FFXIV Artists Used Their Free Time To Get Bunny Boys Into The Game

FFXIV Artists Used Their Free Time To Get Bunny Boys Into The Game
The elusive male Viera. (Screenshot: Square Enix)

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.

Bunny boy in shadow.  (Screenshot: Square Enix) Bunny boy in shadow. (Screenshot: Square Enix)

“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.

Comments

  • It’s funny/enraging/frustrating how this happens everywhere I’ve been. Highly-paid people control what goes into the pipeline and how it’s delivered, but they just straight-up get it wrong on a regular basis.

    The most spectacular example I’ve experienced personally was where a long-time permanent employee wrote himself a tool outside of the office that short-cut existing processes by something absurd like 99%.

    It’s not an understatement to say that it revolutionized the way of working and saved the company literally millions of dollars in man-hours. I personally would have had no idea how to perform my job without it, nor would any of the hundred or so of my coworkers.

    This one specialist developer had argued early on for the purchase/creation of that tool, but the company hadn’t wanted to invest the time and money in making it happen, probably because they didn’t really understand it. So this developer went and coded it himself, and the proof was in the pudding. Fortunately for this guy, he held the rights and the control – it was software only really relevant to that company, but he controlled all access to it. The company came to rely on it, til it was a core part of business process without anyone really realizing.

    <bThen that developer decided to retire.

    When he announced he was planning on retiring early, he also noted that unless the company bought the software from him, he was going to take it offline. They brought out the big guns to try and bully, intimidate, and otherwise steal that software that was integral to the company’s support processes, but he’d been real smart with the source code and also lucky in that he was hired on in the early days when IP rights didn’t automatically transfer to the company.

    The company had coincidentally been undertaking a crusade of firing/paying off people who had old, lucrative employment conditions and replacing them with casual/contract workers with significantly fewer benefits, so when they turned internally to search for anyone else in the company who could be conscripted into reproducing this tool’s work, they came up empty. Everyone had either also retired, or moved on to rival companies/other careers. Over the course of a decade or so, they’d drained all the proprietary technical knowledge out of their department in favour of quick wins on payroll costs.

    They could have bought/reproduced the tech by hiring on contractors, but in the meantime they’d have been out a tool that was critical for maintaining multi-million dollar SLAs for major wholesale clients, performing tasks that no-one in the organization had a clue how to do manually any more, thanks to their shortsighted payroll cuts.

    The company paid up. I don’t know what the full figure ended up being, but I’m assured by others who knew him better that the guy ended up laughing all the way to the bank. And nothing about the penny-pinching, short-sighted management culture changed in the slightest, no lessons were learned about brain-drain, mapping business processes, or business continuity as relates to licencing and other third-party tools. Not a god damn thing. It could probably happen again.

  • The above was probably the most spectacular example I can think of, but I’ve seen ‘devs doing the real work on the sneaky’ behaviour everywhere else, since.

    In one major dev/support team, the managers in pipeline controlled what went into regular releases, and it was always about giving new features to whoever was asking loudest for them, major upgrades, but never about addressing the hundreds of niggling little bugs, or ancient snarls of tech debt that needed to be unravelled to allow for easier, more stable future development.

    As a result, our principal dev and BA would keep a backlog of personal projects they would tinker with on their own time or on their commutes, for example, trying to get them to a state that it was almost ready to deliver, so that there was no dev/time cost to the business to implement. This was often the only way these things could get a high enough rating (low cost/risk to implement vs improvement value) to compete with all the things others wanted added.

    Another tactic a team used was to dedicate every third release to bugfixes and defects. It was packaged as something required by the vendor, but it was really just an opportunity for the devs to work on our own customizations.

    Hell, if that kind of ‘off the clock’ development wasn’t happening, Epic wouldn’t have its own store because Fortnite never would’ve exploded to rule the world.

    People who control what goes into a release all too often NEED to be subverted by people who actually know what should be going into a release.

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