100 people I'm sure 100 people will say World of Warcraft.

  • But did the staff members play it for Warcraft? No. None of the people were familiar with that game.

  • So I gave that example of World of Warcraft not because I wanted to talk about whether or not

  • the developers knew World of Warcraft or not. But I just wanted to point out that we need to look at what would be our rival

  • and what users are experiencing in terms of the latest gameplay experiences.

  • And I felt it was very unbelievable that no one was doing the research for titles outside of your own because you won't

  • know where you are unless you look at other games. Even with online games.

  • Final Fantasy 11 of course there was great success on that title as well but that was actually based on

  • a lot of the developers looking at Everquest and they've thoroughly looked at it and studied it and played it and they applied

  • that sort of knowledge in order to make 11 such a great game.

  • It's like if you're trying to open a new restaurant when you go in and do absolutely no research

  • on the surrounding competitors and open up a new restaurant, right?

  • I was in a different team of course but I was reading up on the Internet that the response to the beta was poor and I mean

  • at that time, of course, whenever an MMO launches I know the Internet tends to get up in arms and they try to complain about it.

  • The development team does do server stress tests but of course the player wants to play it as soon as they can.

  • So of course it is anticipated that server crashes and things like that.

  • So I mean I wasn't involved in the team so I was looking at it from the outside perspective but I was thinking that because

  • it is the same team who worked on 11 so I thought it was just the consumers comparing it to the high level of completion of FF 11

  • and so I thought eventually that sort of animosity would die down.

  • But coming from an insider perspective, there were apparentaly a number of people within the original development team

  • that though if we continued moving forward with this we were in a very bad situation.

  • The company, Square-Enix, had turned around and told those people that well that's how it was for Final Fantasy 11's launch.

  • We had missing functions that were a lot of negative feedback but we were able to patch it up and fix it.

  • So the company had decided to conclude that beta phase and then go into launch.

  • This is information that I found out when I talked with and interviewed with some of the development staff members after I had joined the project.

  • But yeah there were indeed people within the development team that did raise their voice that it was we were in a very bad situation.

  • But the company had ultimately decided to move forward anyway.

  • So I believe there were three major points that I had to accomplish with this sort of transition of course

  • the first being that the top level were going to be swapped out from the original team and then that our task force

  • that was said was going to be sort of like the lead there would be a core team that was involved with the development.

  • And because I was on the Dragon Quest side I did not know these people on the development team.

  • Of course some of them I knew their names and faces but I had not had a chance to work with those people so it was literally just saying "hello!"

  • that was kind of like my beginning and I told them that because

  • I have not worked with you, so if you don't like what I do in my job, you are more than welcome to leave the team.

  • But please give me about three months to work together to see what we are like what you are like what I am like

  • and that's the kind of talk that I deliver during my speech.

  • I did mention to them that we are going to take this challenge on one more time.

  • At that time we didn't have any plans of A Realm Reborn just yet.

  • But I did communicate that we're not going to give up on this project and we're still going to push through.

  • So there were people who already knew me and they would be just as encouraged. Like 'oh yes I'm going to go and do this'.

  • And some people reacted like 'this is this impossible you're putting too much' on us or some people just got frustrated because

  • they did not like what was going on. So I think that was the kind of general reaction that I got.

  • And there's a team member on the XIV sound team even now, Masayoshi Soken, was there when I did this speech in a large hall to the development team

  • also was in charge of adjusting my microphone there and when I delivered that speech he was the only one I can still clearly remember.

  • He was like "Yes I'm going to do it!".

  • Plan B was apply patches to the current version of Final Fantasy 14, but alongside that

  • in the background we would build a completely new Final Fantasy 14

  • Of course just listening to those two options corporate would have been like "What are you talking about, trying to divide up your team?"

  • But I told them also because we had promised our fans that we would release a PS3 version

  • we would need to launch this within the lifecyle of PS3.

  • So we wanted to get the game out if not by the end of 2012, then sometime within 2013.

  • Of course there was a very high risk, and we've never done it before in the games industry,

  • and on top of that, we're releasing it under the same title.

  • But I think at least by taking on this challenge we'd get

  • the fans to realize that Final Fantasy is doing something crazy again or something really great

  • and they will see our effort in trying to regain their trust, and trying to make good on the damage we had caused to the franchise.

  • So that was my presentation to corporate and I was going to leave it up to them to decide upon Option A or Option B

  • Of course as you may already be aware, corporate did choose Option B, and here we are today.

I handled network and server related matters.

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FINAL FANTASY XIV紀錄片第一部分--"一點O" (FINAL FANTASY XIV Documentary Part #1 - "One Point O")

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    Amy.Lin 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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