He may have departed from Square Enix a time ago, but that hasn’t stopped Hironobu Sakaguchi from actively participating in the series that he created and continues to flourish in his absence. The father of Final Fantasy has been playing its 14th instalment for almost two whole years, and he isn’t afraid to admit the absolute death grip the critically-acclaimed MMO has on him.
During London’s Fan Festival, Sakaguchi sat down with Final Fantasy 14 director and producer Naoki Yoshida to talk about his time with the game and even brought a couple of surprises to the table. When discussing his first foray into the MMO, Sakaguchi admitted that his early months with the game took up a significant amount of his time. “I believe every day I was in there for 12 hours,” he said through a translator, adding that Final Fantasy 14 “took up about 80%” of his time awake, boosting that number up to 100% if he didn’t include eating.
Yoshida responded by saying that the development team would keep their eye on Sakaguchi’s Twitter, where he was sharing much of his time in the game, keeping track to see how long he would actually spend in the game. While Sakaguchi’s initial expectations appeared to be low, it’s clear two years down the line that he’s in love with the game. “It’s quite the opposite, now I can’t leave,” Sakaguchi said. “Final Fantasy 14 has become part of my life.”
Lest we forget that although Sakaguchi isn’t with Square Enix anymore, he’s still the founder and head of Blue Dragon and Fantasian developer Mistwalker, which you’d think would eat up at least a good 50% of his time! It turns out that he may have been secretly squirreling himself away to play FF14, with Yoshida remarking that he had been told that the Mistwalker team was “very understanding,” only to discover they had no idea of Sakaguchi’s ongoings when it was brought up in conversation. “Once I’m in a raid I can’t attend a meeting,” Sakaguchi joked.
All of those hours certainly paid off, because Sakaguchi brought a surprise for Yoshida: Proof of his first ultimate raid clear. That’s no mean feat, being the toughest thing to do in the game and all—clearing one is a serious badge of honor for FF14 players. That was evidenced by Yoshida’s sheer surprise when greeted with a screenshot of his shiny new ultimate raid-exclusive weapon.
Sakaguchi admitted he managed to nab the clear 10 days before Fan Festival, wanting to have it done by the time he attended.”It was a lot of fun trying to get through this,” he told Yoshida, jokingly requesting the next batch of raids to be added. When asked if he wanted to attempt more savage raids, Sakaguchi replied “for sure, next I want the orange one,” maybe referring to either Bahamut or Dragonsong Reprise, as well as mentioning the Alexander raid. “I’m so sorry,” Yoshida said addressing the Mistwalker team, before adding “I’m at a loss for words.”
It’s comforting to see that nobody is safe from losing their life to Final Fantasy 14, and I’ve personally really loved seeing Sakaguchi’s journey through Eorzea over the last two years. He doesn’t seem to have any intention of stopping anytime soon, and I expect to see him fully equipped with best-in-slot gear from here on out.