Square Enix are releasing a new 6-part dev diary series for Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers. Its first episode, aptly called Telling a Tale, dives into the story and writing aspects of the well-received MMORPG expansion. As someone who’s never played Final Fantasy XIV before, I found it to be an interesting watch.
Near the middle of the episode, world lore creator and main scenario writer Banri Oda talks about how the expansion tries to evoke emotion, especially in the disturbing Tesleen transformation scene (the video includes its storyboards) that takes place near the beginning. She acknowledges how players’ desire to get to dungeons and the “good stuff” can clash with the developers’ attempts to tell the story.
“As a result, we decided on this scene to show the players the situation the inhabitants of this world are facing, and the feelings they’re experiencing in a way straightforward easy-to-digest way,” she explains.
“We didn’t want players to feel a certain way – while it was a very terrifying scene, yes, rather than dictating what the player should feel, it was more about us showing the players in a very clear way what life is like on the First.
“Now, with that information, we hoped that players would have their own gut reactions – be it repulsiveness, loneliness, or fear.”
In addition, director and producer Naoki Yoshida discusses the expansion’s themes of light vs darkness. “When people think of Light they think of something beautiful, righteous and just; something pretty to look at, unstained and untainted, but that’s not necessarily true,” he says. “And if you look at Darkness there’s beauty in it. There’s a line of dialogue that talks about how it’s the night sky that enables the stars to be beautiful.”
Main Scenario Writer Natsuko Ishikawa is also featured in the video, and one of the things he touches on is the origin of the Sin Eater name. “The name Sin Eater came about from the idea that this world is about to be destroyed and consumed due to the Sins of mankind becoming to great. As a result, these monstrous beings were birthed that solely exist to consume and eat, in a sense take these Sins away,” he reveals.
Interestingly, Sin Eater was originally just a tentative name when the concept was proposed to translator Michael-Christopher Koji Fox. “This seldom happens, but it was approved as-is, so we went with it!”