Famitsu: How Eden's Gate Was Made! (Part 2)

Authors

Famitsu
Famitsu Japanese Video Games Media
Iluna Minori
Iluna Minori Translator | SEA | Chocobo
Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu Site Founder | EU | Leviathan

Message From AkhMorning

As part of our vision for future content on AkhMorning we are looking to expand our horizons with coverage of various overseas media to bridge together the information between regions and to help enhance the global understanding and appreciation of FFXIV.

This article is our sixth translation article of overseas interviews. It is unofficial and all rights to the source images, assets and written content belong to Famitsu and SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. respectively.

For ease of legibility with the article’s length, the source media has been omitted but can be found in the official article link below.

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It is with great pleasure we bring to you our translation of:

Eden's Gate Designers

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa Battle Content Lead | JP | Square Enix
Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa Battle Content | JP | Square Enix
Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima Battle Content | JP | Square Enix
Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto Battle Systems | JP | Square Enix

Masaki Nakagawa (Mr Ozma)

Lead Battle Content Designer.

In charge of Eden’s Gate 2nd floor (known in the community as E2). Referred to as Nakagawa (Masaki) for this interview.

Daisuke Nakagawa

Battle Content Designer.

In charge of Eden’s Gate 4th floor (known in the community as E4). Referred to as Nakagawa (Daisuke) for this interview.

Yoshito Nabeshima

Battle Content Designer.

In charge of Eden’s Gate 3rd Floor (known in the community as E3). Referred to as Nabeshima for this interview.

Takashi Kawamoto

Battle Systems Designer.

In charge of Eden’s Gate 1st Floor (known in the community as E1). Referred to as Kawamoto for this interview.

Famitsu
Famitsu
The Eden's Gate Team
The Eden's Gate Team

Here comes the second part of the interview of Eden’s Gate for Final Fantasy XIV (henceforth known as “FFXIV”) with 4 developers who worked on this raid tier. In this latter half of the interview, we’ll look deeper into all the floors and their thought process.

Famitsu
Famitsu

A Battle With Prime Right Off the Bat!?

Eden Prime
Eden Prime

Based on the flow of all the high difficulty raid series here, it seems that we’re expected to deal with another Prime as the last boss for the 3rd season of the raid. However, what we got was the battle with Eden Prime for the first season of the raid. Not only that, it appeared right at the 1st floor.

Famitsu
Famitsu

We have reasons for that. The first was due to the surprise factor, and we do have another reason here, but we can’t say a word yet… until the whole scenario ends at Patch 5.4.

I believe the mystery behind this will be cleared once all players complete the entire tier. Since it’ll take some time before that reason is answered, so I’d like all of you to look forward to it.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

Was this decided during the beginning of the meeting?

Famitsu
Famitsu

That’s right.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

I believed we talked about the difficulty of each floor in our previous interview, but what about the difficulty for this tier compared to the past Savage raids?

Famitsu
Famitsu

On balancing difficulty, I believed we’ve touched on how the answer lies on Alexander Creator for numerous times now, so it’s a given that we took the same approach when it comes to the Eden series.

However, the next will require some detailed explanation but if we are to compare Eden’s Gate Savage with The Bend of Time: Omega Alphascape Savage, it is certain that Eden’s Gate being designed to be easier to clear was a deliberate choice.

The reason is due to how we saw a huge increase of new players joining during the release of the new expansion (Shadowbringers), so even if it’s high difficulty content, we need to ensure the content is easily approachable and that was the direction we took for this tier. We do however plan to gradually increase the difficulty coming Patch 5.2 and Patch 5.4, when the tier progresses further.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

On the other hand, is there anything that is changed deliberately when looking at previous Savage fights we’ve had up till now?

Famitsu
Famitsu

As you can see clearly, the 4th floor seen on the Bend of Time: Omega Savage has the battle split into 2 parts, and that was the style we took back then. For this, we’ve made the latter half of the Savage-only battle an extra element, and this was done with the intention of providing players some form of surprise. However, making it a staple element will diminish the surprise factor, don’t you think?

In addition to that, we also received feedback on how the total time required to battle the 4th floor was really long, so we wanted to stop using this format for Eden’s Gate for the time being. Even so, we don’t promise that we’ll stop utilising the 2 part format forever so we’ll keep looking into feedback and adjust accordingly.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

I believe you previously mentioned that “the answer lies in Alexander: Creator” here but is this something that’s shared amongst the team members?

Famitsu
Famitsu

That’s right. We often talk about this.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

Actually, when we tried Creator on a public world, we found that the balance we did for that tier was by far the most fun we had.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa
Alexander Prime Using Divine Spear In Creator
Alexander Prime Using Divine Spear In Creator

Throughout Alexander Savage, the difficulty for Gordias, which is the first tier of the raid, and Midas, the second tier was really high and many players had difficulty going through it. Then followed by Creator and its appearance, while still tough, allowed the players to feel as if they’re gradually progressing and that balance was superb.

It has the right amount of challenge and sense of accomplishment, and it’s the perfect level of difficulty for a wide range of players. There was indeed a superb balance there. Also, did this contribute to the reason for why the “Ultimate” series was created?

Famitsu
Famitsu

That’s right. When we worked on Creator, we discussed and found out that if we want to proceed in that direction, we’ll definitely have players who would ask for a much tougher fight. So we brought that discussion to Yoshida and in the end that was how the Ultimate series was born.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

Alright then, we’d like to hear more details about each floor of the tier.

Let’s begin with Eden Prime who appeared on the 1st floor. First, let us know the concept behind this boss.

Famitsu
Famitsu

I was involved in the creation and reenactment of the summon animation for Eden, the Guardian Force that first appeared in FFVIII, into FFXIV. Given that the boss was set to appear in the first high difficulty raid tier for Shadowbringers, as well as the first boss you’ll encounter, I thought it’d be nice to create something that’s impactful.

As for the rest, since this is the 1st floor, I made sure to create a difficulty that is challenging that befits the raid and at the same time, made it mild so that it’s not overly difficult.

The Eden you see in this game is full of mysteries so I wasn’t actually clear on what was the lore behind the boss when I learnt that I’ll be the one assigned to work on this. Therefore, I created Eden’s skills with the impression that it feels natural without being out of place, yet not overly restricted by its lore setting.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

Previously you mentioned that there wasn’t really much cost involved in creating the 1st and 2nd floor, but wouldn’t creating such a lengthy animation end up a burden on the cost instead?

Famitsu
Famitsu
Eden Prime's Eternal Breath
Eden Prime's Eternal Breath

Animation of Eternal Breath, the ultimate move of the Guardian Force Eden who appeared in FFVIII.

We did indeed manage it without much cost involved.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

It seemed as if we had to squeeze everything else to the limit in order to create that.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

Since the designers worked hard on this one, you would think it cost a lot to create the animation, but it actually wasn’t the case. Considering the knowledge and experience we’ve had up till now, we ended up allocating our cost properly for the other parts of the battle as well.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

I thought that animation would be removed from the Savage mode. (laughs)

Famitsu
Famitsu

Considering it’s the identity of Eden Prime, I definitely can’t bring myself to remove it. If it were the third and 4th floor, I’d be willing to trim it off considering the frequency of wipes that would come with the progression, but this is the 1st floor you see.

For the 1st floor, I planned to have the difficulty tuned to the level where players who love raiding can complete the challenge once in 2 to 3 weeks. So the feeling is something like “Just you see, I’ll make it once per week or something…”. (laughs)

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

Next we would like to touch on the mechanics.

When Eden Prime uses “Paradise Regained”, we see the specific mechanic effect changes. I wonder how this idea came to existence?

Famitsu
Famitsu

The 1st floor is meant to be cleared in a short time, so when you play the 1st floor again after the raid was opened to the public for 2 or 3 weeks, I think you’ll find it surprising at how little you remember.

You may not have wiped a lot to it, and conversely, there are times where you don’t really remember the mechanics. So when that happens, you would usually go “Eh, what’s the effect of this action again?” if the action names ended up the same as the others. (laughs)

I think you’ll understand once you pay attention to this, but there are cases where you would unexpectedly forget about things here, so I felt that there is a need to create a mechanic that takes advantage of that gap in your mind.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

So you’re not allowing the content to be a routine, even for the 1st floor.

Also, then the HP percent damage inflicted was a little painful as well, so I wonder if that is related as well?

Famitsu
Famitsu

It is slightly related, but more than that it’s the presentation more than anything.

When it comes to gravity related magic in FF series, it’s about how it does HP percent damage, and that’s the standard. We have previous examples seen in FFXIV as well, where we see Exdeath using Black Hole on the 4th floor of Omega: Deltascape. That too is actually HP percent damage due to the gravity effect it emitted.

In the same way, Eden’s Gravity and Dimensional Shift were made as HP percent damage. So the reason behind those moves having high damage is to ensure players at the 1st floor will not let their guard down and ensure they take this point in mind. (laughs)

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto
E1S: Dimensional Shift
E1S: Dimensional Shift

Since the damage is a percentage of HP, any mitigation will not work. So you’ll want to make sure your HP is back up or put up a barrier.

When I was playing the 1st floor after the stage was opened to the public, the cast times made me think “Ah, looks like I’m gonna die if this goes on…”, and that gave me a realisation. Even an emergency Addle won’t help things. (laughs)

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

For the Battle System team, their aim was to make the healers aware about it. Since healer potency in Shadowbringers has been kept under control overall, we intentionally made the fractional damage to be really high in potency, and that was what we aimed for.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

The Cycle Mechanic That Is Linked To Its Concept Was Meant To Be Extremely Difficult At First.

E2S: Voidwalker
E2S: Voidwalker

Next we will move on to the 2nd floor.

Would you tell us the concept behind it?

Famitsu
Famitsu

There are many cases where I started writing and summarised the concept in just one or two lines when I wrote the plan. From there, “A mysterious girl who is well versed in sword and magic. She controls the power of Darkness freely.” was what I wrote when I looked back at the proposal for the 2nd floor.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

Would you like to look into that one more time to confirm the statement made above?

Famitsu
Famitsu

Nope, I think it’s fine. (laughs)

It’s just a concept full of imagination.

Everyone laughs

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

It feels as if it’s somewhat complicated though. (laughs)

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

Basically, I don’t usually take charge of content, but considering we faced some schedule risks when working on the 2nd floor, I took charge of working on this floor.

Even so, I only had about a week to work on the plan, so I decided on this concept since the start and had the Lore Setting and Scenario team to work on the priestess setting, and from there we imagined that the battle would be something like that, which we managed to flesh out the details and shaped the battle to what we see today.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

And that symbolic thing would be the “Delayed Spells”, I take it?

Famitsu
Famitsu

Yes, that’s right.

The specifics itself were created based on what’s already there, the presentation however was new. Since the Priestess of Darkness is the key character for this scenario and beyond, the skills she uses, in other words the content of the mechanics, were intended to be made unique here, so the result was the Delayed Spell.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

It was an interesting presentation there for sure. Once the timing of Delay Spell is perfectly captured there’s no way players will get misled by it, but I do think there were many players that got confused when the raid was newly released.

Famitsu
Famitsu

I have the impression that it was made according to how I wanted it exactly.

Actually, when I started working on the planning for 2nd floor, the plan for 3rd floor and 4th floor were not done at that time, so there was a need to think of mechanics where the difficulty can be easily adjusted when needed.

The specifics of the Delayed Spell mechanic was made to be easily ramped up or toned down in difficulty. That was the objective we aimed for with this mechanic. We did not insert any random elements for the 2nd floor this time, but I do think if this was made the third or 4th floor we would have made the timeline completely randomised.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

If the duration was made random, the difficulty would see a sharp increase due to how players will need to sort out the activation order in their head…

Oh, and when it comes to the 2nd floor, the next would be the Cycle mechanic that appeared during the latter half of the battle?

Famitsu
Famitsu

Since the concept behind this boss is about a mysterious girl who is well versed in both sword skills and magic, it connects to the void setting where she would use her sword to slice open a dimension, and the void demons would appear from the dimension that was sliced open.

This setting was already decided upon since the beginning. Basically, she uses sword techniques, and she utilises that basic sword technique at a continuous, rapid rate, which flares up the last part of the battle. This resulted in the Cycle mechanics that you see today.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa
E2S: Renzokuken (Cycles)
E2S: Renzokuken (Cycles)

In the second half of the battle, the biggest obstacle is the cycle sequence. If the party has enouguh DPS, it is possible to defeat the boss before sequential cycles are unleashed.

I still get nervous when playing that battle in the public world. (laughs)

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

It was narrow, and hard to avoid. (laughs)

Famitsu
Famitsu

Initially, touching those devils would inflict 100 thousand damage to your character… (laughs)

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

Furthermore, the devils wouldn’t disappear after reaching the center of the arena, but would instead continue moving forward to the edge of the area while intersecting each other.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

The amount of devils shown on screen would have been more than what is available currently. You would even think that it’s a danmaku (tl note: bullet hell) shooting game instead. (laughs)

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

So I take that the specifics we have now is due to kindness? (laughs)

Famitsu
Famitsu

That’s right. (laughs)

While there are comments about how Cycle of Chaos was a much harder mechanic to resolve compared to Cycle of Retribution, I still had it pushed through.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

It’s why you created a grace period before entering the Cycles phase to revive the players who were knocked down earlier so that everyone could try together.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

Initially it was really difficult back then. (laughs)

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

Each phase was made to be especially quick in tempo, to the point there wasn’t any time for players to even resurrect. (laughs)

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

For the Omega raids, there were many instances where mechanics tend to repeat after a rotation, and players especially the foreign ones would send us feedback pointing out that they wanted new mechanics instead of repeating the same thing again, therefore the Cycle mechanics were created to answer that feedback we received.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

The Secret Behind Stormy Horizon

E3S: Leviathan
E3S: Leviathan

Next we’ll be talking about the 3rd floor.

Please tell us the concept behind it.

Famitsu
Famitsu

The concept for Leviathan here was to “Create a dynamic battle that utilises the most of its massive physique”.

As a sub-concept, I also thought of “How it would inundate like a Leviathan would”.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

On the 3rd and 4th floor, the enemies share the same name as Leviathan and Titan, which already appeared previous on the Source (A Realm Reborn), yet at the same time their visual outlook and attack methods were created to differ from their Source counterpart, which I thought it brought some unique difficulty here…

Famitsu
Famitsu
A Realm Reborn's Leviathan
A Realm Reborn's Leviathan

Leviathan as seen in the Source. Leviathan as seen on the First is based on the memories of Warrior of Light.

Yes. it was especially difficult to create a difference between Leviathan from the Source and the one on the First. Furthermore it was necessary to bring out the same impact as the one seen on the Source, so I struggled a lot with it.

After several twists and turns, we ended up with the current form seen today, but the point is that there are some mechanisms that bear similarities to the Leviathan from the Source.

For example, the aspect where Leviathan would disappear from the player’s sight and charge in from the outer field. The “Tidal Wave” is also created based on the Leviathan’s intermission move seen in the Source, and we’ve incorporated and applied them in a way it causes various water phenomena to the player.

By the way, there was also a story where we attempted to have Leviathan’s water area of effect attack fall from above the player’s head at the same time as Leviathan performed its charge attack, just like how Leviathan from the Source would do but we were told “I don’t think this can be resolved”, so we stopped using the idea. (laughs)

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

Who was the one pointing it out?

Famitsu
Famitsu

That would be Yokozawa. (tl note: Aka Mr Atma who designed UWU and much more)

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

I know this sounds like Yokozawa is taking the blame for this, but everyone was saying it. (laughs)

That it was too difficult.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

Nowadays, it’s just a circular floor that inflicts Heavy, that’s about it.

Famitsu
Famitsu

That one didn’t just inflict Heavy but also DoT (Damage Over Time) as well, so that phase was initially really dangerous.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

To think that phase was that dangerous. (laughs)

By the way, how did your team decide on the visual design of Leviathan?

Famitsu
Famitsu

When we worked on the direction, I suggested that we would want to insert elements that differentiate the Leviathan seen on the First and the Leviathan that exists on the Source, and we summarise our discussion as having Leviathan designed with two heads, and from there we proceeded to let Nabeshima work on the battle.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

So you would take on the twin head design, and then think of the skills it would unleash from there.

Famitsu
Famitsu
E3S: Leviathan With Two Heads
E3S: Leviathan With Two Heads

The Leviathan on the First sports two heads as its design feature.

That’s right. There were times where the artists worked on the gimmick we wanted to incorporate.

For example, if you look closely at Leviathan’s body, you can see its eyes shine yellow, and it was supposed to shoot lasers initially. The idea was ultimately scrapped, the yellow eyes, however, remained.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

Having the field collapse dramatically for the 3rd floor was really impactful.

Was this thought up from the beginning?

Famitsu
Famitsu

Actually, the idea was thought up during the final phase of the planning.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

Eh, is that so!?

Famitsu
Famitsu

At first I was having trouble trying to characterize Leviathan, so I talked to people around me hoping to get some ideas.

From there, one of them gave me a hint: “How about breaking the field with one big bite from the mouth as if it’s trying to gouge it out?”, and from there I proceeded to combine that hint with the mechanic I had originally thought of, and it ended up a seemingly good match.

I thought this would create a fresh picture here so I ended up incorporating it.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

The segment where parties have to fight separately left and right was quite unique.

Famitsu
Famitsu

Thinking from a situational context, I thought it would be interesting to have the players on one side of the field get overwhelmed when the both extreme sides of the field remain.

I don’t think there has ever been a situation where the field changes like that in the game before, so I thought maybe this content would be fun just by the picture itself.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima
E3S: Collapsing Floor
E3S: Collapsing Floor

Throughout the battle, there is a scene where a major portion of the field collapses and forces the party to split. When this happens, The mechanic will end up unable to resolve properly in case everyone is gathered at one place on either side.

The “Temporary Current” mechanic is handled differently depending on whether you’re on the left or right side, so it was a good match as well.

Famitsu
Famitsu

I do think it came together quite well.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

Come to think of it, the AoE indicator for Temporary Current seen on the Savage mode will show up only for an instant, isn’t that right?

Applying this to the context of Savage we’ve seen up till now, I was under the impression that Savage would never display indicators…

Famitsu
Famitsu

Actually, the indicators weren’t meant to appear at first, but during the balance phase, there was a comment on “Where should the players go then”, and from there I made it so that the indicators will appear for only a short while.

There is a thing on the field we call “Sincerity Lines”, where you can base your safe spot base on the floor patterns, since the arena on the 3rd floor consists of several blocks forming a huge field, there were times where it was hard to place the markers.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

Aside from Temporary Current, there were also many mechanics like “Stormy Horizon” and such that created big movements within the field.

Famitsu
Famitsu

There we go! Stormy Horizon! It was a funny story for sure…

Everyone laughs

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

Ohh? Is there a secret found in Stormy Horizon?

Famitsu
Famitsu

Like how the Warrior of Light had his own memories about the Leviathan on the Source, I too have my own memories about it.

I’m going slightly off topic here but when I was assigned to work on Alphascape’s 3rd floor, I thought up of a mechanic called “Pantokrator’’. Suddenly I realized that the Leviathan seen on the First ended up imbued with that memory…….

In fact, the initial Stormy Horizon was really a little similar to Pantokrator. (laughs)

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

It wasn’t just “a little” anymore but almost a twin of Pantokrator itself. (laughs)

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

Does this mean it’s a mechanic that requires everyone to constantly move at the same pace?

Famitsu
Famitsu
O11S: Pantokrator
O11S: Pantokrator

Pantokrator, the mechanic first seen at the 3rd floor of The Bend of Time: Omega - Alphascape. Each player had to gather at one place and circle around the boss while avoiding a series of AoE (Area of Effect) attacks triggered by the boss.

That’s right.

From there I had everyone attempt it…

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

Everyone was commenting “This is Pantokrator 2, you know”, and in unison! (laughs)

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

Yes, yes. (laughs)

Furthermore, this phase actually appeared twice throughout the battle initially.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

When Yoshida saw that he too thought, and told me “This isn’t Stormy Horizon, this is just Pantokrator”… (laughs)

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

So this is the so-called “backfire” episode mentioned in the first half of our interview. (laughs)

So how did you end up settling on your current form?

Famitsu
Famitsu

Initially, Stormy Horizon would have 2 phases and it would be split into phase 1 and phase 2 of that mechanic, we ended up combining them into one, and this resulted in the Stormy Horizon phase that you see today.

Even “Black Smokers” was actually part of Stormy Horizon mechanic but we ended up separating Black Smokers away from Stormy Horizon and made it separate so that it looked less identical to Pantokrator.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima
E3S: Stormy Horizon
E3S: Stormy Horizon

This is the Stormy Horizon mechanic seen on the 3rd floor of Eden’s Gate. Come to think of it, you could feel that it’s similar to Pantokrator?

The adjustment team for 3rd floor initially worked on how to throw the Pantokrator impression away and this actually took quite an amount of time.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

As a result, Stormy Horizon was made that it only appeared once throughout, and there the Black Smokers phase was born.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

To think there was a backstory behind this… (laughs)

Famitsu
Famitsu

Personally, it’s a shameful story that I want to bring it to the grave with me… (laughs bitterly)

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

As far as mechanics go, I think that “Tsunami” is prone to accidents, so how did you go about solidifying the idea for this one?

Famitsu
Famitsu

The concept for “Tsunami” was to use various water mechanics to have the players be like seaweed. In the beginning, the shapes and combinations were different from what they are now.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

Was this indeed made easier as well?

Famitsu
Famitsu

No, since there was a loophole in the solution, so I had to remake it, to be exact. (laughs)

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

I’m going to expose this here… When it comes to Tsunami, I remember very well during our test play where Nabeshima couldn’t say the name of the debuff at all. (laughs)

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

Yes, yes.

Even if I had a cue card with me.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

Nabeshima is that character everybody loves. (laughs)

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

4th floor And The Forbidden “Difference Of High And Low”

E4S: Titan
E4S: Titan

And on to the 4th floor. We’d like to hear the concept behind this as well.

Famitsu
Famitsu

I planned on this battle based on the simple concept of “A being that is well versed in controlling the aspects of the great Earth”. Also, he is a boss that has the overall impression of being powerful, so I tried to avoid mechanics that would make him look too clever.

Although not an official setting, I personally think of the Titan character seen in the First as someone lives by surrounding his body with rocks that he can manipulate freely in order to fight at any place he wants.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

Like Leviathan, Titan too was originally a boss that appeared on the Source.

What was the thing you paid attention to when trying to differentiate them?

Famitsu
Famitsu

When having a rematch with the Titan of the First, I thought it would be a really bad idea to have similar play experience with fighting Titan of the Source, so I was very conscious of preventing that from happening.

However, since the battle was reenacted from the memories of the Warriors of Light, it wouldn’t be Titan at all if I end up creating something completely different, so I tried to balance it by inserting elements that would bring out the essence of Titan from the Source.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa
A Realm Reborn's Titan
A Realm Reborn's Titan

Titan who appeared in the Source, a being that brought the biggest impact to the players among all of the Final Fantasy titles released thus far.

And there we have mechanics like Bomb Boulders. That sure brought back memories.

Famitsu
Famitsu

We polished them so that the elements that are old and new can both coexist without issues.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

We see Titan transforms himself into a car, or had his hands become huge during the battle.

May I know at which stage were these ideas decided upon?

Famitsu
Famitsu

The design concept was already decided upon making orders on the characters. However, what was ordered up to that point was “the armor made of rock surrounding his body will crumble into pieces and attach onto his hands and feet”, but his ability to transform into a car wasn’t actually decided at that stage yet.

From there the art team thought of what other forms he could take, and presented several ideas to us. One of the ideas among the lot was the mentioned car form. Ultimately the decision on which idea to pick was given to the Planner side, and their decision was to pick the car form. That was the flow of what happened.

Even so, the one who decided ultimately wasn’t actually me, but Nakagawa (Masaki). He was really laughing over it while telling me “Because I’ve decided that his alternate form should be a car!” (laughs)

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

There really were lots and lots of ideas back then, within it was the idea that says “How about a Titank?”. (laughs)

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

Isn’t that just a pun? (laughs)

Famitsu
Famitsu

I knew that it wasn’t a joke, but I really held my head over the actual fact that it’s a car. Like, “What should I do with this!”. (laughs)

As a result it really delivered an impactful outlook and a surprise factor, so the decision was a correct one.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

When I was test playing with the Monster team at first, I laughed so hard at the sight of seeing the boss transform into a Titank. To have the situation flared up so high and how it was amazingly done was thanks to the artist who worked on it, so I’d like to thank them for their effort as well.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa
E4S: Car Titan
E4S: Car Titan

Titan who transformed into a vehicle.

With that, the Titan ended up unique as well in terms of his appearance, the mechanic that incorporates the difference in height also brought surprises as well.

Did you face any problems when working on the height differences, including its technical aspects?

Famitsu
Famitsu

I actually had a lot of issues working on that.

Even so, the reason why we incorporate the height difference is to create a scene where Titan can showcase himself. I thought by doing so would allow me to convey and display his power to reshape the geographical structure of the arena.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa
E4S: Giant Titan In Savage Only
E4S: Giant Titan In Savage Only

The giant mechanic seen only in Savage.

When I first saw that, my impression was “Wow, you really did create something like that”. (laughs)

Famitsu
Famitsu

I am really happy to hear that impression from you and how you felt that way. I combined various mechanics into this in order to show that it’s the main highlight of the battle.

In any boss content of FFXIV, battles that have height differences tend to end up causing various issues. Therefore, mechanics that utilise height differences are basically not allowed, even though we sometimes have exceptions.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

I remember Yoshida-san had previously talked about this before.

Famitsu
Famitsu

To tell the truth, undertaking the challenge of designing the content for such a tough content like the 4th floor of the Savage content this time was actually not a wise choice considering the risks involved here. Adding to that, there’s also the fear of creating mechanics that don’t fit the image of how a mechanic that appears in the 4th floor of Savage should be, so it was a hard time for me to decide whether to actually implement this.

However, that mechanic was actually supported by our boss, which is Nakagawa here, and the level designers and programmers who listened to our ideas also willingly built a backup system for us, so I was able to make a swift decision here. While several problems occurred during the implementation, we were helped by many people including the new system specifications. Without their efforts, there is no way this would have been possible, so I am truly grateful.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa
E4S: Platform Height Mechanics
E4S: Platform Height Mechanics

There is also a mechanic which utilises the difference of elevation on the field, and once you go down, you cannot go back to the upper side.

How did you manage to assemble the puzzle-like mechanic that unfolds in the midst of this height difference?

Famitsu
Famitsu

My basic approach to this plan is to start by inventing mechanics for each part.

In the case of Titan, the blue marker that triggers explosions on the surrounding squares and the attacks coming from other markers were conceived at completely different times.

There is also a mechanic where the floor explodes in a clockwise direction seen in the final phase, but that was also conceived as a stand-alone mechanic. After all ideas were laid out, I then tasked myself to combine all of them.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

I had the impression that everything was minutely calculated and assembled together, but those ideas were born at different timing, weren’t they?

Famitsu
Famitsu

That’s correct.

From there I managed to find out what’s missing and what was the extra that remained when I combined each element. In this way, my planning process is to repeatedly think, combine, and rethink. Therefore I don’t spend that much time on the parts that look logical.

Now, if you’re asking whether the planning has to be done early in order for that to happen but it’s unfortunately not the case as it took me about 30 days in total to put together the plans for both Normal mode and Savage mode for this Titan battle. A lot of that time was spent coming up with the material that can work. It’s always a challenge whenever I have to come up with ideas.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

Difficulty. Was It Normal First? Or Savage?

E1S: Resurrection
E1S: Resurrection

Let’s ask everyone here.

Did you start designing the raids from Normal difficulty? Or Savage difficulty goes first?

Famitsu
Famitsu

It differs from person to person, of course.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

For my case, I started formulating my plan from Normal mode first.

Of course the reason is due to how it’s important to assure the fun aspect of the content, so starting from Normal makes it easier for me to form an overall image.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

Oh. I thought you would be the person to start from Savage for sure, and then trim the elements from there to create a Normal version of the battle.

Famitsu
Famitsu

Of course there are people who would plan from there, so it really depends from person to person.

I usually start thinking from Normal mode here but depending on how the material goes I sometimes do start from Savage as well.

In fact, I started the previous half of Alphascape 4th floor through Savage first.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

How about the rest?

Famitsu
Famitsu

I started from the Savage version myself, but I also worked on the Normal version at the same time as well.

While I did mention that creating a Normal version of the raid can be done by removing elements from the Savage raid, doing so will make the battle itself feel lacking. On the other hand, making the Normal version overly packed would make the Savage version feel as if it lacks differences.

In order to avoid that, I would work on both the Normal and Savage version of the raid. Although I started from Savage when writing my proposal, I actually thought about both Normal and Savage at the same time.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

What about Nabeshima-san?

Famitsu
Famitsu

I initially thought of starting from Savage mode as well, but ultimately I started working from the normal mode during the Eden series. Once I thought of mechanics that can be fit into Savage while working on the normal mode, I would memo it down…

As mentioned by Daisuke, where I manage to change my thinking method which I’ve learned to think about the elements for Savage while ensuring the normal difficulty stays interesting.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

How about Nakagawa-san?

Famitsu
Famitsu

I started from the Normal difficulty as well.

The reason behind it was discussed with the other staff members as well but even if we managed to create mechanics that are interesting for Savage, it’ll pose a risk where we’ll end up removing the core of that fun elements if we are to work on the plan where we remove Savage elements to create Normal version of the raid.

When that happens, by creating the plan starting from normal difficulty, maybe we’ll end up with lesser risks to take when we begin adding elements to form Savage mode. This is something we talked about amongst our team.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

Actually, the reason behind me beginning to think from Normal mode onwards is after evaluating it thanks to Nakagawa’s opinion.

I was thinking, “Well he does have a point”, which is why I’ve been adopting that approach recently.

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

So in that aspect, it feels as if the mindset has been propagated to the team but at the same time Kawamoto is still going his own way.

Famitsu
Famitsu

No, it’s been propagated now!

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

Oh? (laughs)

Famitsu
Famitsu

Speaking from the 1st floor of this tier, since the re-enactment of Eden’s Ultimate attack shares the same across both Normal and Savage mode, I didn’t have to think too much about the differences when it comes to the difficulty. That was the biggest difference when compared to the other floors here.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

Is the same applicable to the Primal battles as well?

Famitsu
Famitsu

The mindset itself is the same as any Primal battles here.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa

Certainly an interesting conversation there, thank you very much for the insight.

Lastly I’d like to have everyone here to give a message to the players

Famitsu
Famitsu

Never forget to always have the feeling of delivering something new, and never let players get bored from challenging new content as they progress. This is what I hold to heart when creating content.

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

A nice and clean summary for a closure note for sure.

Famitsu
Famitsu

Certainly commendable on that one…

Takashi Kawamoto
Takashi Kawamoto

Next will be Nabeshima-san, if you please.

Famitsu
Famitsu

For Eden’s Gate, I ended up having my memories included in there. (laughs)

As to what kind of memories will be included for the next raid boss, this is something I’d want all players to look forward to.

Yoshito Nabeshima
Yoshito Nabeshima

Next we’ll have Daisuke-san to give a message.

Famitsu
Famitsu

I’m sure I’ve thought up many mechanics that have provided surprise to our players here but stay tuned to more mechanics that would keep delivering the surprise factor on later patches as well!

Daisuke Nakagawa
Daisuke Nakagawa

We’ll end with last words from Nakagawa-san. If you please.

Famitsu
Famitsu

Prior to this interview, the ones who would usually appear in the media would be Sudo, Yokozawa, and lastly myself. So there wasn’t much chance to see members from the Battle Content team involved in conversations like this.

In many ways, I am glad that this interview provided a chance for our other 3 members here to share their thoughts. Aside from them, there are many other battle content team members who are working on various content here. With the growth seen in those members, we can expect them to provide new content for everyone to look forward to.

We’re working hard to ensure players will be able to enjoy the content we provide after Patch 5.2 as well, so we hope to hear your support for them. And then, we’d definitely appreciate feedback from the players after playing through the content.

We definitely will read the comments and thoughts left by our players in the forums or social media so we will definitely take those feedback into consideration no matter how positive or negative they are.

For the FFXIV team, tackling the feedback with haste is our priority here, so we welcome players to keep giving us feedback and it’d be nice if players would keep looking forward to what we have to release in the future.

Masaki Nakagawa
Masaki Nakagawa
Eden's Gate Team: (Left to Right) Masaki Nakagawa, Daisuke Nakagawa, Yoshito Nabeshima and Takashi Kawamoto
Eden's Gate Team: (Left to Right) Masaki Nakagawa, Daisuke Nakagawa, Yoshito Nabeshima and Takashi Kawamoto

Closing Words From AkhMorning

We hope you really enjoyed the translated final part of “How Eden’s Gate Was Made!”.

As always a big thank you to Iluna for working so diligently alongside me in bringing more of the Battle Content Developer interviews from the East to the West.

We’re keen to cover “How Eden’s Promise Was Made!” if it happens in the future as the final installment of this interview series for Shadowbringers, but also what will come by with Endwalker.

Until next time!

~Nemekh.