"It became a lot of tiny little groups making something that was really great, but once you put it together it was kind of a mess."
- Michael Christopher Koji Fox, the localization lead for FFXIV’s English release, on the game’s early struggle.
In the first part of a documentary series chronicling the rocky launch, and successful relaunch, of Final Fantasy XIV, Danny O’Dwyer spoke with a number of Square Enix developers to pinpoint some of the development issues that contributed to the ill-fated first version of the online game.
While Final Fantasy XIV was eventually able to overcome its troubled early days, fellow game developers may want to take note of the issues and initial warning signs shared in the video above.
For instance, engineering lead Hideyuki Kasuga told O'Dwyer some of the problems that plagued the original version of Final Fantasy XIV resulted from the early decision to build the game using designer-created scripts.
“There is an advantage of utilizing scripts in that the game designer can write the script and then it’s executed quickly," said Kasuga in the translated interview. "You don’t have to consult with an engineer to talk about how the game is structured or you don’t have to debate on the different parameters that have to be set if a script is used. So the majority of the game elements were built upon the usage of scripts that kind of automate the process."
Though building Final Fantasy XIV on the back of scripts streamlined some aspects of development, Kasuga notes that this led to extremely high CPU usage that in turn created significant problems after the game's launch.
“So as we try to execute something in-game, it led to the servers being slowed down because it's trying to execute these different scripts," he said. "And so whatever we tried to do would lead to the slowdown of the servers and then the load that was on those servers was just too heavy and we could not do anything robust or rich in terms of in-game depiction."
Check out the video above for a deeper look at some of the early development issues that preceded Final Fantasy XIV’s troubled launch. And, for more on the relaunch and legacy of Final Fantasy XIV, keep an eye out for future videos on the Noclip YouTube channel.