“WE DISCUSS VANA’DIEL” is a series of conversations between Producer Matsui and special guests who are familiar with FINAL FANTASY XI (FFXI). Our seventh guest is Tetsuya Nomura, one of Square Enix's leading creative minds who worked on various initial character designs for FFXI. In this fourth and final part of the conversation, Mr. Nomura shared his thoughts on FFXI’s 20th anniversary and the future of the FF series!
One of the main creative minds at Square Enix on the FF series. He bolstered the fame of the FF series with iconic characters such as Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, Squall, Yuna, and Lightning. He is also the director of the Kingdom Hearts series, another flagship IP of Square Enix, which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022.
What lies ahead for FFXI and the FF series
FFXI will finally be celebrating its 20th anniversary in May of this year (2022).
That’s truly amazing. Whether you’re a player or developer, dedicating yourself to one undertaking for 20 years is no easy feat. I’m the type of person who feels compelled to continually take on all sorts of challenges, so it’s amazing to me how Mr. Matsui has been developing and operating an MMORPG for so long.
Well, it’s the fate of getting involved with an MMORPG; you’re no longer able to work on any other titles.
Also, this is my personal opinion, but with so many players enjoying FFXI for such a long time, one possibility could be harnessing the development resources and knowledge of operations you’ve cultivated so far in order to reach new players.
That certainly would be nice.
Those are just my personal thoughts, though. (laughs)
Of course, I’m sure there’s plenty of hurdles in terms of practicality, like adjusting the game for modern lifestyles, but it’d be nice to have something that makes FFXI accessible for those who want to play from the very beginning. We’ve been seeing a lot of open world games and MMORPGs released for smartphones over the past few years, for example.
When I previously had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Koichi Ishii*, he mentioned something along the lines of, “Mr. Nomura is carrying on Square’s creative spirit.”* Koichi Ishii, original Director of FFXI.
Mr. Ishii also said the same thing to me in person when he was leaving the company. We were rarely involved in the same team, but I was glad that he was looking out for me.
Perhaps it means he had various intentions for you.
After all, Tetsu* has worked on not only numbered FF titles, but many spin-offs and related series as well. Of all of our staff members throughout the years, I’m quite sure he has the most titles with “FF” in their name under his belt. So at least among the veteran members, he’s recognized as the creative mind who embodies FF, and I believe that in a sense, Mr. Ishii has entrusted the future of the FF series to Tetsu.* “Tetsu” is a nickname for Mr. Nomura.
Mr. Nomura, do you feel pressured in carrying on the spirit of a massive IP like the FF series?
I believe Kitase* is the one who inherited it. After all, he was like a disciple to Mr. Sakaguchi and still has close ties with him today.* Yoshinori Kitase, Brand Manager of the FF series.
When working on the FF series, I also feel that I have a kind of intuition that I can’t put into words. Kitase and I worked with Mr. Sakaguchi in the past, and I believe there’s a nuance we can feel based on our firsthand experiences,
* Hironobu Sakaguchi, one of the founders of the FF series.
I’m really looking forward to your future endeavors, Mr. Nomura. Finally, do you have any words for our FFXI players?
Thank you for playing FFXI for these past 20 years. I hope you'll continue to play for the next 20 years!
I’d be old enough to retire by then. Though that goes for you too, Tetsu. (laughs)