Back when Final Fantasy XIV’s Shadowbringers expansion released, we got the bunny-like Viera and beast-like Hrothgar as new, playable races. The problem, though, was that the Viera race was locked to female characters, and Hrothgars could only be male. Fans – us included! – called for greater customisation options in creating their characters, and Square Enix obliged, revealing that male Viera and female Hrothgar would be coming to FFXIV after all. It turns out, though, that we’re getting those options because the game’s graphics team used their free time to see if they could make it happen.
Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida explains in an interview with PlayStation Blog that adding new races comes with heaps of considerations. You don’t just create them – you have to factor in and tweak how they interact with particular environments and armour.
“Adding a playable race does not end with just the initial resources needed to create the race (i.e. character modelling; preparations for variations in facial features, hairstyles and head shapes; animations that are unique to each race, etc.),” he explains. “Even following initial implementation, the tasks required with each patch update will multiply. For example, when we implemented the Viera, because their ears are very long, we needed to add a new review flow to check how Viera characters would appear on screen in all cutscenes.”