FFXIV Artists Used Their Free Time To Get Bunny Boys Into The Game

The elusive male Viera.
The elusive male Viera.
Screenshot: Square Enix

When Final Fantasy XIV introduced female-only Viera and male-only Hrothgar as playable races for its Shadowbringers expansion, fans were not happy. It turns out the game’s graphics team weren’t happy either, so they worked in their free time between patches to get male rabbits and female bestial cats into Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker.

Advertisement

In a Q&A posted this morning on the PlayStation Blog, FFXIV producer Naoki Yoshida talks about how the surprising addition of male Viera revealed during the recent Fanfest streaming event came about. During Shadowbringers’ release, Yoshida was adamant that the gender-locked versions of the Viera and Hrothgar would be the final playable races added to the game. As the game director points out, each new playable race adds more work to every game update. Clothing needs to fit. Cutscenes need to be tested to ensure members of the new races stay in the frame. Emotes have to be tailored for each race as well, so adding a new gesture or dance gets more complicated.

So we wound up with female rabbits, honoring Fran from Final Fantasy XII, and male beasts in honor of Kimahri from Final Fantasy X. But that wasn’t good enough for fans, and leaving such a strong player request unanswered didn’t sit well with the game’s graphics team. So they used their own time to figure it out.

Bunny boy in shadow.
Bunny boy in shadow.
Screenshot: Square Enix

“They spent over half a year using what free time they had in between their normal work on the patches to consider ways to add another playable race,” Naoki Yoshida tells the PlayStation Blog. “From this they concluded that we could probably squeeze in just one more at this time.”

So not only did the graphics team make male Viera possible, they also figured out how to add female Hrothgar. “Rather than waiting until (hypothetically) 7.0 to add two playable races at the same time,” says Yoshida, “we realized we could actually ease the impact on our resources if we implemented these one at a time. Ultimately, I decided we should then move forward with implementing one playable race at a time, and I will make sure to explain that to our players: that’s what we did for this upcoming expansion.”

So here’s to Final Fantasy XIV’s graphics team, who worked tirelessly to get scantily clad rabbit boys into the next expansion. They’re the real heroes.

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, keyboards, toys, snacks, and other unsavory things.

DISCUSSION

zunnoab
ZWis

I always hated the mono-gender thing. I happened to want to play a male Hrothgar (and it is amazing how adorable they can be made to look) so it didn’t affect me, but it’s always been a really dumb design decision for me.

Hopefully they will avoid the ridiculous “males look like anthropomorphic animals, while females have mostly normal features with ears and a tail tacked on” nonsense that plagues anime. As a huge fan of anthropomorphic animals, turning one of the genders into glorified humans annoys me. They did avoid that with the Ronso though, so I suspect they will with the Hrothgar as well.

Basically less kemonomimi, and more kemono/therianthrope, if I used the terms used for Japanese media correctly.

Obviously the Viera are kemonomimi, so I’m glad to see the male concepts don’t follow the pattern I was talking about.

It’s really neat when MMORPG developers do this. I know it can’t be expected since that would amount to abusing labor, but it’s still neat. Ornamentations for the EverQuest epic weapons were added years ago, largely on the free time of an intern/new employee. It shows an incredible love for the game and the game’s players when stuff like this happens.