FF14 director Yoshi-P says 'possibly 98%' of the team are inspired by Elden Ring, but assures players Dawntrail won't be as brutally hard

Final Fantasy 14 character
(Image credit: Tyler C. / Square Enix)

Final Fantasy 14's next expansion, Dawntrail, will launch just a week after Elden Ring's Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, which was a deliberate decision to get out of FromSoftware's way, the MMO's director Naoki Yoshida (also known as Yoshi-P) said at PAX East earlier this year.

While Yoshida insisted at the time it wasn't because he personally wanted to play Shadow of the Erdtree (and I totally believe him), he told PC Gamer in a recent interview that almost everyone on the team are fans of the game and that we could see some inspiration from it in Dawntrail.

"I think in the development team for Final Fantasy 14, possibly 98% [of them] are playing Elden Ring," Yoshida said (via a translator).

"When it comes to the people involved in the battle content on our team, they would be playing and they would be saying, 'Oh yeah, if we could make something this difficult, we should definitely do it,'" he added.

Yoshida said he suspects some members of the team would probably consider a near-impossible encounter "the perfect balance in Final Fantasy 14." He quickly followed that up with a clarification for any FF14 players afraid of having to fight a boss as brutal as the ones in Elden Ring that they "have nothing to worry about," however.

FF14's approach to difficulty actually came up in a Famitsu interview earlier this year. Yoshida said the MMO might be a little too "comfortable and stress-free for players," and that the team "may have 'overdone it' a little bit" over the last 10 years. The rush you get after a stressful situation–like, say, defeating even a minor boss in Elden Ring—is something he said he wants to put "back into FF14." 

(Image credit: Square Enix)

In the interview with PC Gamer, Yoshida went on to say that you'll probably see most of Elden Ring's influence outside the combat encounters: "But when it comes to things like the scenery in the game or the atmosphere and being able to convey that sense without a lot of text to convey those nuances in the story, Elden Ring does that really well. And I think there must be people in the team who are really inspired by that as well."

As a regular player of both Elden Ring and FF14, I am kind of fascinated by the idea of an expansion that is being described as a summer vacation taking inspiration from FromSoft's beautifully macabre world. FF14 has always been excellent at incorporating all the tiny details that make a place feel lived in, like how its cities are filled with NPCs chatting and going about their daily routines. Its raids and dungeons are the same way: there's architecture and music that often foreshadows or dovetails with the story's themes in a way that you could easily miss if you're not paying close attention. All of that is key to what makes Elden Ring's world feel alive as well, so I'd argue the two games already share very similar sensibilities.

That said, I am too much of a casual FF14 player to ever want to fight a boss like Malenia in it, even if I had seven other people with me. It was hard enough getting smacked around in one game, just let me chill in the back as a healer pressing my little buttons without the fear of being impaled and sent back to a checkpoint.

Dawntrail will launch in early access for those who pre-order it on June 28 and will open up for everyone else on July 2.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.

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