One job was obvious, while the other was less clean cut.
Red Mage and Samurai, the new jobs that will be added in FFXIV’s next expansion Stormblood, each had a very different path leading up to their respective announcements. One, was clear in design and vision from the start while the other, was highly debated and faced some light competition from other ideas for new jobs.
In an interview with Twinfinite, Final Fantasy XIV Director Naoki Yoshida reaffirmed his long desire to add Samurai into the game. “We always wanted to have Samurai included” said Yoshida. “We didn’t determine when it was going to be implemented, but there was always that desire to have that job in there.”
Despite Samurai typically being portrayed as a strong damage dealing character, some fans believed that Samurai was going to be a tank. These rumors likely go back to Final Fantasy XI, where players theorized that Samurai was originally designed to be a tank in that game as well due to its Artifact Armor adding Enmity, HP, and Vitality.
However, Yoshida confirmed that from the get go, Samurai was always designed to be a DPS and explained why he felt Samurai as a tank didn’t make a lot of sense. “[FFXIV]’s Samurai was always meant to be a close ranged melee DPS.” His translator explained that Yoshida couldn’t imagine a Samurai with a very thin sword trying block and be a tank; and plus, to him, it’s inaccurate to Japanese history.
Red Mage, on the other hand, was a lot less clean cut. “There was a very heated debate on what role should it be” Yoshida said. Red Mage after all, is typically a jack of all trades type of class, which doesn’t fit neatly into FFXIV’s rigid Tank, Healer, DPS paradigms.
According to Yoshida, there was discussion on whether or not they would have to start including hybrid jobs because Red Mage is able to do a lot of very different things between melee attacks with its Rapier and its magical prowess with both Black and White magic. At one point, they considered just “going the other way” and making Red Mage a healer instead. Clearly though, the team landed on the DPS role being the best way to properly introduce the Red Mage into FFXIV’s job system.
Yoshida painted a picture that depicted Red Mage’s development as being tricky, at least at some point. Saying that the Samurai job came “very smoothly” and “that it was the Red Mage that we had to have that long debate pretty much until the last minute.”
So naturally, we were curious if any other jobs were in the running, and could have possibly bumped one of the two jobs fans are getting in Stormblood out. Yoshida was a little hesitant, not wanting to fuel speculation, but was able to elaborate on some loose ideas that the team had for another job.
“We were thinking of a ranged caster as well” said Yoshida. Apparently the idea was for a very Japanese type of Shaman, Magician, Conjurer-like ranged attacker. There wasn’t a direct English word that perfectly described the idea that Yoshida was trying to describe.
However, when I chimed in and suggested something like the Oracle from Final Fantasy Tactics, Yoshida responded with an emphatic “Yes!” So take that for what it’s worth.
Ultimately they did roll with the Red Mage because the team was able to make the dual close and long range style of Red Mage work, while still being fun and being a good fit for Stormblood.
Either way, the pressure is off now that Red Mage and Samurai are finally making it into the game. Two hotly anticipated jobs are out of the way, and now Yoshida and his team can be free to surprise fans. “We heard from around the world that everybody really wanted both of these jobs. Now that we’ve gotten that taken care of, moving forward I feel that we have less pressure in terms of thinking of what kind of jobs to introduce” said Yoshida.
We’ll have more from our PAX East 2017 interview with FFXIV Director Naoki Yoshida over the coming days.