The director of Final Fantasy XIV, Naoki Yoshida, recently expressed his admiration for the chaos and freedom found in the nineties MMO Ultima Online. He acknowledged that incorporating this level of chaos into FF14 would not be feasible, as it could potentially “break” the players. Yoshida emphasized the need to adapt and fine-tune the concept to suit Final Fantasy XIV’s unique appeal. While he did not mention specific MMOs from which he drew inspiration, Yoshida made it clear that Ultima Online, one of the first true MMORPGs, would not work within the framework of FF14.
Recalling the early days of Ultima Online, Yoshida acknowledged the sense of chaos and freedom the game provided. Ultima Online allowed players to commit crimes, including assassinating other players. The game even featured the infamous incident where Lord British, created by genre godfather Richard “Lord British” Garriott, was killed during the pre-launch beta test. Yoshida expressed his desire to create a similar sense of freedom in his own game, but acknowledged that it would require a new project rather than implementing it in FF14, as it would likely disrupt the existing community.
While Yoshida recognized the allure of a lawless MMO, he pointed out that creating such a game today may not be commercially successful. Despite the popularity of survival games like Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved, an MMO centered around chaos might not capture the attention of gamers. Ultimately, Yoshida believed that if such a game were to be developed, it would struggle to find a market.
Tuning the Chaos for Final Fantasy XIV
Yoshida emphasized the importance of adapting the concept of chaos and freedom from Ultima Online to suit Final Fantasy XIV. He acknowledged that FF14 has its own unique appeal and simply transplanting Ultima Online’s mechanics would not work. Instead, Yoshida stated that his team at Square Enix is working on arranging and tuning the elements to ensure they fit seamlessly into the world of FF14.
While the chaos and freedom of Ultima Online have left a lasting impact on the MMO genre, Yoshida recognizes that replicating it within Final Fantasy XIV would not be feasible. Striking a balance between providing players with a sense of freedom and maintaining a cohesive community is a delicate task. Ultimately, Yoshida’s admiration for Ultima Online serves as inspiration rather than a blueprint for FF14. As Final Fantasy XIV continues to evolve and captivate players around the world, the influence of Ultima Online is an important reminder of the genre’s rich history.