When Final Fantasy XIV introduced female-only Viera and male-only Hrothgar as playable races for its Shadowbringers expansion, fans were not happy. It turns out the game’s graphics team weren’t happy either, so they worked in their free time between patches to get male rabbits and female bestial cats into Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker.
In a Q&A posted this morning on the PlayStation Blog, FFXIV producer Naoki Yoshida talks about how the surprising addition of male Viera revealed during the recent Fanfest streaming event came about. During Shadowbringers’ release, Yoshida was adamant that the gender-locked versions of the Viera and Hrothgar would be the final playable races added to the game. As the game director points out, each new playable race adds more work to every game update. Clothing needs to fit. Cutscenes need to be tested to ensure members of the new races stay in the frame. Emotes have to be tailored for each race as well, so adding a new gesture or dance gets more complicated.
So we wound up with female rabbits, honouring Fran from Final Fantasy XII, and male beasts in honour of Kimahri from Final Fantasy X. But that wasn’t good enough for fans, and leaving such a strong player request unanswered didn’t sit well with the game’s graphics team. So they used their own time to figure it out.
“They spent over half a year using what free time they had in between their normal work on the patches to consider ways to add another playable race,” Naoki Yoshida tells the PlayStation Blog. “From this they concluded that we could probably squeeze in just one more at this time.”
So not only did the graphics team make male Viera possible, they also figured out how to add female Hrothgar. “Rather than waiting until (hypothetically) 7.0 to add two playable races at the same time,” says Yoshida, “we realised we could actually ease the impact on our resources if we implemented these one at a time. Ultimately, I decided we should then move forward with implementing one playable race at a time, and I will make sure to explain that to our players: that’s what we did for this upcoming expansion.”
So here’s to Final Fantasy XIV’s graphics team, who worked tirelessly to get scantily clad rabbit boys into the next expansion. They’re the real heroes.