The company took a fairly radical measure of suspending charging monthly fees. I was wondering if you could talk about why that was undertaken and if it's had the effect that you hoped?
NY: It was pretty much personally because I've been a player for so long. I wanted to make sure that I would only ask the player to pay for something that once I could say, "Okay, we have this planned, and we're going to do this. This is what we're going to do, so this is the point where we can actually ask you for money." Without that, I personally, as a player, wouldn't feel good about asking the player to pay money without that information.
And coming off what I said before, if we had used investors' money to do this, we probably couldn't do this. It's because Square Enix is funding this project 100 percent. That's why we can do this. Only Square Enix can do something like this.
The reason we're doing this is we're showing the players, yes, it's still costing us a lot of money, and we're not getting that money back yet, but we're serious about making these changes. This is one of the ways that we can show players that we are serious and we are taking it seriously.
That's why right now we still haven't put out a date, because we haven't got to that point yet where we can have a date where we're going to say, "Okay, this is the point where we're going to start taking money." So, it's still out in the open.
Since you've come on, has the community reaction changed? How do players feel about things?
NY: Yeah, the biggest thing that we've seen is the community is really rooting for us. They seem to have accepted this change and are hoping that it's moving the project in the right direction. I'm very happy we're getting so many kind words from the users, and getting such a great response.
Just yesterday, I was walking down the street, and somebody approached me in San Francisco, and said, "Are you Naoki Yoshida? I'm playing Final Fantasy XIV," and thanked me for joining the team and told me good luck. That was very surprising to me, but I was very happy that happened. It made me feel really good.
SS: Again, we do realize that the people that are still playing now are people who are very loyal, so they're going to want to expect the best. But we do realize that there are a lot of people who play, but then quit. And so our next step is that we have to show them that, yes, we have this plan and we have this vision and we want to change this. And so that's our next step. That's also very important to us.
How far into the future are you looking? Is it primarily a process of addressing concerns? Or are you looking into things like how the game will fare down the road? Do you have a long-term vision?
NY: Pretty much, we've split it into two parts. We have our long-term plan, where I have a lot of ideas for things I want to do far in the future. But then again, of course, you have the development cost and like time of the developers. And so you have to have a short-term plan as well, and these short-term plans of maybe two to three month spans, where you have your short-term goals. And achieving these is important.
The things we have for these short two-month to three-month goals are things that we are releasing in the producer letters. Of course, we want to reveal what's in that long-term plan as well, and we're working as hard as we can to make sure that we can reveal this, get that solidified so we can reveal it as soon as possible.
I've only been on the project for three months. I'm still is learning a lot about the development team, what kind of resources we have, who the people are on the team, what their strengths and weaknesses are. So, yes, I have this really long plan, and I've divided it up into certain sectors, and then those sectors are divided up into even tinier sectors. But as I learn more about the team and what they can do and what they cannot do -- of course that's going to change.
Once I've learned enough about that. "Okay, I trust that this person's is going to be able to get this much done in this much time." I'll be able to reveal more and more things that are for the future. Right now, I'm still learning, and that's why we can only reveal something that's only a few months away.
What effect has this had on the PlayStation 3 version of the game? The state that the game is in, I guess. I'm sure you've re-evaluated those plans, whatever they were.
NY: Well, again, the controls could be a little different. The PS3 version, the PC version, it's going to be the same game. So, our top priority is making the game that is very Final Fantasy, something that we can be proud of and something that the players will come in and they will love this Eorzea. It's an Eorzea that we can be proud of and the players will enjoy. Once we can do this, that's when we'll release the PlayStation 3 version.