Probably going to be messing with the formatting for the next few posts, but let’s get this started. As you would expect from Yoshi-P, the first column in this book has nothing to do with FFXIV or game development :v
TL note: I completely localized the first paragraph of #45. The JP term is nekama, an abbreviation of “(inter)net” and “okama” (drag queen).
A Candid Preface II
Writing a preface is surprisingly difficult. This book is nothing more than a collection of essay-style columns about the massive development going on behind the scenes of FINAL FANTASY XIV (hereafter abbreviated to FFXIV) as well as my daily thoughts as the (soon-to-be) 45-year old man in charge of the game.
I don’t really think there’s any need for a preface, but for the sake of not wasting anyone’s time or money buying this book by mistake, let me explain what this book is all about.
This book contains entries #45 to #96 of my biweekly column in the gaming magazine Weekly Famitsu, called “Yoshida Uncensored.” It doesn’t contain #1-44 because it’s the second book in the series. The first book must have sold quite well if we were able to publish a second—I don’t know how many copies were sold, though, because I didn’t ask.
It was Famitsu who proposed the idea for this column, but I refused at first, because I’m very busy and I get bored of things quickly. However, the editorial department told me, “We’ll allocate at least 4 pages to FFXIV in our magazine for as long as the column continues!” The deal was too good to pass up, and here we are now. (It’s been 4 years since the column began.)
I (Naoki Yoshida) am the author of this book, but I also work for the game company Square Enix. I’m an Executive Officer, Division Executive of Business Division 5, and Producer and Director of FFXIV. Business Division 5 indirectly interacts with many other game fans outside of FFXIV too—we handle the development and operation of FINAL FANTASY XI (which has been in service for 15 years now) as well as the development of other titles such as the Dragon Quest Builders series.
The first book contained a lot of stories about how FFXIV was “reborn.” In this second book, the contents have shifted to topics relating to the game’s continuing operations. I’d say that these columns are more representative of the title; that is, they’re more candid. I talk about the gaming industry and game development as a whole, things I’ve thought about while working, and totally off-topic things like my interests and how the internet works. It’s all over the place! *candid admission*
Oddly enough, I received more reader feedback and opinions about the columns in this book than the ones in the previous book. I don’t know if it’s because the contents are more candid or if my writing has gotten better. All I know is that I’ve been writing things that you might find intriguing if you’re interested in game development, or even if you’re just an internet user. Please feel free to use this book to kill time on your commute to work or school.
To everyone who finishes reading this book, and everyone that doesn’t: I’ll see you again in the afterword!
#45: “Roleplay and Romance”
Published in 2015/10/22 issue
In online games we often hear the term “G.I.R.L. (Guy in Real Life)”. It generally refers to someone who is male in real life, but pretends to be a girl in the game.
However, I want to emphasize that there’s a difference between someone who’s obviously pretending to be a girl and someone who’s playing as their female character would! The former is unethical in a way, while the latter is a respectable form of roleplay.
For example, when I used to play the MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC), I played as a female Lurikeen (one of the races in the game) caster. I liked to roleplay, so whenever I was playing with strangers, I would try to use feminine speech while communicating in my broken English (since it was an American game).
DAoC was a very PvP-centric game, focusing on RvR, so the battlefields were always a bloodbath. That was why I frequently spoke in an elegant manner and used feminine emotes. By the way, the class I played was Enchanter, a killing machine that only exists to destroy our enemies. Upon joining the fray, it was my job to mow them down with my spells.
Playing like that was a form of gap moe (is this a dead term yet?). Normally, I was a girl who could only speak in broken English but made heavy use of emotes. But out on the battlefield… You get the idea.
Since I was a caster, I stood no chance when surrounded by the ferocious warriors of the other countries. However, the tanks on our side would protect me with their Guard ability while stunning the enemies with their shield attacks so that I could escape. After the battle was won, we would stop to take a breather, and I would gracefully kneel to the knights who protected me and say “Thanks my knight”… (Hey, you! Don’t groan!)
This is what we call roleplaying. I was most certainly not trying to deceive anyone or pretend to be a girl to get free items. I simply enjoyed acting… However, this later resulted in tragedy (mainly for the other person involved).
At the time, there were a lot of people that I often partied up with. Some of them were from America, and some of them were from Singapore. One of the American members was a guy we’ll call G, who was always making inappropriate jokes that were borderline harassment (actually, they were pretty much all out of line), sending everyone in chat into laughing fits. Meanwhile, one of the Singaporean members, D, would often reprimand him out of concern for me, saying “There’s no need to say such inappropriate things.” D was always looking after my character, and he was one of the gentlemen who would always use the aforementioned Guard ability on me.
One day, I logged in as usual, and immediately got a party invite from those guys. We decided to head to the battlefield, so we quickly made our preparations, got in formation, and scoured the map in search of enemies. But that day, there weren’t many players from the other countries around, so we were spending more and more time just running around. Naturally, we ended up chatting, and at some point G said:
“Hey Cell (my character’s nickname), what kind of Japanese girls do you like?”
As I was deciding how to reply, D cut in and said “Why are you making a girl answer what type of girl she likes?”
G: “What? A girl? The hell are you talking about?”
An awkward mood washed over the chat.
D: “Cellica is a girl, right? A Japanese high school girl.”
N-No!!! Where did you get that idea from!? LOL
G: “Wahahahahahahahaha! What are you saying? Cellica’s a dude. He’s an old man!”
That’s right—G was really into girls, so he’d asked me directly before, “Are you a Japanese girl?” (over a year prior to this, in fact), to which I’d replied “No”. However, D never heard anything about it… But still, where’d he get the idea that I was a high school girl? *laughs*
D remained silent as the party continued to run across the battlefield. However, I watched as the Guard icon from D disappeared from my screen…
Now, at any rate, I’d destroyed a young Singaporean man’s dreams (D was 17 years old at the time), and this marked the end of my roleplaying in DAoC. But I insist that it was roleplaying, not deceiving.
There are a lot of guys playing online games in this world, and just like in this story, I’m sure many of them have experienced thinking “Is that person a girl in real life?”, or perhaps developing feelings for someone through their character. There is a trick to telling them apart (based on rule of thumb), but it wouldn’t be as funny if I told everyone, so I won’t. *laughs*
By the way, D and I still continued to play together after that, and we are now long-time friends that still talk to each other online. When I joke around with him about what happened back then, he says “Stop that, it’s embarrassing. I was seriously in love!” Thanks my knight :) RvR (Realm vs. Realm) – A game genre with larger-scale team battles than PvP (Player vs. Player). FFXIV’s Frontlines are an area-specific form of RvR.
 Emotes are actions that express emotions, like “pray” or “laugh”. When I used the phrase “Thanks my knight”, it was paired with a kneeling action.
 TL note: I feel loath to localize this term since it’s commonly used in English anime communities too. ‘Gap moe’ is a type of appeal that stems from when a character does something completely contradictory to their usual characteristics.
 The Guard ability is similar to the Paladin ability in FFXIV, Cover. Upon using it on a designated target, you take all damage directed towards them in their stead, so long as they are in range. In DAoC, it took an advanced player to use it well. It was a simple but effective ability.