We've all heard the Golden Rule since kindergarten: treat others how you want to be treated. Now, Final Fantasy 14 Director Naoki Yoshida is urging fans to follow this rule, speaking out against verbal abuse directed towards developers and other players.
"Of course I'm thankful and grateful for players to tell us that 'we should do this, or this should be that' and whatnot, but verbal abuses are [something we wish could stop]," Yoshida said.
Last month, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, the latest expansion for the immensely popular MMO set in the Final Fantasy universe. However, before its release, Square Enix had to delay the game by two weeks. Yoshida says that delay led to some unwanted toxicity in the community.
"Ever since the unfortunate release delay of the expansion… for some reason there seems to be some [haters of the game] laying around attacking other players despite not playing the game and it was quite glaring," Yoshida said. "I felt as if those strong words used in arguments against people ended up holding people back because of this."
Yoshida says this bullying within the community can cause new players to drop the game entirely, and it also has a negative impact on developers, even leading to some resignations over the abuse from fans.
"I can take it, even though it doesn't make it less bad," Yoshida said. "But staff members will feel really down after getting those words when they gave their absolute best into trying to create something everyone can enjoy, and this may end up making them no longer create things that are fun from there on."
The solution, according to Yoshida, is to treat each other with more empathy, as if you were speaking to developers and fans in person.
"So I have only one request to every player out there — please imagine that you're speaking face to face with a developer whom you may not know his name nor face and imagine how they'd feel before sending your feedback over, and I'll be happy if people can do so politely."
And, of course, Yoshida still wants fans to point out mistakes the developers make, he just hopes fans will consider the way they deliver their feedback in the future.
Despite some negativity in the community, Endwalker is seeing loads of success. We called the expansion amazing in our review, saying, "Endwalker marks a satisfying conclusion to Final Fantasy XIV's story as it has existed to date." And, the game is so popular, Square Enix actually had to stop selling Final Fantasy XIV to prevent server overload.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.