Final Fantasy 14 director Naoki Yoshida doesn't appreciate people dunking on World of Warcraft, saying that his game "wouldn't exist" without Blizzard's MMO and that comparing the two is "the wrong conversation to have."
With World of Warcraft taking a few hits recently, including its reviled treatment of Sylvanas (opens in new tab), a lot of players have been making the jump over to Final Fantasy 14, including popular streamer Asmongold (opens in new tab). It's seen the scales tip in Square Enix's favour, with the game recently smashing its concurrent player count on Steam. It's also created a bit of a narrative about which game has 'won' the MMO crown.
It's a conversation Yoshida doesn't appear to be too keen on. The director gave a rather thoughtful speech about the perceived rivalry between the two games in a 14-hour livestream earlier this month, which has very kindly been translated by blluist on YouTube. When told that Final Fantasy 14 had been more popular than WoW this year, Yoshida quickly clarified that he didn't believe his game had "beat" Blizzard's.
"Blizzard is definitely aware of this, but without World of Warcraft, A Realm Reborn wouldn't exist," Yoshida said. "WoW was the game we constantly looked up to." He also showed his disapproval for the conversation surrounding which game is doing better, saying "our goal was to recreate a Final Fantasy version of WoW, so saying we won or lost to WoW is off-base to start with, because they were the game we aspired to be."
Yoshida also touched upon the subscriber counts of both games a little bit. When discussing World of Warcraft's peak of 12 million paid subscriptions, he said "there's no way" Square Enix could compete with that. Yoshida compared WoW to Everest, saying that such a high number "is completely beyond reach." He did express gratitude for Final Fantasy 14's own growth spurt though. "We're growing at a rate that even I'm surprised by," he said. "It's kind of scary."
"The hard work we've been putting into Final Fantasy 14 did pay off," Yoshida continued. "But this whole conversation about surpassing WoW is the wrong conversation to have and it's honestly irritating." When the interviewer chimed in telling Yoshida he was hoping he would have said "we're the best," he responded, "if I was that type of guy, we'd miss our footing on the way and 14 wouldn't be loved by so many people."
It's hard to deny that Yoshida is such a large reason for Final Fantasy 14's success. He's a likeable personality, one that has commanded a ton of respect within the community and his hard work doesn't go unnoticed. While it certainly isn't the first time he's showered praise on WoW, it's nice that he's continuing to emphasise the importance of its existence.
The livestream also had Yoshida detailing plans for making in-game house hunting easier (opens in new tab), as well as a bundle of other goodies in anticipation of Final Fantasy 14's Endwalker (opens in new tab) expansion, due to release November 23.