Hironobu Sakaguchi, the original creator of Final Fantasy, is a huge fan of MMORPGs.
In fact, according to a new interview with IGN, it was his love of EverQuest that led to the development of Final Fantasy 11 – the series’ first foray into online gaming.
“My first [MMORPG] was EverQuest. I got absolutely addicted to it and forced a dozen or so SquareSoft staff members at the time to play as well, telling them it was required knowledge. Incredibly, most of them got hooked too, which led to [Final Fantasy 11],” he said.
“Actually, some of the staff never made it back to the real world.”
That’s why he was reticent to begin Final Fantasy 14, but eventually he did.
“Part of why I’d never played [Final Fantasy 14] is because I’ve always liked MMORPGs,” Sakaguchi said, “and just like I feared, I got addicted to it once I started.”
Sakaguchi has since become legendary in the game’s community for interacting with fellow players. He even started his own clothing line, SakaGUCCI.
“You come to learn relatively personal things about other players in MMORPGs. They might say that their cat is meowing, or talk about their children, for example. You also learn how old they are in these moments. Still, you don’t dig too deep into their lives, right? It’s almost like a new form of relationship, where you know just a bit about someone’s private life,” he said.
“On the other hand, though, you talk to them in depth about the game, like ‘You need to start with rings there, not legs,’ or ‘I need to get my crits up.’ It’s those kinds of odd conversations that I like. Someone might type, ‘My hands are so cold that they don’t move…’ only for me to reply, ‘Sorry, but it’s 27 degrees (81F) here in Hawaii!'”
Sakaguchi comments on the game being a celebration of the series. Producer Yoshi-P asked the creator how much of the series he was allowed to change.
“I replied, ‘[Final Fantasy 14] belongs to you. I don’t intend on meddling in any way. It’s yours, so do as you like with it.’ It seems like that resonated with [Yoshida] to some degree, and he said he’d really go for it in that case,” said Sakaguchi.
He even describes the game as “like Disneyland”.
“Disneyland is able to create its own kind of reality through detailed rules like not allowing two Mickeys to be in the same place at the same time, right? I love the way that the game pays close attention to its own kinds of rules that let you enjoy it as a [Final Fantasy] theme park, rather than just stuffing everything they feel like into one place.”
Sakaguchi has steered clear of the series in recent times, most recently releasing Fantasian, and that won’t change anytime soon.
“I’m having so much fun with [Final Fantasy 14] that I don’t want to get involved in its production. I wouldn’t want to learn any inside information, either,” he said.
“I really shouldn’t be getting this obsessed with a game, should I? I have work I need to do!” Well that’s relatable.
The latest patch for Final Fantasy 14 was just released, named Newfound Adventures, which adds a load of new story quests and other content.