Final Fantasy 14 and ray-tracing aren’t a great match, director admits

Naoki Yoshida, director and producer of Final Fantasy 14, says he doesn’t expect ray tracing to be added to the popular MMORPG anytime soon, and maybe not even as part of the graphics upgrade that’s coming. will be coming to the game within the next two years. .

In an exclusive comment to TechRadar, Yoshida explained that ray tracing is not a priority for the development team at the moment, due to the idea that advanced lighting technology may not be suitable for Final. Fantasy 14 in general.

“At the moment, I haven’t given ray tracing so much importance,” says Yoshida. “It’s because the PC systems that can render graphics with it are limited, and it wouldn’t be very effective in FFXIV, where there isn’t a strong feel related to machine visuals in the game.”

Yoshida is not wrong. Although Final Fantasy 14 features more sci-fi elements and settings, such as the Magitek steel of the Garlean Empire and allagan institutions like the Etherochemical Research Facility, these locations are rare compared to more settings. fantastic that one would often associate with the series.

That’s not to say that graphical improvements aren’t coming to Final Fantasy 14 at all, as the game is expected to receive an update in this regard alongside the launch of the next expansion which, given the current pace of major updates patches, is expected to launch in 2024. Yoshida supports this announcement (made during a recent live Letter from the Producer presentation) by stating:

“However, as we recently announced (in LIVE Producer Letter Part LXVIII), we will be increasing the power of our graphics engine in anticipation of future FFXIV expansion. We will be looking to add new ways to express graphics DirectX 12 will also be part of it.

Should we expect ray-tracing in Final Fantasy 14?

Based on Yoshida’s comments, it seems unlikely that ray tracing will come to Final Fantasy 14 at this time, even with the planned graphics update. This is actually supported by another comment that Yoshida shared with us, about Endwalker areas being some of the hardest to develop.

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Please note that the following statement from Yoshida includes the name of Final Fantasy 14’s final area: Endwalker. Beware of spoilers if you haven’t completed the Endwalker expansion’s main storyline questline yet.

“The hardest in terms of finishing were Mare Lamentorum (on the moon) and Ultima Thule (the last area), which were implemented in Endwalker.

“It was also extremely difficult to create the lighting, shadows and build what we envisioned for objects to be placed with the limited capabilities of the graphics engine. In any case, it was like none of us in the development team, myself included, could leave Earth and visit other planets for research (laughs)”

With that in mind, adding ray-traced lighting technology to Final Fantasy 14 isn’t as simple as taking a blanket approach and applying it to all of the game’s explorable areas. simply wouldn’t benefit from it, due to the lack of areas and landmarks that could really show off the technology.

Also, some areas, as Yoshida mentioned, required a lot more work to get the lighting right in Final Fantasy 14’s relatively old engine. The dev team might try to implement a simpler solution and more profitable like local shadow ray tracing (as we saw with Cyberpunk 2077), but even that risks creating inconsistent lighting in the vast game world.

Finally, since PC, PS5, and PS4 players share the same servers with crossplay enabled, the Final Fantasy 14 team may want to keep a relatively consistent graphical experience across all three platforms.

While it’s certainly a very capable console in terms of graphics, ray tracing on PS5 will most often compromise the frame rate in games that support lighting technology. Additionally, the PS5 version of Final Fantasy 14 cannot currently maintain a constant frame rate in 4K and 1440p display modes. Adding ray tracing to the mix risks compromising this already challenging experience even further.

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