FF14's director Naoki Yoshida gets griefed by the series' creator live on stage during a bossfight: 'This tank is big trouble'

Naoki Yoshida, director of Final Fantasy XIV, and the creator of Final Fantasy franchise Hironobu Sakaguchi sit on stage at the game's 2023 London Fanfest, laughing at their past tomfoolery.
(Image credit: Square Enix, from Final Fantasy 14's 2023 London Fanfest)

Final Fantasy 14's London Fanfest 2023 might be over, but it's still produced a lot of great moments—like confirmation that Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy franchise, has cleared some of the hardest raids in the game.

Those are some impressive chops. With the game's director Naoki Yoshida also being an active raider (on a black mage—one of the hardest jobs in the game to optimise), it follows that they'd want to play together some. They hopped online, using the game's Party Finder system on a first come, first serve basis to do some fights with the community. A good bit of fun. Or so one would think.

Sakaguchi readied up as a Paladin, a tank job, which is where the problems start. In FF14 there are boss attacks called "tank busters", which are designed to challenge the tank's stack of hitpoints, strong enough to outright kill anyone else. Sometimes, these tank busters hit in an area around their target.

Cut to their first fight against Golbez in The Voidcast Dias trial. It's normal mode, no stress for this pair of hardcore raiders, but the moment Sakaguchi is targeted by a tank buster he peels from the boss and charges for Yoshida like a shark sensing blood in the water.

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Thanks to some interface settings, you can actually see Yoshida's poor little Black Mage icon frantically scrambling away from Sakaguchi, but it's to no avail. A barrage of meteors falls on Yoshida, turning his lalafell into paste while Sakaguchi's beefy tank stats handle the fireballs just fine. 

"You are K.O'd!" quips Global Community Producer Toshio Murouchi like a court jester. He's sat just down the row providing occasional translations, watching the laughter-stunned father of Final Fantasy and a recently griefed director try to remember how to push their buttons through their giggling.

The best part is, that's nowhere near the only time he tries. At around 1:16:37 on the VOD below, Sakaguchi tries to run a second tankbuster into the beleaguered director, but this time, Yoshida's prepared for him. 

"I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, Yoshi-P where are you?" a second translator captures Sakaguchi's maniacal glee, but he can't find Yoshi-P among all the particle effects and the bosses' giant model blocking the way. 

He takes a hard left towards the white mage, locks back on to Yoshida, and promptly dies to the end of the tankbuster. Presumably because he took three stacks of vulnerability (a stacking debuff you get if you mess up), likely forgetting in his bloodlust to pop any defensive abilities. Yoshida responds: "This tank is big trouble!"

Like a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, this tale ends with both players' demises to the hands of their tomfoolery. At around 1:19:37, white mage Alva Alvitir—pulled from the gaming public, by the way—sees an opportunity to prank the director of Final Fantasy 14, and takes it. 

They run off the edge, use Rescue—an ability that pulls a party member to your location—and throw Yoshida into the abyss below. Meanwhile, Sakaguchi dies for completely unrelated reasons. In the next fight against the Proto-Carbuncle, Sakaguchi tries it again. Alas, the Proto-Carbuncle's tankbuster, Crunch, doesn't hit in an area. Yoshida still runs from him anyway. 

Honestly, this all tracks. While you wouldn't want to pull these kinds of stunts on complete strangers, it's a time-honoured tradition when you're queueing with pals you know well. After all, they need to be kept on their toes—and what's more of a jolt to the system than your supposed ally running you down, pursued by meteors?

Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.