Final Fantasy XIV Is Finally Getting a Graphics Update

Image: Square Enix

It’s taken nearly a decade, but Square Enix’s hugely popular MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV, is finally getting a fresh coat of paint in the form of a new graphics update that is expected to debut in the next major version of the game.

FFXIV producer and director Naoki Yoshida revealed the news as part of a lengthy “letter” streamed to fans on YouTube today, one that also included a roadmap for upcoming patches and his thoughts on what players might expect in the next 10 years of the long-running MMORPG. In regard to the graphical update, FFXIV fans can expect improved visuals for not only characters but also maps and backgrounds, which will be enhanced in a variety of ways that include better textures and higher-resolution shadows.

Gematsu has provided a nice roundup of what lies ahead for Final Fantasy XIV, which can be found below. Included are comparison images that give an idea of how version 7.0 of FFXIV might differ visually from the current game.

Image: Square Enix
Image: Square Enix
Image: Square Enix
Image: Square Enix

Final Fantasy XIV outlines the next 10 years – RPG advancements, graphical update, and Patch 6.x series roadmap (Gematsu)

The Next 10 Years of Final Fantasy XIV

(Yoshida assured that he has no plans to leave the Final Fantasy XIV project, unless the CEO of Square Enix tells him he needs to go—and even then, Yoshida said he would fight him on it; or if the development or operations team wanted to kick him out; or if he dies.)

  • Looking toward 7.0…
    • Advancements as a solo and multiplayer RPG experience.
    • The game’s first graphical update.
    • Patch 6.x series roadmap.
  • Future concept #1: An even better RPG—alone or with friends!
    • Large-scale updates to the Trust system.
      • Trust compatibility for all main scenario dungeons and four-player trials to be added in Patch 6.1 to 6.5.
      • Patch 6.1 will make Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.0) scenario duties Trust-compatible.
      • Further improvements will be made to some low-level main scenario dungeons and trials.
        • Eight-player trials will not be updated at this time.
        • Those updates will be considered for 7.0 or later.
  • Future concept #2: Preparing for years of service to come—Final Fantasy XIV‘s first graphical update.
    • Planned for implementation in 7.0.
      • Development and preparation ongoing until the expansion releases.
      • Aiming for screen-wide aesthetic appeal suited to a multiplayer environment.
      • Animation and lighting system updates also planned.
        • New graphics will not be comparable to those of standalone titles.
        • Minimum operating specifications will also change as of 7.0.
        • Will try to accommodate as broad a range of hardware specifications as possible.
        • (Yoshida assured that Final Fantasy XIV will continue to support PlayStation 4, at least until 7.0.)
  • Character appearance updates:
    • Primary features and goals:
      • Higher-resolution textures (hair, skin, gear, etc.).
      • Improved material qualities (skin, metal, fabric, etc.).
      • Better lighting and shadow effects (especially for players’ shadows, etc.).
        • Overall appearance of player characters will be altered as little as possible.
        • Will be applied to old NPCs where possible from 7.x onward.
        • Testing for additional improvements will continue in the future.
  • Background visuals updates:
    • Primary features and goals:
      • Additional lighting points (improved visual quality, depth, and immersion).
      • Higher-resolution shadows (increased movement, decreased flickering effects).
      • Improved textures (metals, fabrics, etc.).
      • More and better auto-generated greenery (increased resolution, variety, etc.).
        • Possible improvements to fog and other ambient effects currently being tested.
        • Upgrades will be tuned to the maximum extent that performance allows.
  • Future concept #3: Continuing to provide regular updates on an appropriate schedule!
    • Patch 6.1 Series Roadmap: Planned Major Updates
      • Main scenario update (Patch 6.1 to 6.5)
      • “Somehow Further Hildibrand Adventures (Patch 6.1 to 6.5)
      • “Tataru’s Grand Endeavor” sidequest series (Patch 6.1 to 6.5)
      • Myths of the Realm #1 (alliance raid)
      • Crystalline Conflict (new player-versus-player)
      • Arkasodara tribe quests and dailies
      • Dragonsong’s Reprise (new Ultimate duty)
      • Ultima’s Bane (Unreal)
      • Trust system for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.0) main scenario dungeons
      • New Calling Card-style UI
      • New hairstyles for Hrothgar
      • Empyreum (Ishgard housing)
      • Custom Deliveries: Ameliance
      • New trials and other assorted updates
    • Patch 6.2 Series Roadmap: Planned Major Updates
      • Trust system for 2.x main scenario dungeons
      • Trust system for two to three Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward main scenario dungeons
      • New weapon enhancements
      • New “Criterion” dungeon with variable difficulty (for one to four players)
      • “Island Sanctuary” debuts
      • Plus Pandaemonium, Faux Hollows, other trials, and more!
    • Patch 6.3 Series Roadmap: Planned Major Updates
      • Trust system for the remaining Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward main scenario dungeons
      • Deep Dungeon series #3
      • Ultimate duty #5
      • Island Sanctuary update
      • Plus Myths of the Realm, Faux Hollows, other trials, and more.
    • Patch 6.4 / 6.5 Series Roadmap: Planned Major Updates
      • Trust system for all Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood main scenario dungeons
      • Criterion dungeons #2 and #3
      • Additional area for Island Sanctuary
      • Plus the conclusion to Pandaemonium, further Myths of the Realm, Faux Hollows, other trials, and more!
      • More plans for Patches 6.4 and 6.5 are being made as we speak!
    • Patch Schedule Announcement
      • The major patch cycle:
        • Previously: One major patch every three-and-a-half months.
        • Going forward: One major patch every four months.
        • Please allow us one extra week each for implementation and fine-tuning. (One extra week will also be added for summer and New Year’s holidays.)
      • Even as we tackle new challenges, we will continue to deliver plenty of updates on a regular schedule. Join us as we embark upon the next 10 years of Final Fantasy XIV.

Housing Plot Sales from Patch 6.1

  • Lottery system details:
    • Each player may only enter the lottery for one plot of land during each lottery period. (Each member may enter once when purchasing land for a Free Company.)
    • Players must pay the full price of the plot upon entry—unsuccessful players will be refunded in full.
  • Four purchase systems:
    • Lottery (FC)
    • Lottery (individual)
    • First-come first-serve (FC)
    • First-come first-serve (individual)
  • Purchase system distribution:
    • One of the four purchase systems will be applied to each ward (e.g. Empyreum ward 6, Mist subdivision ward 3).
    • In Patch 6.1, all wards will use either the individual or FC lottery system. (We will consider making a few wards first-come first-serve if there is strong demand.)

Miscellaneous

  • Final Fantasy XIV Free Trial resumes Tuesday, February 22 (times may vary).
  • Letter from the Producer LIVE LXIX will air on Friday, March 4 at 3:00 a.m. PT / 6:00 a.m. ET / 20:00 JST. We’ll be showcasing various aspects of Patch 6.1 in this first preview!
  • Final Fantasy XIV Print Collection 3 will release on April 30 for 33,000 yen (preparations for release overseas are underway). Enjoy your favorite Final Fantasy XIV illustrations in all their glory with these high-quality, framed prints!
  • Square Enix Cafe Tokyo – Final Fantasy XIV collaboration underway! Part 1 ends Friday, February 25. Part 2 begins Saturday, February 26 and runs until Friday, March 25. (Availability of certain items may vary between Parts 1 and 2. Certain collaboration items are planned to be released later on the Square Enix e-STORE in Japan.)
  • The Final Fantasy XIV development team is now hiring game designers and graphics engineers.

Recent News