[Translation] FFXIV Yoshida Uncensored 2 – #84

I set a scheduled time to publish, and then forgot to click the confirm button… anyway…

This is the start of a 4-part series on the Dad of Light drama. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend it! It’s available on Netflix with English subtitles. It’s super cheesy but it’s really cute. Sadly, the actor who played the dad passed away, so I suppose we won’t be seeing a sequel :(

#84: “Dad of Light: Square Enix Side – Part 1”

Published in 2017/05/25 issue

Broadcast has begun for FINAL FANTASY XIV: Dad of Light, a TV drama series produced by MBS/TBS and based on a true story about FFXIV. Thankfully, it’s gotten a ton of response, both from people who know FFXIV and people who’ve never played it before. We’ve seen positive feedback from many people who find it really enjoyable as a TV drama, so I’m feeling relieved right now.

It’s been featured in Famitsu’s magazine and website, so those reading this magazine might already have some background knowledge. This drama was produced from a true story that was published over the course of a year on “1-click KILL SS Diary[1]”, a website run by a regular player.

The original author calls himself Maidy, and he’s an avid player who’s been playing ever since 1.0. In addition to FFXIV, he also loves online gaming in general and Gundam (he has other interests as well). He has the exact same attributes as me. *laughs*

Maidy-san here wanted the 2-seater chocobo from the new “Recruit a Friend” campaign in FFXIV, and he ended up inviting his real-life father, who was also a gamer. He even hid the fact that he was a FFXIV player himself, became in-game friends with his dad, and went on adventures with him… Meanwhile, in real life, father and son had become estranged. Wanting to be a good son, Maidy-san wondered if he would be able to recover their relationship this way—thus began the “Dad of Light Project.” In FFXIV, the player is called the Warrior of Light, so his dad would become a Warrior of Light too—in other words, a Dad of Light. His dad was new to online games, and it’s really touching how Maidy-san and his friends helped him overcome each of the struggles that he faced… For the rest of the story, please see his blog, the book publication, or the TV drama.

The story of how Dad of Light became a drama series is covered in “Producer of Light”, another series on his blog, so I recommend reading that. It’s the true story of the author Maidy-san and a person named “Pii-san” who planned the drama adaptation and worked to make it a reality. It’s every bit as fascinating as the original story itself.

Now then, that was a long introduction, but I’d like to dedicate a few columns to the Square Enix side of things. What was the drama adaptation like for us, the FFXIV developers and overseers, and how were we involved?

As told in Producer of Light, Square Enix and I received the proposal for the Dad of Light drama adaptation in December 2015, near the end of the year. They called Square Enix’s main telephone number and were able to speak with FFXIV’s PR head. Then, I found out about it during our weekly marketing/PR meetings[2] held every Wednesday and Friday.

I’ve been reading Maidy-san’s blog ever since I took over 1.0 in December 2010, so naturally, I’d already followed Dad of Light from Part 1 until the end in real-time. It was an enjoyable story from all perspectives I held—that of an ordinary reader, an online gamer, and FFXIV producer and director—so when I heard about the TV drama adaptation proposal, I thought, “Oh, there’s someone else out there who truly understands how great this is!”

But on the other hand, I thought, “Do we really want to solicit the Japanese television industry?” I remember feeling not worry, but a sort of dread. It’d been a long time since I stopped watching TV, and I’d more or less given up on the current state of the industry. The TV industry had reigned supreme ever since the war ended, and it never changed even after the bubble burst… While there were signs of change now in the present, I didn’t know if they would be able to adapt Dad of Light into a drama while staying true to the original.[3]

I was also concerned about Square Enix’s adamant stance towards their copyrights. Even though I’m the chief executive of FFXIV, the project would reflect on the FF brand as a whole, so I couldn’t make the final decision by myself. “Protecting the brand” is synonymous with “closing off the brand,” and I worry about that balance on a daily basis. If you want to increase your brand strength and expand its reach, then you have to challenge new things. But if you consent to anything and everything, your brand loses value instead. (This mindset is the reason why FFXIV has a lot of goods and merchandise. I’ll write about it in another column one day.)

But, precisely because the situation was so complicated, I immediately had the PR team ask them to proceed with the preparations. If they were serious about making this drama, they’d have to raise funds, establish a production committee, write the screenplay, recruit a director, decide on the cast, make filming arrangements… Each and every task was going to take time, and Square Enix was only going to proceed with the licensing agreement after seeing that they would be able to make all of the necessary arrangements. Basically, it was going to take forever.

Since that was the case, it’d be better to start as soon as possible. After all, Pii-san’s negotiations weren’t going to make any progress until he could say, “We don’t have a contract yet, but Square Enix has given us the go-ahead.” Fortunately, if it was phrased as a “FFXIV drama adaptation project,” then we could give them that basic go-ahead at my discretion. This way, we’d also be able to see how serious this “Pii-san” person was about adapting Dad of Light into a drama… That was the main reason why I made that decision so quickly.

With only my consent, the chances of this drama adaptation succeeding were still only about 5%. However, Maidy-san and Pii-san ran ahead with the preparations with extreme passion. This inside story of Square Enix’s side of things, which isn’t written in the blog’s “Producer of Light” series, will continue in the next column.

[1] “1-click KILL SS Diary” is Maidy-san’s blog, where he talks about online games and a wide variety of interests. He updates it every day without fail, and as the blog title states, every post contains screenshots (SS). My favourites aside from “Dad of Light” are his “Long Live Bachelorhood!” and “The Sultana’s Girls-Only Party” series. http://sumimarudan.blog7.fc2.com/

[2] FFXIV’s marketing/PR meetings that are held every Wednesday and Friday at my booth. I basically have to check all sorts of things, like the collaboration with I LOHAS, commercial storyboards, foreign policies, PR materials, etc. If I don’t make swift judgements, then it’ll never end. We call this the “Yoshida Routine.”

[3] TV drama adaptations often make sweeping changes to the original work, writing the script to suit the performing actors. I think that’s perfectly acceptable, but it’s immediately obvious when they don’t take it seriously. I find that the rate of accidents… is quite high.

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