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Ahead of FF14 Dawntrail Yoshida reveals the new jobs that got canceled

Speaking to PCGamesN ahead of FF14 Dawntrail, game director Naoki Yoshida discusses new class design, future jobs, and the weapons we lost.

FF14 Dawntrail interview with Naoki Yoshida - A female Hrothgar holding a purple Dancer's glaive.

As we prepare to jet off to Tural in FF14 Dawntrail, PCGamesN had the opportunity to speak with game director and producer Naoki Yoshida – or ‘Yoshi-P’ to his community – about the class design in the beloved MMORPG and what future jobs might look like. The incoming Viper and Pictomancer feel like ambitious plays into an already crowded space, so how did they come about, and where are we likely to see jobs going next?

The two new jobs arriving in Dawntrail are perhaps some of the most distinct that Final Fantasy 14 has ever seen. You can read my FF14 Dawntrail preview for more in-depth thoughts on both, but the Viper is a fast-paced, intricate blend of combo chains, while the Pictomancer paints a series of artworks that then transform into colorful high-damage devastation. Both bring fresh control layouts to the MMORPG, allowing you to deliver more combos, actions, and maneuvers using a smaller amount of button presses.

Speaking to Yoshida on the Dawntrail media tour, I ask if it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find space for new jobs. There are now 21 FF14 classes (excluding the limited Blue Mage job and its Dawntrail counterpart, the as-yet unseen Beastmaster). While the Pictomancer draws heavily from the version seen in Final Fantasy 6, the Viper is a largely original class for FF14, albeit one that draws some loose inspiration from FF9 protagonist Zidane. So are original classes the way forward?

FF14 Dawntrail preview - A player using the new Viper job to fight a FATE boss in the new FFXIV expansion.

“First and foremost we think about what role we would be adding the job into, and then after that’s decided we think about which job would be appropriate,” Yoshida explains. “There are two key points that we consider. The first is to have different mechanics from existing jobs so it will have a unique playing experience. And the second is that, as an MMORPG, it’s fun to play when playing in multiplayer content.”

“Of course, there are a lot of jobs from the [Final Fantasy] franchise in previous titles that are very unique,” he notes. But in many cases, that second requirement means they don’t fit into FF14. “There are not many of them left [to use].” The Pictomancer, for example, was already in the shortlist when it was decided that FF14 needed a magical, ranged DPS, making it an easy pick for the team to work on.

“On the other hand, we could look at the example of Time Mage,” Yoshida says. “This is a job we had considered previously, but that is known for using time-related abilities such as Haste to speed up the party or Stop to stop time.” These work fantastically in the turn-based and Active Time Battle systems of past games, he remarks.

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“However, in an MMORPG, we are not able to stop time. And [if it could] it would kind of overpower the job. And what would be the point of a Time Mage that could not manipulate time? So we do place some importance on maintaining the legacy from the Final Fantasy franchise – but now we have fewer jobs that we can work with. So I think moving forward, we will have more original jobs for Final Fantasy 14.”

That design process starts with the weapon – after all, each job requires a unique tool that makes it stand out from the pack. “We already have most weapons in the game,” Yoshida says, raising both hands as if clutching weapons in each. “What about morningstars?” He laughs. “We did have a whip as an idea, but to implement a whip in the game we would have to use a lot of ‘bones’ in development.” That would make it quite a complex tool to implement – but it isn’t the only issue.

“We also need to consider the graphics related aspects. We would have to incorporate new designs for each of the weapons that you can get [from all the various forms of content]. So we need to make sure the weapon is structured so that it’s easy to make those designs.” It’s an issue the bow has long suffered with due to its minimal frame; nowadays, you often see additional accouterments slapped on the side of them. Dawntrail, for example, straps a whole guitar across the center of your bow, but such ingenuity might be harder to achieve for a whip.

FF14 Dawntrail preview - A female Hrothgar using the Bard's new bow, which features a white electric guitar strapped to the side.

The newest healer job, the Sage, is emblematic of the more experimental nature of new additions, wielding a set of four drone-like ‘Nouliths’ that float around the user and deliver healing and harm in equal measure with precision laser blasts. “It’s difficult for us to create unique designs every single time,” Yoshida muses. “By the way, in Endwalker we implemented the Sage.

“I remember that we went through many different ideas about which weapon to use. The worst idea was just holding a huge orb and fighting with that.” The idea of Sages pondering their orb during battle is certainly very amusing, but I can appreciate why the team decided to leave it on the drawing board. “I thought we could not possibly implement that.”

If you enjoyed this, don’t miss the second part of our interview where we Yoshida talks about Dawntrail difficulty and the Gold Saucer. The FF14 Dawntrail release date is just around the corner, so make sure you’re all caught up and that your FF14 Island Sanctuary is looking pristine before you sail off to Tural.

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This article is based on time spent playing an in-development build of Final Fantasy 14 Dawntrail, and content in the final version is subject to change.