Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida recently spoke about the future of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game with The Washington Post, saying that at its current growth rate, users can expect the online world to continue expanding with new content for at least five more years, if not indefinitely.
“Even now, [Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda] is encouraging us to strive for more players and for 30 million adventurers, and he still has future plans for us,” Yoshida told The Washington Post via translator. “Luckily, we don’t see any stopping in our momentum. At one point we thought maybe we might plateau, but fortunately our player base just continues to expand and grow.”
While game development is never easy, Final Fantasy XIV expansions and patches have continued to arrive at a decent clip under Yoshida’s guidance thanks to the way his team has streamlined the process of creating new content. Yoshida said that while planning expansions, they expect about 70% of the work to already be done due to previous development, leaving just enough room for iterating on those standardized resources.
The writing, Yoshida added, is always done much farther in advance. The story for Final Fantasy XIV’s upcoming Endwalker expansion, which launches this fall, was completed all the way back in October 2019.
Final Fantasy XIV got off to a rocky start when it first launched in 2010, but Square Enix’s decision to place Yoshida (then known chiefly as a talented Dragon Quest X planner) in a leadership role led to the 2013 release of A Realm Reborn, a reboot of the original game that’s served as a foundation for all subsequent expansions.
It’s largely assumed that Yoshida’s work turning the MMO around earned him a role producing the series’ next single-player installment, Final Fantasy XVI. But for now, he’s remaining silent on what they have in store so as to avoid inadvertently raising or dashing the hopes of the diverse Final Fantasy fanbase.
“We don’t want to say something that’s half-baked and cause speculation on [Final Fantasy XVI],” Yoshida said. “With any Final Fantasy fan, depending on which Final Fantasy title is your jam, the point that you get excited will tend to differ.”