In the 60th Letter from the Producer Live broadcast, Final Fantasy XIV director/producer Naoki Yoshida and global community manager Toshio Murouchi revealed the fourth major update to follow the Shadowbringers expansion set to release early in December.
Titled “Futures Rewritten,” the main scenario will continue, along with updates to the Eden raid series, the Sorrow of Werlyt scenario, and more. Special guest Kei Odagiri joined the broadcast to share how developing the game’s many UI functions works.
We’ve summarized the major information below — check it out!
Patch 5.35 Content & Features
- Patch 5.35 will release on Tuesday, October 13th.
- The Bozjan Southern Front will be added. This is a new, large-scale encounter. Band together with up to 72 players and assist the Bozjan Resistance in their mission to rout the IVth Imperial Legion. Focus only on story quests or take on extra challenges, it’s up to you.
Do battle with the IVth Imperial Legion to raise your “mettle.” With sufficient mettle, raise your Resistance rank to help the front line push forward. Then, you’ll storm Castrum Lacus Litore.
Players can increase their mettle by joining special encounters in the southern front, such as Skirmishes and Critical Engagements. Mettle can’t be gained from killing enemies outside of these encounters.
Battles are initiated after meeting special conditions. Only a limited amount of players can participate with encounters ranging from 24-48 players. They’re designed to be intense battles that take place in the field comparable to dungeon or raid bosses. Awards greater mettle than Skirmishes. You’ll be notified no matter where you are on the southern front that a critical engagement will begin. Once triggered, players will have to manually “request deployment” which can be done in the UI — it’s similar to the Duty Finder. When the period for requesting deployment ends, players will be given the option to be transported to the battlefield. Next comes a preparation phase, then battle starts. If there are more requests for deployment than are permitted for an engagement, participates will be selected at random. However, you can gain priority by contributing to trigger the critical engagements or by using special items obtained in the zone.
You can start the Bozjan southern front at Level 71, and Yoshida comments its a good way to level them to 80, as they won’t have a Deep Dungeon content that previously offered this. The better you play during a Critical Engagement, the better chance you have to be selected for a one-on-one follow-up. The special actions available in this zone will be important here to survive — and yes, you can be chosen even if you’re a healer. Yoshida says you could compare it to a story battle, except harder.
- Resistance Weapon Upgrades will be added. After gaining access to the Bozjan southen front, players can also accept a quest to begin collecting items to augment their Resistance weapons. The required items can be found in and outside of the Bozjan southen front.
Yoshida commented that you don’t have to enter the Bozjan southern front to upgrade the weapon, but if you’re planning to play the content you might as well work towards upgrading the Resistance weapon in there.
- Skysteel Tool Upgrades will be added.
- Three wards and subdivisions will be added to all residential areas.
- A Community Finder will be added to the Lodestone. (See ‘Announcements’ section below.)
Patch 5.4 Content & Features
- Patch 5.4 is titled “Futures Rewritten” and will release in early December 2020. Yoshida says that development is on track to meet this date.
- The main scenario quest will continue from where it left off in “Reflections in Crystal.”
- A new level 80 dungeon will be added: Matoya’s Relict. It will be compatible with the Trust system which allows you to take NPCs along.
- The Sorrow of Werlyt scenario will continue. A new trial will be added featuring the Emerald Weapon. An Exteme-level difficulty version will also be added.
- The Eden raid series will continue with Eden’s Promise scenario. It is required that you complete Patch 5.3’s main scenario to participate in this content. A Savage-level difficulty version will also be added.
- Job adjustments will come to PvE and PvP content. More will be shared in the second part of the Patch 5.4 previous, but Monk is mentioned to have a rework coming.
- Blue Mage will get an update. The level cap will increase from 60 to 70, and new spells, gear, and duties will be available in the Blue Mage log.
- The Save the Queen scenario will be updated in patch 5.45. Resistance weapon upgrades will be available and a new battle content called Delubrum Reginae will be added. The Normal-difficulty version will require 24 players to participate with no specific roles required. The Savage version will required 48 players who must form parties before entering to participate. This content is designed based off of the Baldesion Arsenal that appeared in the Eureka during the Stormblood patch series.
- For crafters, less frequently used actions will be adjusted. New crafting conditions will be added for expert recipes. These conditions will not appear for recipes added prior to Patch 5.4.
- For gatherers, collectable and aetherial reduction systems have been revamped. The Collectable Glove action will be removed. Item wear will be removed, putting a focus on gathering attempts and collectability rating. Gathering and perception ratings will have a greater effect on collectability. Adjustments will be made to items obtained from aetherial reduction based on their collectability. Elevation of gathering points can be discerned on the map — the icon will have an indicator to tell you whether it’s above or below you. Fish eyes will be adjusted to no longer be required to catch fish. You’ll also be allowed to ignore the time requirement for catching fish.
- The fourth phase of Ishgardian Restoration will begin where restoration will reach its completion. It’ll be commemorated with construction of a monument. That monument will be based on the crafting job with the greatest contribution during a given time period. Skybuilder Rakings will re-open. New items will count toward your seasonal score. Top-ranked crafters and gatherers will receive the same title as before, but new achievements. This will be the final ranking coinciding with the conclusion of the Ishgardian restoration. Further enhancements for Skysteel Tools will be added.
- A new Unreal Trial will be selected, and Akh-Afah Amphitheatre will be retired.
- The Treasure Hunt will be updated where you’ll delve deeper into the secrets of Lyhe Ghiah.
- Ocean Fishing will get new routes and additional objectives. Completing said objectives will add bonus points to your score. Reembarking after abandoning a voyage will be restricted.
- Triple Triad will revamp its rules and UI for ease of play. A new ruleset to battle opponents with a deck of randomly chosen cards and periodically-held tournaments will be added.
- Doman Mahjong will add a Tonpusen (Quick Match) mode. The UI will be adjusted. The dora indicator can be changed to show the title before dora instead. The discard pile indicates whether a tile is “tsumokiri” (discarded immediately after it was drawn) or not.
- New violin instruments will be added to the Performance system.
- A new system for affixing multiple materia will be added. This system won’t allow you to stop between affixing multiple materia and will happen very quickly – so be careful!
- The ability to link quests in the chat window will be added.
- Final Fantasy XIV is coming to PlayStation 5 (see ‘PlayStation 5 Version’ section below.)
- A new Explorer Mode will let you enter dungeons without monsters (see ‘Special Guest’ section below)
- A classic blue mode will be added to the UI options. (See ‘Special Guest’ section below.)
PlayStation 5 Version
- The PlayStation 4 version of Final Fantasy XIV can be used to play on the PlayStation 5.
- Playstation 4 Pro settings in the System Configuration menu will be available.
- PlayStation 5 hardware will ensure quick load times.
- A PlayStation 5-specific version of the game will be released in the future.
Special Guest: Kei Odagiri (UI Designer)
Final Fantasy XIV UI designer Kei Odagiri’s responsibilities include: understanding the plans of content designers and incorporating their ideas into the UI players see, collaborating with content designers to make gameplay accessible and intuitive, and designing and implementing UI-based game features like group pose.
Designing the UI includes things like the Duty Finder and the Crafting Tree — as well as mini-games like Doman Mahjong or the toy box’s Jigsaw Puzzle.
A new Explorer Mode is in the works that will let you freely explore dungeons you’ve previously completed. Players will be able to explore dungeons added in the 5.x series, with more to be added in the future. No enemies will appear, and all obstacles will be cleared. Mounts, minions, and fashion accessories will be allowed during excursions. You can also place a striking dummy and use actions on it to screencap the perfect battle shot. There’s a toggle between Limit Break levels one, two, and three planned.
Odagiri explained that the team is divided into an art section, design section, and programming section — that way back when it would be enough to make a standalone game. They come together and design content like the Gold Saucer’s Air Force One mini-game, and tune the little details down to how long it takes for the results screen to appear. He says that while these considerations seem small, there’s a lot of thought that goes into them.
Odagiri’s favorite UI function is to toggle the sound by entering a text command.
Moving on to the Q&A section, Yoshida says that a requested function is to add an indicator whether an attack has a physical or magical property, but it’s not something they can easily implement as it would require changes to how packets transfer — which isn’t a task for the UI team. Also, battle content is tuned or changed very frequently before release, which would increase the workload of the quality assurance team to test, resulting in a longer development time.
Regarding the focus target only displaying a limited number of buffs, they say if they increased the amount it may become redundant with the target bar.
Regarding more customization options, Yoshida said the team will brainstorm a lot of potential changes, but whether they can implement them is another matter. Keeping the UI consistent across all platforms is a concern and that too many adjustments might break the whole system.
Yoshida says 4K and 8K resolutions are becoming more popular so they need to work on UIs that are compatible. Another question asked about a grid snap for UI customization, and Yoshida explained that while it’s possible, the implementation under the current system wouldn’t work as players might expect.
When asked what UI Odagiri loved from other games, he cited Atlus’s Persona 5 and the camera functionality in Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima. Yoshida mentioned that the Persona 5 website was impressive.
Another player request is to show if you’ve previously bought a minion while you browse the market board. Yoshida answered by saying there isn’t currently a way to make it happen. Perhaps if minion data was saved client side, but there are a lot of items.
While Yoshida and Odagiri would like to implement a function that adds or replaces a name with a job icon, the nameplate system might have to be revamped for it to work correctly. It was the most difficult UI task for the team when building the game.
When asked about a system where you could mark a large amount of items to discard, Yoshida responded that it’s not possible due to the server side requests involved — it’d result in a lot of errors.
A “Classic” blue UI is currently being planned. Additionally, the Duty Finder UI will display the role required for “Adventurer in Need” alongside the duty.
Objects in dungeons such as the dungeon exits can’t currently be hidden in the group pose function, as the way they’re implemented would require a lot of time and effort to rework.
Regarding a request to decide what emote the party members use during group pose, Yoshida stated that it’s not something he wants to implement from a director’s standpoint, that it would make the game feel instantiated (perhaps removing the necessity for other players to actively emote to get the perfect shot.) Work has been done on adding a slow-motion feature to more easily capture a screenshot, but there’s been difficulties.
Yoshida said he requested that a group pose guide be implemented to ease new players into the group pose’s many functions. While more stickers are planned for Sticker Mode, Odagiri said the team is running low on new ideas to implement for group pose. While there are some features planned, it’s still a bit early to announce them.
To close, Odagiri thanks the players for their feedback and that the UI team is currently hiring for new positions.
- The Fan Festival that was originally planned for 2020-2021 in North America, Japan, and Europe has been cancelled in all regions. The team is researching options for the venue — they are considering shifting to a digital Fan Festival. More information will come later.
- The team will be hosting an event in February 2021 to announce new information regarding Final Fantasy XIV. (Editor’s note: this will likely include the next expansion.) A 14-hour broadcast is planned for this event.
- A “Community Finder” feature will be implemented on The Lodestone to recruit and find in-game communities. This will launch with Patch 5.35 on October 13th. A campaign event between October 13th and 27th will be held where in-game items will be obtainable.
- Final Fantasy XIV is nominated for “Still Playing Award,” “Best Game Expansion,” and “Best Game Community” at GamesRadar’s Golden Joystick Awards. You can vote for them here.
- Final Fantasy XIV official art prints are planned to go on sale December 4th. Check them out here.
- New merchandise including a giant Fat Cat cushion, gaming mousepad, Paissa Patissier plushie, and acryllic job stands are available to purchase here.