Final Fantasy XIV Online Boss Talks Potential Xbox, Nintendo Versions; Free-To-Play Switch Not Happening

Square Enix’s long-running MMO Final Fantasy XIV Online is currently only available on PlayStation 4 and PC, but the title could eventually come to Xbox and Nintendo platforms.

Speaking to GameSpot from the Square Enix Japan offices today in Shinjuku, game director Naoki Yoshida said versions of the game are possible for Xbox and Nintendo systems. In fact, he said discussions with Microsoft and Nintendo, as well as Google, are currently underway.

As he’s said in previous interviews, Yoshida stressed with GameSpot that Final Fantasy XIV needs to support cross-play to have its playerbases united and offer the best experience. That’s currently possible on PS4 and PC, but not with other systems, which has presumably kept the game off Xbox and Nintendo systems so far. However, now that Sony, as well as Nintendo, is beginning to allow cross-play with competing platforms for games like Fortnite and Rocket League, it seems more likely than ever that Final Fantasy XIV comes to new platforms.

Nothing is certain at this stage, and Yoshida wouldn’t be drawn too far into a speculative conversation about where Final Fantasy XIV may be released someday.

Yoshida poses in a meeting room at Square Enix's offices in Japan. Yoshida poses in a meeting room at Square Enix’s offices in Japan.

“Talks with platform-holders has been going on. The fundamental philosophy with Final Fantasy XIV is we want it on labels with cross-platform play with any devices, hardware possible,” Yoshida said through a translator. “So as long as the regulations with the counterpart hardware companies … we can actually pass that, then the possibility, the chance is quite high [of Final Fantasy XIV coming to Xbox and Nintendo systems].

“So we are talking with Nintendo, Microsoft, and Google, of course; we cannot say anything at the moment because we are still in negotiations, but once we have details we can make an announcement; we can bring the news to everyone. We are currently negotiating will all those platforms.”

In our nearly hour-long interview with Yoshida, he repeatedly mentioned that Square Enix wants Final Fantasy XIV Online to reach as many people as possible. It already has more than 14 million registered players, and launching the game on Xbox and Nintendo systems would only increase the game’s footprint further still. Also in the interview, I asked Yoshida if Square Enix might consider dropping the game’s monthly subscription fee in favour of a free-to-play business model in an effort to help the game reach even more players.

It’s not likely to happen. Final Fantasy XIV Online is currently free up to level 35, and that’s as “free-to-play” as the game is likely to be for the foreseeable future.

“F2P is not a bad model. F2P in general in games, players try it, and then just go. For Final Fantasy XIV, our basic game design is we want players to spend a little bit of time and because the game gets interesting [over time]. If we shift to F2P with the current game design, then either the community or the game itself would break. So it’s not going to be good. If we were to move to a F2P model, we should have to completely rehash, recreate the game design from scratch. Changing simply to FP2 now is not a good game design decision. It’s not a good direction.”

GameSpot’s wide-ranging interview with Yoshida covered a number of other topics, including the controversial new race, Hrothgar, coming in the Shadowbringers expansion, as well as the new raid boss designed by Tetsuya Nomura, and even Yoshida’s stance on battle royale. Keep checking back with GameSpot for more.

We sat down with Yoshida as part of the Final Fantasy Fan Fest. For more, check out GameSpot’s recent stories linked below.

Disclosure: Square Enix paid for GameSpot’s flight to Tokyo and accomodation.

Another New Apex Legends Character Is Coming In Season 1, According To Sony

Season 1 of Apex Legends launched on March 20 and, alongside the first wave of cosmetic items included in the Battle Pass, developer Respawn Entertainment also introduced a new character called Octane. While most assumed Respawn was planning to release one character per season, it seems that another Legend will be made available before Season 1 is over.

That’s according to a listing for the Apex Legends Season 1 Battle Pass on the PlayStation Store, which also references a new weapon as well as the second character. “Two new characters will launch over the course of the season,” it reads. “But in the meantime, look out for a new weapon set to launch as the season progresses. Best of all, each new Legend and weapon will launch with a full set of cosmetics to unlock. Two new items will be introduced during the season that will offer something new and innovative to the strategic mix.”

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The first of those two new characters is Octane, who is available now and, thus far, the only new weapon introduced is the Havoc assault rifle, which became available in February. Currently, there are no further details on what the new weapon is. Although the same can be said for the new character, dataminers may have given us some indication of who’s next. They found the names of a number of characters in Apex Legends’ code and among them was Octane.

Following the datamining leak, Respawn took to Reddit to advise the Apex community not to believe everything they see. “There’s lots of stuff that has been datamined from Apex since launch and is swirling around the Internet,” said community manager Jay Frechette. “We know this stuff is fun to dig up and speculate about, but you should not treat any of that info as a source of truth.

“There’s stuff in there that is very old, or things we’ve tried in the past and cut–remember our design process is to prototype and play lots of ideas–and some of it may be things we’re still building for Apex Legends. Finding this stuff by no means confirms that it’ll ever come out. At best you should treat any posts about this as a rumor and the real info will come from us when we’re ready to show off what’s coming next.”

With the release of Season 1: Wild Frontier and its optional battle pass, you’re no may be thinking about sinking some money into the game. However, there is a way to get the Apex Legends Battle Pass for half off, and it’s pretty easy to do.

Final Fantasy XIV Online Director Says He Wants To Make A Battle Royale Game

Naoki Yoshida is currently very busy with his work on Final Fantasy XIV Online, but, in a dream scenario, what kind of game would he like to make?

Speaking to GameSpot at the Square Enix offices in Shinjuku today, Yoshida said he’d like to take on the battle royale genre with a project of his own. He teased that he has “some ideas” to innovate on games like Fortnite and Apex Legends, though he didn’t share any specifics.

Yoshida also said he’d like to make another MMO someday that may not be set in the Final Fantasy universe. He’d like to make that game before he dies. And while on the subject of dream projects, Yoshida said he hopes to play Diablo 4 before he leaves this world.

“I would like to make a battle royale game. I have some ideas to do that,” Yoshida told GameSpot through a translator. “I have some ideas to make that type of game fun. As an online game designer, I would like to make an MMORPG from scratch without any limitations or restrictions. Removing all those kind of restrictions, I would like to make one MMORPG that fits the current trend before I die. I would also like [to play] Diablo 4.”

A Final Fantasy battle royale game would truly be something new and different, but Yoshida didn’t say if his idea for a battle royale game would be in the Final Fantasy universe. Similarly, it’s exciting to think about what Yoshida could do in the MMO space with a blank canvas.

But again, he’s only dreaming here. Yoshida has no plans to work on anything except Final Fantasy XIV Online for now. Whatever the case, it’s almost always intriguing to hear what “dream projects” developers have in mind, and this is no different for Yoshida.

And as for his Diablo 4 comment, it seems Yoshida is just like you, me, and the rest of the world–waiting, not always patiently, for Diablo 4.

We sat down with Yoshida as part of the Final Fantasy Fan Fest. For more, check out GameSpot’s recent stories linked below.

Disclosure: Square Enix paid for GameSpot’s flight to Tokyo and accomodation.

Two New Nintendo Switch Models Coming, And They May Surprise You – Report

The Wall Street Journal reports that Nintendo will launch not one but two new Nintendo Switch models in the coming months. One of the new systems will sport “enhanced” features, and it’s designed for “avid” gamers. However, its specs won’t match Xbox One X or PS4 Pro, WSJ said.

The other system is described as a “cheaper option for casual gamers that Nintendo sees as a successor to its aging hand-held 3DS device…”

According to WSJ, Nintendo is planning to announce the new Switch consoles at E3 in June, and then launch them ” a few months later,” in time for the holiday season. A Nintendo representative declined to comment when approached by WSJ.

A source explained to WSJ that the new consoles might not be what you expect. “You would be wrong to think the enhanced version is similar to what Sony did with PS4 Pro and the other is just a cheap alternative that looks very similar to some past hand-held machines, say, Sony’s PlayStation Vita,” the source said.

Intriguingly, the report goes on to claim that the lower-cost Switch model is doing away with things like controller vibration in an effort to cut costs. The report doesn’t include any mention of price points for either console.

And in another change, WSJ reports that Nintendo is working with Sharp on the displays for the new Switch models. The company reportedly bid to make the displays for the original Switch consoles but lost out.

As you may recall, WSJ was the first to initially report that Nintendo would release a new Switch revision in 2019. Given E3 is now just a few months away, you can expect even more reports, rumours, and speculation about new hardware to continue to ramp up.

The Switch has been a big success for Nintendo. It sold more than 32 million consoles worldwide in under two years, which is more than double the lifetime sales figure of the Wii U.

Microsoft is also expected to announce new hardware at E3 2019, while Sony’s rumored PlayStation 5 is likely set for a reveal at some point soon as well.

Square Enix Considering Fan Feedback Over Final Fantasy XIV Online’s Controversial New Races

One of the biggest announcements at Final Fantasy Fan Fest this weekend in Tokyo was a new race, Hrothgar, for Final Fantasy XIV Online‘s upcoming Shadowbringers expansion.

The announcement was met with some amount of criticism, as it was revealed that Hrothgar is locked to male characters while the other new race, Viera, is locked to female characters.

Game director Naoki Yoshida responded to the drama in an interview with GameSpot today. He said the team hasn’t had enough time yet to consider all the feedback considering the announcement of Hothgar is so recent.

“We have to identify what they’re coming from, so we can respond correctly,” Yoshida said about concerned fans. “We want to review all the feedback that players gave. The bottom line is that the addition of a race takes quite a lot of cost; it’s really quite an undertaking.”

Yoshida added that in Final Fantasy XII, which is where Viera is from, the male Viera do not show themselves in public, so Final Fantasy XIV Online is staying loyal to the lore with only offering a female option. Yoshida explained that the male-only Hrothgar is Square Enix’s effort to offer a new male-only race in response to Viera being female-only.

I asked Yoshida if Square Enix would considering allowing more gender options for Hrothgar and Viera in the future, but it appears the studio wants to consider feedback first before making any announcements. Yoshida also said to GameSpot that, due in part to the high complexity and challenge of creating new races and balancing them, Hrothgar might be the final new race added to Final Fantasy XIV Online.

The new Shadowbringers expansion launches on July 2. Final Fantasy XIV is available for PS4 and PC, but Yoshida also recently teased that it could launch on Xbox and Nintendo platforms.

We sat down with Yoshida as part of the Final Fantasy Fan Fest. For more, check out GameSpot’s recent stories linked below.

Disclosure: Square Enix paid for GameSpot’s flight to Tokyo and accomodation.

Top New Game Releases For Switch, PS4, Xbox One, And PC This Week — March 24-30 2019

This week’s episode of New Releases is all about the numbers, from the baseball diamonds of MLB The Show 19 to the empty neighborhoods of Generation Zero. Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch also gets its own port of Final Fantasy 7 and a new dino adventure with Yoshi’s Crafted World. For those who missed out on Connor’s original adventure, there’s Assassin’s Creed 3 Remastered too.

Final Fantasy VII — March 26

Available on: Switch

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It’s hard to say anything new about this beloved RPG starring Cloud, Aerith, Sephiroth, and more fan-favorite characters. At least you can take the grand adventure on the go. This particular port includes a 3x speed mode, the ability to turn off random encounters, and something Square Enix calls a “battle enhancement mode.”

Further Reading:

MLB The Show 19 — March 26

Available on: PS4

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The annual baseball series is back for another inning, this time with the Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper on the cover. New to this year’s entry are Moments, iconic events from MLB history. These can be experienced both offline and alongside the popular Diamond Dynasty mode.

Further Reading:

Generation Zero — March 26

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC

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You’re in Sweden, everyone has disappeared, and there are giant robots roaming the country. It’s quite a setup, and fortunately you can solve the mystery of what happened with friends in four-player co-op. Expect a lot of resistance in this open world.

Yoshi’s Crafted World — March 29

Available on: Switch

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Kirby’s world is spun from yarn, and Yoshi’s is crafted out of cardboard. You can replay a level backwards to find secrets in what was once the stage’s backdrop, and you can play the entire adventure with a friend by sharing a pair Joy-Cons. Yoshi himself can dress up in various cardboard costumes as he rides atop cars, planes, and other hand-crafted vehicles.

Further Reading:

Assassin’s Creed III Remastered — March 29

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC

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Assassin’s Creed 3 received mixed reviews when it first launched, but now you can relive Connor’s story with improved game mechanics and more polished graphics. What’s more, it includes all the previously released DLC and a second game, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation. Even better, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey season pass holders get the whole package for free.

Further Reading:

March is coming to a close, but the next episode of New Releases will take a look at what the month of April has to offer. Next month is home to some long-awaited titles like Mortal Kombat 11 and Days Gone.

The Walking Dead Just Mercilessly Thinned the Herd

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow…

Well now… that was certainly something!

Ten people dead, some of whom were kind of important. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

This series doesn’t always follow the comic books exactly, but… it does more than it doesn’t. And if it needs to tweak things, it usually just switches characters around. It has different people die in place of others. A notable change-up here in the back half of Season 9 is that Daryl and Henry filled in for Rick and Carl in the Whisperers arc. Story elements tend to remain while “who does the actual doing” is what tends to change.

Those who read the comics knew something bad was about to go down at the Kingdom’s fair. But even if you hadn’t read up, the show signaled ahead a few episodes back. If you pick up on things, there were definitely things to pick up. Anyhow, I wrongly had this moment – the ten zombie heads on spikes – pegged for the season finale. I thought this would be the brutal mic drop that takes us out of the season. But it was used here in the penultimate episode. Nicely done, show! Also, the move pairs really well with last week’s wickedly harsh episode. I’m enjoying all the ghoulish gloom.

Continue reading…

Rainbow Six Siege in 2019: What’s Over The Burnt Horizon

Rainbow Six Siege had something of a rocky start, but Ubisoft’s dedication to its multiplayer-only competitive shooter has seen it go from strength to strength. With the launch of Burnt Horizon, Siege embarks on its fourth year of constant improvements — beginning with the addition of Australia (finally).

Here’s a look at the year ahead.

A Sunburnt Country

The year kicks off with two new operators and a new map. The map, Outback — or Servo, as the locals call it — is a tightly built two storey arena with an emphasis on destructibility. Hanley’s Roadhouse — named for Timothy Hanley, the sole Australian Operator in the original Rainbow Six — demonstrates remarkable growth from the Siege dev team from its outset.

Continue reading…