Like many of today’s MMORPG monoliths, Final Fantasy XIV is barely recognisable compared to how it looked and played at launch. However, even by MMO standards, few games have undergone a transformation as drastic and important as FFXIV.
FFXIV 1.0 was a critical disaster, prompting an official apology from developer Square Enix and standing in infamy as the rockiest launch in the series’ history. After replacing the development team, Square Enix relaunched the game as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn to commercial and critical acclaim. This success has primarily been attributed to one man – director and producer Naoki Yoshida (or Yoshi-P to his fans).
But what does it take to craft one of the best MMOs of the moment? With Realm Reborn now in its eighth year and its eagerly anticipated fourth expansion Endwalker coming out in November, we spoke to Naoki Yoshida about the history of the MMORPG genre, changing player attitudes, and his storied relationship with competitors like World of Warcraft.