Have you ever seen a game director appear live for a keynote in cosplay this amazing? Nobody in this business goes as hard on their game as Yoshida Naoki.
In slightly more seriousness, Yoshida is one of few game developers who carry the eternal respect of his player base. Being almost singularly responsible for Final Fantasy XIV’s resurrection after an absolutely disastrous launch, the fact that the director of such a massive game is still so enthusiastic about his game four expansions and eight years later is a huge green flag to players.
Yoshida is the type of director who loves interacting with his community and integrating player feedback and a fan of his team’s work. He’s been in the industry for decades but carries the presence of a man giddy about the thing he gets to create. The way he presents himself inspires people to place their confidence in him and his game.
If you’ve seen any stories or videos about players jumping from World of Warcraft to Final Fantasy XIV, you have very likely heard people being unhappy with the developers of the other biggest MMORPG in the world. Blizzard has become well-known for its disconnected cycle of introducing content that players did not want in the game or deliberately creating grind-heavy content and “fixing” it later.
As it became clear that the people making decisions for World of Warcraft were not people who actually played the game (most damningly illustrated in a paraphrased quote from the Battle for Azeroth director, “if players continue repeating a piece of content beyond the level of its base rewards, we know that content is fun.”), players began to take notice of the ridiculous, wonderful man in the photo above.
Yoshida has become a symbol of the people that work on Final Fantasy XIV. He gets excited about new content and talks about it with the same enthusiasm as the players, even though he’s the one calling the shots. This is because even though he approved all the shiny new features, he finally gets to show it off to his players.
When the next expansion, Endwalker, was announced, people began to get nervous that this would be the end of Final Fantasy XIV. Yoshida’s response was (paraphrased, since he said it in Japanese), “No. This game is my life’s work. Final Fantasy XIV is moving to its next phase with this expansion and will continue for years to come.”
The number one reason to play Final Fantasy XIV? Game director Yoshida Naoki loves it just as much as the players.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker will release for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC on November 23, 2021.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.